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Transformer Handbook

Cooling Classes of Transformers

NETA World, Spring 2003
by Ron Widup Shermco Industries

As a point of clarification, the cooling classes of transformers have changed in recent years and are explained in the following information. The IEEE transformer cooling designations were changed to become consistent with the IEC (IEC 60076-2: 1998). The new classifications are detailed in IEEE C57.12.00-2000. The new cooling designations have four-letter descriptions that indicate specific criteria relative to 1) the type of oil, 2) how the oil is internally circulated, 3) what is used to cool the oil, and 4) how the oil is externally cooled. As an example:
The type of oil What is used to cool the oil

Second Letter
Circulation Mechanism for Internal Cooling Medium Letter Definition N Natural convection flow through cooling equipment and in windings F Forced circulation through cooling equipment (i.e., coolant pumps) and natural convection flow in windings (also called nondirected flow) D Forced circulation through cooling equipment, directed from the cooling equipment into at least the main windings

Third Letter
External Cooling Medium Letter A W Definition Air Water

How the oil is internally circulated How the oil is externally cooled

Figure 1 Cooling Designations

Fourth Letter
The cooling class is identified by the following methodology: Circulation Mechanism for External Cooling Medium Letter N F Definition Natural convection Forced circulation [fans (air cooling) or pumps (water cooling)]

First Letter
Internal Cooling Medium in Contact with the Windings Letter O K L Definition Mineral oil or synthetic insulating liquid with fire point 300C Insulating liquid with fire point > 300C Insulating liquid with no measurable fire point

Comparison of past transformer cooling designations versus present-day transformer cooling designations is detailed in the following table:

 Present Designations ONAN ONAF Previous Designations OA FA

Transformer Handbook





Figure 2 Comparison Table, Past/Present Designations

For more detailed information on transformer cooling class designations, see IEEE Standard C57.12.00-2000, IEEE Standard General Requirements for Liquid-Immersed Distribution, Power, and Regulating Transformers.

Ron A. Widup, Executive Vice President/General Manager of Shermco Industries, Inc., has over 20 years of experience in the low-, medium-, and high-voltage switchgear and substation market. He is a principal member of NFPA technical committee 70E (Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces) and a member of NEC Code Panel 11. He is past president of NETA and currently a member of the Board of Directors and Standards Review Council. He is certified as a NETA Level IV Senior Test Technician.