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1.

Introduction

On the 21st of October 2016 which was a Friday, we the 4 th year Electrical &
Electronic Engineering students had a field trip to the Department of Information
and Technology of Universiti Malaysia Sabah as part of our course requirement
for the course KE46302 Engineering CAD. The field trip started at 10am to
12.30pm.
There were several purposes or objectives of the visit to the purpose of the
Department of Information and Technology. The first objective was to view and
understand the system and operations of the Department of Information and
Technology. The second objective was to observe and understand the function as
well as operation of servers, capacitor banks, transformer, generator or genset
and UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply).
Many activities were carried out during the field trip to achieve the
objectives as stated above. The activities carried out at the Department of
Information and Technology are discussed in detail in the Section 2.0 as can be
seen below.
2.0

Activities & Discussion

At 10am we all gathered at the front lobby of the Department of Information and
Technology together with our Engineering CAD lecturer, Dr. Murali. At the lobby,
we were received by Mr. Chong Tze Chien the Senior Information Technology
Officer. Mr. Chong gave us a short introduction about the place and took us for a
tour of the department.
First he showed us the server room. The picture of the server room can be
seen in Figure 1. A server is a computer program that provides services to other
computer programs (and their users) in the same or other computers. The
computer that a server program runs in is also frequently referred to as a server.
The server is UMS stores all the data of the university such as the university
websites and sub-portals, accounts data, lecturer data, student data and etc. In
other words the server has to be maintained well and ensured to be fully
operational at all times to avoid interruption of web access and online services,

or in worst cases loss of data. The server also comprises of the security system
of the university such as firewalls to protect data from being stolen or overridden by hackers. The white metal cupboard like structures in Figure 1 are the
servers. The server in the Information and Technology Department serves for the
whole university. Thus, if the server is down, spoilt or has no power, the whole of
UMS will not have any for of UMS web and wifi access. All UMS based websites
will be down such as the Library Portal (WebOpac) and the student portal (SMP)
cant be accessed.

Figure 1: Server room

Since server are computer that are running 24 hours a day, they tend to
get heated up making them susceptible to damage. Thus it is essential to
monitor the temperature of the server room at all times to ensure the server
arent overheated. Server rooms are air-conditioned and these air-conds operate
24 hours a day similar to the server to maintain the server temperature.

Figure 2: Server room condition monitoring


Figure 2 shows the monitoring device that monitors the server room
conditions. The parameters monitored are the temperature and the relative
humidity. The optimum relative humidity of a server room is in the range of 40%
to 60% whereas the temperature range has to be within the range of 10C to
28C. Apart from monitoring the temperature for which the reason was already
discussed above, the relative humidity is also monitored due to the use of airconditioners in the room. At very low temperature, water droplets may form due
to condensation which can cause short circuit of server to occur if it contacts the
circuitry of the servers. Thus the temperature and humidity are monitored and
maintained within the optimum range.

3 (a)

3 (b)

Figure 3: Hartindo AF11E is a clean agent fire extinguishing chemical

The Figure 3 above shows the fire extinguishing agent used in the event of
worst case scenario such as fires in the server room. The special thing about this
fire extinguishing agent is that it does not effect electrical equipment and is nontoxic or negligible toxicity. It is a volatile substance thus vaporizes and doesnt
leave any residue that can spoil the equipment.

4(a)

4(b)
Figure 4: Clean Fire-extinguishing Agent Control Panel

Figure 4 shows the control panel of the cleaning agent. Part (b) of Figure 4
shows the close-up of the monitor of the panel. The electrical equipment are
being monitored for any system failure. In the event of a fire, the control panel
disperses the agent to stop the fire.

5(a)

5(b)

Figure 5: Back-up Batteries of the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply)

Figure 6: Cleaning Agent Control Panel

We then saw the UPS system of the department. An un-interruptible power


supply,

also

known

as

an

un-interruptible

power

source, UPS or battery / flywheel backup, is an electrical apparatus that provides


emergency power to a load when the input power source, typically the utility
mains, fails. Figure 5 shows the battery back-up of the UPS system, a multi-level
rack is stacked with high current capacity batteries connected in series. Figure 6
show the UPS control panel. The UPS differs from the generator or genset in that
it will provide instantaneous or near-instantaneous protection from input power
interruptions by means of one or more attached batteries and associated
electronic

circuitry

for

low

power

users,

and

or

by

means

of diesel

generators and flywheels for high power users. The on-battery run-time of
most uninterruptible power sources is relatively short515 minutes being
typical for smaller units but sufficient to allow time to bring an auxiliary power
source or generator set on line, or to properly shut down the protected
equipment. The uninterrupted power supply only powers up very critical
equipment such as the servers and the air-conditioners in the server room during
power failures of the utility mains of SESB. It will power up these essential
equipment till the generator stars to function as it takes a short time for the
generator to start. The UPS starts almost immediately when there is a power

failure.

UPS is

typically

telecommunication

used

equipment

or

to

protect

other

computers,

electrical

data

equipment

centers,

where

an

unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business


disruption and/or data loss.
7(a)

7(b)
Figure 7: Generator set of JTMK

Figure 8: Generator power-up battery

Later we saw the generator set that was situated at the back-side of the
building. Figure 7 shows the generator set and its control panel at the
Department of Information and Technology while Figure 8 show the series
connected batteries used to power up the genset. A generator set, also known as
a genset, is the combination of an electrical generator and an engine mounted
together to form a single piece of equipment that produces electrical power. In

the generator, referred to as an alternator, the mechanical work of the engine


generates electrical power. Generation sets are used to supply emergency power
when the power grid fails. The batteries in Figure 8 are used to start-up the
generator which takes several minutes to start. During this start-up period the
UPS takes control until the generator starts to generate electricity. We also saw
the transformer that is used to step-down the power supply from the power grid
to 415V three-phase voltage. Finally we were showed the capacitor banks as
seen in the Figure 8 below. This was at the end of our trip.

Figure 8: Capacitor bank of JTMK

A Capacitor Banks are groups of several capacitors of the same rating that
are connected in series or parallel with each other to store electrical energy. The
resulting bank is then used to counteract or correct a power factor lag or phase
shift in an alternating current AC power supply. AC power supply error correction
of power supply from transformer is done by the capacitor banks. This ensure
that phase shifts and power factor lags in the power supply are corrected before
supplied to equipment to ensure equipment function efficiently. After seeing the
capacitor banks our field-trip ended and we gathered at the lobby of the

Department of Information and Technology for a closing speech by the Senior


Officer, Mr. Chong, and our lecturer, Dr. Murali.

3.0

Conclusion

As a conclusion, the field trip was completed successfully. We were able to better
understand the function of server, generator, UPS system and their importance.
We also were able to grab the knowledge how each of these systems correlate
and function as a unit and their structures. We also were able to have a better
understanding of the function and structure of capacitor banks and transformers.
In a nutshell, the field-trip helped us to add to out knowledge as Electrical
Engineers which will be very useful when we go out to work someday.