FAQs | NXT Power

NXT Power is committed to providing clean power, but we know there are a lot of questions you may have about power conditioners, power systems, or clean power in general. Read some commonly asked questions below to learn more about clean power. 

1. What is Power Quality?

Electric power quality is the degree to which the voltage, frequency, and waveform of a power supply system conform to established specifications. Power quality is identical with voltage quality, the better quality of the voltage provided to your equipment results in optimal performance from the equipment.

2. What is power conditioning and why is it important?

The voltage that powers your electronic equipment, carries harmful properties called "transients" and "noise". A high voltage transient is a spike of electrical voltage which can originate from the power utility company or a lightning strike. Spikes of electrical energy travel along the power line and enter your system. If allowed to pass through to the electronics of your system, they can damage components and cause them to malfunction and ultimately fail without any notice. Effective power conditioning will prevent damage to your equipment by filtering out these harmful properties and it will enhance its reliability and performance.

3. What is a power conditioner?

A power conditioner is a device intended to improve the quality of the power that is delivered to electrical equipment. The term most often refers to a device that acts in one or more ways to deliver a voltage of the proper level and characteristics to enable electronic equipment to function properly. A critical component found in high-quality high-performance power conditioners is a low impedance isolation transformer.

4. What is an isolation transformer?

An isolation transformer is a transformer used to transfer electrical power from a source of alternating current (AC) power to some equipment or device while isolating the powered device from the power source, usually for safety reasons. Isolation transformers are used for power supplies for sensitive equipment such as computers, medical devices, or laboratory instruments.

5. Is a power conditioner the same as a surge protector?

A surge protector may prevent a random power surge from causing catastrophic damage, but it does not prevent everyday noise and voltage fluctuations from causing other problems. Whereas an isolation transformer-based power conditioner makes sure that the high frequency electrical noise is always cleaned up and stable.

6. What size power conditioner do I need?

Sizing an isolation transformer-based power conditioner is as simple as ensuring the maximum load rating of the power conditioner is not exceeded by the equipment being protected.

7. What is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) System?

An uninterruptible power supply (also called a UPS or battery backup system) is an electrical device that provides emergency back-up power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails or sags. A UPS allows for the safe, orderly shutdown of a computer and connected equipment during a power failure.

8. What size UPS do I need?

Most UPS’s have both a maximum watt and VA (volt-ampere) ratings. Please note that neither rating may be exceeded by attached equipment, this is referred as overloading the UPS and it will not function. Real power drawn by the equipment is referred to watt rating, while volt-amps ratings are the product of the voltage applied to the equipment times the current drawn by the equipment. We always recommend a power quality expert to help determine which UPS size is right for you.

9. Are there different categories of UPS systems?

There are three general categories of UPS systems: online, line-interactive, and standby:

  • An on-line UPS uses a "double conversion" method of accepting AC input, converting it to DC for passing through the rechargeable battery, then inverting back to AC for powering the protected equipment. The batteries are always connected to the DC BUS of the ups, so that no power transfer switches is necessary. When power loss occurs, the rectifier simply drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady and unchanged.
  • A line-interactive UPS maintains the inverter in line and redirects the battery's DC current path from the normal charging mode to supplying current when power is lost. The line-interactive UPS is similar in operation to a standby UPS, but with the addition of a multi-tap variable-voltage transformer.
  • In a standby ("off-line") system the load is powered directly by the input power and the backup power circuitry is only invoked when the utility power fails. The offline/standby UPS offers only the most basic features, providing rudimentary surge protection and battery backup.

10. Is a UPS and an inverter the same thing?

They are not the same, the UPS is an electrical device that provides backup power to the system whereas the inverter converts DC into AC. The main function of the UPS is to store the electric supply whereas the inverter converts the stored DC power into AC power.

11. What is the difference between a UPS and a backup generator?

A UPS system provides a backup power that keeps your equipment running without interruptions during an outage with a limited run time, providing an opportunity to properly shut down the connected equipment. Whereas a generator is used as a temporary power source that can keep you operational during a power outage for a longer duration of time.

12. Is a UPS a power conditioner?

No, they are not, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) – is a device with a backup battery that provides several minutes of power in the event of a blackout. A power conditioner is a device intended to improve the quality of the power that is delivered to electrical equipment.

