What are Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)?

Backup Energy Power Solutions For Critical Applications

Uninterruptible Power Supplies, or UPS, are devices that maintain a constant supply of power to any equipment connected to them.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies  power from a separate source when the original source of mains power is unavailable. This gives a host of benefits against disruptions. The UPS systems basically sit between a power source, like a wall outlet and a device like a computer.

In the event of a power failure, the uninterruptible power supply will provide the necessary power to the device as a backup.

A UPS can be anything from a battery, to a backup power generator. It is typically anything that helps a device remain temporarily operational, when power is interrupted.

Uninterruptible power supply generators also protect the device from undesired aspects of the power source, like surges, outages, or sags.

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Off line and online

There are two major types of uninterruptible power supplies;

  •  ‘off-line’ (which is called ‘line interactive’)
  • and ‘on-line’ .

The off-line type will switch from the original power source to its own power source instantly, should a power failure occur. By this method it keeps the device temporarily powered, until the original power source is available again, or its own power source runs out.

The on-line type continuously draws energy and converts it into DC (part of which it stores in reserves, such as batteries) and back into AC power for use by the device when the original power source has failed. Typically either system would also be backed up by a standby generator.

Generator or UPS?

Do not confuse Uninterruptible power supplies with standby generators. Standby generators do not protect equipment from the effects of power failure. Such as surges, sags, or any other momentary interruption. However, standby generators can assist a UPS in the event of lengthy power failures. The design often incorporates these two systems. Larger systems of back-up power designed for crises, include lighting, generators, and refrigeration. Used in such places as hospitals and laboratories, ideal for medical and mobility applications.

Power Disturbances

A UPS system is the perfect device to guard against power disturbances such as faults on the electric delivery system, power line poles or lightning surges that can cause blackouts. To prevent loss of data while working on a computer, install an uninterruptible power supply. The slightest drop in power or a power surge may cause your computer to freeze or automatically shut down, both resulting in lost work, data and valuable time.

Prepare for any power failure, importantly protect power used on a continuous basis. Computers are a good example. To determine what size of power supply equipment you need, consider how much energy needed should power fail.

A UPS has a VA rating, volts*amps. The rating is the maximum amount of volt*amps it can deliver in a power failure. If you choose a UPS with too small a VA rating, you will not be able to power your equipment; however if you choose one with a larger VA rating than you need, this will be fine. You will just be able to power your equipment for longer periods of time should it be necessary. Overall, it is better to err on the side of a larger VA rating. You will want uninterruptible power supplies with ratings large enough to deliver power to all your necessary or vital equipment and allow for future growth with additional equipment.

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