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Information is Power

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Exploring The Ip And Green Trends In Power Management And Protection Systems

Power is like water; we expect it to be there. When it’s not, or

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When a recent lightning strike sizzled the lighting system and disabled the motorized security gate of one of their clients, Debbie and Fernando Salazar, of Fusion Home Entertainment, discovered Richard Gray’s HouseGuard, a whole-house AC line surge suppression solution for 120/240V single-phase electrical installations. there’s a surge, then there is definitely a problem. As next-gen devices demand more power more of the time, there is also a desire to increase home efficiency and decrease utility bills. An unreasonable request? No way. In fact, the confluence of eco-awareness and greater reliability has created a vibrant market for smarter power management solutions.

HDTVs need a lot of juice. So do security systems, computers for higher data transmission rates, and networking stations. Even phone systems are becoming more sophisticated. People want to protect their investments as efficiently as possible. All this translates into sales opportunities for custom dealers who can deliver valuable solutions that are easy to use.

Panamax’s central regional sales manager Paul LeMay agrees. “Many dealers and distributors now recognize that in order to generate profits, they need to sell power products, or all accessories in general. Just selling a flat-panel TV alone is a one-way ticket to bankruptcy.”

LeMay also noted that until consumer confidence returns full force, the focus isn’t on luxury, but rather on, “Necessary items, like a good, quality surge protector.”

ENERGY IS CURRENCY
Energy efficiency in the home

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When a recent lightning strike sizzled the lighting system and disabled the motorized security gate of one of their clients, Debbie and Fernando Salazar, of Fusion Home Entertainment, discovered Richard Gray’s HouseGuard, a whole-house AC line surge suppression solution for 120/240V single-phase electrical installations. is nothing new. Since 1992, the Energy Star logo has reflected the trend toward more efficient consumer products. (Energy Star-compliant appliances and AV devices save power on an average of 20 to 30 percent.) Green computing also has been growing in popularity in the past three to five years. It technically refers to the practice of using computing resources more efficiently as well as promoting biodegradability, recyclability, and the reduction of toxic manufacturing materials. SmartGrids have been in the news, championed by the bellwether Google. Developed in collaboration with home automation partners, intuitive Smart- Grid interfaces are becoming more affordable to help homeowners know when and from where they are drawing power.

Rick Komendera, president of Richard Gray’s Power Company, explained that because power is most expensive at peak usage times, homeowners can use real-time energy information to make more informed, “eco-friendly lifestyle” adjustments. “More customers are asking dealers for solutions that can help them be more eco-conscious,” he said. “Fortunately,

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APC’s S20 power conditioner is equipped with battery backup, network manageability, and temperature/ humidity monitoring, and is designed to be easily integrated and managed within a home automation network. that’s a selling point of power management. By scheduling automatic shutdowns at times when gear will never be used, whole-house power solutions can actually remove a circuit from the grid so it doesn’t draw phantom loads, even though gear is still connected.”

Monster, the California-based provider of power conditioning and surge protection systems, believes in the potential of green, reflected by the debut of two new HDP products in 2008. The Digital PowerCenters with Monster GreenPower for home theater systems, the HDP 850G and the HDP 900G, automatically turns off home theater components when not in use, rather than reverting to standby mode.

Whole-house power management solutions can also connect with solar panels and other renewable energy sources, storing and making power more stable for audio and video equipment.

The evolution of “green” means gear that not only reduces waste but also incorporates a new, much smarter sensibility, including IP addressability. Schneider Electric’s American Power Conversion (APC) brand makes numerous products that are “very green, and save installers (and customers) time and money, with the remote IP manageable system,” said Kelly Colgan, a spokesperson for APC.

Colgan pointed to the APC S20 power conditioner specifically. It’s equipped with battery backup, network manageability, and temperature/humidity monitoring, and is designed to be easily integrated and managed within a home

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The centerpiece of Middle Atlantic Products’ Exact Power brand is its PowerCore Isolation Transformer System, an all-in-one isolation transformer system with integrated surge and spike protection, single-point ground/impedancematched filtering, and same-phase branch load circuits, locally positioned. automation network. Colgan said that custom installers now have, “An all-in-one network manageable power protection system that will help reduce intrusive service calls and increase customer satisfaction.”

The S20’s built-in web server and RS-232 serial port provide installers multiple ways to control and monitor the unit and the components plugged into it. It also gives installers the ability to remotely reboot hung equipment, saving customers a service call and saving dealers critical labor time.

Minimizing time in the field is essential, agreed Richard Gray’s Komendera. RGPC is actively designing remote diagnostic and troubleshooting features into their power products. Not every issue must be addressed in person, Komendera noted, but “system lock-ups and other common issues can often be solved with a simple reboot. When given the option of fixing a problem remotely, it’s a no-brainer for dealers,” he said.

That convenience helped inspire the recent launch of the RGPC Extender IP, certified as the company’s first Crestron Integrated Partner Program product. Extender IP also is RGPC’s first networkable device, and it cycles power for up to eight connected components.

The centerpiece of Middle Atlantic Products’ Exact Power brand is its PowerCore Isolation Transformer System, an all-in-one isolation transformer system with integrated surge and spike protection, single-point ground/impedancematched filtering, and same-phase branch load circuits, locally positioned.

Remote control and diagnostics via IP are also available from the Chicago manufacturer Tripp Lite. The company’s HTR22-3U is an IPenabled A/V On-Line Pure Sine Wave model offering a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) design. The PowerAlert Software allows monitoring and configurable network messaging, and page and email notification. To save installers even more time, the drivers are already written for AMX and Crestron integration.

OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE
Energy efficiency is a benefit, clearly, and it saves money. But you can’t compromise on safety or performance. That’s especially true if you live in Florida, the capital of lightning strikes. Just ask Deborah and Fernando Salazar, owners of Fusion Home Entertainment (www.fusion-homentertainment. com), an innovative systems design and installation firm in Miami.

When a recent lighting strike sizzled the lighting system and disabled the motorized security gate of a Fusion client, the Salazars discovered RGPC’s HouseGuard. It’s an inclusive whole-house AC line surge suppression solution for 120/240V single-phase electrical installations. Now for the first time, Fusion can protect their customers’ lighting control systems

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Panamax believes that instead of luxury items, consumers want quality products that enhance an installation, like its M8-HT surge protector. from damaging lightning, surge, and spike protection. Fernando said that not only does it provide the level of protection necessary, it is simple to install, as well. Tag-teamed with a professional electrician to perform the high-voltage connections, “the RGPC HouseGuard was installed in 25 minutes,” Fernando Salazar said.

Power is such an important topic right now that New Jersey-based Middle Atlantic Products has devoted a whole division to it after acquiring Exact- Power brand last year. “We are keeping in mind the needs of the installers and making this as easy as possible for them,” said Kevin Handerson, head of marketing communications with MAP.

With Middle Atlantic’s company roots in physical support and protection of equipment, the addition of power distribution, as well as cabling and thermal/temperature control, creates a single integration solution for dealers, he explained.

The centerpiece of the Exact Power brand is the PowerCore Isolation Transformer System, which Handerson said is an all-in-one isolation transformer system with integrated surge and spike protection, single-point ground/impedancematched filtering, and same-phase branch load circuits, locally positioned.

“It’s designed to provide clean, protected power to all the sensitive AV investments throughout the home,” he explained. PowerCore systems are available in 7.5, 10, 15, and 25 kVA capacities.

Margot Douaihy is a contributing editor of Residential Systems.

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