hello... llhas anybody got the lastest buzz on what to dowith computer circuits? dedicated? GFCI? Arc fault? surge? what is the best recomended these days for office type situations ( 10+ computers )
I have worked as an apprentice and on to a journeyman in a general construction company. 90% of what I do is residential. I have an associats degree in electrical technology. I have started my own buisness this year and am with out the help of other electricians. this is why i find this site so helpful.
GFCI? Arc fault? You don't need any of these unless you are in the bedroom or bathroom. Surge Suppressor is always good to have. The ckt depends on how many you will have. You should be able to get the name plate data from the PC.
A lot depends on where this is happening. In office buildings with 3p wye feeders you worry about harmonics and you supersize your neutrals. If this is strip mall or residential on single phase, power quality may be more of an issue so surge may be the biggest issue. I would use surge protection at point of use and service entry in either place but that may just be a Florida thing. In real life anyone can take a lightning hit but it is a certainty here. Be very careful if you get in a strip mall or other occupancy where they are joining a couple of separate units into one company. When they start stringing LANs around, you just bonded your panels via the LAN cards. Make sure all of the services you might be plugging interconnected machines into get their grounding systems solidly bonded together.
In my last job, we installed dedicated circuits specifically for PCs. 3.5Amps reserved for each PC (PIII-class w/ 17" monitor and speakers, and determined by actual measurement and not UL plates, I insisted on that!) 4 to a 20A circuit, period, no chance of overload. Separate convenience receptacles were provided for misc stuff; this isolated nuissance trips to a circuit that the computers were NOT on. All circuits were isolated receptacle circuits- there were dedicated panels just to the PCs (and other IT equipment), and all were either on isolation transformers or powered by UPSs with integrated isolation transformers, but this was for upstream protection reasons unrelated to the quality of power going to the PCs, as we never had any issues there.
My present office, we just load 'em up until they bitch about the circuit breakers tripping. (I didn't have any hand in designing this building, btw.) It's not too bad until they start plugging in space heaters, coffee pots and laser printers on the same circuit as 8 PCs...
Remember: not only do laptops draw very little current, they also have their own integrated UPS! Laptops and telecommuting should be encouraged in the office If the cost of power is factored in, the laptops actually cost far less. IT people never think about that until it's too late
[This message has been edited by SteveFehr (edited 10-26-2006).]
As mentioned, you're main concern really isn't supply to the PCs, as long as the line voltage quality is acceptably consistant. Power supplies for both PCs and audio equipment are extreemly well designed these days, and the engineers who develop this equipment take into account reasonable fluctuations in voltage, harmonics, and line spikes.
Server rooms will require specialized supply, isolation, distribution, backup systems, HVAC work, etc., but that's a whole diffent thread.
As Steve and e57 mentioned, your main concern is what ELSE people will tend to plug into the PC circuits. If possible, dedicate circuits specifically to the PCs and label them as such (then sit back and see how long this is actually observed by the user). This will be difficult in a partition farm with integrated outlets, but it can (and should) be done if the business owner finds the cost acceptable.
I assume they may be fixing the problem but there used to be manufactured office partition systems that used multiwire circuits in the cube wiring. Those were particularly troubling when this was hooked to 3pY. Usually it was the interframe connectors that burned up. In the IBM offices they ended up abandoning these built in outlets and running new circuits with single circuit MC cable. It takes away the portability but the reliability was worth it.
As a matter of fact, twisted pair LAN cards are isolated (with isolation transformers) from ground to a minimum of 1500V per IEEE 802.3 speficiations.
Even on old thinnet cards with the BNC connector, the shield of the BNC is not connected to ground on the thinnet card, nor anywhere else (unless someone decided to ground it--this was never done in any thinnet installation I've ever seen). There were even plastic shields that could be placed over the BNC connectors and the "T" to ensure that it didn't touch the chassis of the machine.
I believe the isolation specs for thinnet are also tested out at 1500V.
"Bonding panels via the LAN cards? As a matter of fact, twisted pair LAN cards are isolated (with isolation transformers) from ground to a minimum of 1500V per IEEE 802.3 speficiations."
The LAN output is an isolation transformer but if you have a high frequency transient it will go right through that transformer and the baseplate of the PC is tied to the EGC via the power supply case and DC ground via the grounding pads on the system board. That will not show continuity from machine to machine via the LAN but it will still couple a transient. We had so much trouble in one of our installations (Holiday Inn Ft Myers) that we actually ended up running a bond wire from PC frame to PC frame, just to prove what was happening.