External transients are considered Impulse type surges. These events can be very severe and can be instantaneously damaging.
These type of surges originate outside a given facility or residence. External surge activity accounts for about 20% of transient voltage related electronic and electrical damage.
Surges typically come in on unprotected power, data, telephone or metal conduit lines of commercial facilities, business's and homes.
External surge events can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of volts and amperes in the form of grid switches and system faults. They can reach hundreds of thousands of volts and amperes + in the form of lightning strikes.
The Big 3 represent the largest, most powerful External Surge events a facility, business, home or other structure may encounter:
2) Utility Grid Switching
Utility grid switching is a major power quality issue that can cause powerful external transients.
Power generating utilities break the distribution of power into grids.
The electric companies distribute power to each grid in a steady stream at all possible times, regardless of fluctuations in demand.
Unfortunately, this can cause problems for customers.
Each customer's power needs are constantly changing, thus constantly changing the overall grid needs.
Instead of adjusting the power generating equipment output for each changing power demand situation, the electric companies adjust by switching the supply of power from one grid to another grid.
When the grid supply is switched, very large surges are created. These surges can reach as high as 25,000 Volts.
3) Power System Faults
Power System Faults are essentially a sudden disruption in a normal electrical system or grid caused by a short or open circuit.
Shorts or open circuits can occur in power distribution equipment like transformers, transmission lines and generators. These faults can be very destructive.
Typical causes of power system faults:
The resulting voltage surges from system faults can be in the tens of thousands of volts and amperes. At these excessive levels, unprotected electronics and electrical equipment are at risk for serious damage.
If a commercial facility, business or residence experience an external surge event, damage can vary from severe to catastrophic. Thankfully, external transient damage can be mitigated with the proper application of surge protective devices (SPDs).
However, they need to be the Right SPD placed in the Right Location to deliver the Right Results.
SPDs are NOT created equal. Not all SPDs perform to the same level.
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