Mounting a Power Distribution System on a Rack
On the way home from yet another data center project, Sam Bersiek had a vision of a more efficient method of providing power to data centers. As an electrical engineer who designed electrical systems for data centers, he found that many data centers were installing new UPS systems, generators, and distribution units, yet still using conventional methods to bring the power to the load. Electricians on these projects were spending more than four hours running conduit to each rack in a computer room, and often taking a week to 10 days to power all 16 racks.
“Even though we were making money wiring data centers, it became an agony to finish them, especially in cities like Los Angeles, where they wanted plenum-rated conduits and for their receptacles to be above or underneath the computer room floor,” says Bersiek, president of Lake Forest, Calif.-based Millennium 2000 Technologies, Inc. (MTTI) and senior electrical engineer for MTTI's sister company, S&S Power Engineering. “After going through all of that, I came up with an idea. Instead of putting the panel on the wall and bringing the wires to the racks, why not bring the whole panel to the racks and put the receptacles on it?”
Bersiek's idea resulted in the creation of a new manufacturing company and the launch of its flagship product — the Rack Mountable Power Distribution Unit (RPDU). MTTI launched the RPDU a year-and-a-half ago to help data centers reduce installation time and cut costs. Computer rooms often try to fit more equipment and add more racks to keep up with rapidly changing technology, but the conventional power distribution system requires extensive wiring time, significant costs, and additional floor space. The plug-and-play power distribution system solves this problem because the RPDU is part of the rack rather than sitting on the floor. Instead of running conduit to each circuit, electricians can hook up one conduit to power 16 separate circuits. To install the RPDU, electricians mount the unit on the rack, connect the input power, turn on the load circuit breakers, and plug in the rack power strip to the back receptacles. The RPDU comes in a 17.5-inch high model and a 30-inch high unit. Both models provide the same amount of power, but the larger unit features 18 spare circuits while the compact unit offers one to three spare circuits, which can power remote equipment that isn't installed in the computer racks.
Data center owners can also monitor the load of the computer room with the RPDU's built-in meter and software package. Users can download the software on a computer and then use the infrared scanning capability of a Palm Pilot to obtain readings of current voltages, demand power, and energy usage. By pointing the Palm Pilot at the meter, they can download the information and transfer it to their computer, where it will be saved in an Excel spreadsheet. Companies can also monitor the power consumption of each individual rack, keep track of the current that goes to each circuit, or activate an alarm system to alert them when they're overloading the circuit.
Alfred Der Ohanessian, data center specialist for Total Concept Sales, a master stocking distributor for MTTI, says an electrician must perform the initial installation of the RPDU, but companies then have the flexibility to make changes to their power load on their own.
“They can plug and play anytime they want to balance the load or move things around,” he says. “If they move from one facility to another, they take it with them. They don't have to abandon or destroy it because it becomes part of their rack.”
Visit www.m2000ti.com for more information and to see an online demo.
- Offers 42 or 24 load circuit breaker options with 100A main at 208VAC or 240VAC
- Available in two load receptacle configurations. Models with Panel A have two L6-30R, two L6-20R, eight 5-20R, two L5-30R, and two L5-20R receptacles. Models with Panel B have two L6-30R and 14 L5-20R receptacles
- Mountable on standard 19-in. racks
- Serves as a main PDU or sub-PDU
- Available in a single- or 3-phase configuration or with one- or dual-input capability
- Equipped with metering system to monitor the power and rack load
- Supports external circuit runs for stand-alone equipment