What is a “Q” transformer?

The “Q” transformers were developed by Equi=Tech engineers to solve several problems that were causing hardships for users in certain situations. There are essentially 3 areas where using “run-of-the-mill” toriod balanced power systems fall short in performance.

First, is the acoustical noise problem. It’s interesting to note that at commercial locations, most all of the time, standardly designed toroids will perform quietly and emit almost no audible noise. However, in residences and in other areas with poor utility power, the transformers react physically to excessive current distortion. The worse the distortion, the more the transformer vibrates. This dissipation of reactive energy, while being very helpful to equipment power supplies, can nonetheless be quite annoying. Notably, this problem has been on the rise for the past 8 years. Our technical assistance people report acoustical noise problems in as many as 2 out of 5 residential customer locations whereas 8 years ago, the incidence was perhaps 2 in 50 locations. The recent decline in power quality is most likely due to the increase in personal computers, home security systems and more lighting controllers as well as home theater equipment, especially digital stereo and video gear, microwave ovens and so on. All of these types of loads produce excessive current distortion which muddys up power for the whole neighborhood. The problem is getting worse and worse. Most states have minimum power quality standards for commercial areas but none at all for residential neighborhoods. “Q” transformers are immune to current distortion and operate much more quietly than any other transformer.

Second is the inrush current issue — the achilles heel of toroid transformers. While probably the most efficient of all types of transformers, their relatively light core mass saturates very quickly, which means that often there will be a big current wallop when first turned on. This can trip common circuit breakers. But it’s just an annoyance since a few tries will work. Our philosophy at Equi=Tech is to build the most reliable equipment so we choose to handle the problem passively with most toroid transformers and avoid special soft-start circuits that are active. However, the greater mass of the “Q” transformer eliminates the need for any soft start device at all because it is very difficult to saturate its core — hence very low inrush current.

Third and last, but probably most important from a performance standpoint, is transformer current response. “Q” transformers deliver current quicker than any other transformer in its class. It has long been held that any sort of power conditioning device or filter network chokes current which can seriously affect the performance of large loads such as power amplifiers. The first noticeable change is loss of definition in bass response. The lower frequencies start to break up. Deeper resolution is replaced by “boominess.” Not so with “Q” type transformers. They maintain a much lighter magnetic density which allows them much more headroom when sudden large current transients are demanded. The difference in bass performance, as stated by many of our high-end audio customers, is truly awesome.