Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

More Power to 'Em: Monterey Keeps Necessities Running in Emergencies

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

More Power to 'Em: Monterey Keeps Necessities Running in Emergencies

Article excerpt

Earthquakes, floods, fires and automobile accidents are among the causes for the loss of power at traffic intersections.

"Some drivers just don't understand what to do when they see a `dark' intersection," said Officer Eric Stidham, a traffic officer with 12 years experience on the Monterey, Calif. (population 32,000) police department.

In the interest of safety, communities can install uninterruptible power systems (UPS) that enable the traffic signals to flash red for a number of hours.

"Police tell us that too many people don't see anything but red lights and go through a dark intersection as if it was a green light. On flashing reds, they at least stop, thus saving lives,". said Richard Henson, executive vice president of Clary Corporation, which has pioneered the concept of UPS for mission critical applications.

By installing UPSs, cities allow the police--who would normally send out an officer to each affected intersection--to deal with other problems.

UPSs serve three important functions. The first is power conditioning. Lightning strikes, transient power and line noise will bum through and degrade electronic devices over time. But controllers and equipment connected to the continuous output of the UPS get 24-hour protection from dirty power, regenerating a clean sinewave output, as well as regulating against brownouts and surges, thus reducing premature failure and improving equipment performance.

The second function is backup power for flashing red signals, up to the maximum power rating, for any type of signal head. Additional batteries can provide up to 12 hours of autonomy.

Third is continuous battery power to the signal controller, communications/modems, video equipment and other critical devices.

UPSs offer battery backup for LED traffic signals up to the maximum systems power rating. …

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