Ditek Blog

Electrical Product Safety Testing: A Mutual Trust

Electrical Product TestingElectrical product safety is one workplace compliance standard any organization, systems integrator or project manager takes seriously. Research statistics we see from IEEE and NFPA demonstrate just how dangerous electricity can be if work safety and health concerns are not enforced. The business impact resulting from careless electrical accident prevention ultimately causes downtime and costs both lives and revenue.

To help organizations understand and have the capacity to implement their own electrical safety protocols, The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that 38 different types of products, devices, assemblies, or systems used in the workplace be tested and certified by third-party organizations identified as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs). Since its establishment in 1970, OSHA’s goal has been to create safe workplaces.

 

 

 

 

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Fire Protection and Prevention Innovations

Fire Alarm PanelFire safety technology has certainly evolved over the last 125 years since the first automatic fire alarm system was patented and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was launched. While innovation in the fire industry can be slow and sometimes plodding, it seems that external forces more than technology advancement has driven the development of new solutions and products. With the spiderweb of varying state fire codes and regulations, evolving infrastructures and construction mandates featuring a growing emphasis on LEED compliant and green building certification programs, innovative fire protection technology has had to adapt to the growing complexities of the world.

Innovative Smart Technologies Emerge

As “smart” technologies expand across the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, advanced smart devices are transforming the way security and fire safety professionals approach building design and fire suppression and prevention methods. Smart devices transcend the abilities of simple connected devices, which simply share data directly with other devices on the network. The smart devices take connectivity well beyond enabling them to run myriad sensors, microprocessors, APIs, software and storage options across an embedded operating system.

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What Causes Lightning: Distinguishing Facts from Myths

Lighting StikesThe properties and effects that characterize a lightning strike are truly remarkable. Lightning begins as a high-intensity electric impulse that initially grows in a gaseous environment while forming in the atmosphere and then evolves into a solid, more or less conductive medium when it strikes the ground. However, the fireworks that take place during this celestial trip from heaven to earth can be simultaneously wonderous and devastating. The visual effects of the lightning flash followed by the shockwave of thunder and the sheer thermal dynamics of the heat generated by the event also create residual electrodynamic and electrochemical side-effects that can disrupt power, create electrical surges in office and industrial devices and interrupt network communications.

A lightning strike is perhaps one of the most feared and yet wonderous natural occurrences. When you figure that a person’s odds of being struck by a lightning bolt are a minuscule one in 12,000, yet astraphobia is the third most common phobia in America, behind acrophobia (fear of heights) and zoophobia (fear of animals), it proves most people respect its savage potential. However, climate scientists are wary that with the earths rapid weather changes, the chances of being a lightning-strike victim could increase to one in 8,000 by the year 2100.

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Protecting LED Lighting from Power Outages

Surge Protection for LED Lighting

One of the most notorious public venue lighting failures occurred at the 2013 Super Bowl. A partial power outage in the New Orleans Superdome literally turned off the lights during the nighttime game, stopping play for 34 minutes. Fans were confused, the network broadcast was disrupted, and social media buzzed with conjecture. It was discovered several days later that a newly installed relay had tripped, resulting in the power outage, during which only emergency lighting functioned.

The incident created the potential for significant negative consequences. There could have been unrest or even violence between fans in the stands. Attendees, staff, vendors or team members could have been injured due to the dark conditions. Any of these incidents could have created huge potential legal liabilities for the City and the Stadium Commission.

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Differences in UPS Topology

UPS TopologyThe importance of implementing a UPS system to protect network, data information and video assets from power issues cannot be understated. Even short power outages can pose huge issues for organizations, with as little as a quarter-second incident shutting down network equipment for minutes to hours. That can cost a business big money. Some experts believe the U.S. economy loses between $200 billion and $570 billion a year due to power outages and other electrical disturbances.

So, what is a UPS and why is it a crucial element in your power landscape? The bottom line is simple; it provides backup power when utility power shuts down, and saves critical equipment and systems from losing data until generators come online, or power is restored. The UPS will also condition incoming power to help quell common sags and power surges that may damage systems.

However, there are varied options for users, and matching the power solution to the correct application may prove confusing. But an understanding of the different technology definitions and their applications can help both user and integrator make an informed decision. 

