2 Tests to Determine Telecom Electrical Enclosure Efficiency


Global demand for dependable telecommunications continues to rise as both consumers and businesses rely heavily on telecom equipment for every aspect of modern living. Electrical equipment reliability in the telecom industry can often be a matter of life and death. Consumers demand instant dial tones and web connectivity 24/7, even during a power failure.

Telecom electrical enclosure efficiency is essential for optimum equipment performance, reliability and durability while being subjected to the surrounding environmental conditions. Heat substantially reduces the service life of electrical equipment. Additionally, with continued component miniaturization while being housed inside ever smaller cabinets, the need for efficient telecom electrical enclosures has never been greater.

Understanding Telecom Electrical Enclosure Efficiency Versus Reliability

When it comes to telecom electrical enclosure thermal management, there’s a fine line between energy efficiency and equipment failure. The telecom industry needs to curb energy costs of operating its infrastructure that supports storage and communications equipment, while at the same time, managing cabinet temperatures to stay within the component manufacturer’s specified operating range.

Testing for Telecom Electrical Enclosure Efficiency

The primary goal of testing is to determine required enclosure cooling capacity and operating efficiency. Results can show which closed loop cooling system will operate most efficiently. Both air to air heat exchangers and enclosure air conditioners are a perfect match for outdoor telecom equipment requiring the use of robust NEMA Types 4 or 4X enclosures for maximum protection.

1.  Testing Efficiency to Determine Proper Cooling Equipment Type and Capacity

Telecom enclosures are often subject to high ambient temperatures, solar heat gain and heat load from electrical components inside. Manufacturers’ maximum allowable temperature can be from40°C (104°F)  to 65°C (149°F). However, an enclosure temperature of about 35°C (95°F) is typically used for component longevity.

Cooling system sizing is important for efficiency and to maintain desired enclosure temperatures. An undersized cooling system will run continuously, consuming more power without achieving the desired temperature. An oversized cooling system will run inefficiently, frequently cycling on and off allowing the enclosure temperature to fluctuate excessively.

Besides the use of a thermometer, an effective way to determine enclosure efficiency is utilizing the online Enclosure Temperature Management Calculator to determine the ideal cooling capacity for the application.

2. Test to Determine Enclosure Airflow Efficiency

Internal Heat Load is a result of the heat dissipated by the electrical equipment. To remove the buildup of heat a blower forces cool air through the cabinet around the components keeping them at safe temperatures. The electrical components inside the enclosure often act as obstructions creating resistance to the blower-produced airflow.

This air flow resistance decreases the effective capacity of the cooling unit which lowers the efficiency and can cause hot spots to form.

For existing telecom electrical enclosures hot spots can be located using techniques such as thermal flashlights and infrared (IR) testing.

To ensure a high level of efficiency, adequate spacing between components must be ensured to allow for proper air circulation. Additionally, electrical components should be positioned in such a way to allow vertical air flow from the enclosure’s bottom to the top, keeping hot spots from forming.

A Method to Increase Telecom Enclosure Efficiency

Unless telecom electrical enclosures are remotely located, they are AC powered. In order to provide uninterrupted service, most telecom equipment is DC powered or uses backup batteries. By using DC powered cooling equipment the use of energy consuming inverters can be avoided, resulting in an overall efficiency increase while reducing additional heat gain inside the cabinet.

During power outages, DC powered air conditioners and heat exchangers can run directly off batteries or solar panels providing reliable and efficient operation.

Monitor Efficiency with Programmable Controls

Environmental conditions surrounding your telecom electrical enclosure are constantly changing and a cooling system with an adjustable programmable digital controller allows the air conditioner to constantly adapt for maximum efficiency. A fully programmable controller can maintain the cabinet temperature to within +5°F, -1°F from the set point. For added protection it’s possible to install a control and monitoring system option that facilitates remote control of the air conditioner.

Thermal Edge specializes in the manufacture of quality telecom electrical enclosure cooling solutions that are designed to meet high efficiency standards demanded by customers.

To learn more about ways to cool telecom electrical enclosures efficiently, contact the experts at Thermal Edge.