Buying Guide For Voltage Stabilizer

voltage stabilizers buying guide

Selection of a right voltage stabilizer suiting your applications is critical. The key areas to be considered critically are the nature, power consumption range of your application and the level of voltage fluctuations that are experienced in your locality. You need to know the rating of the equipment to be protected – the ratings are normally mentioned as KW, KVA or in Amps. You will also need to know the nominal line voltage and frequency. 

To start with we have also compiled the list of best voltage stabilizers for you. Please see this page for more information.

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To know what kind of voltage stabilizer you need 
  • Check the voltage, current & power rating of the device. It is written on the specification sticker near power socket else check the user manual. In India, standard service voltage will be 230VAC, 50 Hz.
  • To get the maximum power – Multiply “230 x Max rated Current” of all the equipment that is to be connected to the stabilizer. Add a 20-25% safety margin to arrive at stabilizer rating. If you have plans to add more devices later, you can keep buffer for them.
  • You should also consider the surge current which flows when you switch on the device.
  • In case the Voltage Stabilizer has a rating in watts also, assume a power factor of 0.8 (W=V*A*pf).

The most important thing is to know the nature of the load connected to the voltage stabilizer. First, you must note down the power (or Watts) for all the appliances that will be connected to a stabilizer. The sum total of the power consumption (or Watts) will give you the load on the voltage stabilizer in watts.

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But most voltage stabilizer sizes are in VA (Volt Ampere) or kVA (kilo Volt Ampere which is equal to 1000 Volt Ampere). Although to get the actual VA (or Volt Ampere) from Watts (W) you will have to do some measurements, but to give a rough approximation, you can increase the Watts value by 20% to get the approximate VA size that you may need.

So for e.g., if the sum of Watts connected to your voltage stabilizer is 1000 then you can take a 1200 VA or 1.2 kVA stabilizer. (Please note that 20% is suitable for residential systems and may not work in industries if your power factor is bad).

Usually, a voltage stabilizer comes with different working ranges (working range is the voltage range in which the stabilizer operates/stabilizes the input utility voltage and provides a desirable output voltage). It’s important to choose your stabilizer suiting the voltage fluctuations in your locality.

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Make an idea of the level of power fluctuations that are common in your location. (E.g. extremely low/high voltage areas, moderate-high/low voltage area etc.). You have to choose the working range of your stabilizers that will address the demands of your location. For instance, you might need to choose the stabilizer with a wide working range, if your location experiences extremely low/high voltage fluctuations.

You can also read this article regarding Voltage stabilizer configuration.

What salient features should you look for in a Voltage Stabilizer?

Voltage Stabilizer In India
Voltage Stabilizer

a. Mounting
Since a voltage stabilizer works with electric power, there is always a risk of your Stabilizer getting wet or damaged when placed on the ground or anywhere unsafe. This is why most stabilizers can be wall-mounted or placed at a higher level, to not only protect it from any damage but to also protect your family, especially small children, from being exposed to the risk of electric shock.

b. Indicators
Indicators display the voltage which has been regulated in order to supply power to the appliance. Newer models are also enabled with LED indicators.

c. Time-Delay Systems
This feature enables a time-lapse so that the inbuilt compressor (in case of a refrigerator or air conditioner etc.) gets sufficient time to balance the current flow when a short duration power cut occurs.

d. Digitized
Making the function of a voltage stabilizer more accurate and reliable, a lot of the latest models are digitized. What’s interesting about these newer models is that not only are they digitized, but they also adapt themselves to a variety of devices. So all you have to do is shift the stabilizer from one device to another to get it to work. Most of them will also connect and adapt to generators if installed.

e. Overload Protection
The overload protection feature turns off the stabilizer output completely in case of short circuit or any kind of burn-out due to overload occurs.

Most of our stabilizers are provided with a 3-5 year warranty so that you can enjoy safe and sufficient protection for your appliances for longer. Always remember to choose a stabilizer crafted particularly for your home appliance. We hope you make a good decision.

Do modern refrigerators/air conditioners come with in-built Voltage stabilization?
Modern appliances (mostly refrigerators and air conditioners) do come with a bigger Voltage range for operation, i.e. if in past, refrigerators worked well only between 200-240V, now they have a bigger range of 170-290V. The refrigerator comes with inbuilt high & low voltage cutoff but they do not come with in-built Voltage Stabilizers. Using Voltage Stabilizer with such appliances may not be necessary unless voltage in your area shoots up or down much above or below the limit in which the appliance can operate

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Few practical questions regarding voltage stabilizer

voltage stabilizer buying guide
Voltage Stabilizers

Question 1: Why is Power Quality important?