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It's Connected, But Is It Protected?

Network ConnectionsOpinions about the products offered in retail establish two of the most exciting trends in the Security industry today are: the growing integration of multiple systems to create greater awareness and value, and the quickly increasing range of connected devices that provide inputs to those systems. These developments represent a huge change in the accuracy and capabilities of our systems, and are supported by a wide range of technologies including wireless networking, new and improved smaller sensors of all kinds, the evolution of software analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

While we welcome all of these great new capabilities and the benefits they provide, we should also remember that they all rely upon sensitive electronic circuits. Thus, as we increase our dependence on these systems, we also need to implement backups and protection to help ensure that they are working when they are needed most. The trend for increased networking and connectivity must also bring about a trend for increased power and network protection.

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Surge Protection - Is it Better to Rent, or Buy?

Rent or Buy Surge ProtectionOrganizations of all types – including businesses, schools, government agencies, and non-profits depend on electronic systems such as fire alarms, security systems, and communication and data information networks. Management knows that if any of these systems are damaged or inoperable for any reason, normal operation instantly becomes more difficult, and in some cases, it may mean shutting down entirely.

Because of this importance, savvy managers look for ways to protect these systems and to decrease the potential for operational disruptions. One potential source of damage to electronic systems is, of course, electrical surges and spikes. Electrical surge events are generated from outside the facility, due to electrical grid switching, lightning activity, and the actions of nearby neighbors such as welding, among other sources. They can also be created internally by inductive loads such as motors in machinery, pumps, and HVAC equipment. Whether they are created externally or internally, electrical surges are much more common than most people believe, and most of these events pass by each day unnoticed by management and staff.

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Five Basics for Protecting Electronic Networks from Power Surges

2020 06 Networking 320Fire, security, communication, and data information networks are all essential to the operation of modern organizations, whether they are businesses, schools, governmental agencies, or non-profits. If these networks are damaged or inoperable for any reason, normal operation instantly becomes more difficult, and at least in the case of an inoperable fire alarm system, operation may even become impossible.

Because of this importance, managers often take action to provide some protection from typical network vulnerabilities. For example, IT departments often protect the information network with sophisticated software to detect ransomware, data breaches and other hack attacks. However, for all network types, perhaps the most dangerous threat is electrical surges and spikes and the damage they can cause.

Here are five basic concepts for protecting electronic networks from the damaging effects of electrical surges and spikes:

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The Importance of Clean AC Power for Sensitive Electronics

High-Fidelity Theater RoomHome theaters, office equipment and high-fidelity audio systems deserve extra attention to help protect them from unwanted electrical surges and spikes, and to provide them with the cleanest and purest possible electrical power.

The Clean Power Challenge

Both premium residences and all manner of commercial facilities are subjected to the same daily onslaught of power disturbances. These disturbances can come from a wide variety of external sources, including lightning strikes, utility grid switching, and nearby activities such as welding. Internal sources of disturbances can also be just as damaging. Sensitive electronic systems are subject to the cumulative effects of these disturbances that normally pass by unnoticed by building occupants. 

Another supplied power concern arises from the presence of higher frequency noise carried by power wiring and transmitted into the power input area of sensitive electronics. These higher frequencies are referred to as EMI, or Electro-Magnetic Interference, or alternatively as RFI, or Radio Frequency Interference. EMI/RFI can also come from many sources, including switched mode power supplies common in lower-cost electronic devices, and can be transmitted through the power lines to reach other, more sensitive devices.

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Differences Between Residential and Industrial Surge Protection

Industrial FacilityElectrical surge protection in an industrial setting has significant differences from residential, retail, and typical office settings – it is quite literally “no place like home.”

To begin with, the electrical service is different than it would be at home. Residential and non-industrial settings most often make use of single-phase power service at 120 or 240 volts. Electric service in commercial buildings is usually 120/208 volt three-phase power; in larger facilities service may go up to 277/480 volts. In contrast, industrial sectors like critical infrastructure, gas and oil facilities, factories, chemical plants, food processing plants and mining operations have much larger power requirements. In these settings, three-phase power with nominal service voltages of 240, 480 and 600.

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