Protect Your Equipment from power variances:
One of the biggest expense that businesses incur today is the maintenance and replacement of their electronic network equipment. Most people take the power that comes from the wall for granted. It is not realized that this power can wreak havoc on your electronic equipment. “It’s there almost all the time”. “My equipment is designed to be plugged into the wall”. “Why do I need to invest in these expensive power conditioners; won’t an inexpensive UPS from Costco do?”
The question that you should be asking is “What are the costs of replacing my equipment and computers?” Equipment ages, breaks down and needs service or replacement on a regular basis. However, do you realize that a lot of this equipment failure over time is caused by uneven and unclean power? Electronics are very intolerant to power variations. In time the electronic componentry wears down and ages because it is either not getting enough power, or getting hit with power surges. These variances are known as “electrical noise”.
Problems with the power grid that cause wear on your electronic equipment:
- Power surges: are caused by transformers, sudden power load caused by start up of heavy machinery such as elevators, faulty grounding. After a power outage, the biggest danger to equipment is the start up of power again. This surge can be responsible for frying electronic equipment. Another obvious cause is lightening strikes.
- Power brown outs- less visible but equally damaging are brown outs. If there is a large draw from the start up of a heavy piece of equipment; or just a heavy draw on the power grid, then the current diminishes. When electronic equipment doesn’t have the full current that is needed to run it, the electronic components get damaged. This is actually just as damaging as a power surge.
- In house electrical equipment: On a day to day basis, much more electrical noise is created right in your own building by noisy electrical loads. Copiers, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, coffee makers, power tools, vending machines, all throw noise back into the electrical system when used. Disk drives and printers use motors that often require large start up current that can cause transient power noise.
- Complexity of chips: Semi conductor chips are more vulnerable to noise than ever. Each generation has more transistors packed into a smaller space. As transistors get smaller, the amount of electrical over stress they can tolerate gets lower. New semiconductors can now be disrupted by as little as 1/2V of electrical noise. Over 10 V of electrical noise starts to destroy them.
Surge protectors: these actually provide a false sense of security. Surge suppressors do not operate until their clamp voltage is exceeded (approximetly 250V on a 120V system). Voltage disturbances lower than that can pass right through into the equipment. They offer no protection from disruptive high-frequency noise. Over time, a surge suppressor can fail usually leaving the user with no indication that their equipment is unprotected. Even if the “on” light is lit – that only means that the power is on, not that the surge protector is working.
UPS – again, these are only a partial solution providing you with limited protection. UPS’s can provide a back up power when the power goes down which can afford you the time necessary to properly shut off your equipment (or save whatever you’re working on your computer before you shut down). However, most common UPS are of limited life and it is all too common that it is discovered that the UPS no longer functions when the power goes out. Most UPS’s need to be tested regularly for their integrity, and too often they are not.
Completely buffer your equipment from the power grid with an isolation transformer. This will take the unclean power from the grid and power the battery of the UPS. The UPS will then feed your equipment with a steady, even power that will prolong the life of your equipment and maintain its integrity. By using isolation transformers to buffer the uneven power from the grid before it reaches your equipment, you can prolong the life of your equipment and keep your equipment running at its maximum efficiency.
What does Power conditioning do?
Four basic functions of power conditioning:
1. Reducing all electrical disturbances:
Most computerized systems have some level of noise immunity built in them. The manufacturers can’t predict how effective their conditioning is because of the wide variety of system configurations their equipment may be used. In order to be effective under all circumstances, a power conditioner must reduce the worst possible electrical noise levels to levels that are harmless to semiconductors before powering your device.
2. Providing single point reference ground:
Noise on the ground wire is either directly or capacitively coupled into the system’s logic ground. More than 1/2 V of noise here will be disruptive. It is crucial to provide a clean, single point, all- purpose reference ground. This is accomplished with a transformer -based power conditioner that safely and legally ties the line, neutral, and ground on the secondary at noise frequencies.
3. Preventing interaction between noise generating loads:
The switching power supplies used in today’s computerized systems and peripherals can create a fair amount of electric noise. This can be a problem if you have a printer plugged into a computer next to it. The situation can be exacerbated if they are plugged into older-technology conditioners such as Ferroresonant and high isolation type power conditioners. A power conditioner must have a low-impedance output that prevents disruptive interaction between noise generating loads.
4. Providing peak current on demand:
Switching power supplies that are found in today’s computerized equipment have a very high current draw during the portion of each AC cycle that they turn on. Ferroresonant and high-resolution conditioners cannot meet these peak current demands unless they are considerably oversized. Such units cost more and are less efficient, hence higher electric bills. A low-impedance conditioner will provide peak current on demand.
The investment that you make in a quality isolation transformer and UPS will ensure that you get the full life of your equipment and that you will not experience any business disruption due to equipment failure. In addition, when you do experience a power failure, you will have adequate power back up protection to calmly handle the emergency.