The most common use of current inductors is in radio and television equipment as well as in electronic filters, particularly to be able to allow the separation of different frequencies. These electronic components are found in virtually all types of electronic equipment and devices using AC.
Analog circuits will all use current inductors for signal processing. This can include power supplies, or even for removing the humming sound in cables to prevent distortions. They are also found in switched mode power supplies or SMPS power supplies to create the direct or DC required. In this use, they are often referred to as chokes.
When current inductors are used in electrical transmission systems, they may be called reactors, and they are used to reduce or to limit fault currents and switching currents.
Whether you are considering current inductors on power plants, which can be massive components, or if you are talking about small components for use in electronics, the design of the inductor is the same.
They will have a coil of wire, which is usually copper or enamel coated magnet wire, which wraps around a particular type of core. The specific type of design of the coil, from a standard winding type to a spiderweb or basketweave winding will impact different effects and benefits for use.
This core can be made of plastic, or ferromagnetic material, which is ideal for creating a strong magnetic field. The use of the ferromagnetic core can create current inductors that are able to boost the inductance of the coil, the ratio of the voltage to the rate of change of the current, by several thousands without adding bulk. This is an important consideration in electronics and radio equipment.
To prevent the creation of electromagnetic interference (EMI) when current goes through the inductor, it may be designed to be shielded. A shielded design will have the ferrite cover the wire, leaving nothing exposed. The current inductors do not provide this additional ferrite on the wire.
For electronic circuits, current inductors can be designed right on a printed circuit board. They are easy to spot on the circuit board as they have the standard spiral configuration that looks just like the wire wrapped around the bobbin in the more traditional designs. Regardless of their design, they are an essential component in many electronic systems.
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