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    Guide to Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Battery Backup Systems

    What is a UPS?
    An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is a unit that can supply power to any equipment when the mains power fails. Another feature is that a UPS can counteract electrical surges, or short drops in power, and thus can protect any connected equipment. A UPS is typically used with computers, network equipment and telecommunications equipment. One or more UPSs will always be installed in data canters and in cloud networks. Whether the protected equipment is a PC, or a rack of network equipment in a data centre, if the mains power surges, drops or totally fails, the protected equipment will stop working, could be damaged or data could be corrupted. All commercial and professional installations of mains-powered equipment will have associated UPS equipment so that users will not be affected by a power outage.

    UPS equipment uses batteries to provide backup power when there is a mains failure. Depending on the size of the batteries, the amount of time the batteries can power the protected equipment varies from a few minutes to hours but normally gives enough time to restore a tripped mains breaker, start up a generator or make a controlled shutdown of the protected equipment. The length of time and the power a UPS can provide, depends on the type and power rating of the UPS.

    A UPS will normally have a few mains sockets built in so that a number of devices can be protected. Many also have USB connectors so that mobile phones and other devices can be charged. Monitoring of the UPS operation is normally visible by looking at the built-in status LEDs or on a computer via a UPS-provided interface connector.

    Types of UPS
    There are basically three types of UPS that are available on the market and these are:
    1. An Offline/Standby UPS is a more basic unit with less inbuilt features, and it switches over to provide standby power when the mains fails on the protected equipment. The switchover time can be a few milliseconds to 25ms. This is the type of unit consumers normally use for home use when on a budget.

    Standby Flow

    2. A Line-Interactive UPS switches and connects its mains charged battery power to the protected equipment when the mains fails. The switch-over time is a few milliseconds. This is the type of unit consumers normally use for home office and small office use.

    Line Interactive Flow

    3. An Online UPS where the mains supply is fed directly into the UPS and this supplies the uninterruptible power to the protected equipment. The incoming mains supply charges batteries within the UPS and the battery power is then converted back to mains power to feed the protected equipment. Due to these two conversions, this UPS type is often known as a Double-Conversion UPS. This is the type of UPS used by commercial and industrial installations.

    Online Flow

    What Type of UPS Do I Need?
    The operation of each type of UPS is different. For the Standby UPS, it switches to battery backup power when there is a mains power surge, drop or total mains failure. As with all UPS types, the direct current battery power is converted to alternating current power to feed the protected equipment. Alternating current is based on a sine wave but for this type of UPS a simulated sine wave is used to save costs. It should be noted that not all protected equipment can tolerate simulated sine waves. The operation of the Line Interactive UPS is that it has inbuilt technology so that it can correct small under-voltages and over-voltage power fluctuations without switching to battery power. Just like the Standby UPS, the Line Interactive UPS generally uses a simulated sine wave output. However, there are some more expensive units that use a regular sine wave output.

    The operation of the Online UPS is such that it powers the protected equipment with a pure sine wave and continues to do this when the incoming power fails without any switchover being necessary.

    A UPS is essential for home users of PC equipment in any location where the input mains supply is known to fluctuate, or fail at times. For home-workers and small businesses, a UPS is a must, as downtime will adversely affect the operation of a company. Using the UPS will mean that the users can have a controlled shutdown of their equipment. For large corporations and data centers, not only do they all use Online UPSs, they will also have backup power generators.

    About Maruson
    Maruson designs and manufacturers uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, power distribution units (PDU), automatic voltage regulators (AVR), energy storage systems (ESS), inverters, and other power management products. Founded in 2003 in California with additional offices and factory worldwide, the company offers decades of problem solving experience to the power management market that help people, businesses, institutions, and agencies protect their critical electronics from power disturbances or to power whole homes, offices, and stores. To learn more, visit www.MarusonUSA.com.

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