DC Power Hour

Eagle Eye Power Solutions

Welcome to “DC Power Hour”– the show where we will discuss everything related to – you guessed it – critical DC power solutions. Twice a month, we will get together and have a little fun talking with experts about the issues that are important to us and our industry. At Eagle Eye, we are huge on sharing knowledge, and our goal is to both educate and entertain our audience with this podcast. So, charge up, power on, or do whatever it is you have to do to get yourself excited for “DC Power Hour”! read less
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Episodes

UPS Battery Applications and Data Centers
Aug 7 2023
UPS Battery Applications and Data Centers
In this episode of the DC Power Hour David and Allen introduce Ed Rafter, a special guest on DC Power Hour, who is an expert in UPS batteries. They discuss the differences between ups and downs, voltage, discharge times, and other aspects of battery powering. Ed has a 40-year career in mission-critical applications, focusing on batteries. He first learned about batteries in the 1980s when he worked for an engineering firm in New Jersey and then worked for data centers for the New York and American Stock Exchange and securities industry. Allen shares his experience installing dry charge batteries in Saudi Arabia in the late 70s.Episode Highlights01:06 – UPSs are now probably one of the largest users of batteries in this country. But there's a lot of differences between UPSs and other types of powering, and we'll go into that, you know, differences in voltage, discharge times, whole slew of stuff.08:24 – When I first was introduced to the battery, we used to size them for 30 minutes. That was pretty common as part of that was if all hell broke loose, we wanna make sure that the UPS stays online so we can either recover, figure out what went wrong, and see if we couldn't recover or have enough time so that we might be able to quiesce the system.30:09 – I think it was the first time I heard somebody got killed. It was one of the manufacturers, one of their people working in a battery cabinet. I had known of people getting hurt working on the racks, the open racks.42:33 – Now we're talking about bidirectional inverters. So instead of having a very large substantial rectifier that's gotta not only serve its critical load, but keep the battery charged.
The Latest on Codes and Standards and Battcon 2023 Preview
May 8 2023
The Latest on Codes and Standards and Battcon 2023 Preview
In this episode, the Battery Blarney Duo of Alan and George and are joined by their longtime friend and colleague at times, Dan Lambert. These gentlemen definitely have their finger on the pulse of the industry and can shed some light on the really interesting topic of codes and standards.  Episode Highlights04:40 – Not only with the national Electrical code NFPA 70, but also with the fire codes and UL and the IEEE standards. We've got so many change that's going on. It's sometime really hard to keep up with. You think just about UL alone, they've had revisions in the last six months of UL 94, UL 1778, 1973, 9540 has been revised and the 95 48 test procedure has been revised.  14:41 – And the, the crux of it is, is that what they do is they take a battery and they subject it to a, a variety of test methods, overcharge over discharge, overheating it short circuit a nail penetration test where that's something that's conceivable. And all of these tests are designed to see what it takes to set that battery on fire, if in fact it will will burn.  42:49 – So, and we know that monitoring and management within lithium battery is critical from a safety point of view to make sure that it doesn't either overcharge or over discharge, and to identify potential thermal runaway conditions. We don't have the same problem with the newer technologies, do we, Dan? What are we looking at in the way of monitoring and controls within these new technologies?  52:53 – And then when you have to build a system out of those components into something that's commercially viable, and you have generally contract manufacturing doing the assembly and such as that with those systems, you've introduced several layers of potential miscommunication, let's just put it that way, and that miscommunication can be a real problem for the end user.
Setting the Record Straight on Battery Monitoring
Apr 5 2023
Setting the Record Straight on Battery Monitoring
In this episode, the Battery Blarney Duo is back in action to discuss the important topic of battery monitoring for different types of stationary battery applications. What all does a BMS monitor and what doesn't it? They'll discuss IEEE 1491, which they've have both chaired committees on, and review all that's included in this vital standard while dispelling any myths in the process. For anyone who wants crucial insights on the history of battery monitoring, as well as some ideas as to where it's headed, tune in and get the facts from George and Allen.Episode Highlights9:35 – IEEE came up with the term omic resistance to cover all three methods of checking the omic path through a battery.16:59 – If we talk about true battery monitoring where you actually are going to monitor the battery on a 24/7 basis then it starts to become a lot more interesting because as you said, and I will totally reinforce there is no single parameter within that data collected by the monitor that indicates failure or loss of capacity.20:50 – As you get into the larger vented lead acid batteries which have a extremely small resistance of the metallic path. You have to be conscious of the fact that you’re going to have to pull a lot of current, or push a lot of current, push, a lot of signal through that battery to make it meaningful.35:35 – Besides the visual things you talk about George, that you can’t look at or see, a good battery monitor will be able to measure ripple, current, ripple voltage.44:58 – So if you have a battery in a cabinet, you need to be measuring the temperature of a battery unit that is surrounded by others where you’re gonna find the biggest contact temperature. How much temperature rise. So the other thing that I’m looking at here are some of the interpretations of battery monitoring with respect to 1491, and that’s the measurement of ground fault.
