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Common Power Problems

Power Failure is defined as a zero voltage condition that lasts for more than two cycles. The tripping of a circuit breaker, power distribution failure or utility power failure may cause it. This condition can lead to data damage, data loss, file corruption and hardware damage.

Power Sags involve voltages 80 to 85 percent below normal for a short period of time. Possible causes are heavy equipment being turned on, large electric motors being started, and the switching of power mains (internal or utility). Power sags can have effects similar to those of a power surge, such as memory loss, data errors, flickering lights and equipment shutoff.

Power Surge takes place when the voltage is 110%above normal. The most common cause is heavy electrical equipment being turned off. Under this condition, computer systems may experience memory loss, data errors, flickering lights, and equipment shutoff.

Brownout (sometimes known as under-voltage) is a steady lower voltage state. An example of brownout happens during peak electrical demands in the summer, when utilities cannot always meet the requirements and must lower the voltage to limit maximum power. When this happens, computer systems can experience data corruption, data loss and premature hardware failure.
High voltage spikes (sometimes known as over-voltage) occur when there is a sudden, rapid voltage peak of up to 6,000 volts. These spikes are usually the result of nearby lightning strikes, but there can be other causes as well. The effects on vulnerable electronic systems can include loss of data and burned circuit boards.

Switching Transients take place when there is a rapid voltage peak of up to 20,000 volts with duration of 10 microseconds to 100 microseconds, commonly caused by arcing faults and static discharge.  In addition, major power system switching disturbances initiated by the utilities to correct line problems may happen several times a day. Effects can include memory loss, data error, and data loss and component stress.

Line Noise defined as radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) and causes undesirable effects in the circuits of computer systems. Sources of the problem include electric motors, relays, motor control devices, broadcast transmissions, microwave radiation, and distance electrical storms. RFI, EMI and other frequency problems can cause data error, data loss, storage loss, keyboard lockup and system lockup.

Frequency Variations involves a change in frequency from the normally stable utility frequency of 50 Hz or 60 Hz, depending on the geographic location. This may be caused by erratic operation of emergency generators or unstable frequency power sources. For sensitive electronic equipment, the result can be data corruption, hard drive crash, keyboard lockup and programme failure.
Harmonic Distortion harmonics are distortions of the normal line waveform and are generally transmitted into the line by non-linear loads. Switch mode powers supplies, variable speed motors and drives, copiers and fax machines are examples of non-liner loads. Harmonics can cause communication errors, overheating and possible hardware damage.

Harmonic Distortion harmonics are distortions of the normal line waveform and are generally transmitted into the line by non-linear loads. Switch mode powers supplies, variable speed motors and drives, copiers and fax machines are examples of non-liner loads. Harmonics can cause communication errors, overheating and possible hardware damage.

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