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What is a Phase Splitter?

By N. Kalu
Updated May 17, 2024
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A phase splitter, also referred to as a phase inverter, is a device that transforms a single-phase current into two or more currents of equal amplitude but opposite phases. Phase refers to the polarity of the current. This type of phase splitter is made by modifying various types of amplifiers or optimizing a transformer to effectively split currents. These tools are used extensively in the manufacturing and music instrument industries to control power output.

Unity gain inverter amplifiers can be transformed into phase splitters. When the device is activated, two currents are produced from an original current. One replicates the polarity of the original current, while the other inverts it. This particular device secures the inverted current.

Another way to produce this tool is to use a split-load phase inverter. Since the 1930s, these devices have been used to provide cleaner sound from amplifiers. The phase splitter circuit from a split-load phase inverter consumes approximately 250 volts of power when splitting phases into two, a relatively low voltage.

A differential pair amplifier can be easily modified to become a phase splitter amplifier. The original purpose of a differential pair amplifier is to ensure that the output is proportional to the difference between the voltage of the two inputs. To orient the amplifier toward splitting phases, a common source supplying a constant amount of power for both inputs must be used. This will ensure that the total current from both inputs is kept constant, such that if one input increases in voltage, the other must necessarily decrease in voltage. The voltage compensation leads to the production of opposite phases, characteristic of a typical phase splitter.

One of the least complicated ways to manufacture a phase splitter is to use a transformer. Ordinarily, a transformer is used to convert one voltage into another voltage. This technology is harnessed to split currents by utilizing two secondary windings to induce voltage, instead of just the one used in a typical transformer. The new phase splitter transformer now produces two currents from two separate inputs.

There are two main practical uses for phase splitters. In the manufacturing industry, these devices are used to control the speed of electrical motors in all sorts of industrial machines. In the music instrument sector, these devices are used to amplify power to electrical sound equipment. They are particularly sought after for their energy-saving capabilities. Companies in both industries cut their power conversion costs considerably by using a phase splitter.

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