Proper Power Protection Doesn’t Need to Be Perplexing
We work in an incredible industry.
There are solutions and services that exist today that dealers and integrators install all over the country to quite frankly, make their customer’s dreams come true. Whether you’re installing a finely tuned home theater or AV room or outfitting a customer’s home with the control system that gives users influence over every single room their house, there’s a common, often overlooked thread that ties all these systems together: power.
Electrical Power is Critical to Any Successful Installation
After all, what good is an incredible entertainment system during a blackout?
While many believe that the network and control is the foundation of the system, power issues can cause significant issues and render those installed systems useless. Power is often an afterthought, but the reality is, underlying power issues can be a common cause for system downtime. Power can be perplexing, but it doesn’t have to be. For starters, let’s address one of the biggest electrical power misconceptions.
One mistake we see a lot in the industry during discussions of the types of power issues that can affect installed systems surrounds lighting strikes. More often than not, when thinking about power protection, the mental image everyone goes to is that of a devastating lightning strike that fries an entire installation. While lightning strikes can be devastating and there are solutions available today to minimize impact, the reality is, 80% of surge events occur from within the building or installation, not outside.
In a commercial environment, damaging power anomalies can be caused by elevator operation or the HVAC system cycling on. The same is true on the residential side whereby power anomalies generated by turning on an AC unit or appliance such as a dryer can slowly degrade, and damage equipment dealers have installed on-site over time. These power anomalies can manifest visually, even for a fraction of second as the lights dim slightly when you turn on the vacuum.
Continued Customer Education on 'Basics' of Power
The well-being of an installation can rely on the precautionary protection implemented. However, dealers and integrators do not need to become experts on power issues to prevent them from affecting their customer's installations and, in turn, their business reputation. So, what can integrators do?
Much like they already do for other product categories, dealers can sniff out lesser quality products through easy research and education. When it comes to power devices, we recommend they examine the differentiators in elimination, protection, and conditioning technologies. Understanding how a device protects connected equipment is the first thing to consider.
Many devices available to dealers and integrators employ self-sacrificial means of protection against power events using metal oxide varistors (MOV) technology that’s designed to protect against surges by absorbing the energy itself. This method still allows surge energy to pass through to a device, degrading the connected equipment over time. Additionally, MOVs eventually wear out and once gone, they no longer protect equipment even at the lowest level. It’s crucial that dealer recognize more complex solutions do exist, such as Advanced Series Mode technology which eliminates up to 6,000 volts of surge energy with zero pass through and provides conditioning from spikes, sags, and electrical noise.
Managing Power is an Additional Safeguard a Dealer’s Bottom Line
Power protection and conditioning are crucial parts of installations that serve as the foundation for optimal system performance. Issues such as lockups, reboots, or degraded products frustrate both dealers and end users and often, they can be attributed to poor power conditions.
These issues often misdiagnosed as ‘product failure’ wasting time, energy and money for the integrator. Truck rolls are expensive, time-consuming and, in many cases, require a manual reboot to restore system operations. Managed power systems can provide dealers with the ability to remotely diagnose issues, rules out power problems, or provide preventative maintenance and predictive analysis of the system to reduce truck rolls and system downtime increase customer satisfaction.
Where can you find us? At industry shows and through our sales representatives, we continuously strive to provide dealers and integrators education about the risk of electrical problems, spikes, and surges that can be damaging to equipment and the best way to mitigate these issues.
We regularly offer training and educational sessions on the electrical protection of AV and IT equipment that integrators, dealers, and consultants can take to learn more about the fundamentals of electricity and power protection.