This is the first segment of a series of articles to discuss the protection of lighting systems including Parking Lot, Roadway, LED, Florescent Lighting and Lighting Controls from surge and transient activity. This segment will focus on Parking Lot Lighting and Roadway Lighting failures due to surges and transient activity, as well as demonstrate a very effective proven solution.

The desire for facilities to have continuous power has lead to the use of various types of generator and transfer switch combinations. The purpose of the automatic transfer switch (ATS) is to automatically start the generator and switch from the utility power feed to the power feed from the generator when the normal utility power fails. In order to complete this task, the ATS is equipped with electronic circuits that monitor the utility feed, control the starting mechanism of the generator and control the switch that transfers the power source from the utility feed to generator feed. Further, when the utility feed comes back on-line and is stable, the ATS transfers the load back to the utility feed.

The use of various types of drives to control motors is very common. The purpose of the drive is to increase the efficiency or to manage the speed of the motor being controlled. Through various processes and control mechanisms, the drive often reshapes the sine wave to provide a signal to the motor that allows for greater efficiency or varies the frequency of the signal to control the speed of the motor.  Due to the action of the drive, the power quality of the electrical environment can be compromised. That is, the drives can create voltage surges and harmonics on the system.

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When people think of transients or surges in the electrical system, they often refer to events that are noticeable by the human senses; sight (lights flicker & computers lockup or reset), sound (circuit breakers popping, equipment damaged by arcing or alarms going off) and smell (failed electrical components/systems or worse yet, fire). These are noteworthy events and properly selected and installed surge protective devices (SPD) [also known as Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors (TVSS)] can go a long way in preventing those failures that one’s sense of smell could detect. However, there is a daily and often a continuous bombardment of low-level transient voltages that are “eating away” your appliances and electrical/electronic equipment.

1) Brief Description: Many times, when installing Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) to protect groups of individual circuits, the situation arises where you might need to use several different types of units, or models in a small area. This may be because you have multiple individual circuits to protect, it may be advantageous to tie the ground or neutrals together on several SPDs, or all of the SPDs may need to be housed in a weather proof enclosure. This situation often calls for a custom assembly. Many times, contractors do not have the time or expertise to construct such an assembly, or having the contractor perform this operation may be cost prohibitive. Applications like these can be addressed by using the Pre-Packaged Assemblies, also referred to as “PPAs”, from Surge Suppression Incorporated (SSI).

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