Power Conditioning

glowcableThe concept of power conditioning envelopes a broad range of topics in order to provide Facility Wide power protection.  As microprocessors become smaller and faster, they are more sensitive and may be damaged by repetitive low-level transients and noise caused by lightning, power grid switching, switching power supplies (found in most computers), large motor loads, and Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs).

The following is a list of significant types of quality problems that are commonly found in modern installations:

  • Extended Outages
  • Momentary Interruptions
  • Sags
  • Surges
  • Impulses and Noise
  • Harmonics
  • Poor Power Factor

Pro-EE Group incorporates a variety of techniques when solving power-quality problems depending on the potential source of the disruption(s).  The following represents some of the most common solutions we specify:

Regulating Line Filter – RLF For small electrical loads, we specify RLF units to keep equipment operational through voltage sags and minor surges.  The specification of these units depends on the equipment load requirements and is reserved for load-specific applications.

Isolating Line Filter – ILF For critical applications such as medical equipment and industrial computers and PLCs, we recommend that ILFs be used to physically isolate the equipment from the power source, while simultaneously providing noise filtering.  This type of filtering is also reserved for load-specific applications and must be carefully specified.

Grounding Systems This is the backbone of ALL good power-quality solutions, whether external conditioning methods are used or not.  The proper grounding, bonding, and earthing of electrical panelboards, wiring, conduits, and equipment is critical in solving the majority of power-quality problems.  We examine the equipment and distribution configuration of each project and determine the areas that require enhanced grounding techniques.  We can also specify panelboards to come complete with enhanced grounding systems to assist in facility-wide power quality solutions.

Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors (TVSS) Although TVSS is a well-known term in the building and electrical industry, its proper use is not.  TVSS works best when configured in a cascaded protection system.  These units can effectively cut power surges and provide integral line filtering.  By placing the correct TVSS on the main incoming power supply and in key locations throughout the distribution system, the overall transient protection can be 8-10 times higher than installing a single TVSS at the main supply alone.  We identify the equipment most susceptible to surges and specify TVSS units to counteract the adverse effects.  We also specify TVSS units for incoming data and telecommunications lines and at critical points in the communications infrastructure.

Uninterruptible Power Supply / Emergency Power Systems We specify small UPS units for desktop or single-server LAN systems as part of the cascaded protection system.  This ensures that the equipment and associated applications are not affected by short-term (30-60minute) disturbances.

Where outages, sags, surges, and noise needs to be addressed on a larger scale, we specify UPS units and/or emergency generator systems.  Please refer to the UPS section of our list of services for additional information.     Like the majority of electrical engineering design, power conditioning must be employed as a system-wide approach to be most effective.  Your client must obtain the maximum value for each dollar spent – patch-work solutions are not sufficient or cost-effective in the long term.