The beginning of a trend

Welcome to “Cut the Copper.” In this blog, we’ll discuss the topic of power distribution in data centers. For now, let’s just get acquainted.

03/20/2012



One evening back in January [2012], around midnight, I was brushing my teeth in preparation for bedtime in a hotel room in New Jersey. I was startled by a call on my cell phone, from a young man who identified himself as a project manager for a contractor building a data center in Texas. He sounded agitated, and said that during commissioning activities at the site that day, two 2.5 MVA VPI dry-type MV substation transformers catastrophically blew up when switched by an upstream vacuum breaker at 25 kV. He asked if I’d ever heard of such a thing before.

I said, “Yes, indeed, Paul (not his real name), maybe at least a hundred times by now…I’ve had 35 years of experience with the phenomenon, and know it well…”

After reflecting on the problem at this particular site, and the complete turmoil into which it threw the project completion schedule, and the instant disintegration of that construction team - innocent and unwitting contractors, Owners, consulting engineers, suppliers, who suddenly became each other’s adversaries, after working together cohesively for months - I decided to write an article, relating my own experiences about such events.

I blasted out a very long paper, words gushing out my head, and sent it into Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine. What I wrote was so lengthy, it came out more like a book than any sort of a “paper.” The editors were interested in the story, but obviously couldn’t publish an article that would triple the thickness of the issue it was published in.

The article had a working title New Trends In Major Power Distribution In Large Data Centers, and the Rebirth of the “Loadcenter” Unit Substation Concept. By no means a great title, but it needed to be called something.

The editors of CSE and I agreed that we would break this story down into series of blogs over a period of months, and publish online, instead of in print. There will be links included to related photos and videos and IEEE white papers.

The first installment will be coming soon. It will be strongly opinionated and controversial, and I expect that knowledgeable people and good engineers who have studied the problem will both agree and disagree with those opinions.



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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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