13. Can an UPS have a power conditioner built in it?

Yes, they can, our Integrity Max and Vanguard UPS systems are engineered with a power conditioner featuring an isolation transformer. This provides the attached equipment with battery backup but also providing a clean source of power. Thus, protecting the equipment from electrical noise, surges, power disturbances and unforeseen power outages.

14. What are some of the most reported power quality problems?

There are five key power problems: high voltage transients, electrical line noise, voltage sag & swell, common mode voltage, and a power outage.

  1. High Voltage Transients: This high voltage transient is a spike of electrical voltage which can originate from the utility company or a lightning strike. Significant amounts of energy that cause catastrophic component failure are a direct result of a high voltage transient.
  2. Electrical Line Noise: In all electronic applications, line noise is created using AC power. Electrical line noise can erode sensitive electronic components as it can also impede with the normal operation of digital circuits.
  3. Voltage Sag & Swell: A voltage sag or swell is caused by an under or over voltage within or outside of your facility. Typically caused by some loading event.
  4. Common Mode Voltage: Common mode voltage are disturbances from the electrical neutral to ground. These disturbances are highly troublesome to micro-processor applications.
  5. Power Outage: A blackout or a power outage is the total loss of utility power to an area and is the most severe form of power outage that can occur. Outages may last from less than a second to weeks depending on the nature of the blackout

15. What type of equipment is affected from power quality issues?

Any electrically operated or connected equipment is affected.

16. What are some common power quality problems experienced in the manufacturing industry?

Manufacturers face a range of potential power quality disturbances, many specific to the production process and product line. Even though the distinctiveness of each manufacturing operation is different, power quality problems are possible. Some more well-known problems would be voltage sag, spikes in the electrical line, PLC system lock ups & shutdowns, computer lock ups and electronic board failures. Most often than not a power conditioner and UPS system in place will help protect electronic equipment from these power related issues.

17. What are some common power quality problems experienced in the medical industry?

Medical facilities, including laboratories and hospitals, encounter unique power quality needs due to their reliance on the highly specialized and precise diagnostic equipment. Examples of specific power quality issues include system lock up and component failure, imaging problems and application failure, computer failure and data errors. By installing a power conditioner and UPS system in specific locations within the medical facilities will help protect the sensitive medical equipment from these power related issues.

18. What are some common power quality problems experienced in the retail/POS industry?

Retail stores and restaurants can also be affected by various power disturbances. When a power disturbance happens a POS system can lock up and will not work. Your primary application to process revenue need to be protected from these possible occurrences. The most common power quality problems associated with the POS industry would be power outages, energy spikes on the line affecting other associated applications and application lock ups along with data loss, incomplete orders and hardware failures. Connecting the appropriate power conditioner and/or UPS system can ensure protection to all your POS equipment.

19. What does a power quality solution like a power conditioner and/or UPS System help my business?

A proper power quality solution in place can help your business in many ways.

  • First and foremost, it protects your essential applications and equipment from unexpectedly shutting down from a power outage.
  • Conditions the power connected to your equipment, extending the life of the system.
  • Allows equipment and applications be properly shutdown during extended outages.
  • Protects against hardware failure, system interruptions and data loss.
  • Saves you time and money.

20. What does it mean to be UL listed?

UL Listing means that UL has tested representative samples of a product and determined that the product meets specific, defined requirements. These requirements are often based on UL's published and nationally recognized Standards for Safety. Commonly found in the products produced in the United States.

21. What is a CE Mark?

A CE Marking is a European marking of conformity that indicates that a product complies with the requirements of the applicable European laws or directives. ... It is usually a manufacturer's self-declaration that the product complies with European laws.

22. What is the difference between a UL Listing and CE Marketing?

Products in the U.S. are typically UL Listed, while products used in the E.U. must be CE Marked. In the United States, the UL mark signifies that the product has met specific UL safety standards. In European countries, the CE Mark signifies that a product act in accordance with European regulations. This means that the product meets the safety standards specified by the European Union Directive 305/2011 Construction Products Regulation, also known as CPR. Unlike the UL Listing in the U.S., the CE Mark is not optional in Europe—it is legally required for products used in construction.

All our NXT Power products are UL Listed and or CE Marked depending on the product and application to ensure optimal safety for the end users.