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barneygumble742 12th June, 2004 12:17 AM

power drop vs power outage? (also need new router)
recently i spoke to a guy who knows a ton about electricity and telecommunications. i couldn't follow some of the stuff he was saying but i think he said something like "a power drop is worse than a power outage" can someone please translate what that means? i think a power outage is when the power goes out. but what's a power drop?

also, i need a new router. i had a linksys befsr41 or something like that. but the router stopped working after a power glitch (above topic). i need a new router, for a small office. the guy, aforementioned, told me that netgear makes a good router but i forgot to ask him about the specifics. he said something like "each port on the router has memory that boosts the speed." can anyone elaborate on that?

or should i get an apc backup product to cover the whole office and get the same linksys router?


XeroHouR 12th June, 2004 02:19 AM

maybe a drop is like a surge, an outtage is just that, a loss of power. If it "drops" a lot of power into your system you'll obviously fry stuff, which is why a fuse/UPS is a must for expensive systems.

cadaveca 12th June, 2004 04:56 PM

a drop is worse than an outage because of when the power resets back to it's normal level there is bound to a blown fuse..or something bad..but something to keep in mind when you are buying/plugging in router/modems,etc.....
don't plug your modem/router into a power bar, unless you've spent some decent money on it. most power bars offer surge protection, but drop-off protection. as you have other devices plugged into the power bar, the draw they cause will " dirty " the power going to your modem/router and could negatively affect your connection. almost every modem manufacturer tells you to plug your modem directly into a power outlet, and not into a power bar, for this reason.

barneygumble742 12th June, 2004 05:28 PM

if that's the case, i should plug my system into a ups device except for the router?

it sounds strange given that during a surge, it was my router that stopped working.

cadaveca 12th June, 2004 05:54 PM

of course a surge is BAD...but what I am trying to say is don't go buy a cheap power bar and plug your router or modem into it and expect things to be ok. drops or surges equate to the same thing...a large change in the size of the wavelength of the electrons..that although most circuits can adapt to the change, they can only do it SO FAST.
a cheaper power bar just has a fuse in-line and all the devices are connected to the same power source ON THE SAME LINE. On a more expensive power bar, they will all be on the same power source BUT ON INDIVIDUAL LINES, allowing for capacitors to be put in place that ensure the same levels of power, both up AND down.
Up is bad because things fry.
down is usually the precursor to a surge...and constant LOWER levels will degrade signal strength. the change from low power tyo normal power is still a surge...just not as high a surge..

Gizmo 12th June, 2004 07:54 PM

A power drop is exactly that, a reduction in the amount of available power. A power outage is a complete lack of power.

The reason a drop can be worse than an outage is because when you have a power drop, you make things work harder to produce the same amount of power. For a PSU, this translates to increased heat in the components and increased load on the circuits to produce the same amount of useful work. In the US, most things are designed to work down to 95v, because this is the level that the utilty companies have to provide as a bare minimum under brownout or power drop conditions. This would be all find and dandy, except that the utility only has to deliver that level to the meter. Many buildings (especially older ones) have poor wiring, to the point that when the electric company has a brownout and delivers 95v to the meter, the actual voltage delivered to the socket can be as much as 10v lower than that, because of the wiring. Now you've got things running at voltages they were never designed for, and things start blowing up. Hence, a power outage can actually be better for the electronics than a power drop.

Generally speaking, any equipment that is sensitive to voltage fluctuations should be on a line conditioner. A line conditioner is similar to a UPS except it doesn't have battery backup. It 'evens out' the surges and brownouts to provide regulated power to the load, and shuts down completely if the input power drops too far.

The next step up from this is a UPS, which performs the same functions, but also has a battery of come capacity to allow it to handle power failures.

Cerium 13th June, 2004 01:59 AM

ALso With a power drop when it coem back the power will likely momentarli be slightly above 120 - thats bad

Aedan 13th June, 2004 11:49 AM

From what I know about electronics, the biggest problem with a brown out is the fact the PSU can no longer maintain the correct output voltages. The internals of whatever device will be trying to operate on a voltage that may be too low for them to operate correctly. It is possible that components can then end up in a situation called 'latch-up'. For digital devices, this usually represents the output trying to switch to both '0' and '1' simultaniously. The net result is that the device tries to short out the power supply. Obviously this leads to dead components fast!

For analog devices such as op-amps, it's a similar story in that the component tries to connect both the positive and negative supplies the the output at the same time. If the op-amp happens to be part of the power supply, then your power supply may end up throwing out odd voltages, and killing things connected to it. (There are techniques to help prevent this, but they're all fairly brutal to the PSU.)

Surges and spikes cause problems due to the rather high voltages that can appear on the mains. In industrial areas, spikes on the mains can easily exceed 1000V - you have to hope that your PSU is well enough protected to prevent problems. Surges tend to be smaller in size than a spike, but tend to be longer events. Devices like surge protectors are all very good, but the cheaper ones use a device called a MOV. These are pretty good at absorbing excess power, but with a large surge/spike the MOV may sacrifice itself to absorb the excess power. After this occurs, the MOV is dead, and can't provide any further protection from surges/spikes!

Aedan 13th June, 2004 11:51 AM


Originally Posted by cadaveca
a large change in the size of the wavelength of the electrons.

What's the size of the wavelength of electrons? We're into DeBroglie territory now! ;)

Cerium 13th June, 2004 04:07 PM

I think he means the wavelenght of the AC. But i dont know y that would change. A brown out is a purposefull blackout or cutoff. A few yoears back we ot them in californa. Not fun but i live in an area labled as not allopwd to be brownouted. SO thats cool. It is cus of the school/poliece / hospital close togetherr.

Gizmo 13th June, 2004 04:55 PM

Changing the wavelength of the AC would require changing the frequency from 60 Hz to something else. The electric company can't do that without FCC approval, because they are a radio broadcaster. In any case, far too many things depend on the AC frequency to be 60 Hz in the US (or 50 Hz elsewhere). Changing the frequency would be even worse than droping the voltage for a lot of equipment.

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