Don't Get Burnout from Brownouts

BrownoutsAs some cities record their hottest temperatures ever and the nation grapples with aging infrastructure, the frequency of brownouts is occurring at a rapid pace. The fallout from such brownouts can be as minimal as dimming lightbulbs or as extreme as loss of refrigeration for life-saving medication. But what can be done to prevent the worst? And why does it matter now? What even is a brownout? We’re here to answer these questions and more.

What is a Brownout?

An electrical brownout occurs when a facility’s power system experiences an intentional or unintentional drop in voltage. In an intentional brownout, the utility controlling the power output reduces the flow of electricity in order to prevent a wider blackout. Unintentional brownouts are less common, but can occur as a result of damage or malfunction within the power gird. During a brownout, electricity is still flowing, albeit at lower voltage levels than usual, unlike a blackout wherein there is a complete loss of electricity. You can typically spot a brownout - and the term’s namesake - when you see lights dim due to the drop in voltage.

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Why You Should get PoE and Surge Protection from a Single Source

Single Source SupplierPower over Ethernet (PoE) is a revolutionary technology powering critical technology that keeps people and buildings safe. Over the last few years, PoE has become the go-to-choice for a host of networked devices, including IP security cameras, IP phones, and wireless access points. What makes it so popular is its ability to provide both data and DC power to devices through a single Ethernet cable.
The "plug-and-play" nature of PoE makes installation of remote equipment easy because it does not require any additional power cabling. This enables installers to place equipment in remote locations, away from any service panel or other power source.

Power surges can harm PoE systems

However, PoE devices are just as vulnerable to the effects of power surges as any other type of electrical equipment. With PoE so commonplace, plenty of vendors can provide equipment necessary to install PoE-based networks. However, how many of them are experts in surge protection? Here's why that's important.

While it's common knowledge that lighting strikes can cause a momentary—but dangerous— surge in voltage, weather is only responsible for a small percentage of actual surge events. Most are the result of technology, including fluctuations in local electrical grids or powerful motors found in HVAC equipment or heavy machinery cycling on or off inside a building.

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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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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, healthcare facilities or governmental agencies. 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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Protecting the Systems that Protect Our Schools

2019 07 Protecting Schools sm

One of the largest K-12 school districts in the Southeast USA recently spent more than two million dollars repairing and replacing fire alarm systems that were damaged or destroyed by transient power surges. A very tiny fraction of that cost, properly invested in surge protection devices, would likely have prevented this situation.

There is no doubt that the recent focus on improving safety and security in schools is a good thing – our children need, and deserve, a safe place to focus on their learning and personal development. School districts are investing significant resources in security, access control, and fire protection systems with that goal in mind. However, neglecting to include proper surge protection, either by a lack of understanding, or by cutting a small corner, can lead to costly system damage and downtime. Make sure that all electronic system installations are complete by protecting the systems that protect our schools!

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