I need to power about 20 devices that run off AC adapters that provide 5VDC
or 12VDC to the device. As I understand it, a lot of efficiency is lost
stepping down from 208V/220VAC to 120VAC and then again in the conversion to
12VDC. What is the most energy efficient way to power these devices?
I am guessing that there is a rectifier that would take 208VAC input (thus
avoiding the step down to 125VAC) and then efficiently (90% efficiency?)
convert 208VAC to 12VDC or 5VDC, for multiple end devices.
Alternately, I could identify individual AC to DC converters/adapters that
do the conversion from 208VAC to 12VDC or 5VDC efficiently.
What is the most energy efficient path to follow there?
We did some tests a few years ago, and found auto-ranging switched mode
computer power supplies were more efficient when fed near the top of their
range than at the bottom. For 120-240V autoranging supplies, difference
was typically around 8% higher power consumption, but in some cases it was
15% higher. (This made me think some "80+" PSUs were unklikely to be "80+"
when run on 120V, but we didn't measure the absolute efficiency, only the
change in power draw between running on 120V or 240V.)
This wasn't really a surprise - the I2R heating losses in the rectifier,
power FETs, and transformer primary winding are going to be 4x higher at
half the supply voltage.
Some of the server power supplies had to be derated when run at 120V, and
in some cases this meant you lost redundancy of dual power supplies
because both were needed to power the server.
This work was triggered by stats which showed we were getting 10x more
mains wiring accessory burnouts in the US data centres than anywhere
else in the world. Some of this was put down to servers using 120V
outlets, but the incidents were still significantly more common even
on US 240V circuits than on 220-240V circuits in other countries.
It was difficult to compare data, but we also suspected we were getting
more PSU failures in systems running at the lower end of the input voltage
We never did collect data on hold-up times over short brown-outs, but I
suspect that as the storage capacitors store 4x more energy at twice the
supply voltage, systems would survive at least 4x longer power interruption
without going down.
I steal 12V supply from by PC to power the ethernet switch and the WiFi
access point. These items came with wall warts which got particularly hot
implying very inefficient. This was a while back, and such inefficient
PSUs are no longer permitted in the EU. Nowadays, wall wart PSUs have to
be efficient at a level only achievable by good switched mode PSUs and
have to have very low consumption when there's no load (i.e. they stay
stone cold, and are usually < 0.1W).
One place you do want a separate isolated supply is powering anything
which interfaces your phone line, such as a modem (even though most
are well isolated from the line anyway).
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
208Y/120 is a very common distribution systems in the United States. The
relationship comes from Y-connected system and the square root of 3 (1.73 *
120 = 208). The voltage between any phase and ground will be 120 and the
voltage between any two phases will be 208.
Generally quite true, and I don't think the OP has 208.
An apartment complex may be powered by 208/120V wye, with 2 phases fed
to apartment panels. Those panels have 208V, and an electric range may
be powered by 208V.
I don't believe I suggested that the OP had a three phase installation, but
he does likely have single phase 208.
My only real intent was to counter the reply that suggested the OP was askew
in saying he had a 208VAC supply available and that it wasn't a common
distribution voltage anywhere in the world.
I do agree with several posters that the OP is unlikely to do any better
with efficiency or reliability than just purchasing a commercially available
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