Power Monitoring

Never before has power quality and reliability been such a key issue for facility managers. Not only can the cost of downtime run into thousands, or even millions of dollars per hour, but power quality events can impact sensitive equipment such as servers, motors, process equipment and computers. This end-use equipment is often interconnected within networks, industrial processes and power infrastructure and can be negatively affected by events that arise both from the supplying power system and are generated within the facility. Power monitoring is key to maximizing uptime and ensuring all power infrastructure is functioning properly.

Power quality refers to compatibility. It is the concept of powering and grounding electric equipment in a manner that is suitable to its operation. When your equipment operates as intended and without disruption, there is a compatible environment between the power source and the end use.

A power quality disturbance is any change in the power (voltage, current or frequency) that interferes with the normal operation of electrical equipment. There are several power quality disturbance types, which may be manifested in many ways. These events may cause lights to flicker, circuit breakers to trip, alarms to sound, processes to shut down, etc. Power disturbances can have their source in either the utility or customer wiring system and/or equipment. These disturbances can be classified into categories that can vary in effect, duration and intensity. The most common disturbances are:

Power Outage
Undervoltage / Overvoltage
Sags, Swells
Harmonics Distortion

Power quality disturbances have been present since we began using electrical energy; however, yesterday’s equipment was more forgiving of disturbances than today’s. As manufacturers continue to reduce the size of circuits and components within their equipment, they are also reducing the voltage required to supply these components. The result is equipment that is faster and more powerful, but also more sensitive to power fluctuations. Power quality is very important to anyone who relies on equipment and systems that are sensitive to electrical disturbances. The impact of power quality disturbances can be substantial even the smallest variation can have significant implications for your business in the form of lost time, productivity and revenue.

Most quality disturbance problems are either internal equipment problems or customer wiring problems. Other problems may be external to the facility. You may also have problems at one piece of equipment that is related to the operation of other equipment in your facility. If you experience electrical problems, keeping notes, and logs are a good way to quickly resolve the problem. There are 10 areas you should follow in taking logs:

1. Timeframe in which the problems began.
2. Type of equipment affected.
3. Nature of the malfunctions or failures ( lost data, lock ups, etc. )
4. Time of day or pattern to problems.
5. Multiple problems that occur simultaneously.
6. Suspect sources such as arc welders, motors, furnaces, etc.
7. Equipment changes that coincide with the onset of problems.
8. Installation of electrical equipment such as power conditioning or surge suppression.
9. Environmental concerns such as lightning, electrostatic discharge or other suspect interference.
10. Changes to the electric distribution system or facilities.

Test Equipment

The equipment used by East Coast Industries to monitor Power Quality is the Dranetz Power Guide 4400.

The Guide 4400 has four differential voltage channels and four independent current channels, which measures, analyzes and records power quality, harmonics and energy data simultaneously and continuously on single or three-phase systems. The Platform 4400 measures Volts, Amps, Watts, VA, VAR, Power Factor, Frequency, Voltage unbalance, Current crest factor, Demand, Energy, Harmonic directivity, VEI Total Harmonic distortion, K factor, and Nth harmonics. In the scope mode the Power Guide 4400 allows real-time viewing of voltage and current waveforms, and voltage and current phasor diagrams. In the meter mode a three-phase meter updates values every second for volts, amps, watts, VA, VAR, power factor, frequency, voltage unbalance, V&I total harmonic distortion, current crest factor, K factor, demand, energy and nth harmonics. The Platform 4400 captures critical data by event, worse case or activity report: and power quality events classified to the IEEE 1159 standard for voltage and disturbance. Time plots can also be displayed for as many as 16 different parameters and 8 individual channels to identify abnormalities before they become problems.

Report Format

Once your data is collected, ECI uses the industry leading software Dran-View® to trend events, correlate data, analyze worst case scenarios, generate custom reports which will allow the customer to understand complex issues such as transients, harmonics, etc. correctly.

To learn more, click here or call 732-548-4311 for more information.