Transformer routine test – The measurement of winding resistance

Calculating Load Loss Values

Measurement is made to check transformer windings and terminal connections and also both to use as reference for future measurements and to calculate the load loss values at reference (e.g. 75ºC) temperature.

Measuring the winding resistance is done by using DC current and is very much dependent on temperature.

Transformer routine test -  The measurement of winding resistance
Transformer routine test – The measurement of winding resistance

Temperature correction is made according to the equations below:

Temperature correction formulas for copper and aluminium windings

R2 – winding resistance at temperature t2,
R1 – winding resistance at temperature t1

Because of this, temperatures must be measured when measuring the winding resistances and temperature during measurement should be recorded as well.

Winding resistances are measured between all connection terminals of windings and at all tap positions. During this, winding temperature should also be appropriately measured and recorded.

The measuring current can be obtained either from a battery or from a constant (stable) current source. The measuring current value should be high enough to obtain a correct and precise measurement and small enough not to change the winding temperature.

In practice, this value should be larger than 1,2 x I0 and smaller than 0,1 x IN, if possible.

A transformer consists of a resistance R and an inductance L connected in serial. If a voltage U is applied to this circuit;

The value of current measurement will be :

Value of current measurement

Here, the time coefficient depends on L/R ratio.

As the measurement current increases, the core will be saturated and inductance will decrease. In this way, the current will reach the saturation value in a shorter time.

After the current is applied to the circuit, it should be waited until the current becomes stationary (complete saturation) before taking measurements, otherwise, there will be measurement errors.

Measuring circuit and performing the measurement

The transformer winding resistances can be measured either by current-voltage method or bridge method. If digital measuring instruments are used, the measurement accuracy will be higher.

Measuring by the current-voltage method is shown in figure 1 below:

Measuring the resistance by Current-Voltage method
Figure 1 – Measuring the resistance by Current-Voltage method

In the current – voltage method, the measuring current passing through the winding also passes through a standard resistor with a known value and the voltage drop values on both resistors (winding resistance and standard resistance) are compared to find the unknown resistance (winding resistance).

One should be careful not to keep the voltage measuring voltmeter connected to the circuit to protect it from high voltages which may occur during switching the current circuit on and off.

The bridge method is based on comparing an unknown (being measured) resistor with a known value resistor.

When the currents flowing in the arms are balanced, the current through the galvanometer will be zero. In general, if the small value resistors (e.g. less than ≤1 ohm) are measured with a Kelvin bridge and higher value resistors are measured with a Wheatstone bridge, measurement errors will be minimised.

Kelvin bridge; Wheatstone bridge
Figure 2 (left) – Kelvin bridge; Figure 3 (right) – Wheatstone bridge

The resistance measured with the Kelvin Bridge:

Resistance measured with the Kelvin Bridge

The resistance measured with the Wheatstone Bridge:

Resistance measured with the Wheatstone Bridge

BEST Transformers laboratory

BEST Transformers - OSB Laboratory
BEST Transformers – OSB Laboratory

BEST Test laboratory is equipped with the most advanced testing facilities and is capable of conducting all tests required by IEC standards except short circuit mechanical withstand test, conducted in an independent international laboratory, CESI-Italy.

Tests performed on the transformers can be classified as follows:

Tests during manufacturing, routine tests, type tests, special tests, acceptance tests, site tests, defect analysis / identification and tests before maintenance.


SEARCH: Articles, software & guides //

Premium Membership //

Premium membership gives you an access to specialized technical articles and extra premium content (electrical guides and software).
Get Premium Now ⚡

About Author //


Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry fascilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming. Present on


  1. Jimi Jaspar Kispotta
    Apr 01, 2016

    I have some questions regarding the reference temperature.
    1.Why in IEEE the reference temperature is 75deg C and in IEC its 85deg C.
    2.Why the reference cannot be one single temperature reference.
    3.And why these temperature were chosen to be the reference temperature. Why not the other temperatures ( say 50deg C or 95deg C ) ?

    Thank you….

  2. Don White
    Jun 28, 2015

    In the field of solar flares inducing less than one Hz (call it DC) at 200 volts and a one ohm winding resistance, would not a 25 kVA transformer burn up.

  3. Srihari
    Apr 24, 2015

    Once the DC test is done with little bit high current for accuracy, sometimes saturated core will generate hormonics( 2nd, 27th) when rated voltage applied to take into service, causing protection relays to operate. … is there any method to reduce the saturation of the core…. One thing we did in the field was kept the transformer in normal tap for many hours, till the humming sound become normal.

  4. ravi teja reddy
    Nov 01, 2014

    Can u give pdf on the various losses in a transforme and a DC machines .variying with constant n variable losses

  5. Elder
    May 23, 2014

    can you say how can i test the delta side of power transformer by current-voltage method . pls help me soon!

  6. Andrés Norberto Landini
    Jan 19, 2014

    Please, Could You tell me what standard describes this test?

Leave a Comment

Tell us what you're thinking... we care about your opinion!