Understanding Power Solutions Nationwide
Electrical problems are more than mere annoyances. They can quickly interrupt the flow of data, cripple business operations or place your infrastructure at risk. In order to choose the right power solutions to protect your business, you should first understand the basics of electrical problems themselves. Below are some of the most common power supply problems:
- Power Surge: Voltage is 110% above normal
- High-Voltage Spikes: There is a sudden, rapid voltage peak of up to 6,000 volts
- Switching Transients: A rapid voltage peak of up to 20,000 volts with an extremely short duration — between 10 and 100 microseconds
- Power Sags: Voltage is 80–85% below normal for a short period
- Electrical Line Noise: Either Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) or Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), both of which cause undesirable effects in the circuits of computer systems
- Frequency Variation: A change in frequency from the normally stable utility frequency of 50Hz or 60Hz, depending on the geographic location
- Brownout: A steady lower voltage state
- Power Failure/Blackout: A zero-voltage condition that lasts for more than two cycles
National Power and Eaton have created a useful brochure that graphically illustrates which power problems are resolved by specific UPS solutions. Download the Nine Common Power Problems Factsheet to learn more now.
What is an automatic standby generator?
An automatic standby generator is a backup electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside, just like a central air conditioning unit.
Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?
During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator. With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning — which is a much greater risk with portable generators. Plus, an automatic standby generator runs on the home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply instead of gasoline, so it is less expensive to operate and does not need to be refilled. These generators start automatically within seconds of a power outage and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home. They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.
Do they have to be maintained?
Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and many Generac dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) FAQ
What is a UPS?
An Uninterruptible Power Supply is equipment that sits between a conventional power supply (such as a wall outlet) and an electronic device (such as a computer) to maintain continuous power to the device and prevent undesired electrical problems (outages, sags, surges, etc.) from adversely affecting it.
How can a UPS help me?
A UPS has internal batteries to guarantee that continuous power is provided to electronic devices even when the power source stops providing power. Even if the outage is longer than the battery life of the UPS, this extra time provides the opportunity to execute an orderly shutdown of all connected devices.
What are common UPS uses?
A UPS traditionally can absorb relatively small power surges, smooth out noisy power sources, continue to provide power to equipment during line sags and provide power for some time after a blackout has occurred.
What are the benefits of UPS software?
Some UPS or UPS/software combinations can automatically shut down equipment during long power outages, monitor and log the status of the power supply, display the Voltage/Current draw of the equipment, restart equipment after a long power outage, display the voltage currently on the line, provide alarms on certain error conditions, and provide short circuit protection.
How does a battery work?
A battery is created by alternating two different metals — a positive plate and a negative plate — and immersing them in an electrolyte. The chemical action between the metals and the electrolyte (battery acid) creates electrical energy. Energy flows from the battery as soon as there is an electrical load — such as a starter motor — that completes a circuit between the positive plate and the negative plate.
How should batteries be stored?
Batteries should be stored indoors, preferably in a cool (60F to 85F), dry location, and placed in service before the date stamped on the shipping carton. Exercise caution when operating or storing batteries at low temperatures because of the possibility of electrolyte freezing.
Surge Protection FAQ
How does a surge protector work?
A power surge, or transient voltage, is an increase in voltage significantly above the designated level in a flow of electricity. In normal household and office wiring in the US, the standard voltage is 120 volts. If the voltage from the outlet surges or spikes — that is, rises above the accepted level — the surge protector diverts the extra electricity into the outlet’s grounding wire.
I’m not in a high lightning-strike area — why should I worry about power protection?
Even if you think a direct lightning strike is unlikely, don’t rule out the need for power protection. There are other types of damaging surges that have nothing to do with lightning, like the voltage spikes that can occur when the power is restored after any type of outage. Even the less catastrophic and more common types of power anomalies, including overvoltage and undervoltage, can cause damage over time. And without the help of a power protection component with line conditioning, electromagnetic and radio frequency interference can hinder your system’s performance.
Can I plug one surge protector into another to expand the number of outlets?
Possibly, though since some power protection components offer up to 12 AC outlets, “daisy chaining” multiple units together shouldn’t be necessary. When daisy chaining, it’s possible to add too great a current demand on the first power protection component, exceeding the load it was designed to carry. If that happens, the unit may go into “protect” mode, not allowing any power to pass through to your components. We recommend selecting a model that will accommodate all of your components in any given location.
National Power believes in educating our customers about solutions to common electrical problems found nationwide.