For electrical systems to function properly, it is necessary to make sure that the quality of the power feeding them is of sufficient quality to ensure that performance is not impaired or system life expectancy reduced.

Without the proper power, an electrical device or load may malfunction, fail prematurely or not operate at all. There are many ways in which electric power can be of poor quality and many more causes of such poor quality.

Question 2: Do You actually know the mains supply problems you are experiencing?

To identify the most appropriate solution it is always recommended that you first.

identify exactly the problems you are experiencing. You may of course already have a good idea as to the problems being encountered. If not, it will be necessary to monitor the supply over a period of time to identify the types, duration and magnitude of power problems experienced.

Power supply problems are caused by various sources, for example, distribution network faults, system switching, weather and environmental conditions, heavy plant and equipment, or simply faulty hardware.

Regardless of the cause of the problem, the resulting power quality issue will include one, or more, of the power problems detailed on the right and following page.

Mains Supply Voltage Problems – Symptoms, Causes & Solutions
Voltage Sags

Sags: are short duration decreases in the mains supply voltage which generally last for several cycles.

Formal Definition – Voltage below 80 to 85% of rated RMS voltage for 2 or more cycles.

Typical symptoms – Sensitive equipment can lock or hang causing data loss and system resets.

Common Causes – Heavy equipment turned on, starting large electrical motors, switching of the mains supply.

Solutions –   AC Voltage Stabilizer,  AC Power Conditioner &  Uninterruptible Power Supply.

Brownouts

Blackout and Mains Failures: when the mains supply fails completely this is known as a total

Formal Definition – Loss of incoming mains supply

Typical Symptoms – Complete disruption of equipment operation. A break in the mains supply of only several milliseconds is sufficient enough to crash, lock or reset many of the components that make up a typical data or voice processing IP networks, such as PC, terminal, console, server, PBX, printer, modem, hub or router.

Common Causes – Storms, lightning, wind and utility equipment failure. Typically occurs as a result of loss of power, a mechanical failure, or overloading by consumers.

Solutions – Uninterruptible Power Supply & Diesel Generator

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Electrical Noise

Electrical Noise: this is a high-frequency noise either common or normal mode.

Formal Definition – Electrical noise is high-frequency interference on the incoming mains

Typical Symptoms – Processing errors, computer lock-up, burned circuit boards, degradation

Common Causes – Electric motors, relays, motor control devices, broadcast transmission

Solutions – Isolation Transformer, AC Power Conditioner & Online Uninterruptible Power Sup

High Voltage Spikes

High Voltage Spikes: these are very fast high energy surges or spikes in voltage lasting only a few milliseconds.

Formal Definition – Rapid Voltage peak up to 6,000 volts with a duration of 100msec to ½ a cycle.

Typical Symptoms – Equipment can lock or hang, crash and even suffer damage which inevitably causes data loss and corruption.

Common Causes – Switching of equipment, especially heavy inductive loads, arcing faults or atmospheric electrical disturbance, such as lightning strikes and static discharges.

Solutions – AC Voltage Stabilizer, AC Power Conditioner, Isolation Transformer, Uninterruptible Power Supply.

Load Voltage Reductions Effects Voltage Increases
Computers An 8% drop will often cause computer errors and downtime. A 10% rise will cause computer damage, errors and downtime.
Lighting A 10% voltage drop reduces lumen output by over 25% (15% for fluorescent tubes). Infra-Red lamp heat output is reduced by over A 10% volt rise reduces life expectancy of incandescent lamps by over 50%.
 Radio & TV Transmission Volt drop will reduce the quality of the transmission. Overvoltage by 2% will significantly reduce tube

Question 3: How do you determine the power sizing of the equipment you wish to protect?

You will need to check the rating of the equipment to be protected. Such ratings are normally quoted in Amps or kVA, and whether single or three-phase. You will also need to determine the nominal voltage line to neutral and line to line if three-phase, plus the frequency and power factor.

Such information is usually shown on the rating plate attached to the equipment, otherwise, you will need to consult the manufacturers of the equipment or take measurements. It is always recommended that you measure the loads true RMS value.

When determining the total power rating for the solution you require do not forget to allow for possible future expansion of the load you wish to protect over the medium to long term.

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Question 4: What is the best solution for you?

