Guarding Against Power Disturbances
An upscale resort restaurant uses an alternative to dedicated circuits, solving the problems of power spikes and downed point of sale terminals.
"We don't have big city power problems, like brownouts," says Cofer. "What we had were power spikes or swings of unknown origin. The electric company and engineers were brought in several times to evaluate the cause of the spikes. They could find nothing." The Waterfront's electricity was inspected and found to be up to code. One possible connection was a nearby power switching plant. Mystified, Cofer wondered if the problem could be with his POS system. "We spent $10,000 throwing money at a problem we couldn't fix," says Cofer.
Southern Hospitality Systems (Dallas, TX) had recently installed Squirrel version 3.2 hospitality software and hardware with hotel and club interfaces. The software streamlined Waterfront's operations; however, the power problems intensified. "The power spikes were ruining our Squirrel POS terminals and 422 and 232 communication modules (at a cost of $75 each)," says Cofer. "I kept two terminals and two communication modules in the back room to be used as replacements because I was never sure when we would need them. Fortunately, we could operate manually without disruption to our customers, but it was inefficient."
Oliver McLean, president of Southern Hospitality Systems, was as frustrated as Cofer with the power issue. "Data corruption was causing incorrect reporting in the financial, time and attendance, and payroll software modules," explains McLean. Southern Hospitality Systems continued to honor all product warranties for the Waterfront.
"It was to the point where the restaurant was considering rewiring the entire building," says Cofer. "That was an expensive option that would have put us out of business for awhile."
An Alternative To Rewiring
Instead of rewiring, McLean offered Cofer one last solution to his power problem the Ground Guard power conditioners from POWERVAR. "We tested it almost immediately," says McLean. The power test revealed power spikes from 120 volts to 0 volts and back up to 120 volts. "Once the test results were in, we installed the Ground Guard device throughout the restaurant," says McLean. "You simply plug the Squirrel POS component into the Ground Guard device, and then plug the device into the wall." Ground Guard has a patent-pending filter in its safety grounding circuit. This prevents ‘ground loops' from forming in data cabling. Ground Guard is an alternative to dedicated or isolated circuits. Because it is portable, the device can be moved along with the POS terminals within the restaurant.
Power Swings: A Thing Of The Past
Horseshoe Bay Resort installed a total of 45 Ground Guard devices. "Since plugging Ground Guard into our Squirrel systems, we haven't had one problem with power spikes," says Cofer. He is considering maximizing Ground Guard's potential by attaching a device to every kitchen and receipt printer. Currently the devices are attached to POS terminals and one main computer. "I recommend incorporating Ground Guard power conditioners from the beginning," says Cofer. "That way, you know from the start the power is clean."