An uninterruptible power supply or UPS is a device that allows systems to keep running for a temporary time period when the principal power supply fluctuates or is lost. Power outages or blackouts can cause considerable problems at a home and business and have serious consequences like data loss, drop in productivity, security and profits even. According to World Bank Report, it is estimated that India can prevent nearly $23 Billion a year in business losses if India’s population is connected to reliable electricity.
In addition to this power failures also put sensitive electrical equipment at risk in spite of modern solutions and alternatives developed to protect systems from damage caused by power surges, spikes, outages, electrical interference and brownouts. It is always better to be aware of these risks and prepare in advance in order to protect your systems.
UPS are designed as a more complex solution for protecting computers and sensitive electronics against power surges, interference, oscillation and other problems. Prevention is better than cure, so to should one look into protecting systems before the threat of interference in the main power source causes actual damage. Picking the right UPS can be tricky and requires some thought on the part of the user before actually purchasing one. This post is a complete guide on what criteria you need to weigh in and will provide an insight into the type of UPS that best suits your purpose.
Based on the type of problems you face you can choose from the following three types of UPS that best suits your needs:
- Offline UPS/Stand-by UPS: They are the most uncomplicated and cost efficient. They are used only when the main power supply is compromised. The offline UPS provides power when there is any voltage surge or fluctuation/variation. The charger and battery remain connected to the main power supply to ensure the battery is always fully charged, ensuring continuous current flow without any interruptions. If the mains fail, it directly switches to the inverter output.
- Online UPS: In online UPS, the main load is connected to the UPS all the time or until the battery is completely charged. The devices get power from the online UPS and not directly from the AC main supply. When power loss occurs, the rectifier drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady. It maintains consistent current flow and is uninterruptible in every sense.
- Line interactive UP: Line interactive UPS functions in way similar to that of the offline UPS but in addition to that it also includes an automatic voltage regulator which- without having to switch to the back-up battery corrects any irregularities. This type of UPS can tolerate under voltage brownouts and over voltage surges without consuming the limited reserve battery power.
The next criterion to consider is the battery power capacity and the amount of time you need the UPS to run after a power failure. Most UPS’s run for just enough time for you to save your work and shut down your system in the right manner, so if you require power supply for extended periods of time during power blackouts it is wise to consider a back-up UPS.
Factors to consider before buying UPS:
- Power output and Battery capacity are two different criteria that are not to be confused. Power output corresponds to maximum load that can be obtained from a UPS, whereas battery capacity is the amount of charge that can be stored by the battery. If the total load exceeds the power capacity of the UPS, the power goes off immediately irrespective of the power available on your UPS. Higher the number of devices connected, more power is withdrawn. It is of utmost importance to purchase a UPS of higher power output than the power required by your devices.
- Cost: UPS System prices range between 1500 and 250000 and the least expensive of them is the Home UPS from APC. It offers battery back-up and protects equipment from damage caused by power surges. It provides just enough time for the user to save their work and prevents the loss of data. During power failures the battery becomes the principal power source for the appliance. UPS Systems usually have a shutdown indication system like a beeper or an LCD screen which displays the remaining battery time. The most expensive type is the Online UPS System which has the capacity to support massive power loads and is generally used by large firms.
- Efficiency: The market is dominated by the ever efficient UPS Systems by APC. Efficiency can be determined by comparing expected loaded capacity and the output efficiency at the loaded capacity. Global warming is definitely a major concern today and it is vital to consider efficiency when purchasing electronic equipment.
Thus to purchase a UPS that fits your needs, it is vital to consider these criteria and decide according to your requirement and purpose whether it is home systems oriented or business oriented.