Clean Power, Part 2: Smart PDUs

Ed Wenck | Jul 14, 2020

Sound Sense racks 450Good news for your next rack build: PDUS are getting smarter than ever.

“A PDU is a power distribution unit,” explains Middle Atlantic’s Nyron Kahrim, “and at least in our industry, it comes in a minimum of three form factors. “There’s a rack mount, what we call horizontal – maybe outlets in the back or front. There’s vertical strips or ‘zero-U’ [meaning it doesn’t take up ‘rack unit’ space], which you can mount to the side rail of the rack, and the other one is a compact PDU, designed to tuck behind a display to power multiple devices.”

And now these PDUs are “smart” – or as CEDIA’s Walt Zerbe says, “connected.”

“In the CEDIA channel in 2020, nobody should be rolling a truck to cycle anything,” says Jimmy Paschke of SurgeX. “Companies like PS Audio came out with IP control pre-2008. Blue Volt came out shortly after, then Wattbox, Racklink, SurgeX – we’ve all got IP control in the power category. We don’t want our dealers to rely on that solely when there’s a problem but we all know that firmware updates and the like will cause a need for a reboot periodically. And if and when that happens, no one should physically have to roll a truck to go unplug something and plug it back in, right?”

“With the high tech that we have now – OvrCPro, Domotz all of these enable us to take those proactive measures to make sure that they can solve a problem before a homeowner knows they exist,” adds Paschke. As a result, Paschke notes that “smart” PDUs dominate every job that’s out there, big and small.

“Suppose you made a little profit on a $10,000 system, but you had to reboot things manually after an update. Now you just gave it away – ‘cause you rolled your truck twice to that job.”

Interested in learning more? Check out the CEDIA Podcast “The Power Show 2020.”