With the overwhelming necessity for electrical devices in today’s society, power consumption and quality issues are major concerns throughout the consumer electronics industry. Whether in regards to power supply or conditioning, these issues never cease to be a problem for the electronic manufacturers. The problems surrounding power conditioning and power supply are linked together. The common problem is faulty, over used power distribution systems. This is where most power quality problems arise. Some of these power quality problems include voltage spikes, power surges, and brownouts. Particularly in the high-tech centers of the world, these power quality issues have taken many victims. The recent power situation in California is a prime example of these problems.
As in a band or orchestra, it is often said, “The band is only as good as its weakest member.” This saying applies to the power distribution issues. In order to begin changing these power distribution problems, we must begin with its weakest link. These weakest links would be the electrical appliances and machinery on the consumer end. These appliances and machinery must be able to withstand power quality issues such as electrical spikes and surges as well as maintaining expected performance.
Appliances have been predominantly steady in their behavior and performance during normal conditions, where the power is veritably a constant factor. However when the power demands have increases, appliances have become victims to the more adverse power conditions. Spikes and surges can potential destroy an electrical device. Surge breakers built in or provided externally help protect against spikes and surges, but power consumption is still a issue. Brownouts may cause a device to shut down if the power input supply becomes below operating requirements of a particular electrical device. These power fluxes can cause numerous problems depending on the device affected. A common problem for the technical world would be computers and laptop. If a brown occurs and shuts your computer down, you’ve just lost your program and report that you’ve working on for hours.
In order for manufacturers to properly design against this, they need to be able to simulate these power quality issues in a controlled environment. They will need a test equipment specifically designed to generate these power quality problems. Currently, there is not a device that can accurately simulate these power quality problems. This device will need to simulate voltage spikes with durations ranging from nano- to millisecond durations, power surges of a magnitude comparable to that expected from prevalent high-voltage systems, and brownouts simulating the result of an overloaded power grid. This is the aim of our project. We want to design and fabricate such a test device.
This test device will add manufacturers to design appliances able to withstand the adverse power conditions and effects mentioned previously. Additionally, this testing device can and will assist the individual consumer and government study groups in examining appliances that are presently available on the market for safety and reliability. This will