Power conditioning means improving the quality of power by cleaning and supplying pure electrical power to connected equipment, appliance or gadget. The term “POWER CONDITIONING” is among the newest entrant into the field of electrical engineering – especially considering the advances in power electronics and also based on the need to have clean power for a sensitive equipment. Only in the past decade or so has there been recognition accorded for power conditioning by IEEE, NEMA and other standards organisations.
A power conditioner is considered to be a device that improves the quality of electric power that is delivered to the electrical load.
There are basically 2 types of Power Conditioners. The AC POWER CONDITIONERS are typically used to clean AC power being supplied to electrical loads. POWER LINE CONDITIONERS take in the electric power and modify it based on requirements of the electrical load connected.
We are concerned with purity in many aspects of our life – including personal hygiene, food we eat, water we drink etc. Also, we are very safety conscious while driving, working etc.
However, when it comes to matter relating to electric power – we feel that it is absolutely safe to connect the costly equipment, appliance or gadget – directly to electricity supply. We do not realise that there are many power impurities that creep into the electricity as it is travelling from the place of generation – which is very far away to our home or work place. These power impurities may be due to natural or even manmade reasons.
Today’s latest equipment, appliance or gadget are all handling and performing very diverse advanced functions. All these are possible due to the technological advances made in the field of Electronics, fuelled by the evolution of semiconductor devices. However – all these are very sensitive and need pure power supply. Hence, the need for a power conditioner.
Power conditioner may vary in size (capacity), types of impurity protected, protection levels etc. So it becomes very important to select an appropriate power conditioner for your equipment, appliance or gadget.
There are many types of power conditioners and a few are listed here for your reference. Voltage Stabiliser (Voltage regulator), UPS (Offline and Online), Surge Suppressor, Spike Buster, Noise Filter etc.
These power conditioner cleans the electric supply from most of the power problems listed earlier and make the quality of electric power safe for usage.
Voltage Stabiliser is a very important power conditioning product. It controls or regulates the voltage (considered electrical pressure).
For any appliance or gadget – there is specified range of acceptable input voltage, within which - the appliance or gadget performs optimally - as designed. In the Indian context - Single Phase utility the normal voltage is 220 Volts and in the case of Three Phase utility the normal voltage is 440 Volts. For household appliances and gadgets the acceptable input voltage range is generally 200 to 240 Volts. Very Sensitive and Critical application equipments or machineries have very limited input voltage range – which is normally a steady 220 Volts (in single phase) and 440 Volts (in Three Phase) applications with a variation range of 1 or maximum 2%.
When the incoming mains voltage goes up or comes down or when it is fluctuating – above or below this specified range - the performance of the appliance or gadget – if directly connected to the mains supply is drastically affected, such that it even reduces the overall life of the appliance or gadget. Primarily the motor or compressor which is a part of the equipment connected directly to electric power is not able to function appropriately when there are voltage variations. The electronic circuitry that controls the overall function of the appliance or gadget is also affected due to voltage fluctuation.
A Voltage stabiliser is recommended to be connected for most equipments, appliances or gadgets – to safeguard them from the vagaries of erratic voltage – thereby enhancing its overall life.
There are many types of Voltage Stabilisers – mainly segregated on the following basis:
According to the principle of operation – voltage stabilisers are divided into several types listed below:
RELAY CONTROLLED VOLTAGE STABILISER (DISCRETE STEP): This type of voltage stabiliser works based on the auto-transformer principle – with stepped voltage outputs. This is the most commonly used type of voltage stabiliser used for household appliances and gadgets. There is generally no distortion to the output wave form and they also can be adopted for a wide range of input voltage range. However, the main constraint with this type of voltage stabiliser is the output voltage range – which is generally varying around + or – 10 % to 20 % in these type of voltage stabilisers. The load factor for these type of voltage stabiliser is limited mostly within 15 KVA (1 Phase). Apart from stabilisation of voltage – generally protection devices such as extreme voltage isolation (also called as cut-off device) and instantaneous start prevention or delayed start-up after power interruption (also called time delay system) are incorporated as per the needs of application.
