Breve transformers and fan controllers

26th September 2023
Sheryl Miles

Transformers are still the preferred method of AC regulation in many applications such as voltage control of some motors. Also, they are often applied in powering electronic circuits.

For compact, precision, and universal transformers, Breve are one of the leading Polish manufacturers in this field. Their components are made with precision, and they are available in a wide range of parameters. They are intended to be mounted in various products, from industrial machines to consumer appliances. What’s more, the manufacturer uses these components to build advanced, universal controllers designed to operate with AC motors, in particular those found in HVAC systems. Breve manufactures special regulators that are compliant with EC fans, too.

In this article, TME discuss matters such as:

  • PCB-mounted transformers
  • Construction, operation, and application of autotransformers
  • Types of AC controllers used in HVAC systems
  • Advantages and operation of electronic EC fans
  • PCB-mounted transformers

Standard transformers still offer one of the simplest and, at the same time, the most effective methods of processing and lowering the mains voltage. When combined with bridge rectifiers and voltage regulators, they help obtain a stable, reliable, and sustainable source of power for any electronic circuit. They are applied, for example, in devices powered by alternating current which feature a digital controller operating at the same time (e.g., industrial machines or household appliances). Secondary voltages that can be obtained with the Breve products reach from 6V to 24V (at up to 60VA). Primary windings can operate at the standard 230V and 110V, but also at 24V and 400V. Obviously, the most crucial feature of the solutions provided in this group is the possibility of direct PCB mounting, which helps save time and production costs of power modules, and also reduce their size. Breve offers such products in various formats – low-profile, cast resin, with a ribbed housing (improved heat exchange), etc. The products meet the requirements of the EN 61558 standard concerning the safety of induction elements.

Apart from THT leads, transformers are fitted with mounting holes


The transformer is connected using a pre-installed terminal block

Autotransformers are a special type of transformer, as both their primary and secondary windings are placed on a single core. What’s more, thanks to a number of taps on the secondary winding, the user can choose from among many outputs with various electrical properties. In the case of Breve products, the main function is to control AC fans using voltage. Thanks to an autotransformer and the right switch, a five-level control of the shaft’s rotation speed is possible. A crucial advantage of the Breve products is that they are combined with terminal blocks, which means that they can be connected and modified easily. Autotransformers operate at a voltage of 230V AC.

AC fan/motor controllers

Another well-developed group of Breve products comprises rotational speed controllers used in AC fans (or in AC motors). Depending on the model, they can be based on a transformer, an autotransformer, or thyristors. Some of these products feature a special electronic circuit which provides an additional Soft Start function that prolongs the motor’s life and limits start-up impulses.

They also offer a thermostat input for automating the air flow control in a given space. Such solutions are implemented primarily in heating and ventilation systems. Note that Breve also provides industrial controllers with high current capability (up to 10A) as well as smaller modules for surface or flush indoor mounting (in places such as offices, residential buildings). Some of them boast an IP54 rating (high dust ingress, splash, and washing resistance), which additionally increases the range of their applications.

What’s more, the manufacturer offers controllers for single- or three-phase motors. The control itself can be either multi-step or stepless – it depends on the technology used in the device. The electrical connections have been made using typical wiring solutions to ensure a smooth installation and connection.

Basic controller for surface or flush mounting

EC fan control

With a manual regulator, modern EC fans can be used in the system

The popularity of EC fans, i.e., the ones based on electronically commutated motors, is still growing, as such components combine durability of AC airflow units with precision control that was previously offered only by DC components. Even though it’s the built-in electronic system that is responsible for controlling the rotation speed of EC elements, they are set up from the outside through an analogue (voltage) signal given at the input. One of the Breve controllers may be used to that end. They supply voltage ranging from 0V to 10V DC, which depends on the current setting of the knob placed on the front of the device housing. The products are available in two versions: those powered by the voltage of 10 … 12V DC or of 230V AC. In each case, they are placed in a white, plastic housing adapted to wall mounting.

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