All Transformer windings have an
internal resistance due to the length of the copper wire making up
From "Ohms Law" we know that when a current is passed through a
resistance, there will be a potential difference or "Voltage Drop"
across that resistance.
This is calculated as V = I.R. , where V=Voltage Drop , I=Current
Applying this logic to the secondary winding of a transformer, we
can see that when no current is flowing in the winding, there will
be no voltage drop across the winding. In other words, if we
measure the No-Load output voltage of a secondary winding, we will
be measuring the actual induced voltage (induced EMF).
However, once we connect a load across this winding, current will
flow, and there will be a voltage drop across the winding. Hence,
the voltage measured "On-Load" will be smaller than the voltage
measure at "No-Load".
This voltage difference is known as "Regulation" and is normally
expressed as a percentage of the full-load voltage.
Secondary winding designed to provide 10 Volts when delivering its
If we assume a no-load voltage of 11 Volts, we can then calculate
Regulation = (11 - 10) / 10 = 1 / 10 = 0.1 = 10%
*NB* Some transformer manufacturers will divide by the higher
figure (No-Load voltage) instead of dividing by the smaller
figure. This gives a false lower regulation value.
Typical regulation figures for transformers from 15VA to 5000VA
are shown below.