So, let’s play a little game…Name a common power problem. Blackouts. Okay, easy enough.
Now, what is a blackout? A complete loss of power. Easy again.
Lightning Round (no pun intended): what damage can a blackout case? …no power? Isn’t that it?
Not quite…power problems vary significantly and can range from being an annoyance to downright detrimental to systems and equipment. In this Newbie’s Nook, I’ll talk about the 5 major types of power problems and how they can mean more than just the lights going out for a while.
Standing as probably the most obvious, a blackout is a complete loss of power. It can be caused by downed power lines, open circuit breakers, power plant failures, weather, etc. Blackouts can result in complete data loss, equipment overheating, and even hardware damage! While this is one of the more severe types of problems, it’s certainly not the most common. Blackouts only account for about 5% of power problems.
A sag or a surge is simply a short duration change in voltage levels. Thus, a sag (or surge) in power is a period of time in which the voltage was at a lower (or higher) than normal level. This phenomena can be caused by the start-up of electric motors, transformers, air conditioners, etc. Although sags and surges don’t last for very long they can lead to data errors, equipment overheating, and premature equipment failures.
Brownouts, or over/under voltages, are the most common type of power problem, accounting for about 88% of all power problems. Similar to a sag/surge, a brownout is a increase or decrease in voltage. However, this change in voltage is more significant (20% or more variation from normal voltage) and lasts much longer than a sag or surge. Like blackouts, brownouts can cause complete data loss, equipment overheating, and hardware damage.
Spikes and transients are sharp increases in electrical energy as high as 600 volts and can last up to half a second! While half a second doesn’t seem like a big deal, in the world of power and energy, half a second can be incredibly detrimental. This power problem can be from lightning, fluorescent lighting, air conditioners, elevators, etc. Spikes/transients can cause data loss and hardware damage.
5.) Line Noise
Last but not least is line noise. Line noise is high frequency interference appearing in the AC line (the typical source of electrical current). This can be caused by static transformers, faulty light fixtures, and appliances and can result in corrupted data, peripheral lockups, semiconductor damage, and shortened equipment life spans.
For me, power problems usually mean that I don’t get to check Facebook and have to wait out the boredom by candlelight. However, for many businesses, power problems can lead to downtime, data loss, and even equipment damage. None of which a company can afford.
That’s where Minuteman comes in. Minuteman’s protection and management equipment can not only keep you up and running but can save your data and precious equipment as well. Check out more information on our website and see how Minuteman can help!
To protect against these problems, view all of our power protection products here: www.minutemanups.com/products