Paper Cutter Next Door Causing Power Surges

Okay, I have a PC repair shop with everything on battery backups. Next door is a printer company that recently installed a paper cutter. Just before I
hear it slam down to cut a ream of paper, my UPS's click and switch over to battery for about 1/2 second. I am very uncomfortable about this since the power company says they have nothing to do with this. I think the part of the problem is this but don't know the technical cure: the power pole drops the feed line into a huge breaker box on the back wall. This box has a hug ON/OFF lever. From there, about six businesses branch off from that huge box. The printer company occupies two office spaces; funny thing is that they say they have no problems like mine. There business office section is on the east side and my office is on the west side of the paper cutter office space.
I keep stating to everyone that if all was right, the circuits would be isolated and nothing they do with the printer equipment, even improperly, should be affecting my 111VAC office circuits.
Two electricians say this cannot happen a point finger at power company. Sheesh!!
Any helpful insights are welcome.
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On 6/22/07 7:18 AM, in article 467bda43$0$4841$ snipped-for-privacy@roadrunner.com, "THE

Although I am not a lawyer, I think you only have legal recourse if you cannot make an agreement with your local printer. Start gathering evidence that the printer is causing you financial damage. Go to small claims court for redress. The expertise I have gathered from various legal show broadcasts indicate that if you do not proove damages, the courts will not help.
One solution is to make sure that your UPS's will work when you need them. You might start by recording voltage drops simultaneously with the sounds of the paper cutter.
Bill
--
Iraq: About three Virginia Techs a month


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| On 6/22/07 7:18 AM, in article 467bda43$0$4841$ snipped-for-privacy@roadrunner.com, "THE
| |> Okay, I have a PC repair shop with everything on battery backups. Next door |> is a printer company that recently installed a paper cutter. Just before I |> hear it slam down to cut a ream of paper, my UPS's click and switch over to |> battery for about 1/2 second. I am very uncomfortable about this since the |> power company says they have nothing to do with this. I think the part of |> the problem is this but don't know the technical cure: the power pole drops |> the feed line into a huge breaker box on the back wall. This box has a hug |> ON/OFF lever. From there, about six businesses branch off from that huge |> box. The printer company occupies two office spaces; funny thing is that |> they say they have no problems like mine. There business office section is |> on the east side and my office is on the west side of the paper cutter |> office space. |> |> I keep stating to everyone that if all was right, the circuits would be |> isolated and nothing they do with the printer equipment, even improperly, |> should be affecting my 111VAC office circuits. |> |> Two electricians say this cannot happen a point finger at power company. |> Sheesh!! |> |> Any helpful insights are welcome. |> |> |> | Although I am not a lawyer, I think you only have legal recourse if you | cannot make an agreement with your local printer. Start gathering evidence | that the printer is causing you financial damage. Go to small claims court | for redress. The expertise I have gathered from various legal show | broadcasts indicate that if you do not proove damages, the courts will not | help. | | One solution is to make sure that your UPS's will work when you need them. | You might start by recording voltage drops simultaneously with the sounds of | the paper cutter.
I disagree. The printer is not at fault with respect to other customers of the electric company. The electric company is required to provide quality service. If they have to cut off the printing company, or isolate them on a differnet transformer or different circuit, then so be it (and you can be sure they will impose that cost on the printing company).
Pursue the electric company initially and try to get them to cure the problem as described in their tariffs. If that fails, take the case to the local or state public utility board/commission for your area.
UPSes do act up on strange power, such as a positive or negative spike less than a half cycle in time. So it can, to an extent, be an issue with the UPS. But there clearly is an issue with the quality of power. And the power company most certainly can cure it. This is not a case of a location so remote that quality power is not practical because it did exist before the special load was added by one customer. A simple solution is to isolate the printing company with a separate transformer just for them (which if it is rated at less than the original will cause their power to actually be worse than before the isolation). Guess who pays the cost of all this isolation? Not you and not the electric company.
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| Phil Howard KA9WGN (ka9wgn.ham.org) / Do not send to the address below |
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wrote:
| Okay, I have a PC repair shop with everything on battery backups. Next door | is a printer company that recently installed a paper cutter. Just before I | hear it slam down to cut a ream of paper, my UPS's click and switch over to | battery for about 1/2 second. I am very uncomfortable about this since the | power company says they have nothing to do with this. I think the part of | the problem is this but don't know the technical cure: the power pole drops | the feed line into a huge breaker box on the back wall. This box has a hug | ON/OFF lever. From there, about six businesses branch off from that huge | box. The printer company occupies two office spaces; funny thing is that | they say they have no problems like mine. There business office section is | on the east side and my office is on the west side of the paper cutter | office space.
The power company has everything to do with it. Virtually every power provider has tariff clauses restricting high motor start currents so they can ensure power quality to other customers. The solutions they generally impose when a customer needs that kind of power is to install the necessary facility upgrade at the expense of the customer with the special need.
| I keep stating to everyone that if all was right, the circuits would be | isolated and nothing they do with the printer equipment, even improperly, | should be affecting my 111VAC office circuits. | | Two electricians say this cannot happen a point finger at power company. | Sheesh!!
As would I.
| Any helpful insights are welcome.
They clearly do not have sufficient transformer capacity feeding these six businesses to accomodate the special needs of a customer with very high motor starting loads. One possible solution is to install a separate transformer and service drop exclusively for the printing company. If the distribution circuit above that can handle the sudden demand, that should clear it up, at least for the 5 other businesses. There may still be an issue within the printing business, but that's for them to take care of themselves. It might be necessary to have a very large transformer to handle cutter load _and_ avoid the voltage drop. But isolating things is usually a cheaper solution, as the existing transformer was apparently sufficient for the other 5 businesses. Let the printing company have a transformer to themselves and let them pay for as big a transformer as they feel they need.
The power company _will_ _always_ tell you it is not their fault and that there is nothing they can do about it. This is just what they do no matter what the real issue is (and they very likely have no idea what that issue is when they say so). You have to keep on them about it. Be sure to talk to engineering people. Anyone else that tells you they can't let you talk to engineer people are _unqualified_ to make any claim that the power company is unable to deal with it.
Ask for some specific information from the power company:
1. What is the available fault current for your service (this information is necessary for correctly rating circuit breakers so they must provide it to you). 2. What the is rated "KVA" capacity of the transformer serving your drop. 3. What is the voltage and resistance on the distribution circuit serving your location.
They might be reluctant to give you the information in #2 and #3.
You may need to end up filing a complaint with your local governing agency that deals with utilities.
Still, some UPSes are more sensitive than others. Try quality name brand (e.g. actually manufactured by the same company that labels and markets it) UPSes to be sure.
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|---------------------------------------/----------------------------------|
| Phil Howard KA9WGN (ka9wgn.ham.org) / Do not send to the address below |
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snipped-for-privacy@ipal.net writes:

