The effects of voltage surges on electrical and electronic equipment are difficult to characterize in a way that relates to real-world working conditions, but questions such as, ‘How many surges does it take to damage my equipment’ or ‘how much longer will my equipment last with and without surge protection?’ arise with almost every application. Although there are testing standards in place, those tests normally are conducted under standard lab conditions and don’t address the variable effects of temperature, power quality and other important factors.
The Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices technical committee at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA, was asked to look at the issue and provide an overview of electrical and electronic equipment surge susceptibility. This week the committee released a report on its findings.
The new white paper, “NEMA VSP 1-2017 Susceptibility of Electrical and Electronic Components to Surge Damage,” looks at the surge effects of several common pieces of electrical equipment including incandescent, fluorescent and LED lamps, control transformers, variable frequency drives and uninterruptable power supplies. The devices were tested against nine different surge wave forms at certified testing laboratories in a setting recreating a real-world surge environment. The paper presents a table showing the number of surges of a particular type each device withstood before failure.
“This white paper helps the electrical community—engineers, consumers, and technicians— understand the various transient conditions to which electrical and electronic equipment may be subjected. The intent is to create awareness and offer guidance based on real-world testing on protection that will be helpful to preventing problems with products,” said James Moellmann, director of Standards/Application Engineering at MVC–Maxivolt, and chairman of the NEMA 05VS, Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices, Technical Committee.
Here's the report (PDF): Susceptibility of Electrical and Electronic Components to Surge Damage