Transient voltage is probably the most destructive, costly and common power quality issue today. Voltage transients cost companies and homeowners billions of dollars every year in equipment damage, system downtime and lost production.
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 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 people are familiar with the large external surges and the immediate damage they can cause. This is because these large events are usually instantaneous and the damage is noticeable right away.
However, what many business's, industries and homeowners overlook is the serious damage the less noticeable and less intense internal surges are causing day after day.
Internal surge damage is rarely noticed because these events are typically not instantaneously damaging nor is the damage usually instantaneously visual.
The cumulative damage isn't noticed until the equipment or system is upset or fails. When the equipment fails, it’s usually premature failure. These premature failures are typically written off as the "cost of doing business."
The unnecessary "costs of doing business" can be mitigated with the application of proper surge protective devices (SPDs).
NEMA (National Electronics Manufacturers Association) recently conducted a survey regarding surge activity and damage. The costly results of the survey are provided in the video below. Must See!
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