What are the various types of problems encountered with power? E-mail
The various problems encountered are as follows:

Spikes are high-magnitude, split-second events that can disrupt computer operations and even damage equipment. Spikes can be caused by many things. The most important cause is lightning, which can strike on or near a power line or even miles away and cause huge jumps in voltage. 

Other causes of spikes include switching large electrical loads on or off, utility switching, and static discharges. The most disastrous effect of spikes can be hardware damage. High-voltage impulses can blow holes in delicate micro-chip traces. Sometimes this damage is immediately apparent, but other times it is latent, not appearing until days or weeks after the event. Less catastrophic effects include corrupted data, printer or terminal errors, and data processing errors. 

Surges are over-voltages that last longer than one cycle (1/60 second). Surges can be caused when some device on the line that has been drawing a large amount of power suddenly stops or is shut off. Surges can also be caused when utilities switch large loads off the line. Surges are more dangerous because of their duration, rather than their magnitude. Long or frequent surges can damage computer hardware. 

Sags are the opposite of surges. They are multi-cycle under-voltage conditions. Ground faults, undersized power systems, and sudden start-ups of large electrical loads are all typical causes of voltage sags. Surprisingly, lightning is also a major cause of sags. Sags can be a serious threat to computers. If the voltage supply to the computer is inadequate, it can cause the computer to lock up. Sags can also slow the speed of disk drives, causing read errors or disk crashes. 

Noise is a collective term for various kinds of high-frequency impulses that ride on the normal sine-wave. It can range from a few millivolts to several volts in amplitude. One especially troublesome problem is radio frequency (RF) noise. RF noise consists of high-frequency signals that travel on electrical wires. RF noise can be generated by lightning, radio transmissions, and computer power supplies. It can create erratic behavior in any electronic circuit. Noise can cause computer processing errors, incorrect data transfer and printer or terminal errors. 

Brownouts are long-term under-voltages lasting minutes or even hours. They are often instituted by utilities when peak demand exceed generating capacity. Brownouts can cause computer malfunctions and hardware damage the same way that sags do, by depriving logic circuits and disk drives of the voltage they need to operate properly. 

Blackouts are extended zero-volt conditions, lasting for minutes, hours or even days. They are becoming more frequent as the power distribution grid is increasingly overtaxed. Blackouts can be caused by ground faults, accidents, lightning strikes, or other acts of nature. A system crash is the most obvious effect of outages. Disk drives and other system components also can be damaged when power is suddenly lost. 

Harmonics are distortions of the normal sine-wave. Harmonics are transmitted back into the AC line by non-linear loads (that is, loads that don't draw power in regular sine-waves). Examples of non-linear loads are computers, copiers, FAX machines, and variable-speed motors. These harmonics can disrupt the operation of other devices connected to the AC line. Harmonics can cause communication errors and hardware damage. They can also cause transformers and neutral conductors in three-phase.
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