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Why is the PQube 3 so inexpensive?

For any other instrument that approaches the PQube 3’s performance, you’d pay 4 to 10 times as much.

1. It’s tiny

Cost of electronics is closely related to the size of circuit boards, and the PQube 3 is the smallest high-performance monitor ever made – about one-tenth the volume of other monitors.

2. It’s software-calibrated

Our engineering team spent years developing ultra-precise, fully-automated calibration systems. There isn’t a single manual adjustment anywhere. We pride ourselves on our calibration skills. In fact, our Calibration Lab is so good that the U.S. Department of Energy has selected it to calibrate research-grade PT’s and CT’s for important projects.

3. We sell a lot

High volume means lower prices for you, because you share the development costs with many more buyers. Other instruments with comparable accuracy are sold only to a few testing laboratories; other instruments with comparable power quality features are sold only to top-end service groups. In contrast, you’ll find standard PQubes built right into sensitive electronic systems, in data centers, in ships, in wind turbines, in airports, in telecom centers, in railroads… it’s such a tiny, flexible instrument that it fits in anywhere. We’re always glad to hear about new applications – tell us about yours!

4. You can design your own package

The PQube 3 mounts on a world-standard DIN-rail, so you don’t need to purchase features that your application doesn’t require. Of course, you can buy a fully-packaged PQube 3. But if you already have a DIN-rail, why pay for all the extras that you don’t need?

5. It’s 100% made in the U.S.A.

You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. is one of the least expensive places to make ultra-precise instruments. But there’s very little labor cost inside an instrument like the PQube 3. Instead, efficient component distribution and rapid access to world-wide creative engineering excellence keep PQube costs low.

6. Our support costs are amazingly low

The legendary toughness and reliability of PQubes means that you’re paying for just a few highly-skilled Support Engineers, helping keep your costs down.

7. We’ve been doing this for 15 years

With this much experience, we know what works and what doesn’t, and we can minimize costs for you without sacrificing performance or reliability.

Why are PQubes so reliable?

These are tough little instruments!

Harsh testing

We test the PQube 3 design right up to the limit: not just the usual temperature and humidity extremes like other instrument manufacturers, but harsh mechanical action (see video below), many kilovolts of voltages beyond specification, and beyond-Standard electrostatic discharge, radiated and conducted EMC, and more. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever reach these extremes in your application, but the PQube’s job is to keep recording when something goes wrong. So we test them very, very harshly.

Standards-based testing

We work closely with Certification Laboratories like UL (Underwriters Laboratories), PSL (Power Standards Lab), TUV Rheinland, and others. Together, we make sure that the PQube exceeds all of the Standards-based requirements for safety, immunity to conducted and radiated emissions, and precision NIST-traceable measurements.

Harsh field experience

You’ll find standard PQubes in the steamy jungles of Papua New Guinea, at frigid airports in Alaska, on power poles in the hot Alabama summer sun, in the salt air on tanker ships and oil platforms, even on undersea remotely-piloted vehicles. We expect this. We design for it. We succeed, so you don’t have to worry.

Government Testing

The micro-PMU – a firmware variant of the PQube 3 – is used in the U.S. government’s micro-synchrophasor project, and is installed at harsh substation locations, and on difficult distribution lines, all over the United States. Despite the environmental challenges, since the full release of the project there hasn’t been a single failure. Not one. The Principal Investigator for this project calls this reliability achievement “astounding”. We don’t really agree – we expect this kind of performance from PQube 3’s – but we’re pleased!

Statistics

We’ve been doing this for 15 years. We track our failures carefully, so we can correct them. For an individual PQube, we know that the odds against a field failure this month is about 1,450 to 1 . (Based on our experience in the industry, this is about 14 times better than comparable instruments. You can see why we’re so proud of PQube reliability!)

Do I need a PQube 3 or a microPMU?

This can be confusing – we’ll help you sort it out here.

The PQube 3 is a fully-certified power quality disturbance recorder, plus a fully-certified energy meter, plus a whole collection of additional recording channels.

The microPMU, or µPMU, is the ultra-precise Phasor Measurement Unit developed for the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E Micro-synchrophasor project. It measures voltage and current fundamental phase angles with a resolution of 0.001°, and magnitudes with a resolution of 2PPM (0.0002%). Time stamps are accurate to better than 0.000001 seconds.

The PQube 3 and the microPMU are exactly the same hardware, but are loaded with different firmware, and are passed through different calibration procedures.

Which one do you need?

PQube 3 microPMU
Applications Sensitive loads, metering locations, railroads, shipboard, semiconductor, data centers, medical equipment and hospitals, etc. Research on power distribution grid and microgrid stability, nuclear plant start-up stability, detect cyber attacks on substations, grid impedance measurements, etc.
Basic functions
  1. World’s best power quality recorder
  2. Ultra-accurate energy meter
  3. Environmental measurement recorder
  1. Measure the voltage, current, and angle difference between any pair of locations on a distribution grid
  2. Ultra-precise measurements of fundamental
Basic measurements
  1. Volts, amps at DC/16.7/50/60/400 Hz
  2. Harmonics, 2kHz-150kHz, 4 MHz impulse
  3. Temperature/humidity/

pressure/acceleration

  1. DC voltages and currents
  2. Time stamps to 1 millisecond
  3. Typical resolution ±0.01%
  1. Volts, amps at 50/60 Hz
  2. fundamental magnitude and fundamental angle only
  3. Time stamps to 1 microsecond
  4. Typical resolution ±0.0002%
Reporting rate Varies according to disturbance, power flow: 4 million samples per second max. Constant: 2 ultra-high-resolution readings per 50/60 Hz cycle.
Communications Built-in web site, built-in email, FTP, photo-like graphs, many standard file formats Packets to BtrDB server, and IEEE C37 protocol. Local storage of packets for up to 4 months for zero-loss research data.
Software No software required.
Can work with Excel®, PQView
BtrDB Plotter (new, open source) or any IEEE C37 program such as free Open PDC

Power Standards Lab
980 Atlantic Ave.
Alameda, California 94501

contact@powerstandards.com
TEL: ++1.510.522.4400
US: 1.888.SEMI.F47 or 1.888.736.4347

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