What is a UPS system?
How do they work? How can they protect my electronic equipment? How should I maintain my UPS system?
The team at Valen covers the answers to these questions regarding Uninterruptable Power Supply systems.
What’s an Uninterruptable Power Supply System –UPS?
Firstly, what is a UPS? The acronym UPS stands for Uninterruptable Power Supply.
This equipment contains a secondary power source to back up the original power source should it fail. In most cases, UPSs include some form of Battery to ensure the power supply is uninterrupted.
Why would you use a UPS System?
UPS systems are used on critical equipment to allow them to continue operating should there be an issue with their original power source.
As well as providing the power source, UPS systems can surge protect against lightning strikes, power sags and brownouts, and monitor and report the situation onsite to the user remotely.
UPS systems are used in various applications such as computer backup and electric gates right through to large, complicated systems like Data Centres.
How can a UPS system protect my equipment?
A UPS system will continually regulate the incoming voltage and provide power from its internal Battery should the power supply be cut.
The DC Battery power is converted into AC power allowing it to be used by AC equipment. The UPS system also surge protects, allowing your equipment to be as safe as possible.
What’s the difference between line interactive and online UPS?
A line-interactive UPS maintains its invertor in line. It redirects the Battery’s DC path from the normal charging mode to supplying power when the original power source is lost.
The battery-to-AC power inverter is always connected to the output of the inline UPS.
When the input AC power is normal, the inverter of the UPS is in reverse operation and provides battery charging. Once the power fails, the transfer switch will open, and the power will flow from the Battery to the UPS output.
This design offers additional filtering and reduces switching transients since the inverter is always on and connected to the output.
Being a Cheaper option than Online UPS systems, line-interactive UPS systems will not protect against electrical line noise, frequency variation, switching transients and harmonic distortion.
Online UPS systems use a “double conversion” method of accepting AC input, rectifying to DC for passing through the rechargeable battery, and then inverting back to 120 V/230 V AC for powering the protected equipment.
In an online UPS, the input AC is charging the backup Battery providing power to the output inverter, so the failure of the input AC won’t cause activation of the transfer switch.
In other words, should there be a power outage, the rectifier will simply drop out of the circuit and the batteries will keep the power steady and unchanged.
It is a smooth transition and there is no time lost in transferring between power sources.
When the original power source is restored, the rectifier will resume carrying most of the load and begin charging the batteries. However, there may be some limit to the charging current to prevent the high-power rectifier from overheating the batteries.
The initial cost of an online UPS system is more significant than a line-interactive system; in the long term, the cost is generally lower as the batteries tend to last longer.
How do I Maintain and look after my UPS?
Maintenance for your UPS system will depend on how large your UPS system is.
However, the below are a few quick tips for looking after your UPS;
- Regular visual inspections
- Record and document information on the UPS
- Routine annual maintenance by professional company or installer
It is essential to read and follow your UPS systems I&O manual. The I&O manual will contain detailed information regarding your UPS’s installation, operation, and maintenance. Failure to follow the I&O details could lead to suspension of warranty.
If you still have questions on any of the above, contact the Valen team to see how a UPS system can work for you and your team today!