Data centers are important places of connection that are vital for the success of any business. These data centers house computer systems with a complex network of power cords which can easily become a mess if not managed properly. Besides simply looking bad, tangled cords can make maintenance a time-consuming task and present certain risks of damage such as from fires or mismanaged cable systems. To ensure a safe and effective network, consider these seven tips for choosing the right data center power cords:
Know the Equipment You Are Using
Power cords come in a variety of types, so it is important to choose cords that fit the max power voltage and connector types required for your system. It is recommended that you look at the power level that will be sent through the cords in the form of peak voltage. It is also important to look for the type of connector the equipment has as this will determine the specific type of power cord your assembly will require.
Use Colored Cords and Labels
Cords can easily get tangled, and when they are the same color, it can be even more difficult to track a cable or locate a disconnection. To clear up any confusion, it can be helpful to choose different colored cords and use labels to further distinguish them from each other. Labels may include information such as cord type, length, and what the cable is connected to.
Select a Suitable Cord Length and Gauge
The length and gauge of a cord will determine its ability to carry a current, otherwise known as its load capacity. In general, the longer the cord, the less power it can deliver. It is therefore best to opt for shorter cables where possible to prevent overheating a long cord and reduce power loss. Similarly, the cord gauge also indicates the load capacity of a cord. In the United States, American Wire Gauge (AWG) units are used to measure the size and capacity. A low AWG indicates a larger size and higher capacity. For example, an 8 AWG cord will be thicker and have a higher capacity than a 12 AWG cord.
Use the Derating Approach
Cable loading in data centers is continuous, meaning the equipment is on for more than three hours. The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that wire sizes and amperages be derated for continuous load applications such as this. For example, if a cable was rated for 100 Amps, you should avoid running more than 80 Amps through the cable. This practice reduces the risk of overheating which could lead to fires and shortages.
Choose an Appropriate Cord Jacket
The cord jacket shields the conductor from potentially harmful conditions. Common types include SJT, SJOW, and SJTW. As there are several different types of material available, it is important to consider the cord temperature, environment, and how flexible it will need to be when making your choice..
Choose a Reliable Conductor
The conductor is the path by which a current flows through a cord. Two of the most popular types of conductors are Copper-Clad Aluminum (CCA) and Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC). OFCs are typically better for data centers because, though they cost a little more, they are more reliable and have better power quality than CCAs.
Save Space with Angled Connectors
With so many wires, cord racks can often benefit from having angled connectors. Some options include those that aim right, left, up, down, at a 45-degree angle, and more. These connectors can help organize high-density racks and reduce the amount of time it takes to do maintenance or solve any issues that arise. They also reduce the risk of damage from overheating because they provide more space for air to flow between cords and connectors, cooling them as a result.
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