Network equipment such as PCs, servers, and network switches can have their performance disrupted by AC power outages along with fluctuations in the current being provided to the devices.

Common AC problems include “surges” where the voltage increases and then drops back to normal. Sag, sometimes called a “brownout,” is an event where the voltage decreases from normal and then comes back.

Problems with AC power can happen anywhere, but can occur more often in rural or remote locations and installations. Security dealers need to consider the potential effects of AC power fluctuations and plan in advance to protect their clients’ sensitive electronic security devices.

What is important to understand is that while power surges can indeed damage equipment, the real problems happen when the electrical power sags, providing reduced voltage. According to research performed by Bell Labs and others, the majority of “locked up” security devices, PCs, and servers result from power sags rather than power surges. A prolonged AC power sag can permanently disable PCs, in some cases destroying the power supply and motherboard cards in home PCs.

While we tend to take AC “wall” current as a given, like tap water, smart integrators will provide protection for sensitive network equipment such as VMS servers in the base cost of the installation. When selecting a power protection technology using inexpensive “surge” protection power strips provides no protection against power sags.

American Power Conversion 100VA/ 600WATT UPS PRO

Using products such as the American Power Conversion 100VA/ 600WATT UPS PRO 2G-BR1000G can provide the needed protection from power surges and sags, along with UPS-type power backup in case of a complete AC failure. This product uses an automatic voltage regulation (AVR) technology to adjust the power output to the proper level during both power sags and surges.

When planning and proposing a sophisticated video surveillance and/or integrated security system that will rely on PCs for VMS functionality smart security dealers will include the cost of comprehensive AC power protection devices. A small investment now can likely save a huge cost later, if an unprotected PC is damaged by AC power problems.

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