Data center facilities pro

Jul 27 2009   4:53PM GMT

Eaton pushes 400/230V unit, but is it ready for (U.S.) primetime?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Last week, Eaton Corp. announced a new uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with a 400V/230V power distribution that’s uncommon in U.S. data centers.

In most data centers, power comes from the utility at 480 volts and then gets stepped down to a 208/120V distribution at the server level. With the Eaton product, the power comes from the grid at 480 volts and gets stepped down to the 400/230V distribution, which is commonly used in Europe, Asia and South America. According to an Eaton whitepaper, the 400/230V distribution is 4% more efficient than the traditional UPS that distributes at 208/120V.

“It only took us about 100 years to get to where the rest of the world has been for decades,” Peter Sacco, president of data center engineering firm PTS Data Center Solutions, wrote in an email to me. “The technical advantages of 400V are undeniable and I believe and outstanding improvement to our 208/120V standard as well as better than DC power distribution.”

But hold on.

“However, don’t buy a new electric razor just yet,” Sacco advised. “Until there is broad acceptance by the power distribution industry, don’t expect to see it widely utilized just yet.”

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