Eskom is full of promises and falls short when it comes to delivery. Residential estates therefore need to consider what their options are to keep their security operations running during blackouts. Naturally, generators are an option, as is the trusty old UPS in the control room, but can solar power also assist in keeping the power flowing and, perhaps, even reduce the ever-increasing costs of electricity?
And, in South Africa there is always the question of lightning damage to electronic equipment as well as damage by surges and dips in the power supply.
The Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked Hano Oelofse, MD of DEHN Africa, and Forbatt SA’s Vaughn Tempelhoff to comment on keeping an estate’s security operations running all the time.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What general advice would you offer to a large estate that needs to keep its security technology running 24x7, whether Eskom provides power or not?
Oelofse: In order for security technology to run 24x7, with Eskom power or any alternative source on large estates, it is critical to firstly analyse the lightning and surge damage probability in the specific area in order to quantify the lightning risk level based on SANS/IEC 62305-2 – Risk Analysis. The second step would be to verify the current/future equipment to calculate a suitable economic protection solution based on the installation and current setup. It is very important to remember to have a complete solution, both external protection (air termination/earthing) and internal protection (surge protection devices).
Tempelhoff: Security forms a massive part of any residential estate, hence one cannot emphasise the importance thereof. Systems need to be running 24-hours a day, 7-days a week without compromise, no matter what source of power is supplied. Generally, it is best to have backup power running in conjunction with Eskom for when we go into situations like load shedding.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: How would the estate determine what it requires to keep its systems running?
Oelofse: From a surge and lightning protection view, it is critical to protect both the normal (Eskom) supply as well as the emergency (generators/solar etc.) supply. With the existing constant load shedding taking place, switching surges are created which damages sensitive equipment, and surge protection devices should be installed to protect against these surges.
Tempelhoff: First, you would determine the power source needed, for example 12 V, 24 V or 220 V. From there one would consider all sources requiring power and calculate the total power consumption of all devices. Once determined, you would calculate the amount of days you would require backup power. In some cases recently, we have seen little to no power on rainy days.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions:Is solar power a good option to go off-grid, specifically for systems that need to be running 24x7?
Tempelhoff: Solar power is one of the best options to go off grid. Depending on location, turbine also offers great performance and turbines can also offer power generation at night. However, reliable supply in most cases also depends on using reliable, high-quality batteries such as those Forbatt and others supply.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: No matter what solution is chosen, what will the estate need to do to manage surges and dips in supply, as well as (if not more importantly) lightning?
Oelofse: Lightning and surge protection devices (SPDs) need to be correctly selected and installed at both AC/DC power sources as well as all data/communication interfaces in order to fulfil a complete solution. External lightning protection should be installed at all exposed equipment according to SANS/IEC 62305-3.
Tempelhoff: Unfortunately, no electronic device can survive a direct strike from lightning. There are, however, companies that can provide sure protection and devices that can manage static discharge. The installation and the equipment used is an important choice here and therefore it is always good to chat to a professional during the planning phase.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What power management services and solutions does your company supply?
Oelofse: DEHN is the global leader in the field of lightning protection, surge protection and earthing, offering full turnkey solutions which include manufacturing, supplying and engineering in all markets and industries. DEHN Africa offers the following engineering services:
• Manufacturing and supplying of lightning, surge and earthing components.
• DEHN Africa’s engineering team conducts lightning risk analysis, site inspections with detailed reporting, complete designs and solutions tailored for each project, verification of new and existing installations and we issue Lightning Protection System Installation Safety certificates as per SANS 10313.
Tempelhoff: Forbatt SA supplies a complete range of solar-orientated batteries in Gel format, offering solutions for different requirements. Our Gel range batteries also have comprehensive warranties of up to three years.
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