Packet Power Blog

Creative monitoring:  How to know -30°F is no problem

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 by Troy Wyborny

The Midwest region of the United States experiences a wide temperature range from -30°F (-34°C) in the winter to over 110°F (45°C) in the summer. Well-functioning heating and cooling systems are critical in this environment.

Like many efficient data center operators, Data Realty, a co-location company based in the heart of the Midwest, leverages outside air during the colder seasons. But what about when it is really cold? They came up with a clever use for a Packet Power product to help ensure freezing temperatures didn't negatively impact their business.

For data centers in icy climates, a frost-protection system can be used to prevent damage to the building and its contents. Self-regulating heat-tracing cables are mounted directly onto pipes, drains and gutters or around HVAC units and generators to protect from frost and ensure that a continuous drain path is maintained. To save energy, an advanced control system is only operating when temperatures are below freezing.

Data Realty needs to be confident that their heat trace system is working correctly once it gets cold. And they set out to find a cost-effective means to independently verify that the system is operating when the control system says it is.

Brad Walter, Facilities Engineer at Data Realty, decided to use a Packet Power current-only monitor to track when their heat trace controller was running. In under 30 minutes he had the monitor installed, powered up and delivering usage data.

"I don't always trust what a computer tells me so it's nice to have 100% confidence that our heat trace is on when it should be on and off when it should be off."

Heat_Trace_3.jpg      Heat_Trace_2.jpg 

Brad has over three years experience working with Packet Power products and thinks the products do what they're designed to do very well. He also thinks our products can be used in a lot more ways than traditional data center monitoring.

"Once I've tested a product, my brain starts thinking of all kinds of applications. Packet Power products are designed for "A" but I can use them for "B" and "C" and "D" as well."

Data Realty is now planning to install another current-only monitor on their computer room air handler (CRAH) to measure its power draw to improve the precision of their PUE calculation.

Thanks to Brad for sharing his thoughts on new ways to gain value from real-time monitoring. Are you using Packet Power products in a not so conventional way? We'd love to hear about it.

Topics: wireless monitoring, power monitoring, customer applications

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