Compliant Redundancy from a Single Industrial Battery Charger
Mar 8 2023
Compliant Redundancy from a Single Industrial Battery Charger
In this episode, George is joined by Lucas Berndt, modular switch-mode charger product expert, to talk about industrial battery chargers and redundancy. They discuss the benefits of having a modular charger – with hot-swappable power modules – for redundant functionality in case of an outage. They address how this satisfies NERC and TPL standards that aim to eliminate single points of failure – and instead of having to buy and make room for two chargers, just one of these chargers will do the trick. Tune in for an in-depth conversation about chargers that you don’t want to miss.6:10One of the things that I really like about the modular chargers is the fact that at a location, just by adding a small charger, we suddenly have full N+1 redundancy. 12:53Basically, what I look for when I’m looking for redundancy, in talking about plusses, that is also variant from utility to utility – what they view as redundancy. So, they may look at it from the standpoint of my redundancy in my equation is I need, if this charger fails, I need to have the exact same power it had available. Or is their term of redundancy, I can lose a little, but I still maintain.23:43Changing out a modular battery charger is so easy a salesman can do it. I can be done 100% safely. It is pretty safe and pretty fast.43:10With NERC and TPL standards aiming to address and eliminate single points of failure, and a lack of space to consider when configuring system updates, being able to use a single charger instead of two is a priority.
How Does Standby Battery Power Work Exactly?
Feb 15 2023
How Does Standby Battery Power Work Exactly?
How Does Standby Battery Power WorkIn this episode, George of The Battery Blarney Duo answers questions about the basic concept and workings of battery backup for electric substations and their critical components. He touches on topics including ensuring the stability and reliability of the electricity grid, reducing the risk of equipment damage, keeping communications systems powered and preventing costly power outages.The session highlights that battery monitoring systems are critical components of battery backup systems in electric substations. They provide real-time information on the battery's state of charge, voltage, and health, enabling timely maintenance and ensuring that the battery is always ready to provide emergency power when needed.Episode Highlight2:43 - When there is an outage and substation stand-by power is engaged, how does that work?8:00 - Substation communications systems are a key part of the system and depend on having a properly maintained battery back up system.10:12 - Learn what happens when the power flickers out for a moment and what to expect if it happens more than once.15:01 - George explains how power is shifted around through the system and touches on the failings that led to the 2021 electrical crisis in Texas.17:56 - Technicians play a critical role in maintaining the safety and reliability of electrical power systems, and having both field experience and mission critical training is essential. Training with real-world equipment, problem solving, and seeing the consequences of their actions in a safe and controlled environment are invaluable.Eagle Eye E-mail
Battery Chemistries and Applications: Part Two
Dec 21 2022
Battery Chemistries and Applications: Part Two
The discussion about the chemistry and applications of batteries continues in this episode with David, Al Warner and Dan Lambert, and The Battery Blarney Duo. They are comparing flow and lead acid batteries in terms of their reliability and need for maintenance. They examine the problem if you have an energy-storage battery, such as a zinc manganese battery, as well as the benefit of nickel zinc batteries in which electrodes interact with electrolytes. They also mention that a hybrid system using both nickel zinc and manganese dioxide batteries might be very efficient, and that if manufacturers collaborate, third-party integrators will find it easy to connect these products together into a cohesive unit.Tune in to hear about the various codes and standards affecting stationary batteries plus comments about systems integrators and how they can fail when integrating different types of energy storage.Episode Highlights06:33 - There are a lot of things about different systems that most people are not aware of and they think, "Oh, fuel cell, that's the answer to everything." It's not. It can never be the answer to everything. A lead acid battery is not going to oxygen starve the environment that's surrounding it. Fuel cells definitely can do that. A large system can starve the oxygen in the inside of a facility. Lesson is learned the hard way. 15:40 - I'm glad you brought up the idea of the hybrid battery system. Problem is that you end up, for instance, working with two different manufacturers, obviously competing for business, who don't always want to cooperate as well as they could. So, you end up with a third party having to do it.24:42 - Integrators are probably the short end of the circuit. You have to have people that are qualified and there seemed to be very few of them. It's interesting to me that you gain wisdom by knowledge. You gain wisdom by failing. There's no two ways around it. Experience counts for an awful lot in this game. The powers that be seem to want to push us towards an electrified world without adequate thought, without any experience. It's up to us in the industry, basically, to educate those that are coming into the industry. Contact InformationEagle Eye E-mail
Battery Chemistries and Applications: Part One
Dec 7 2022
Battery Chemistries and Applications: Part One
