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The Reason Behind Problems in Quality Power Supplies

The component in your power equipment that is under the most stress is usually the power supply unit (PSU), because that is the bridge between your equipment's components and the utility grid. It has to deal with all the dirty power, spikes and sags of the utility grid. The higher the power draw of your equipment, the more stressed the power supply unit. That's a tough job, and it gets even harder if there is no uninterruptible power supply (UPS) installed. Sensitive manufacturing equipment requiring clean AC/DC power (i.e. pure sine wave without dirty signals) makes this job even tougher, and the number 1 reason why lower quality commercial PSU/UPS fail.
According to our experiences, the majority of failures in PSU and UPS are because of:
  • Cracked capacitors (whether they are multi-layer ceramic or electrolytic capacitors)
  • Careless soldering repairs on the PCB 
  • Bent pins of In-Circuit Test (ICT) fixtures (which are used in the manufacturing line to quickly evaluate the PCBs)
  • Cooling fans problems (bearing failures)
  • Counterfeit cooling fans (moves much less air and consumes more power compared to the original)
  • Bridge rectifiers, diodes, MOSFETS, etc.
  • Incorrect application, incorrect product selection, etc.

Despite popular thought, a lot of progress is being made in capacitor technologies every year; however, they are still prone to failure if overstressed or if substitutes are made in producion or by counterfeiting. To prevent these types of failures, make sure you are not using commercial grade PSU/UPS in an industrial environment - they are simply not designed to withstand high currents (i.e. inrush currents), high temperatures (in excess of 50ºC), and lack the robustness of a true industrial grade PSU/UPS. 

Another problem in the industry is the proliferation of counterfeit fans into the supply chain. In one case that I know of, a customer discovered a substitute fan they bought that was indistinguishable from the original PSU/UPS - except that it moved much less air and consumed more power than the original. That low-cost power supply is going to get expensive very quickly!

There are other factors that can cause power supplies to fail but, based on our experience the ones I’ve described happen most frequently. When designing a system, the main rule is to make the power supply design your first consideration — not the last. A high-quality power supply company will take the lessons learned from experience and incorporate them into new designs to increase reliability and reduce field issues. Choosing the appropriate power supply designed for your specific application means that you won’t have any issues in the field in the first place.

Our team at Rexgear, is expert at custom industrial UPS for mission-critical applications. Our Preen & Rexgear industrial UPS offers the level of quality, feature, and durability on par with Mitsubishi/Siemens/Eaton, at more affordable price points and our level of service is second to none.

Want to know more? Give us a call or fill out our contact form.

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