DIY Audio Transformers

Written by alexander rudinski
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DIY Audio Transformers
Handmade transformers are significantly less expensive than factory-made equivalents. (transformateur électrique image by Lounatiq from

While hand winding a transformer doesn't necessary mean it will help produce quality acoustics, the extra attention that an experienced artisan gives to a transformer can produce a more consistent winding, leading to better functioning and improved sound. The first time you build a transformer, it won't be perfect, but with some experience, you'll be able to make a transformer to custom specifications as good as or of superior quality to that of a factory-made device for only a fraction of the cost.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire for primary and secondary windings
  • Paper transformer bobbin
  • Waxed paper strip
  • "E" and "I" core made of iron
  • 2 pairs of coloured wires
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape

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  1. 1

    Wrap the primary winding with wire around the paper bobbin. The number of windings and the diameter of the wire depends both on the intended rating of the transformer, its application and for what it will be used.

  2. 2

    When you reach the correct number of windings, leave about three inches of wire extending out on each end to connect the transformer to its intended circuit.

  3. 3

    Cover the primary winding in a layer of paper or wax to insulate it from the secondary wiring. It's crucial that you do this correctly or the two windings will touch each other and short out the transformer.

  4. 4

    Wrap the secondary winding in the same manner as the first. Again, the number of windings and the diameter of wire depends on the same factors as the primary winding.

  5. 5

    Leave the same three inches of bare wire to connect the transformer to the other side of the circuit.

  6. 6

    Attach coloured wires to the two leads from each of the windings, matching the colours of the leads from the primary winding and secondary winding. This helps you connect the transformer more easily.

  7. 7

    Wrap the transformer winding in electrical tape to finish it.

  8. 8

    Insert the middle stem of the "E" part of the core through the transformer and attach the "I" part to the bottom with the included screws. "E" and "I" cores take on the shape of the letters for which they are named.

Tips and warnings

  • Try to make the windings tight and in a neat row. This gets easier with practice.

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