The Battery Blarney Duo are joined by industry experts Al Warner and Dan Lambert to discuss lead acid, lithium, nickel cadmium and other prominent battery chemistries and their proper applications. They discuss the pros and cons of these popular chemistries as well as the prospect of other interesting options, like that of zinc manganese. The discussion revolves around selecting the best battery for a given application and how some outdated technology might be reimagined to better suit present-day requirements. With roughly 150 years of industry experience on this epsiode alone, it's safe to say there are a lot of insights to gain from listenting to these four battery veterans.Episode Highlights16:47 - Most of these lithium battery fires have occurred because people did not have good fire suppression to take care of the external flame source.30:42 - The problem we have with most people is they think lithium is a one size fits all. It's not. It cannot fit all of the applications. 33:59 - Through the years, there have literally been millions of dollars invested into the development of the nickel zinc technology.35:41 - The other technology I was alluding to is zinc manganese dioxide. It's kind of the other end of the scale. It's a zinc battery, very similar to the zinc manganese primary cells.46:18 - The real key here to energy storage as we move forward is going to be, and is rapidly becoming kind of a focal point for everybody, is the sustainability of the technology. And some of these old technologies – yeah, they're old. They weren't really, shall we say, manipulated or commercialized, basically, because the technology at the time of the invention was, to our way of looking at it, very rudimentary. We have much better technology now and as modern science looks at these things, they can see massive improvements that can be made.Contact InformationEagle Eye E-mail
Stationary Battery Applications Across Multiple Industries
Oct 26 2022
Stationary Battery Applications Across Multiple Industries
The world is rapidly becoming more and more reliant on technology. We rely on technology for communication, commerce, and so much more. One of the most important aspects of our technological infrastructure is the stationary battery. Stationary batteries are used to provide backup power or continuous power to a facility. The Battery Blarney Duo, George and Allen, are joined by their colleague Peter DeMar to discuss the different types of stationary battery applications and how they are used across multiple industries.  Episode Highlight01:23 Communications, power and data processing; they all rely very much on stationary batteries in order to maintain their service in the event of power outages.  07:21 We are totally dependent on electricity, communications and data centers. You lose any one of them, and half the world will stop it appears.  20:18 It’s absolutely the wrong thing to have in a utility application where it can be abused because of weather conditions.  29:01 Visual inspection, because you know, that’s when we see the other things that are going wrong that may not be indicated by monitoring static or active parameters.   39:35 The concept of the electronic battery technician measuring just the parameters that Pete talked about but looking at them in a ratio basis and measuring the ratio between them and when that ratio started to change, you needed to go and check the battery which of course now is what basically the artificial intelligence is gonna be doing.  Contact InformationEagle Eye E-mail
A Look Back and a Look Forward at the DC Power Industry Part 2
Oct 13 2022
A Look Back and a Look Forward at the DC Power Industry Part 2
The Battery Blarney Duo continue their discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the DC power industry. They discuss the role of standards in promoting innovation and interoperability, the need for improved energy storage technologies, and the potential for micro-grids to provide resiliency in the face of extreme weather events. They also talk about the changing landscape of the utility industry, as more and more customers are seeking alternatives to traditional grid-provided power. The panelists agree that the future of the DC power industry is full of promise, but caution that there are still many challenges to be addressed. They urge companies and individuals to continue to push for progress in order to ensure that the industry can meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.Episode Highlight:07:51 - What I think people forget sometimes is the use of the word "standards". Standards really should be mandated by law, like the national electricity code.19:39 - That`s probably one of the biggest challenges we have, from the maintenance point of view, because we simply like the technicians or all of those recommended practices on how things should be done.27:17 - For me, if I was a manager of a facility, I would require that our technicians  adhere to the standards.37:44 - Maybe we have a high level of engineering expertise but it doesn`t apply in a different industry and each industry is different.49:25 - PRC 005 and TPO 001-5 are all part of the requirement, most of these managers  or in the managerial level dont understand the basis of it.Contact InformationEagle Eye E-mail
A Look Back and a Look Forward at the DC Power Industry
Sep 28 2022
A Look Back and a Look Forward at the DC Power Industry
Batteries are a critical part of the telecom infrastructure and can be found in many different types of telecom equipment. They provide backup power and support to essential systems during an outage or emergency situation. Most substations have some kind of telecom element to them. This could be as simple as a few batteries, or it could be a much more complex system. In either case, a DC battery is typically used. However, batteries alone are not enough to power a substation. They must be connected to the utility's power grid in order to function properly. Without this connection, the substation would not be able to provide the necessary power to the community it serves. Episode Highlights06:34 - The challenge has become another direction because it’s a lot more difficult to innovate because you're stuck to certain things that you have to do.  09:42 - We already got computerization within the main switching centers. With a lot of fancy details and fancy fonts, one of the problems was that they needed to be able to operate the monitor and the keyboard in order to access the switch.  14:43 - Customers said, “Well, we don’t want these nasty batteries with electrolytes rushing around inside, we want something that is more user-friendly, we want something that’s smaller, something that’s lighter, something that’s cheaper, something that doesn’t require maintenance,” and low and behold, the industry came up with one of the greatest marketing ploys I thought ever happened and it’s a complete oxymoron. They come up with selling free batteries.  29:14 - There’s a telecom element within every substation. Some more complex than others, sometimes they are stand alone. It all depends on the utility structure.34:08 - There’s almost a disconnect within certain utilities as an entity within their own substation sometimes and I’m sure some people are upset about being told that. Contact InformationEagle Eye E-mail