- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 12 April 2010
Discussing at great length the technical aspects with Vince Luciani, Technical Support Specialist at Innovolt, he made me aware of the analytical approach to designing their power protective products. He recommended a website (also co-founded by Innovolt's Dr. Deepak Divan); www.i-grid.com, a web-based system that is a low cost monitoring system that records data and can be shared with other users. Although I spent a little time on the website I can imagine custom installers wanting to keep track for their specific locations.
Innovolt has developed what they call CVSS™ or Current and Voltage Surge Suppression which is found in all their surge protection products which identifies five areas of concern when it comes to powering our expensive equipment: Voltage surges, Over Voltage, Brownouts, Power Outage, and Voltage Sags.
The boast here is that no other power protection product on the market can offer such protection.
Each of the main areas of concern covers 99% of what causes our equipment to fail or worse, simply wear out sooner. We’re all concerned for example of lighting protection, however the data I’m told indicates this occurrence happens less than once per 10 year period. Voltage sags, however, happen significantly more often at 30-100 per year!
"Voltage Sags cause a Current Surge within our electronic equipment and can cause damage over time. When the Voltage on the grid momentarily sags, the capacitors inside our equipment discharge. When the Voltage returns, the capacitors want to charge back up and cause a substantial Current Surge. Innovolt’s CVSS™ circuitry provides Current inrush limiting to guard against these Voltage Sags. In addition, Innovolt’s products react within 4 milliseconds to disconnect electronics upon detecting Over Voltages (above 145V) and Brownouts (under Voltages below 90V).
Like most power protection devices on the market, Innovolt uses MOV’s or Metal Oxide Varistors to protect against transient Voltage surges due to lighting. However, Innovolt is unique in that the MOVs are protected by the same relay circuit that protects our connected equipment. During an Over Voltage, where MOVs get destroyed and become ineffective, they are taken off-line and are reserved for use for their real intent – during a Voltage Surge. MOV’s cannot tell the difference between a Voltage Surge (an extremely large over Voltage that lasts for microseconds) and an Over Voltage event (a Voltage of over 145V that can last until the power company fixes the problem!) and conduct in BOTH cases. In some cases, improperly protected MOV’s actually cause house fires when they are presented with an Over Voltage for a long period of time.
The HEM-X1000 also monitors brownouts which essentially is a power drop of more than 2 seconds (and can sometimes last for hours), while a blackout is complete loss of power. Again, the protection is the lifelong extension of the electronics of continuously fluctuating voltages.
Improper house electrical grounding will cause noise when over/under voltages occur. The HEM-X1000 provides four stages of RFI and EMI filtering.
Finally, the HEM-X1000 uses a microprocessor to monitor and maintain a history. Some of the data may be slightly incorrect as unplugging the unit and re-plugging actually is counted as an outage. However for the most part, this is valuable information for the lifetime monitoring of your system."