Puls issues weather caution

04 March 2010

Puls UK has cautioned electrical equipment manufacturers, asking them to consider the effects cold weather has on the operation of products. The company claims power supplies used to run equipment outdoors are particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures.

Puls explains that failure is caused by high voltages generated inside the units, which can reach as much as 400 Volts, that create sparks between conducting parts formed by ions present in condensation. This can result in severe damage and premature failure.

Engineers at Puls, which has a range of power supplies designed to operate in temperatures as low as - 40°C, say many of these failures could easily be avoided by applying conformal coating, which internal components, to prevent the formation of condensation.

Low temperatures also cause problems during start up due to a component known as a NTC (Negative Thermal Coefficient thermistor). Put simply this means that the lower the temperature the higher the resistance and most power supplies use this to limit the inrush current when the power is turned on. However, if the resistance is too high the power supply won’t start, along with the device it supports.

Puls UK’s managing director Harry Moore said: “Manufacturers need to consider carefully the conditions their products are likely to operate in and make sure the power supply they specify is up to the job. A unit that will work perfectly in normal conditions could be totally useless in freezing weather and we’ve all seen the results when someone gets it wrong.”

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