Power Supply Solutions

August 1, 2009


Tech Tips, Aug 2009

We're a power-hungry industry. Electrical power, that is. As our technological diversity increases, our demand for power and reliance on power supplies follows. The consequence is the need for more power outlets for equipment installations. In addition, to benefit manufacturing processes, more power supplies are being brought outside the device. The mix of wall warts, line lumps and power chords can present some challenges when installing all the equipment in a rack.

Multiple wall warts can get in the way of each other and cover outlets. Several manufacturers offer short extension cords to remove the wart from the outlet strip, effectively making the wart a line lump. This may help recover wasted outlets, but presents a new problem: what to do with a line lump?

A velcro support is a handy way to mount power supplies and utility boxes. Photo by Kirk Chestnut, CPBE

A velcro support is a handy way to mount power supplies and utility boxes. Photo by Kirk Chestnut, CPBE

I have seen line lumps attached to the side of the rack using nylon ties. This gets them out of the way, but makes it difficult to extract them if the equipment needs to be serviced. An alternative is to use a Velcro strap to secure it in place. This makes removal and reinstallation simpler. Similar straps can be used to mount utility boxes in racks and furniuture.

Sometimes a manufacturer includes an inexpensive or underpowered lump or wart with a piece of equipment. When these supplies need to be replaced, it's a good idea to use a better-quality device when possible. Also check to see how hot the old supply is. A supply with higher current capacity will run cooler and likely last longer.

In some cases, I have seen stations install a master dc power supply to feed several devices. While this addresses the installation issue, it can create a new problem: a single point of failure for several devices.

What are your solutions for wall warts and line lumps? Share them with us and we'll include them in an upcoming Tech Tips.


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