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Surge Protectors, Power Supply Units, and DIN Rail Power Supplies

Networking Accessories

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Networking Accessories: Surge Protectors, Power Supply Units, and DIN Rail Power Supplies

This article aims to give our readers basic information on two essential networking aids that are not talked about often enough: the surge protector and power supply units. These valuable technologies aid and increase the lifespan of expensive electronic equipment but just in different ways.

So, let’s get started.

What is a Surge Protector?

A surge protector is a small piece of equipment that has two functions:

  1. To shield electronic equipment (e.g., TVs or computers) from a high-voltage power surge or spike
  2. To enable multiple electronic devices to be plugged into a single power outlet

This article will discuss three types of surge protectors: the basic (or standard) surge protector, the Ethernet surge protector, and the PoE surge protector.

What is an electrical surge?

According to NEMA Surge Protection Institute:

Surges, or transients, are brief overvoltage spikes or disturbances on a power waveform that can damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment within any home, commercial building, industrial, or manufacturing facility. Transients can reach amplitudes of tens of thousands of volts. Surges are generally measured in microseconds.” (1)

Surges can be generated from electrical devices that switch power on or off, either inside or outside a building. These devices can be anything from a simple thermostat switch to a switch-mode power supply found in many devices inside a building or equipment located outside, such as lighting.

As previously stated, surges can be generated by switching operations that occur during everyday business operations: starting and stopping processes, power system recovery from outages, and even loose connections. Surges can also be brought about by:

  • Lightning, which can travel great distances and cause both direct and indirect damaging effects—outdoor equipment is especially vulnerable and needs protection.
  • Magnetic and inductive coupling found in equipment such as elevators, air conditioning, copy machines, and computers
  • Static electricity, which can cause equipment malfunction or damage

It is important to note that industry experts estimate that 70 to 85 percent (2) of all surges are produced within commercial and industrial settings, and they can be time-consuming and expensive to fix.

Are a surge and a spike the same thing?

A surge occurs when a voltage increase lasts three nanoseconds (ns) or more. If a voltage increase lasts only one or two nanoseconds, it is called a spike.

What is a nanosecond? It is one-billionth of a second. And just a few billionths of a second can cause severe equipment damage if the voltage is high enough.

The Basic Surge Protector

Basic (or standard) surge protectors have a single male connection that is plugged into an electrical wall outlet, and further have several female sockets in which electrical devices can be connected. The surge protector functions as a power source and will also absorb excess power should a surge or spike occur. This type of surge protector is commonly used in homes to safeguard home electronics, appliances, and wired services such as security systems.

There is a Difference Between a Surge Protector and a Power Strip

Not all power strips are surge protectors. They look similar; however, a power strip’s sole purpose is to add additional outlet space. Be sure to look closely at the packaging to determine just what you are buying. Hint: A surge protector will have a joules rating on it’s packaging.

The Ethernet Surge Protector

Ethernet surge protectors are similar to the basic surge protectors found in homes and function in much the same way. However, there are also “in” and “out” plugs for an Ethernet cable to be connected to that guard against surges through the cable itself.

Simply put: An Ethernet cable is attached to a modem or router (or another similar device), then is plugged into the surge protector—then a second cable is run from the surge protector to the electrical device.

The POE Surge Protector

Power over Ethernet (PoE) surge protection includes the methods used to shield PoE equipment from damages due to electrical surges. PoE equipment differs from standard Ethernet equipment.

A Few Words About PoE

PoE is an Ethernet-based technology that delivers both power and data over a single Ethernet cable. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (called the “I-tripe E) has ratified three Power over Ethernet standards that define four types of PoE: IEEE 802.3af, 802.3at, and 802.3bt.

PoE is widely used for commercial enterprises—both indoors and outdoors. Common PoE applications include:

  • Access control systems
  • Intercom
  • IP cameras
  • Modems
  • Network Interface Controllers (NIC)
  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Readers
  • Routers
  • VoIP phones
  • Wireless Access Point (WAPs)
  • And much more

PoE devices are sensitive and require specialized protection against power surges. PoE surge protectors are also known as lighting arrestors, RJ45 surge protectors, surge arrestors, surge suppressors, and in-line data protectors. Whatever they are called, these devices are designed to ensure that overvoltage is limited or that a surge is discharged to ground at a safe distance from PoE networking equipment.

