Some of the reasons why it is important to have a correct electrical protection are:
- The electrical grid is not 100% reliable, there are external factors (storms, floods, accidents,...) that directly impact on the supply quality.
- The electrical grid is unstable, since the electricity supply companies are not able to provide an optimal level of power quality.
Equipment failures due to inadequate grounding are generally not recognized and attributed to other causes.
Grounding connections are extremely important as a safety measure to create suitable conditions not only for the equipment, but also for its operators and maintenance personnel, and are indispensable for equipment such as network equipment, storage equipment, electronic security (alarms and video surveillance), etc.
Every day it becomes increasingly challenging to avoid data loss, image distortion, poor quality images, alarm system failures and, worst of all, loss of factory warranty in the absence of proper grounding.
All of these failures are mitigated with a proper grounding system, which will help control electromagnetic interference, electrostatic discharges or potential increase in the ground connection due to a discharge.
That is why the electrical protection of today's high-speed cabling systems is a critical part of the communications infrastructure.
What is a grounding system?
It is a safety mechanism that is part of the electrical infrastructure, which aims to direct eventual deviations of the electrical current to the ground.
What are the components of a grounding system?
Ground rods, jumpers/grounding cable, screws, nuts, clamps, connectors, antistatic bracelets, antirust product.
The steps that must be followed to implement a correct grounding are:
- Protect against electrostatic discharge.
- Bond the equipment to the rack or cabinet.
- Ensure that the rack or cabinet has electrical continuity.
- Bonding the rack or cabinet to the secondary telecommunications bus bar
- Bonding nearby conductive elements, such as ducts and steel beams, to the SBB/TGB (Secondary Bonding BusBar/Telecommunications Grounding Bar)
Common Grounding System Problems
Most common grounding problems include the following:
- Using incorrect connectors, such as "set screws" to hold the conductor, as these can loosen over time.
- Using screws or clamps that are not designed for electrical bonding can result in having "UN GROUNDED" equipment.
Power Surge & Spikes
What is Power Surge & Spikes?
Power Surge & Spikes are instantaneous events that increase the "normal" voltage of the power line and can cause severe damage to all kinds of equipment.
Power spike are a short duration (milliseconds) power disturbance of very high voltage levels (above 1000 V).
Power surge is a temporary increase in voltage, lasting longer than a spike (from several milliseconds to a few minutes) and has voltage levels of less than 500V.
Problems generated by power spikes:
These power spikes are harmful to any electronic components connected to the line where the power spike originated, causing a failure or a reduction in the useful life of the devices.
Most common failures include:
- Sudden failure without apparent cause of any of the electronic equipment.
- Loss or corruption of data.
What causes power surge or spike occurrences?
- Power outages
- Utility switching
- Inductive loads (generated by on/off switching such as air conditioners)
What are the risks from power surge/spikes?
Decrease in the useful life of the equipment, due to the degradation of its circuitry.
If the damage is greater, the equipment ceases to operate and must be replaced, incurring high and unscheduled expenses. This can result in the loss of critical information, productivity and/or the possible loss of business and customers.
Solutions to power spikes
Surge suppressors are the main solution to avoid power spikes, they are used in places containing electronic equipment.
When installing surge suppressors, a good grounding system should be considered, since it is to the ground where the suppressor diverts the excessive voltage.
How to select a surge suppressor?
The following points should be taken into account:
- Nominal voltage: The voltage at normal operation, e.g. for single phase systems: 110Vac, 120Vac, 127Vac.
- Electrical configuration: the type of electrical system in which the surge suppressor is intended to be connected, either single-phase, two-phase or three-phase systems.
- Maximum operating voltage: is the maximum voltage at which the varistor does not conduct, beyond this voltage, the impedance in the varistor begins to decrease.
- Rated Current: It is the current capacity that the equipment is capable of draining during 15 cycles according to UL 1449 third edition.
- Protection current: This is the maximum current that can flow through the varistors.
- Protection modes: It can be defined as the path by which the peak current generated by a transient can be diverted. The protection modes depend on the system voltage configuration.
These types of solutions are required practically anywhere where electronic equipment needs to be protected against voltage transients, for example in the food, pharmaceutical, metal-mechanical, hospital, telecommunications, home or office industries.
How can Anixter help you?
In Anixter you can find the ideal Value Distributor to help you with this problem.
By distributing a wide range of products/solutions from the most recognized manufacturers in the industry, allowing you to have a single contact point for your project integration:
- With a group of Engineers experts in the field, who can help you find the most suitable solution.
- With a wide variety of products available in our local and worldwide inventories.
- With financing schemes ad-hoc to the needs of your projects.
- With logistics solutions that will allow you to mitigate risks, reduce costs, and improve implementation times.