Jan
07

The Seven Types of Power Problems

Many of the mysteries of equipment failure, down-time, software and data corruption, are the result of a problematic supply of power. There is also a common problem with describing power problems in a standard way. This white paper describes the most common types of power disturbances, what can cause them, what they can do to your critical equipment, and how to safeguard your equipment, using the IEEE standards for describing power quality problems.

Our technological world has become deeply dependent upon the continuous availability of electrical power. In most countries, commercial power is made available via nationwide grids, interconnecting numerous generating stations to the loads. The grid must supply basic national needs of residential, lighting, heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and transportation as well as critical supply to governmental, industrial, financial, commercial, medical and communications communities. Commercial power literally enables today's modern world to function at its busy pace. Sophisticated technology has reached deeply into our homes and careers, and with the advent of e-commerce is continually changing the way we interact with the rest of the world.

Many power problems originate in the commercial power grid, which, with its thousands of miles of transmission lines, is subject to weather conditions such as hurricanes, lightning storms, snow, ice, and flooding along with equipment failure, traffic accidents and major switching operations. Also, power problems affecting today's technological equipment are often generated locally within a facility from any number of situations, such as local construction, heavy startup loads, faulty distribution components, and even typical background electrical noise.

Widespread use of electronics in everything from home electronics to the control of massive and costly industrial processes has raised the awareness of power quality. Power quality, or more specifically, a power quality disturbance, is generally defined as any change in power (voltage, current, or frequency) that interferes with the normal operation of electrical equipment.

The study of power quality, and ways to control it, is a concern for electric utilities, large industrial companies, businesses, and even home users. The study has intensified as equipment has become increasingly sensitive to even minute changes in the power supply voltage, current, and frequency. Unfortunately, different terminology has been used to describe many of the existing power disturbances, which creates confusion and makes it more difficult to effectively discuss, study, and make changes to today's power quality problems. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has attempted to address this problem by developing a standard that includes definitions of power disturbances. The standard (IEEE Standard 1159-1995, "IEEE Recommended Practice for Monitoring Electrical Power Quality") describes many power quality problems, of which this paper will discuss the most common.

​Seven Types of Power Problems Summarized

For more information on this topic, please download White Paper 18, The Seven Types of Power Problems.

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See the original full article at: https://www.apc.com/us/en/support/resources-tools/white-papers/the-seven-types-of-power-problems.jsp

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Dec
31

We can all do more to advance NEC 210.8

Our industry has made numerous technological advances designed to protect homeowners, businesses and electrical workers. That makes every fatal electrocution in the home all the more distressing. Between 2010 and 2013, the U.S. saw an estimated average of 48 electrocution fatalities associated with consumer products per year, with large and small electric appliances chief among them1. Tragedies like these can be avoided, especially when the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) technologies needed to prevent dangerous events are readily available.

As the principle NEMA representative at the National Electrical Code (NEC) Code-Making Panel Two, I saw public input asking for increased GFCI protection for the home during the 2017 code cycle. The code panel expanded the GFCI requirement for facilities other than dwelling units as part of section NEC 210.8(B). However, residential standards improvements were sidelined.


GFCI challenges and misconceptions

The rationale behind forgoing residential standards improvements was cost and convenience. One could argue, for example, that if GFCI requirements in a kitchen were to expand beyond sink and water areas and be specified for an appliance like a refrigerator, a potential nuisance trip could result in mass amounts of spoiled food. This inconvenience translates into real dollars for homeowners. Another barrier to code change is cost impacts for builders as increasing the number of GFCIs in a home raises electrical infrastructure expenses that must then be passed on to homebuyers.

As both an industry expert and a homeowner, I completely understand code update consequences. The change could likely put builders in an uncomfortable position of explaining why their costs have gone up seemingly overnight. Speaking as a VP of sales, justifying a price increase is always a challenge, and I take great pains to make sure my customers understand how the technology is worth the investment and can result in safer environments. The reality is that a residential requirement won't put much of a financial burden on contractors and homeowners. For instance, expanding GFCI requirements throughout a home in the $200k price range would increase the cost of a 30-year mortgage by mere pennies a month. By highlighting the features and benefits of GFCIs, homeowners are more likely to accept minimally higher costs to protect their loved ones.

Nuisance tripping is a valid concern from a convenience perspective. For the most part, however, the greater majority of unwarranted trips are behind us. When GFCIs first hit the market in the early 1970's, appliances inherently had leakage currents that flowed over the equipment grounding conductors, causing false trips. The development of appliances and their standards have come a long way as standards now place a cap on how much leakage current any single appliance is permitted to have. It would be bullish to say homeowners will never experience a false trip with a GFCI, especially if there's an un-listed product that generates nuisance currents on the circuit. But when we compare the small number of nuisance trips against markedly increased safety, there's simply no way to justify leaving the residential code as is.


Installing more residential GFCIs can help the industry

I understand how the wheels of progress spin; affecting change takes time. While I'm hopeful we can collectively approve GFCI changes for the whole home, realistically I'd be pleased with any positive strides. Something as simple as including 30-amp GFCI receptacles on clothes dryer circuits, for instance, would greatly enhance safety since dryers are often within proximity of a water source. If we demonstrate to homeowners how installing the additional GFCI on this circuit makes for a safer home, the hope is the industry will acclimate to slight cost increases and, over time, routinely install GFCIs throughout entire households.

The challenge ahead of us is to generate more dialogue during the 2020 code-review cycle, and we need new data to spawn conversation. Collecting data starts with one small step, one change in the way we do business. I ask that we as an industry consider going above and beyond NEC 210.8 guidelines and install additional GFCI protection in homes to increase safety and acquire the information needed to make change possible. 


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See the original full article at: http://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/for-safetys-sake-blog/advance-nec.html

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395 Hits
Dec
17

9 ways beer and UPSs are alike

Here is a little fun before the holidays, by Eaton: 

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See the original full article at: https://switchon.eaton.com/plug/journey/business-continuity/infographic/9-ways-beer-and-UPSs-are-alike-infographic

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427 Hits
Dec
03

For safety's sake: It's time for honest conversations about overcurrent protection

We're all human and we all make mistakes. But mistakes in the electrical field can prove costly. Codes and standards work together to reduce mistakes and save lives, which is what makes NEC (National Electrical Code) Section 240.87, Incident Energy Reduction, so significant. It was introduced to the NEC in 2011 as the first requirement focused on incident energy reduction since Ground Fault Protection of Equipment (GFPE) entered the NEC in 1971. Section 240.87 provides electricians and maintenance workers the overcurrent protective device technologies necessary to reduce distribution system energy. This mitigates damage to electrical equipment and, more importantly, reduces loss of life and injury from arc flash events.

Learn more about these topics by clicking the button below:

          • Why NEC Section 240.87 matters
          • Taking steps forward: perks and pitfalls
          • Striking the balance between safety and sales

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See the original full article at: https://eb.informabi.com/utility-operations-outage-planning-performance?partnerref=UM_UAI_DTNDec18WP_001

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496 Hits
Nov
26

The costs and causes of downtime...

The U.S. experiences more power outages than any other developed nation. And when the grid goes down, companies like yours suffer; every minute of downtime results in thousands of dollars lost in productivity. But what causes downtime? The truth is unforeseen mishaps and grid maintenance issues are often to blame. See how much downtime costs U.S. businesses and learn about all the crazy reasons the power suddenly goes out. What you discover may surprise you! 

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See the original full article at: https://switchon.eaton.com/plug/journey/business-continuity/infographic/costs-and-causes-of-downtime-infographic

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  486 Hits
486 Hits