Power or line conditioners regulate, filter, and suppress noise in AC power for sensitive computer and other solid state equipment. Power conditioners typically consist of voltage regulators in combination with output isolation transformers and transient voltage suppression circuitry. They provide electrical isolation and noise and spike attenuation to ensure the quality and consistency of power to sensitive medical, laboratory, computer, and other high technology equipment.
Important specifications to consider when searching for power conditioners include power rating, input voltage, output voltage, voltage regulation accuracy, phase, and frequency. The power rating is usually expressed in volt-amps, which is the product of the maximum RMS voltage and the RMS current that the conditioner can handle. Input voltage is the nominal line voltage to which the conditioner is connected. The output voltage is regulated or conditioned voltage. The voltage regulation accuracy is the accuracy with which the output voltage is controlled. Choices for phase are single phase or three phase. General public or standard commercial voltages are typically single phase. Examples of these power conditioners include computers, office equipment, and many types of laboratory instruments. Three phase power is typically reserved for industrial use for machines that benefit from its efficiency. Industrial motors and machines with motors often use three phase power. Frequency choices include 50 Hz, 60Hz, and 400 Hz.
Common configurations for power conditioners include computer board, portable or benchtop, hard wired, rack mount, DIN rail, wall mount, and floor or free standing. While many power conditioners supply a single outlet for conditioned power, some feature multiple outlets. This is most often for equipment that does not consume a great deal of power, such as computers or light instrumentation. Not applicable for hard-wired or specialty conditioners such as boards. Features common to power conditioners include medical rating, frequency conversion, bypass switch, and readout or indicators. Conditioners with medical ratings are designed and rated for medical or dental use; may include hospital grade ratings. Conditioners with frequency conversion include power conditioners that also convert input frequency to a different value, e.g. 60 Hz to 50 Hz converters. Bypass switches for taking power conditioners "off-line" without physically removing them; allows unconditioned power to pass through. Readouts or indicators include visual display indicating status or performance; may include simple LED indicators or more elaborate readouts.