Electrical Earthing Protection for Data centres barely existed thirty years ago. But, in the past few years, they have become essential to the functioning of virtually every large business. And professional organisation.
Very little commercial or administrative activity can take place if the computers are out of action. So, every minute of data centre downtime can have severe consequences for a firm’s profitability. Also, crucially, its reputation. Therefore, sound Electrical Earthing Protection can help to ensure that frequent but unpredictable events. Such as lightning strikes. And power surges do not cause data loss. As well as, severe and lasting damage to sensitive data centre equipment. Therefore, electrical earthing is a matter of vital importance.
Shielded Cable And Earthing – The Faraday Cage
The use of sensitive equipment in data centres is not the only reason for giving special consideration to earthing issues. The shielded cable, which is used in data centres to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI) in data transmission. Requires earthing to work effectively. The shield works by acting as a Faraday Cage. Thus, preventing EMI from reaching the internal signal wire. However, if it is not correctly earthed. There is a risk of an induced voltage in the shield. Which, can itself produce interference in the signal.
Earth Loops – The Risks
Consideration also needs to be given to earth loops; These occur where two or more earthing connections are at slightly different voltages. Because of the very low impedance in the earthing cables. Even a minimal voltage difference will be sufficient to create a current looping through the equipment. Therefore, back through the earth. This current is detectable as a ‘hum’ in audio equipment. However, have more severe consequences for data transmission.
Electrical Earthing Protection For Data Centre Cabinets
Although many data centres use a conventional electrical earthing system for all their equipment. Therefore, which reduces the risk of earth loops. As a result, there are strong arguments to be made for earthing the data centre racks and cabinets separately. This thinking is to minimise the effects of power surges. A complex issue. Also, getting it right requires careful engineering. It is crucial that the electrical earthing system design aligns with the design of the data centre from the start. Also, all electrical earthing connections are accessible throughout the data centre.
What Electrical Earthing Protection Are Data Centres Required to Have?
British Standard 7671 covers the general requirements for low voltage electrical installations in the UK. However, data centre technology has tended to evolve faster than standards. Therefore, engineers may need to source their information more widely. Using, for example, the American Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) guide. TIA-942, first published in 2005, which covers data centre standards.
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