For many businesses and individuals, experiencing a power surge or power failure can mean disaster. Losing saved work, important data, and computer files as a result of power loss situations can directly lead to lost revenue, damaged business reputation, and endless frustration. That’s why a UPS, or Uninterrupted Power Supply, is such an incredibly useful device that can help you gain peace of mind knowing that you always have a backup power supply ready to kick in.
A UPS is designed to keep your computer systems and IT equipment safe and fully functioning in the event of a partial or full power loss. It’s a great investment for people that simply can’t take the risk of losing their valuable data or having their computers and servers shut down due to power loss. There are a few different types of UPS systems to consider, which is why we’ve put together a list of the most common options below.
One of the most common types of UPS systems is the cover standby system. It’s essentially a backup power source that provides short-term battery-sourced power in the event of a power outage. It’s a basic UPS that provides you with surge protection as well as battery backup. People with desktop computers, VoIP equipment, and modems typically rely on cover standby UPS systems. They are an affordable option for people that are looking to back up their power supply efficiently. Keep in mind that most cover standby UPS systems can only provide a run time of around 5-10 minutes, so purchase a larger UPS if you are trying to safeguard against a complete blackout.
If you are a small business owner or need a backup power source for your Web and departmental servers, the line interactive UPS is a good option to consider. It’s a great option because it regulates the voltage automatically. If the power fails, a transfer switch will open up and allows the power to flow from the battery to the UPS output. Line interactive UPS is a nice choice because it is very efficient, reliable, and inexpensive.
Online UPS is similar to line interactive UPS, but the main difference is that an online UPS uses an inverter to transmit power at all times. An online UPS will provide uninterrupted power with a zero transfer time. Since the batteries are always connected to the inverter, you won’t have to have a power transfer switch. If a power loss does occur, the rectifier drops out of the circuit and the batteries let the flow of power continue. Online UPS typically costs more initially, but you may end up saving money over time thanks to its long battery life. Online UPS is the perfect option for equipment that is very sensitive to power fluctuations. It is also great for environments where electrical isolation is necessary.
These days, the standby-ferro UPS system isn’t as common as it once was. However, that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked entirely. The design of this UPS depends on a special saturating transformer with three power connections. They are fairly large and heavy and can generate a lot of heat while in use. The main positives of this UPS is that it provides high reliability and great line filtering.
So, do I buy Standby or Online?
There are cost considerations, however, if you have a critical load, only consider online systems. The others run on utility power until there is a power fluctuation severe enough to cause it to transfer to battery power. It is at this critical instant when you switch from utility to battery that you find out whether your batteries, inverter and transferred switch are working. Slightly more expensive online systems power the load from the batteries, not the utility, and there is no switching during power anomalies. The utility simply keeps the batteries charged, and they will absorb most power hits. Should the UPS fail, it is usually when the sun is shining, and it will transfer to utility and throw and alarm. Then you fix the alarm, and return to normal power. It is our strong recommendation to use Online systems, sometimes called Reverse-Transfer, Double Conversion, for any critical load. The cost savings does not justify the headaches.
From the owner:
I’d like to have a discussion on small UPS systems, I’ve performed hundreds of site evaluations over my career.
When you buy a UPS from an IT retailer, they usually have little knowledge about how different UPS technologies work, and you end up with something they randomly picked from a catalog. My focus is on reliable infrastructure and one of my career specialties is UPS systems.
That said, the UPS industry initially designed UPS systems to be bullet-proof, and as the market matured, cost drove new technologies. So, you can now buy a UPS that is less reliable than utility power if you are not careful.
I understand the convenience of buying your UPS from your IT retailer, however, unless you specify Reverse-Transfer, Double Conversion, you will continue to have random power issues.
For small systems (under 2kVA), we just need your load and backup time. A typical system plugs into a standard 20A outlet and come with several standard outlets on the back and a network card. We can size and configure any UPS, any size for any application. Let me be your UPS advisor.