© 2006
Applied Power Quality Solutions, LLC

 

 

 

 

Case Studies

Gaming Casino

Type of Services Provided

Problem Description

Next to the gaming machines, air conditioning is the most important equipment in any casino. This particular casino suddenly began to lose air conditioning motors at an alarming rate. At the time we

 

 

 

 

 

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came into the picture, they were losing between four and five a week. After six months the costs had exceeded $400,000 and no one could find the source of the problem. The insurance company’s engineer had determined that the problems were being caused by poor maintenance. Because of this finding, the insurance company was not willing to pay the claims.

Evaluation and Recommendations

The casino was powered via a large 750 kVA utility transformer. The transformer was protected by 13,000-volt surge arrestors. Interviews with key personnel and utility representatives revealed that there had been a severe lightning storm in the area at the time that the problem started. Our evaluation revealed that the utility transformer was improperly grounded. We concluded that lightning had struck the transformer at the time of the reported storm. Being improperly grounded, the surge arrestors did not redirect the event to ground as expected. This resulted in subtle damage to the transformer internals. Our power monitoring later confirmed this fact. In addition to these findings, we found other grounding issues and no TVSS protection on the main electrical service or any of the outdoor air conditioning systems.

Corrective Actions based on our recommendations

The utility company replaced its 750 kVA transformer. The client installed:

  • Supplemental grounding rods to augment the deficient ground system
  • Primary TVSS protection for the facility
  • TVSS protection for each of the outdoor air conditioning systems

Outcome

Motor failures stopped immediately after replacement of utility transformer. No further motor failures were experienced. General operational conditions improved and became very stable and predictable. The case was clearly made that the failures were the result of an electrical incident and not poor maintenance. The insurance company agreed to pay the claims.

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Small Commercial Facility

Type of Services Provided

Problem Description

This client was operating a small collections agency. As his business grew he needed more space and so he moved into a larger office. Sometime after moving, he began to experience system lock-ups several times a day. Each lock-up required shutdown, disk verification and re-start procedures which took some time. Needless to say, it became a severe burden for this small business. At the recommendation of his local utility engineer, the owner had new dedicated electrical circuits with “isolated” grounds run to each workstation. He installed new data communications cables from his server to the seven workstations on the network. By the time we came into the picture, he had spent close to $10,000. The problem continued in spite of these changes. As you might imagine his business was in serious trouble and ready to fold.

Evaluation and Recommendations

Our power monitoring and circuit analyses found no problems in the electrical circuits. We did, however, find very low relative humidity and high levels of static electric charge throughout the office area. Interviews with the personnel revealed that the system lock-ups seemed to occur when operators were getting up, walking across the carpet going to and from breaks.

Corrective Actions based on our recommendations

The client installed two $75.00 humidifiers: one in the outer office where the server was located and one in the inner office where the seven operators were located.

Outcome

Complete resolution of problems. After raising and maintaining the relative humidity in the room to approximately 40%, the lock-up problems completely stopped.

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Large Indoor Sports Arena

Type of Services Provided

Problem Description

In addition to sporting events, this facility is used for large music concerts. Prior to any concert there are sound checks performed by the stage crews. During one of these sound checks, arena personnel realized that their network had failed in one of the four quadrants of the arena. Subsequent troubleshooting revealed that several circuit boards had failed. The boards were replaced and the network was brought back on line. At the next concert, the same thing happened. By the time we came into the picture, the failures had been going on for more than a year. The estimated cost to the client was in the $15,000-$ 20,000 range. This does not include the cost of downtime, and wasted hours dealing with this issue.

Evaluation and Recommendations

Our evaluation revealed that the sensitive network hub equipment was not isolated from other systems in the facility. Also, there was no TVSS equipment installed at any level in the facility.

Corrective Actions based on our recommendations

Client implemented the following changes:

  • Installed specialized power filtration equipment to isolate the affected network hubs.
  • Installed series filtration elements for the network backbone.
  • Installed power and data TVSS in the affected network hub closets.
  • Installed primary TVSS equipment at the main electrical service.
  • Performed a Power Quality Healthcheck for the rest of the facility.

Outcome

At the next concert there was no network failure. Since that time there have been many concerts and not a single reported network failure. Several issues were uncovered during the Healthcheck. Corrections and enhancements were made saving the facility more than $100,000 over the next several years.

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Automotive Proving Ground

Problem Description

This facility was designed to be state of the art. There were security sensors, cameras and fire alarm equipment installed throughout the vast open spaces of the facility. All of these devices were connected, via buried communications cables, to a central monitoring station. Within the central station were several computers and specialized systems used to gather and process the data received from the remote sensors. The facility was located in an open desert area where severe lightning storms were a regular occurrence during the summer. Since its completion, the facility had been experiencing problems during lightning storms. Remote sensors and circuit boards within the central station were failing. On two occasions the central fire alarm system was completely destroyed which cost the client more than $20,000.

Evaluation and Recommendations

Our evaluation revealed that none of the remote sensors or the central station equipment was protected from the effects of lightning.

Corrective Actions based on our recommendations

A variety of specialty TVSS protection products were fabricated and installed for the various types of remote sensor. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and power and data-line TVSS was installed for the central monitoring station equipment.

Outcome

The failure rate of remote sensors and cameras has dropped by more than 90%. There have been no further catastrophic failures of the central fire alarm system.

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