Germany: Crestchic has delivered essential upgrades to the load bank controller system for one of Germany’s largest data centres.
Due to advancements in microprocessor technology, components for the site’s Eclipse 3.1 load bank control system were becoming obsolete, leaving the campus in Germany vulnerable to power testing failures. To prevent this, and to improve overall testing performance, Crestchic upgraded the control system to its latest NOVA hardware, alongside the installation of a new emergency stop system, fibre connectivity, and a rugged LC80 tablet control.
Steven Jewell, Service Engineer for Crestchic, comments on the essential upgrades:
“This data center offers 11,700 m2 of server space and has a maximum IT load of 17.1 MW. That amount of power needs a substantial and well-tested backup solution to prevent financially crippling downtime.
“The loadbank at this site is used to test the backup power system in a way that is robust and proactive to mitigate the risk of failure. When the customer learned that their control system was becoming harder to maintain and repair due to legacy components, they scheduled an upgrade to the latest controller technology without hesitation.”
Installing the NOVA controller technology in Germany
Not only does the NOVA controller technology meet the latest microprocessor technology standards, it also enables additional operational and performance benefits such as the installation of fibre connectivity and the introduction of the LC80 tablet.
A large operating interface display
As part of this data center’s NOVA upgrade, the team opted for a rugged IP65, LC80 tablet that offers a large operating interface display. From here, data and frequency response curves can be clearly observed and engineers can access a range of advanced features such as a graphical display of transient performance at load change, recording of instrumentation data, and storage of multi-user-defined load-profiles.
Fast, interference-free fibre-optic communications
During these upgrades, the Crestchic team installed high-speed fibre optic cables back to the data centre’s building management system (BMS), delivering far faster data transfer capabilities.
With long distances of up to 500m possible without the need for signal boosting, and total immunity to electrical noise interference, Crestchic’s fibre control is a natural choice for demanding data centre environments.
Steven concludes: “With the upgrade works to the load bank control system complete, the data centre operator can now continue with its regular generator testing, safe in the knowledge that they have state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips.
“Crestchic is proactive in recommending system upgrades to its customers whenever technology becomes obsolete, or components become hard to source. This way, we can prevent downtime and help keep our customer’s sites working smoothly.”
Backup power testing best practice for data centers
A robust and proactive approach to the maintenance and testing of the power system is crucial to alleviate the chance of failure. However – it is vital that this doesn’t become a tick-box exercise – implementing a testing regime which validates the reliability and performance of backup power must be done under the types of loads found in real operational conditions. With this in mind, what would be considered best practice for testing a backup power system?
Ideally, all generators should be tested annually for real-world emergency conditions using a resistive-reactive 0.8pf load bank. Best practice dictates that all gensets (where there are multiple) should be run in a synchronised state, ideally for 8 hours but for a minimum of 3.
Where a reactive-only load bank is used, testing should be increased to 2-4 times per year at 3 hours per test. In carrying out this testing and maintenance, fuel, exhaust and cooling systems and alternator insulation resistance are effectively tested and system issues can be uncovered in a safe, controlled manner without the cost of major failure or unplanned downtime.
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