Why is surge protection for PoE installations important?

Surges are common and costly, and PoE systems are sensitive to a range of electrical stresses that can cause them to fail. It is important to note that PoE specs address overvoltage; however, extreme surges can cause PoE devices to become degraded or permanently wrecked. Therefore, surge protection is essential as these sensitive devices are critical to business and industry. Network failure comes at a high cost, and, in the case of security and alarm systems, it may be a significant security risk.

Surges impact PoE networks in four key ways:

  1. Disruption: A surge can cause the analog functions of devices to lose data or fail altogether. While this type of impact does not usually cause physical damage, devices may need to be reset before returning to their normal functions.
  2. Degradation: Repeated surge events can simply wear a device out, shortening its lifespan.
  3. Damage: the heat linked with electrical surges can cause charring, carbonization of components, and even fire.
  4. Downtime: Disruption, degradation, and damage lead to downtime, which is seriously expensive to any enterprise. Surge protection is an essential component to keep a business doing business.

Versa Technology provides PoE surge protectors for three distinct environments: inside devices, outside devices, and industrial settings.

SD-101

SD-101 Indoor PoE Surge Protector

Versa Technology’s SD-101 Surge Protector shields PoE switches, PoE-powered devices (PDS), and other IP devices from power surges or spikes over networking cables. SD-101 is a hardened-grade surge protector that can be deployed in indoor environments such as beside PoE switches or inside junction or power boxes.

Some of the features of the SD-101 Surge Protector are listed below:

  • Number of Ports: 1
  • Pass-Through Data Rates: 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • PoE Support: 802.3af
  • Max Discharge Current: 8KA, 16KV
  • Response Time: 5ns
  • Connectors: RJ45 x 2
  • Operating Temperatures: -40°C~ 85°C (-40°F~ 185°F)

SD-201

SD-201 Oudoor Bt/UPoE/At/Af PoE Surge Protector

Versa Technology’s SD-201 Surge Protector is a hardened-grade outside surge protector that can be deployed on a wall or pole mount. For extra protection against the elements, the SD-201 has an IP67-rated metal enclosure that is guaranteed to operate in any environment. Some of the features of the SD-201 Surge Protector are as follows:

  • Number of Ports: 1
  • Pass-Through Data Rates: 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • Transmission Media: Cat5e/6 UTP/STP
  • PoE Support: 502.3af/at/bt/UPoE
  • Max Discharge Current: 8KA, 16KV
  • Response Time: 5ns
  • Connectors: RJ45 x 2
  • Operating Temperatures: -40°C~ 85°C (-40°F~ 185°F)

What is a Power Supply Unit?

First, it is important not to confuse a Power Supply Unit (PSU) with a power source. A power source is where an electrical current originates. The most common power source types are electrical outlets, batteries, and generators.

PSUs do not supply systems with power. Instead, they are internal IT hardware components that convert power. Specifically, they convert alternating high voltage current (AC) into direct current (DC). You can purchase PSUs that can do a couple of other things too. Besides power conversion, PSUs can change the voltage up or down and regulate the power for a smoother outcoming voltage. The PSU is a crucial element of any server. Without them, IT infrastructures simply do not work, which is why most systems include a PSU with purchase.

PSUs Convert Power

Voltage conversion is the primary use of PSUs. This is because electrical outlets deliver AC power, while most electrical devices require DC power to work.

PSUs Regulate Power

When a PSU changes the voltage and power type, the output is not always steady. As a result, without regulation, a PSU can deliver more power than needed, causing a power surge that could damage or even destroy sensitive powered devices (PDs).

Purchasing a PSU with an added power regulation function will increase the cost of the unit; however, in the long run, a PSU that regulates the power supply may save lots of money because replacing ruined equipment will not be required.PWR-1100PSU Front

PWR-100 PSU Power Supply Unit

Versa Technology’s PWR-1100PSU is a power supply unit that delivers 1100 watts of power. This top-of-the-line PSU has been designed to be used with our 2000 watt VX-GPU2626 UPOE switch for additional power or as a backup power supply.

