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What does CT “burden” mean?

Posted on March 10, 2016

Why do you care about burden when ordering current transformers?

Many of our customers regularly request quotes for standard and custom 5A ratio type current transformers
but only ask for the window size and the input current with no knowledge of the “burden”. The burden is
specified as VA or resistance (or impedance). We can not guarantee the accuracy without the burden.

The burden is the termination impedance of the measuring instrument. The measuring instrument can be an
analog or digital energy meter, a data logger or a recorder. All instruments that use a current transformer to
measure line current must terminate the CT with a resistance (impedance in same case which means there is
some inductance involved).

A CT supplier should be given the burden when ordering. Technically, the total burden for a CT is the internal
winding resistance, the connecting lead resistance and the measuring instrument input resistance.
Some CTs are installed a long distance from the measuring instrument and the connecting leads can have a
resistance as much as 0.002 ohms per foot (both ways because the current makes a complete round trip). This
resistance will cause an error if not taken into account.

Below is a table of CT burdens that you can use to tell your CT supplier full information about what you need
in addition to input current and window opening:
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reza January 28, 2018 at 8:15 am #

hi. thanks alot for this .


Rasool Wardak March 8, 2018 at 11:10 am #

Dear Sir/Madam,

Could you please let me know which standards (IEC or IEEE or BS) apply on the CT Burdens (VA)
vs Z (Ohms) table you provided above (under Products).



Mostafa September 23, 2018 at 6:45 am #

Dear Rasool,
You can calculate the VA burden in case you know the Z(ohms) as follow:
VA = square of the secondary rated current multiplied be(303)
the Z772.9100
burden = I*I*Z
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For example, if Z=.002 ohms, Burden=5*5*.002=.05 VA

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Griphine Mulopa March 23, 2019 at 1:57 pm #

Should the burden of the CTs be equal to the burden of the measuring being used (e.g digital
energy meter).


Neil Wuebker March 26, 2019 at 9:30 pm #

The burden of the CT is the resistive load used to create the voltage on the
output. It varies with turns ratio, desired output and current rating of the


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