An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is essentially a back-up battery power supply. When there is a significant change in the flow of electricity such as a power surge, your UPS will kick in and depending on the UPS you choose, give you time to close down your systems, safely or continue to operate for a short period of time.
Whilst downtime can be frustrating, it can also be damaging because the longer your downtime, the bigger the impact, not to mention any data that was loss at the time of the surge/outage. UPS buys you the time you need. Installing a suitable, UPS is a cost-effective and proactive decision to take towards the productivity and safeguarding of your business.
Types of UPS
There are three different types of UPS; Standby, Line-Interactive, and Double-Conversion. They are effectively categories based on how power moves through the unit.
Standby UPS, also called Offline UPS or battery backup resorts to battery backup power in the event of common power problems such as a blackout, power spikes (sags or surges.)
The wider the range of power the unit has, the less drain on the battery and the more backup time available when the power shuts off. The more times the UPS switches to battery backup, the shorter the battery life.
During power outages, it provides enough runtime to save data and safely close down your systems. Also, most Standby UPS systems offers basic surge protection as well.
Ideal for: Entry-level computers, VoIP equipment, POS systems, Security systems, and other basic electronic equipment.
Line-interactive UPS provides power condition and battery backup. It can regulate voltage, automatically, responding to high and low voltage conditions rather than automatically switching to battery back-up. They provide power during such events as a blackout, voltage sag, voltage surge, or over-voltage.
Ideal for: PCs, network equipment, and entry-to-mid-range servers.
Double-conversion (online) UPS
A double-conversion (online) UPS provides consistent, near perfect power regardless of the condition of incoming power. Standby UPS and Line Interactive UPS have a minimal transfer time to battery power but with double-conversion UPS there is no transfer time.
This type of UPS protects the critical load from virtually all power disturbances, including subtle harmonics and waveform distortion.
Ideal for: critical IT equipment, data centre installations, high-end servers, large telecom installations and storage applications, and advanced network equipment
Picking your UPS
- Size of UPS – Your UPS needs to be large enough to support all of the IT equipment you want it plugged into. Look at the “Capacity” as an indicator. The higher the capacity, the more equipment is can support. To understand what capacity you need, you need to calculate the Load (the combined amount of power you need for all of your equipment.) Just make a list of the equipment and total watts that is needed, the total up the amount to find the capacity you need.
- Failover Time – How much time do you need after a power surge / outage? Do you need to remain operational consistently because you have critical machines like in hospitals, you need ventilators to maintain life-support or do you just need to be able to safely shut your equipment down to avoid losing data? When you are looking at the length of time the batteries in the UPS can support equipment through power outages, keep in mind the larger the wattage load, the shorter the runtime will be.
- Number and Placement – Do you need several UPSs? Where will they be kept? Inside / Outside? Typically, we suggest that you have the minimum number of UPSs at one location.
- Hybrid solution – You can pick more than one type of UPS. Perhaps you don’t need a double conversion UPS for all of your systems, or perhaps you want another failover in place if one of them fails. When you make a list of all your systems to work out the size of UPS you need, start categorising them as whether they are business critical and how long you need them operational for. That will give you an idea if you can have a selection of UPS options in place.