What is a DIN rail-mounted power supply?

DIN rail power supplies are a specific type of PSU. This power supply converts unstabilized input voltage into regulated output voltage. Also called a switch-mode power supply, these devices use metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). These switching devices repeatedly turn on and off at high frequency and are known for their outstanding high efficiency and compact, low-weight design.

A significant feature of DIN rail power supplies is their mounting. These power supplies are attached to a standard DIN rail.

What is a DIN rail?

A DIN rail (also known as a top-hat rail) is a metal mounting rail with standardized dimensions initially defined by the German Institute for Standardization, also known as Deutsche Industrial Norms (DIN). DIN rails have been adopted by both the European Standards (EN) and the International Standards (IEC).

A DIN rail has a U-shaped or hat-shaped profile, thus the term “top-hat rail.”

This mounting rail is the standard used worldwide to mount:

  • Cabinets
  • Circuit breakers
  • Distribution boxes
  • Industrial PCs
  • Power supplies
  • Relays
  • And much more

The Benefits and Features of DIN Rail Power Supplies

DIN rail power supplies have many automation, industrial, and process control applications. This technology comes with many significant benefits and desirable features:

  • Varying voltage and wattages to fit all needs
  • Highly reliable
  • Compact size
  • Suitable for industrial settings
  • Low operating costs
  • Quick installation
  • Easy operation
  • Long lifetime
  • Low maintenance

Things to Consider When Purchasing a DIN Rail Power Supply

1) Parameters for Input and Output

  • What voltage and current are required?
  • Is a single or parallel operation required?

2) Operating Environment

  • Where will the power supply be used?
  • What are the average and maximum temperatures?
  • The power supply should be mounted at the coolest point in the cabinet
  • Does the environment have high humidity? A lot of dirt? Vibration?

3) Dimensions

  • How much space is available to mount the power supply?
  • Is there enough room to install the power supply vertically? If the power supply is mounted horizontally, it will impact airflow. Also, the power supply will need space on all sides so the air can circulate.

4) Approvals and Standards

Know in advance which approvals the power supply should have. Examples:

  • Where do you plan to sell your products?

Region (UL, Class 1, Div 2)

Target Markets (ATEX)

  • Are approvals necessary for the application?

Shipbuilding (ABS/GL)

Medical technology (IEC 60601-1, 3rd Edition)

Railway (EN 50155)

5) Efficiency and Lifetime

Make sure you check for important characteristics, like:

  • High energy efficiency
  • Low heat generation
  • Long Lifespan

6) Additional Features

What additional features are required? Examples:

  • Conformal coated PCB-boards
  • DC-OK relay contact
  • Extended DC input range
  • Hot-swap plug connector
  • IO-link port
  • Remote control
  • Special approvals

7) Supplementary Units

Are you setting up a redundant power supply system or using an uninterruptible power supply? It makes sense to buy any auxiliary equipment from the same manufacturer to guarantee compatibility: Examples:

  • Buffer modules
  • Protection Modules
  • Redundancy modules
  • Uninterruptible power supplies (DC-UPS)

IPS-480-48 Power Supply

PWR-480-48 DIN Rail Power Supply

Versa Technology’s PWR-480-48 DIN rail power supply is a reliable, stable power supply for industries that have varying temperatures and environments. This high-quality device is compatible with universal 100-240 AC input voltage or 127-370 DC input voltage. Further features include:

  • Power output of 48V DC with a total of 480 watts
  • Ideal for DIN rail TS-35/7.5 or 15 installation
  • Suitable for industrial settings with harsh environments and extreme temperatures
  • Protects against overheating, short circuit, overload, and voltage overuse
  • Works at temperatures from -20° to 70° C.

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Resources

(1) NEMA Surge Protection Institute: What are Surges?

(2) We-Energies.com: power Quality Issues for Large Commercial Facilities: Voltage Surges and Spikes

Our Blog

Interested in Industrial PoE?

Check out our blog entitled 5 Reasons You Need An Industrial Ethernet Switch.

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