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How to buy power management products

By Ross Johnson

Buying a power management system can be a long and arduous task. Endless products offer a wide variety of solutions, so it’s extremely important to clarify your distinct requirements. Asking yourself a number of questions prior to a purchase will help ensure you select a system that meets your individual needs.

1. Determine the overall goal of the system
This is a critical step in selecting and acquiring the right power management system. You should identify your specific needs in order to determine the overall goal of the system.

Questions you should ask yourself at this stage:
• Is there a need to correct a mistake in the configuration, construction or interconnectivity in the architecture of the existing system?
• Is the change of equipment internally or externally motivated?
• What are the immediate and long term goals of the investment?
• How will the system be funded – by a state-allocated fund or a federal grant? Are there any strings attached to the funds?
• What is the capability of the system to “self-police” or provide auditable reports to validate usage and efficiency?

2. Determine product viability
At this stage of the selection process, determine price, size, power requirements and operational characteristics. This will determine which systems match the unique needs of your organization and which do not.

Questions you should ask yourself at this stage:
• What is the target price range of the technology and, if applicable, what is the desired return on investment?
• What size, shape and model will work best for your specific operation or department? Are there possible variations?
• How much power is needed, for how long and at what voltage?
• Is operational logging required?
• What is the desired lifetime of the product?
• Are there any special service considerations?
• Is the equipment covered by warranty? Is it user serviceable?

3. Forecast potential issues
As is true with all technologies, the electrical devices operated by power management systems constantly change. Interconnectivity and configurability should be among your primary concerns as they will likely present the greatest challenge. Assume that because of the constant addition and removal of equipment to the host, the system should be able to accommodate an ever-changing environment.

Ross Johnson is the business development director at Energy Xtreme, an energy solutions company based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2006, Energy Xtreme creates solutions for businesses facing high cost and energy efficiency issues. Energy Xtreme develops these applications to assist in reducing costs while meeting and exceeding environmental standards. Energy Xtreme’s applications include idle reduction products, emergency backup systems, power management systems, remote power generation and storage systems, as well as proprietary carbon tracking and reporting software. Visit their website at

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