Power quality issues affect the bottom line in many ways, but what most people don’t realize is that they can be understood and controlled. Energy intelligence is a broad term ESP/SurgeX uses to illustrate the importance of monitoring, managing, and solving power-related problems that occur on a daily basis. The term also includes the integration of premium surge protection and the tools needed to understand and avoid energy waste. So is this just a trend, or is it something all business owners and integrators could benefit from? Let’s explore.
Power disturbances occur often and cause equipment disruption, downtime, and failure. In many instances, we never even know when a surge, transient, or sag is occurring until it’s too late and an AV system has either shut down or incremental damage has occurred. Contrary to what most people think, surges and other power anomalies most commonly originate from within a building due to HVAC units, high-powered equipment, and other electronics constantly cycling on/off.
So what are the best options for integrating energy intelligence solutions into AV installations? For one, it’s important to look for non-sacrificial surge protection that doesn’t rely solely on MOV technology for protection. These products will deteriorate every time they’re hit by a surge, letting more and more damaging surge energy hit connected equipment over time, and ultimately causing disruption and downtime. Advanced Series Mode technology is a smarter and more robust form of premium power protection that doesn’t use MOVs and never deteriorates even after multiple high-voltage surges.
Understanding energy diagnostics is the next most important step towards achieving true energy intelligence. Energy diagnostics solutions measure and record power, providing data in detailed, time-stamped reports that can be used to understand when power issues occur and ultimately prevent them from disrupting or damaging equipment. We use a term for this called “predictive maintenance,” which essentially means putting technology in place that discovers power issues before they become major problems. It also allows you to understand when and where issues are occurring, and how to make corrections to be more efficient.
As a cautionary tale, we recently had a customer who burned through six flatpanel displays in less than two months because a wiring fault was sending a constant abnormal voltage through the ground. It wasn’t detected until we connected it to one of our diagnostic devices, at which point, it only took five minutes and a simple $7 hardware fix to eliminate the problem.
After power protection and energy diagnostics, remote monitoring and management is the final key to unlocking your full energy intelligence potential. The ability to identify when conditions are hazardous and measure important data such as neutral to ground voltage, crest factor, power factor, and line frequency metrics, and the ability to reboot/recycle power from anywhere, are important functions that contribute to improved system health.
There’s really no downside to including surge protection and energy diagnostics equipment in every install. The margins are great and you are proactively preventing the need to roll a truck should a power quality issue affect AV or digital signage gear. Plus, the customer benefits from better equipment performance, reduced downtime, longer product lifespan and a deeper understanding of power-related data.
All businesses rely on power to some degree, but it’s especially important for those with sensitive AV and digital signage equipment because reliable performance is critical to the bottom line. Fortunately, with the power protection and energy diagnostics tools available today, it’s easier than ever to safeguard valuable electronics and raise your energy intelligence.
Dave Perrotta is the VP of operations and engineering for Electronic Systems Protection Inc. (ESP/SurgeX) and has engineered patented power-protection diagnostics and energy management solutions for the imaging industry for more than 10 years. Perrotta has an extensive background in operations and engineering management, has a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Worchester Polytechnic Institute, a master’s in business administration from Baker College, is an active IEEE member, and is SPHR certified. ESP/SurgeX offers a complete line of AC power solutions for surge protection, power conditioning, diagnostic analysis, and remote control of sensitive electrical and electronic equipment. Backed with 37 patents/patents pending, ESP/SurgeX products are engineered to safeguard against power anomalies that can “confuse” the circuitry in digital equipment and cause both equipment degradation and downtime. ESP/SurgeX products are manufactured in Knightdale, N.C. Visit www.surgex.com or www.espei.com for further company and product information.