Thursday, December 11, 2008

High Level basics about Power Conditioning

In the last post I dealt with Tape decks, there is more I could deal with and will later but figured I would deal with a topic common to all of Security, Audio, Video, and Technology – Power / Juice / Electricity. (Note: in later posts transition from audio into video and security will also deal with internet fraud scams). 

Regardless of the equipment used today power is required. The U.S. for many things you have 120, 240, or 480 VAC. 120 is not 120 – it is plus or minus 10% meaning it can fluctuate between 110 and 130 normally. Abnormally it can be even greater. 

Let’s do some basic engineering:

  • Current (I) is equal to the voltage divided by the resistance - I = V/r
  • Power (P) is equal to the voltage multiplied by the current - P = V*I


So I = P/V and V = I * R now let’s play


Assume R = 10

  • 120/10 = 12
  • 110/10 = 11
  • 130/10 = 13 

What is current – think of it as speed and the faster it flows the greater the heat produced by friction (resistance) thus the more heat produced that has to be removed to keep from damaging the system or another way to look at it is stop one end of a hose sooner or later it will burst from the pressure.. If it is too low them the equipment may starve and shut down not being able to function properly now this of a house or sprinkler with a trickle.  

So let’s look at the proposed solutions

  • Surge protector – device to protect from power surges say anything above 130 V for more than three nanoseconds
  • Uninterruptible /Universal Power Supply – device to protect from drops below 110 and spikes above 130 by using a battery
  • Line (Power) Conditioner – device to improve power quality and remove behaviors that cause losses and disruptions, such as harmonics, reactive power, flicker and resonance in low to high voltage supply lines

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