Hah! Often the UPS for my computer will momentarily switch to battery power when I switch on the overhead light (on the same circuit). The overhead light has the massive load of 2 22 watt CF bulbs (or are they 14 watt bulbs? I'll have to check). I don't normally see visible voltage drop effects on this circuit.
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THE COMPUTER LAB wrote:

I had sort of a similar problem once. The solution was to contact the maker up the UPS. They walked me through a program procedure that widened the trip tolerances.
This was after the power company placed a line on the service for a few days.
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wrote:

     If you are in the US, you will probably find that the state regulators require your utility to provide service to your under published tariffs and reasonable service conditons. This does not require them to provide your with pristine, computer-grade power (unless you have arranged to pay extra for it).
When a power customer I know complained about about a similar problem, the utility answered their concerns politely and put slow-response strip chart recorders on the line for about a week. At the end of the week, they said "See.. Nothing wrong with the lines, the provided voltage stayed well within tolerances". (These old mechanical strip-chart recorders were not fast enough to millisecond outages and surges).
YMMV, but no utility wants to set a precedent to create a liability for themselves by promising pristine power with no transients. In my opinion, if the customer with the paper cutter is screwing up the power to the neighborhood, they should pay for the fix.
Beachcomber
Beachcomber
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Thank you everyone for many and diverse thoughts on my problem. These are all really great answers!
John

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Well, one electrician claims he sees this a lot. I am probably on the same "phase" as that paper cutter next door. He says the office on the opposite side that does not have problems is common since it is NOT on the same phase as the paper cutter.
Can anyone elaborate?

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Electrical power in quantity is delivered using the "three phase" system, invented by Nikola Tesla I think. Three or sometimes four cables are used. To balance the load, adjacent customers might very well be connected to different phases. You are unlucky enough to share your phase with the unruly load represented by the paper cutter. You could try asking the power compnay to switch you to a different phase.
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