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Keep it down!

The technology behind one of the most critical but neglected power chain devices. By Mick Burgoyne.

Although the last decade has seen an improvement in the reliability of the mains power supply - at least as far as the incidence of outages is concerned - we are now experiencing a greater number of transient voltage surges than ever before, with consequent damage to all manner of equipment.
It is important to distinguish between internally and externally generated voltage surges, because they will frequently have differing effects on electrical equipment. It may seem surprising, but the majority of transient voltage surges are actually generated by an organisation's own equipment.
Research indicates that up to 80% of voltage surges come from internal sources such as motors, fluorescent lights, photocopies and other switching devices. The remaining 20% of transients, generated externally, tend to receive more attention however, because they are more dramatic. But because modern mains powered electronic equipment is highly susceptible to sudden voltage variations, voltage surge suppression is an essential part of any organisation's power protection regime.
Internally generated transients will normally be of a lower peak voltage, rarely causing immediate equipment failure. However, the cumulative damage could lead to premature failure over a period of time. This, in turn, will result in data loss and corruption, with consequent downtime and increased costs.

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Vanessa Knivett

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