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What is Subtractive Polarity?

The relative polarities of voltages on single phase transformers is important when using the two units in parallel or connecting two or three units to create a three phase bank. Most single phase transformers are wired in Additive Polarity. Visualize two primary terminals H1 and H2 on top of a square representing a single phase transformer. Now visualize two secondary terminals, X1 and X2. If X2 is on the left size and X1 is on the right side, (reading X2 – X1 left to right) then this would be additive polarity. If the terminal X1 is on the left side and X2 is on the right side (reading X1-X2 left to right) then this would be subtractive polarity.

Most single phase wiring diagrams have a dot on both the primary and secondary sides, typically on the H1 and X1 terminals. This dot represents the matching polarity on the primary and secondary sides of the single phase transformer. When wiring single phase units in parallel or banking, the polarities of the transformers used must be kept consistent.

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