Reducing the risk of damage to sensitive electronic equipment and loss of data

Power Fluctuations

Background

Voltage fluctuations and impulses are present at most points on the electricity supply system.

They originate from a number of sources including:

The Risks

Sensitive electronic equipment connected to the electricity supply such as computers, telephone systems and faxes can be damaged by voltage fluctuations or impulses. Manufacturers sometimes include a measure of protection but the degree of protection is seldom specified. In addition, data corruption or loss can result from interruptions to the electricity supply or other events occurring on the system.

Reducing the Risks

There are a number of ways to reduce the risks highlighted above. The equipment owner or supplier needs to evaluate the degree and type of protection required against the features of the options available and the costs. The following paragraphs provide an overview of the broad categories of protection devices without considering the specifications of each individual example of equipment from the various manufacturers.

Spike Protectors

Power Conditioner

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Costs

Protection equipment is available from equipment suppliers, electrical wholesalers, etc.

The following is an indication of prices of typical items available, but please remember that conditioners and UPS's must be sized for the rating of the equipment being protected.

Spike busters / Surge protectors: Spike protection only: e.g. PDL "power surge protector" 4 way plug board spike protection and filtering: e.g. HPM Power Protector.

Power conditioners: Approximately $300 for a unit to suit a single PC.

UPS - switched protection: Approximately $220 for a 250 VA model to suit a single PC. Larger units are available.

UPS - "no-break" protection: Approximately $2000 for a 1000VA unit.


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