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Telecommunications Tech Blog September 2013

Is AC Power Your Problem?

By Mike Sandman  •

When you're fighting a problem with equipment do you assume the AC power is OK?

Do you assume the AC ground is there and OK?

Well, the third world engineers designing this stuff also assume your AC power and ground is OK.

That's a lot of assumptions that can lead to chasing your tail for a long time. My hand is raised because I've been there and done that!

The various problems that can occur with AC power aren't obvious:

  • Is the power outlet or even the power panel wired correctly?
  • Is the voltage high or low?
  • Is the voltage high or low intermittently?
  • Is there noise or RF on the power in the building?
  • Is the ground good, or even connected?

If your problem isn't intermittent, you're lucky. Just check the power outlet and get out your meter and take some readings.

Use a Battery Backup to run the equipment disconnected from the AC power to see if that's causing your problem.

If it is intermittent you'll have to do all that plus connect a laptop to the Battery Backup, running the Battery Backup utility software to see if something is happening to the power intermittently. Maybe at night? Maybe when certain equipment is fired up in the building or even by a next door neighbor using power?

For more information on diagnosing AC Power & Ground problems see our AC Power & Grounding Tech Bulletin.


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