HERE’S THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT CONVENTIONAL POWER DISTRIBUTION;
It’s designed to protect the power cables and connectors, not your significant investment in LED screens.
Of course, the same hold true if you are powering several hundred automated stage lights or audio equipment. Electrical faults do not care what is being powered.
It does not matter if your current power distribution product is “top quality” and in accordance with the latest electrical regulations. Those regulations are not concerned with protecting the connected loads.
Conventional power distribution will cheerfully pass 400V to the power supplies in your LED screen and at minimum, make the internal power supplies into scrap. Circuit breakers protect will only against over-currents, not over-voltages. This is a far too common problem. Equipment damage due to electrical faults is real and costs a lot of money and time. Over the years we have heard hundreds of horror stories on this subject.
YOUR CHECKLIST FOR TEMPORARY POWER DISTRIBUTION
- Metering of voltages BEFORE the main switch (or main breaker) to enable you to determined that all is OK before you switch on.
- Monitoring of the incoming currents including neutral current.
- A fast-acting ‘loss of neutral’ sensing that instantly trips the main breaker. This is key to dealing with the over-voltages caused by a weak or lost neutral connection. Some systems use so-called voltage monitoring relays believing that will offer good protection. Unfortunately, they generally don’t. These relays are designed for the protection of electric motors and machinery, products that can handle a second or two of over-voltage without self-destructing.
- Proactive load monitoring– this enables you to see how much current is being drawn on each individual channel. This will help you deal with accidentally disconnected loads and overloads before they create a problem.
- Circuit breakers that are designed for the purpose. The common household grade thermal-magnetic circuit breakers are not. For one thing, they are greatly affected by heat. Chose power distribution that uses hydraulic-magnetic circuit breakers, those are temperature independent, can be instantly reset, and handles in-rush current much better.
WANT A BETTER HANDLE ON POWER DISTRIBUTION?
There are of course many other aspects to consider but these are the top ones. Electricity and electrical distribution is used by all of us every day but our understanding of it is often poor and there are many misconceptions about it. Over the past four years, we have helped customers all over the world to get a better handle on power distribution.
We are always happy to offer advice on power-related issues regardless if you are a customer or not. We want to make electrical power as safe as possible.
Written by Mats Karlsson; CEO at StageSmarts AB