Correspondents raise instances of damage to baluns with me from time to time, and there is a steady stream of reports online.

One of the very common reports is of something unexpected happening while adjusting an ATU, after perhaps 30s of power applied, VSWR suddenly becomes unstable, changing for some unknown reason, and attempts to find optimal settings of the ATU fails.

A likely cause of this is non-linear behavior of the ferrite core in a balun in the system.

Let’s talk about that.

## A theoretical model of temperature rise

A simple model that gives useful insight is to consider the case of a toroid core in still air, being heated by constant applied RF power giving rise to core loss.

Core temperature rises quickly initially, then more slowly as the core heats up and loses more and more heat to the surrounding air.

We can write and expression for core temperature T: \(T=T_{max}\left(1-\mathrm{e}^{-\frac{t}{\tau}}\right)\) where τ is the thermal time constant and Tmax is the final temperature if things continued without disruption.

Above is an example where τ=20s and temperature rise is 100°.

Note that at the beginning (t=0), the slope of the line is pretty constant, but as temperature increase, slope decreases until eventually it is almost zero. Continue reading Overheating balun cores – an explanation

Last update: 8th September, 2023, 10:56 AM