If you have a good idea as to the mains problems you are experiencing and the power requirements of the equipment you wish to protect you are in a very strong position to identify clearly the best and most cost-efficient solution.

If you are experiencing all of the Power Quality issues identified in Question 2 an online UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) will often be viewed as the obvious choice. But be warned, these are usually expensive to buy and have high ongoing maintenance and support costs. In many less developed countries, the high technology skill sets required to maintain such systems are not readily and inexpensively available

For most applications where the loss of mains is not really a critical issue, or can be accommodated by the use of a standby generator, the deployment of an Automatic Voltage Stabilizer / Regulator or AC Power Conditioner will be a far more cost-efficient solution both in terms of initial outlay, ongoing maintenance, support costs and the required local skillsets required to install, maintain and support the solution.

Question 5: What exactly is the difference between a Voltage Stabilizer and Power Conditioner?

One of the most common questions we get asked is what exactly is the difference between a Voltage Stabilizer and an AC Power Conditioner. In essence both protect against voltage transients, spikes, sags and brownouts, but an AC Power Conditioner also offers additional protection against Electrical Noise and higher-level defence against transients and spikes.

In most cases, an AC Power Conditioner (Power Line Conditioner) is simply a Voltage Stabilizer with the inclusion of an isolation transformer.

When a good earth cannot be provided ‘Common Mode’ Noise (E to L and E to N) can be a problem. With the inclusion of a shielded isolating transformer in a Power Conditioner, this interference will be suppressed to harmless levels. The output of an AC Power Conditioner is commonly referred to as a ‘Clean’ supply.

As you would expect an AC Power Conditioner is normally more expensive than a Voltage Stabilizer / Regulator.

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Question 6: Why is determining the input voltage variation you are experiencing and output voltage accuracy required important?

Choosing a voltage stabilizer with the right input variation capability is important because if its input voltage range is exceeded, then its output will increase or decrease by the same amount by which it has gone “out of limit”.

In situations where there is a good mains supply, a stabilizer offering an input variation swing of ±15% (Our S15 models) will usually be more than acceptable, but in more remote locations, or countries where the national supply infrastructure is less developed, variations of ±20% or greater may be needed to be accommodated by the stabilizer.

As a general rule the greater the input voltage swings the voltage stabilizer needs to correct the greater the price.

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Question 7:  Is Supply Frequency Important?

With most suppliers operating on 50 or 60 Hz, your normal mains supply frequency is unlikely to vary more than +/- 2%, and this is well within the capability of most voltage stabilizers and conditioners. But if the supply is from a local generator it is possible that the frequency could deviate beyond this range and suitable protection should be considered to protect both the load and the power protection system.

An output voltage to within ± 1% / ±1.5% of the preset output voltage is the norm when specifying a Voltage Stabilizers or Power Conditioner. However, if a lower output voltage accuracy can be accommodated by the load equipment, then the input voltage range can be extended proportionally.

As the cost of the voltage stabilizer is linked to the input voltage range it has to handle, accepting lower output accuracy may prove to be a more economical solution.

Question 8: Are there any other factors you should consider when choosing a Voltage Stabilizer / Power Conditioner?

Input-Output Circuit Breaker: We recommend the specifying of an input or output Circuit breaker which, in addition to giving over current protection, will trip if the output/input deviates above or below a preset level. Certain models in our ranges are supplied as standard with input circuit breakers and on others, the facility is available as an option.

Bypass Facility: You may also wish to consider fitting a bypass switch that will facilitate the inspection and maintenance by isolating the voltage stabilizer and connecting your load directly to the mains supply. Certain models in our ranges are supplied as standard with an inbuilt bypass facility and on others, we can supply suitable inbuilt or wall mountable external switches to requirements.

Question 9: Do you know where can this voltage stabilizer can be useful?

TV, radio and telephone transmitters and relay stations, radar installations, navigational beacons etc, all need dependable power for reliable operation. Voltage stabilizers protect such equipment.

Computers and other electronic business systems are highly sensitive to power fluctuations. Even a brief voltage drop below design limits will upset logic circuits, bringing chaos to stored data, calculations etc. So the fast response Voltage Stabilizers play a major role in computer applications around the world.

When air-conditioning and refrigeration systems experience any form of power disturbance, even just a minor voltage fluctuation, impaired performance or often system shutdown is the end result. These voltage stabilizers can be a saving grace for such instances.

Our Sources:
  1. Power system voltage stabilizer and stabilization method
  2. Voltage stabilizer configuration
  3. Electronic voltage stabilizer

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