Second in a three-part series.

In our first blog, we demonstrated how unexpected blackouts and everyday sags and surges can wreak havoc with sensitive equipment and critical data, resulting in the 3 D’s: degradation, disruption and destruction.

In this second installment, we will share three equally dangerous threats that are also among the nine most prevalent power issues identified by IEEE: under-voltage, over-voltage and line noise. Spoiler alert: your existing uninterruptible power system (UPS) may not be providing adequate protection!

Under-voltage — Also termed a brownout, this voltage drop typically lasts from a few minutes to a few hours and is usually caused by overdemand or intentional “throttling” of electricity during peak demand. It can ruin electronic devices.

Over-voltage — This momentary voltage increase is generally caused by the starting or stopping of heavy loads, poorly dimensioned power sources and poorly regulated transformers. Data loss, flickering of screens and equipment damage are among the most common consequences.

Line Noise —Either induced or conducted into the electrical conductor, these high-frequency events can be continuous or sporadic. Such disturbances result from lightning, close physical proximity to motors or other devices with electrical windings, and even static discharge associated with dry air. Damage to sensitive electronic equipment, loss of sample results in medical envrionments, data loss and data processing errors are common effects.

Often, this trio of power anomalies are not mutually exclusive; in many instances, common mode (neutral to ground) line noise is actually a byproduct of under- and over-voltages. Thankfully, there is a simple solution to ensure that your critical equipment is properly safeguarded.

A common misconception is that a line-interactive or online UPS will always provide protection against normal and common mode line noise, yet in reality, many units pass the ground directly through. To avoid this, it is imperative that your UPS includes an isolation transformer and power conditioning.

In recent years, the isolation transformer has been eliminated from many online UPS designs, resulting in advantages such as higher efficiency and economic savings. However, this new design also creates a distinct operational shortcoming: the loss of normal and common mode noise immunity for the system. To safeguard equipment, it is necessary that your power protection solution include proper power conditioning, which consists of three components: an isolation transformer with a neutral-to-ground bond, surge diversion and a power line filter. These three elements, properly designed, will attenuate high frequency noise and keep your systems safe.

There are two options to achieve sufficient power conditioning. First, some UPSs combine all of the vital elements into a single unit; keep in mind, the UPS must be either line-interactive or online topology and include true sine wave output. However, if you have an existing UPS with a true sine wave inverter design that does not incorporate the necessary level of power conditioning, simply add a separate power conditioner to the unit.

Our goal at IPS is to help you ensure that all of your sensitive electronic equipment and medical instrumentation is shielded against damaging power problems and able to deliver 100 percent continuous up-time — and we’re not done yet! In our next blog, we will cover the final three power anomalies lurking in the electric supply: frequency variations, switching transients and harmonic distortion.

For more information, contact us.


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