Transient voltage is probably the most destructive, costly and common power quality issue today. This ever present dilemma costs companies and homeowners billions of dollars every year in equipment damage, system downtime and lost production.
However, transient voltage activity largely remains misdiagnosed and misunderstood by many.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 1100-1999 2.2.83 Defines a transient as the following:
“A subcycle disturbance in the ac waveform that is evidenced by a sharp, brief discontinuity of the waveform.”
A less technical definition:
Brief but powerful over-voltages and over-currents on an electrical circuit.
Power Surge, Voltage Spike or Electrical Impulse.
Transient voltage is a result of either an external or an internal source. Depending on the origination, these surges can pack a real bang in a single shot, or be smaller, stealthy, much more frequent and just as damaging over time.
External Transients can be very powerful surges. These surge types are responsible for about 20% of power quality related electrical and electronics damages.
Very large and intense surges can strike without notice in the form of:
Other damaging external transients can be generated by the activities of nearby industrial or commercial facilities which in turn can affect their neighbors incoming power quality.
Internal Transients are responsible for about 80% of electrical and electronic equipment damage. These surges are the result of normal everyday equipment operations. Surge causing equipment includes but is not limited to:
...and even your own custom HTPC build.
Although smaller in intensity, these surges can occur hundreds of thousands to millions of times a day. These repetitive surges are damaging and have been recorded reaching levels of 6000+ volts!
Most are familiar with large external surges and the immediate damage they cause. These events are usually instantaneously damaging and their effects are noticeable right away.
However, what many overlook are the serious damages the less noticeable and less intense internal surges are causing day after day.
Initially, internal surge damage is rarely noticed because these events are typically not catastrophic. The damage is cumulative. Symptoms include flickering, system glitches and the need for reboots.
The cumulative damage isn't fully realized until the equipment is upset or fails. Premature failure is common. Failures are often misdiagnosed and written off as the cost of doing business.
These unnecessary costs of doing business are avoidable.
NEMA (National Electronics Manufacturers Association) conducted an industry survey regarding surge activity and related damage. The survey's costly results are provided in the video below. Must See!
Mitigate costs with the proper application of surge protective devices (SPDs). However, they need to be the Right SPD installed in the Right Location to deliver the Right Results.
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