In the early 1990’s the classic switchboard meter was still being utilized on switch gear, control panels, marine panels, and motor control. Individual segments of power were looked at so the lineup of instruments would include: Ammeter, Voltmeter, Hertz KW, PF, there were so many devices to manage.
The classic analog pointer is globally recognized. It is an easy to understand familiar friend. The face of the meter, regardless of
its name, had a dial and a pointer. That changed when digital circuitry was implemented. Now we have available, in digital formats: Ammeter, Voltmeter, KW ad so on. Digital transducers become common place and we provided a “combo” of KW and KVar Transducers that provide an analog out, to still be represented in the dial and point indicator. This was cost effective at the time, and this was also when a computer sat on your desk running DOS.
On the Utility Transmission and Distribution side, communications to control devices and RTUs (remote terminal units) had a unique language, Harris BNP (“Harris”) protocol. This was when SCADA was the new master communicator. Utility and large manufacturers were utilizing operating systems such as OS2, UNIX and Harris. Developed by GE< Harris supported communication between a SCADA system and RTUs of the same denomination. It has been widely used in North America. SCADA was complicated to understand and needed processing power.
There we stood, in front of many audiences, introducing the benefits of a one box device for measuring and managing all aspects of power. The Power Monitor. And, even more radical, remote readability through a modem and Microsoft Windows that it ran on. This was new in 1993.
Today we have the IoT and IIot, Internet of Things. What happened? Technology ran us over – the ability to speak at the network level took over. New operating systems came forth. Windows, MAC and Linux – and open form of UNIX grew momentum as it was OPEN and free to be used by all. The age of the internet is born and the web expands. The internet is now OPEN to do business and the operating systems of yesterday give way to the “platforms of today”.
Here we are. We use the internet to speak to devices on the Network, IP devices, we use mobile technology and apps to query and process. Sensors come into play and now I am educating the audience as to hwo we can manage and analyze our energy consumption, secure our critical equipment rooms, monitoring, log and alert to remote locations on important and critical events. We can visually view and open a door from our phone. I can know what my power consumption is and alert to my phone on a voltage fluctuation. SCADA is me – and my mobile device. Today’s metering: both AC and DC, we utilize small sensors to read and manage power down at the branch levels. Today’s metering can be read from “smart” meters that communicate on the network level and provide alerts on power fluctuations and offer management possibilities via “platforms” like never before.
Power consumption has increased over the decade as the need for more processing equipment, cloud, network edge, warehouse data centers, the gluttonous never ceasing hunger of the internet and mobile connectivity. Power and cooling and cooling means more power. More than ever we need to get down into the minutiae, power consumption not only at the overall facility level but we need to understand downstream at the PDU (power distribution unit) or the RPP (the remote power panel) or from cabling that hands down to feed a caged group of optical network equipment. We need to use better tool sets that can look at branches and circuits and we need to know that power is stable as processing and compute equipment can be finicky if the climate is not right and the power is unstable.
Intro new IoT toolkit, smart web based small multi-capable devices that use very little power, are typically Power over Ethernet themselves, low voltage DC and very smart as they measure, log and graph results over time.
Various meter inputs. Wireless communications mean meters can be placed in various locations and be easily deployed via a plug and play Cat5/6 cable for power; and can communicate via a ZigBee mesh protocol to a gathering alarm manager that can easily display results. This is different, it is data and speed and real-time information.
Quick efficiency calculations can be derived and various aspects of power or possible fluctuations can be monitored and alerted to, in real time, as they occur. Stable power is important to maintain power supply, circuitry does not like spikes and surges, and when power is distributed to many devices over a large area it is not necessarily the same power load or power quality.
The ability to know in real time, when power delivers a spike in voltage, can save your network. Full-out power loss means we know, and we have already transferred our data, our power supply or both. The clipboard of measurements is a continuous digital rolling event log and can be segregated and analyzed. Are there power trends that we can observe when certain times of day, or is capacity being ramped up when the cots ramp up as well?
Even better, let’s look and develop predictions, beneficial interpretations used to visualize results in advance,
to intuitively know how we can mitigate peak demand periods. And branch circuits, whether we are measuring AC or Dec, we can provide smart sensors that measure power in cables and bring us downstream values. From a customer perspective I want to know what is being paid for on every “leg”, to know when I reach the 80% threshold (which I can set as an alarm) and not go over or pay penalties.
From a provider perspective I want to make sure that our entire power capacity profile is covered by revenues
generated from our clients. Do we have enough? These are the days where discussions lead to “is that enough power and capacity” or “we need more”.
As appliances get smaller and are placed in Server Racks or directly on cabling; know that the price you pay for consumption is getting larger. Being able to timestamp when fluctuations occur, peak periods and follow the intricacies of a facilities power levels down to branch circuits is needed. The ability to look at usage and predict from where we trend to
where we need to go is exceptional. Operationally speaking it costs less to monitor and manage, especially when you can mitigate the risk of losing power and or the network. Sensing down to the circuit in continuous and real time web interface allows for instant gratification on my mobile device. As power manager this is peace of mind, as if I was in the room. And, just last week I was mapping live sensors through a facility map for another type of “real time view”, the old familiar analog pointer and dial was available as an icon!