SERVO-CONTROLLED VOLTAGE STABILISER: These type of stabilisers are also called as Electro-dynamic or Electro-mechanical type of voltage stabiliser. They have autotransformers with servo controlled motor for continuous voltage selection, with a feedback circuit. The accuracy of the output voltage is very high and is generally in the range of + or – 1%. Due to this reason, these type of voltage stabilisers are normally used for very sensitive loads like Medical equipments etc. However the response rate or voltage correction rate of these type of voltage stabiliser is slower. The load bearing capacity is very high and is generally in the range upto 500 KVA (3 Phase). Depending on the load type and also the length of operation – these type of voltage stabilisers are further classified as Air cooled and Oil cooled types. This means that the heat dissipated from the voltage stabiliser is removed using air or oil. FERRO-RESONANT STABILISER: These Voltage Stabiliser are also called Constant Voltage Transformers (CVT) – working on the principle of ferro – resonance – based on a transformer & capacitor combination circuitry. The output is steady without change. However – these models are nowadays outdated and not generally used, because they have limited operating voltage range and also very low load capacity.
INPUT VOLTAGE RANGE: Voltage Stabilisers are generally categorized as Normal range, Wide Range (also called Double Booster) and Extra Wide Range models based on the input voltage range. The general input voltage for Single phase and Three phase applications are listed below:
|INPUT RANGE TERMINOLOGY||1 PHASE SYSTEM||3 PHASE SYSTEM|
|NORMAL RANGE||170 – 260 Volts AC||360 – 460 Volts AC|
|WIDE RANGE||145 – 270 Volts AC||295 – 460 Volts AC|
|EXTRA WIDE RANGE||125 – 280 Volts ACC||255 – 460 Volts AC|
Voltage Stabilisers are also categorized based on the output loading capacity or based on the appliance or gadget to be connected.
It purifies electric power using filter and smoothening components – preventing damaging power impurities from being fed into your valuable appliance or gadget. Feeding pure and clean power enhances the life of the appliances and gadgets, by protecting and safeguarding the electronics which is its brain. For, if the electronics is damaged – then the entire appliance or gadget is crippled. Surge suppressors or protectors have been used internationally for protecting sophisticated Home Theatre and Computer Systems.
However over the last decade the usage of electronics is very widespread to improve the functions of appliances and gadgets. Hence Power Purifier models have been developed for Washing Machine (and other similar appliances like Micro Wave oven, Dishwasher etc.), Air Conditioner, Refrigerator and Television & Home Theatre Systems.
Home UPS is an Inverter which is an electronic device that produces alternating current (AC) drawing power from direct current (DC) source which is normally a battery. The AC (alternating current) power supplied by the utility - charges the battery – which stores the power as DC (direct current). When the power disruption or power outage occurs, the DC power is drawn from the battery and converted back to AC power which is fed to the load connected, mainly Lights and Fans. Heavy duty models allows consumer to run electrical equipments also. The Waveform of the output is generally Quasi Sine Wave, however Pure Sine Wave models have come into the market recently. This product has 4 major components – Charger, Inverter, Changeover system and Battery. The first 3 are clubbed together and made available as an Inverter or Home UPS. When this is connected to a Battery through connecting wires – the system is called a Home UPS. NPT Electronics distributes Inverters made by NUMERIC and MICROTEK along with battery from EXIDE.
OFFLINE AND ONLINE UPS SYSTEM: Computers are very sophisticated equipment’s and there are 3 critical factors – Clean & Stable Voltage, Change over time (when power fails the time taken for the Inverter to kick in is called Change over time) and Pure Sine Wave form, that necessitates a more evolved UPS System. There are 2 types basically – Offline and Online. The Offline ones are generally for standalone PC systems, with voltage regulators and are built-in with Sealed Maintenance Free (SMF) batteries. The Online Systems are more sophisticated and are generally for Servers connected to a larger network of Computers.
SOLAR POWERED HOME UPS: Usually the charging of the battery happens from the incoming mains voltage (when electric supply is available). But during extended duration of power cut or when power is not available, solar power is tapped through Solar Panels mounted on Roof Top and the Charging of the battery is done. Such systems have an additional component called Charge Controller. The Batteries have to be Heavy Duty type if the power is to be entirely and always drawn from the Solar UPS System. However Solar systems which have charging from electricity grid can also be configured. This means that the Charging happens from the electricity mains as well as from Solar Panels and the power stored in Batteries. The Solar UPS could be Off Grid (Not feeding power to the EB Mains) type or Grid Tied type (wherein the excess power is fed into the Utility systems and money is earned. Solar UPS is an emerging field