Have you experienced a power supply that is always available, always within voltage and frequency tolerances (good power quality)? Maybe or maybe not. However, we are sure that you must have experienced this one ─ A power supply that has minor deviations (poor power quality). But whether or not the deviation is important depends on the purpose and design of the installation and the design of the AV equipment.
The impacts of poor power quality
Poor power quality can result in equipment burn out, overheating of cables and nuisance tripping of protective devices. These are just a few things that can bring down a business operation. The list can go on!
Something as simple as a power surge may not seem detrimental—in fact it may go unnoticed until equipment fails. At the other end of the spectrum, blackouts can cause entire systems to immediately go dark. It is almost impossible to always have good power quality. Businesses are bound to face power anomalies. In cases like these, it is important for the systems to stay unaffected. This is where businesses must maintain it as a practice to follow proper measures and avoid equipment damage.
Here are the causes of power anomalies
In order to prevent their AV equipment from poor power quality, businesses must first focus on learning the causes of it.
The main causes of poor power quality are:
- Voltage variations, which interrupt the efficiency of the equipment.
- Harmonic pollution, which causes additional stress on the networks and systems, thereby causing them to operate less efficiently.
- Excessive reactive power, which charges useless power to the system.
Solutions to address poor power quality
- Voltage stabiliser
It ensures a voltage output at a nominal value by reducing the voltage variations. Reduced productivity, loss of data, loss of security, and machine breakdowns are some of the problems caused by an unstable power supply that can be solved with a voltage stabiliser.
- Active filters
Harmonic pollution is caused by inverters, soft starters, rectifiers, power electronics, non-filament lighting, presses, etc. It is solved by active filters that are capable of eliminating the current harmonics in the system by measuring and injecting the same current but in the opposite phase.
- Power factor correction system
Excessive reactive power is regulated by a power factor correction system, which not only avoids any penalties due to excessive reactive energy but reduces the “unnecessary” electrical current that flows into the lines and power components. This substantially reduces voltage drops along the lines and leakages.
Depending on the issues being experienced, a number of measures can be taken to improve power quality. Some of them are listed below:
- Inspect your wiring. Faulty or substandard wiring can make power surge problems worse. Have an electrician inspect your equipment’s wiring for issues.
- Unplug electronics during a storm. This prevents sensitive electronics from being affected by a power surge caused by a lightning strike.
- Consider setting up a surge protector or replace damaged or faulty UPS/surge protectors.
Expensive and sensitive electronics, such as computers and televisions, should be plugged into power surge protectors to prevent damage caused by surges. Common types of surge protector devices include power strips and surge protector outlets. These devices block excess voltage from reaching your electronics in the event of a power surge.
- Buy appliances which meet the requirements of quality marks.
- Consider earthing to protect yourself from an electric shock.
Earthing provides a path (a protective conductor) for a fault current to flow to earth. It also causes the protective device (either a circuit-breaker or fuse) to switch off the electric current to the circuit that has the fault.
List of equipment which tends to get easily affected by poor power quality
- Display Systems
- Video conferencing systems
- DSP/ audio mixe
Power protection is a concern for every equipment, and the risks definitely aren’t going away. However, if you follow proper measures as mentioned above, damage to AV equipment can be reduced immensely.