WHAT SIZE TOROID?
Toroid cores come in sizes ranging from
2mm outside diameter up to 150mm o.d., with the common sizes
between 6mm and 50mm o.d. The power rating of a given size core
will depend upon several factors, and the calculation of this is
probably the most complex consideration of all. At frequencies
above 100 kHz both ferrite and iron powder materials are generally
limited by temperature rise before saturation occurs. Many
ferrite cores can permanently change their
permeability after being subjected to relatively high power (flux)
levels, whereas iron powder cores return
to their original value after cooling. In circuits up to 500mW,
saturation is not usually of any concern, but when we use a
ferromagnetic core at levels above 1 or 2W it must be taken into
account in the design. It is good practice to use the largest core
(within reason) which will conveniently fit into your layout.
See the core cross reference tables for some equivalents.
The following flux density limits for both ferrite and iron powder
cores can be used as an initial guide when making calculations for
Note: 10000 gauss = 1 Tesla = 1000 mTesla
|AC Flux Density (gauss):
Operating frequency is one of the most important factors in power capability above 100 kHz.
A core that works well at 2 MHz may burn up at 30 MHz with the same amount of drive.
For a given inductance, iron powder cores require more turns
(because of their lower permeability) than an equivalent ferrite
core and will therefore be able to handle higher power since the
flux density will be lower for a given applied voltage. To prevent
the flux density from increasing due to fewer required turns on a
ferrite core, the applied voltage must be reduced.
Either core may be used for transformer applications, but both
will have compromises. Ferrite cores require fewer turns, will give
more impedance per turn and will give tighter coupling. Iron powder
cores will require more turns, less impedance per turn and looser
coupling, but will tolerate more power.
To determine the maximum flux density (Bmax) of a core we must
take into account the following factors: applied rms voltage (E),
cross sectional area of the magnetic path in cm2 (Ae), number of
turns (N), operating frequency in MHz (f), bias current in amps Idc, core inductance index AL.
These terms are used in the following combined (ac + dc) formula for flux level (gauss):
Bmax = (E * 102) / (4.44 * f * N * Ae) + (N * Idc * AL) / 10 * Ae
(use 4.44 for sine wave, 4.0 for square wave. If no dc present neglect terms after +)
The previous data gave a guide to the maximum flux densities of
cores at various rf frequencies. The formula shows that we should
use the lowest operating frequency expected in our application
(e.g. 3Mhz in a 3 to 30Mhz wideband transformer) and the highest
value of Erms (calculated from the required rf power and winding
impedance) to give a conservative design figure for flux density.
Some designers actually use the peak voltage (Epk) rather than Erms
to give the greatest margin against saturation. Core saturation is
affected by both dc and ac signals, and decreases the permeability
of the core.
Simple Design Example
Using the following data we will determine if an FT-50-43 core without DC is
suitable for the power we require.
Temperature rise can be the result of using too small a size wire
for the current involved as well as magnetic action within the
core. The effects can be calculated using the following
E = 25, f = 7 Mhz, N = 15, Ae = 0.133
Substituting these values in the formula for Bmax we get:
Bmax = (25 * 100) / (4.44 * 7 * 15 * 0.133) = 40.3 gauss.
From the previous table we know that the maximum flux density at 7
MHz should not exceed 57 gauss. The calculation shows this core is
well below the guideline figure and is therefore suitable.
temp rise = (total power dissipation / surface area)0.833
where: temp rise (deg C), power dissipation (mW), surface area of
If the operating temperature (ambient + temp rise) is greater than
60C when used intermittently, or more than 40C if used
continuously, a larger size core and/or larger gauge wire should be
The following data is presented as a guide to rf power handling
capabilities for wideband transformers operating in the 1.8 - 30
MHz range using impedance ratios not exceeding 4 : 1 and the
maximum impedance not exceeding 300 ohms.
FT-82-( ) 50 - 75 Watts max.
FT-114-( ) 100 - 150 Watts max.
FT-140-( ) 300 - 400 Watts max.
FT-240-( ) 1000 - 1500 Watts max.
When iron powder cores are used in low pass filters, the stop frequencies
are usually harmonics of the fundamental frequency and therefore at a lower
level, so that relatively small cores can be used in the filter inductors.
As a guide the following size cores are suitable for use in hf transmitters from
1.8 - 30 MHz when used in output low pass filters. The important
thing to remember is that the cores should never get very warm.
T-37-( ) 10 Watts max.
T-50-( ) 50 Watts max.
T-68-( ) 100 Watts max.
T-106-( ) 500 Watts max.
More accurate calulations with ferrite toroid cores are to be found at