Everything You Need to Know About Line Conditioners|
Article - March 12, 2018 By LarsonElectronics.com
Everything You Need to Know About Line Conditioners
Current from mainstream sources, such as the city grid, must travel extended distances before reaching its destination, which for industrial facilities, is typically a large, expensive machine. Unfortunately, this exhausting process can negatively affect the quality of electrical current being fed into the unit, resulting in unwanted fluctuations, unnecessary noise or distortions – also known as “dirty” power.
“Dirty” power is a huge problem for businesses and residential spaces. Without addressing the issue, it can lead to inefficiencies, premature failure and a decrease in productivity. To promote “clean” power, operators could deploy a line conditioner in the location to “clean” up the “dirty” power, before the current is used by the connected machine.
Mechanisms and Benefits
Line conditioners serve many functions for businesses with complex power requirements. The main objective of line conditioners is to supply the connected equipment with quality current for proper operation. It does this by removing abnormal surges, inconsistencies and other irregularities that could wreak havoc on sensitive devices.
Generally speaking, the devices protect connected equipment from the following issues:
• High in-rush current
• Electromagnetic interference (EMI)
• Noise suppression
• Over/under voltage conditions
• Radio frequency interference (RFI)
• Power pollution
One should take note (and based on the list above) that line conditioners are multi-functional devices. When protecting machines, it typically deploys more than one mechanism in order to address a broad range of existing issues related to maintaining system performance, such as distortions in waveform, noise production and etc. Furthermore, not all line conditioners come with the same features. Some could come with surge protection features and no RFI protection, while other variants could include both with additional voltage regulating features.
Industrial Applications and Uses
Line conditioners are common in operations that use sensitive, expensive and critical equipment. Audio and filming industries frequently rely on the units to improve sound and video quality.
Outside of audio and filming, commercial offices can also benefit from line conditioners. As mentioned earlier, the devices are effective in mitigating abnormally high in-rush current. Copy machines and printers, which are essential in businesses, schools and government buildings, are known for consuming large amounts of power, often resulting in an abrupt decrease in line voltage. When the devices switch from an intense, operational state to standby mode, a sudden power surge could occur. Such fluctuations could easily affect other equipment connected to the same circuit.
Do I Really Need One?
Power conditioners are incredibly useful for locations without access to quality power from the local grid. For instance, a person who only has access to 125V but needs 115V for equipment that has been manufactured for 115V could use a power conditioner to regulate or adjust incoming 125V voltage to 120V or (ideally) 115V. In another example, sensitive electronics that are prone to EMI, such as high-current appliances, could greatly benefit from line conditioners.
It’s important to highlight that low-quality power is not the only factor that contributes to poor machine performance and premature failure. In some cases, the devices could just be worn out or outdated. That being said, one won’t always notice an increase in machine performance when using a power conditioner, unless the concern is really related to “dirty” power. Hence, before installing a line conditioner, it is essential to first verify that the current being fed into the machine is the root cause of the issue.