What is a UPS device?

During power surges and failures, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) devices keep computer systems and IT equipment safe and operational. A UPS provides battery backup power when the flow of electricity drops to an inadequate voltage, or if it stops. An uninterrupted power source is vital for the mission-critical environment. Depending on the size and technology of the UPS unit, backup power is provided for a specific period of time, until generators can be activated or network components can be properly shut down. When electricity flows adequately, computers and accessories are protected from damage. A UPS unit can help to shield a single device or an entire data centre effectively. See our review of best UPS devices.

What are the different types of UPS?

There are three main types of UPS systems available to accommodate a complete range of applications, meeting enterprise and consumer needs. A Standby UPS is an offline unit that can detect an electrical failure and switch to battery power automatically. The two other UPS categories are Line Interactive and Online Devices, with online being the more expensive option. Each type of UPS keeps network devices operational when power is unavailable. Features, such as energy metering, vary by model.

What is a Standby UPS?

The basic Standby UPS is an uninterruptible power source that delivers short-term, battery-sourced power during outages. With this category of UPS, hardware receives utility power, under normal conditions, through a direct AC connection. The standby unit and its inverter are essentially on hold until backup power is needed. Depending upon the model, a standby UPS device can also safeguard data and sensitive equipment from surges, spikes, and dips. Compact devices are available for home network protection. A Standby UPS is commonly used to protect computers, modems, VoIP equipment, and other hardware. This category of UPS is the least expensive of the three UPS types.

Battery backup power is initiated with the Standby UPS, which is also referred to as a Backup UPS. Following a blackout, a Backup UPS delivers power for short periods of time. When it detects losses, the transfer switch initiates backup processes. Switchover times occur in milliseconds after failure, with response times varying by a standby UPS unit. The switch time is not instantaneous but should not normally interrupt the flow of power to equipment. If a lengthy outage is expected, the battery backup power of the UPS will allow for safe shutdowns, so equipment and data are protected.

Offline UPS Provides Basic Power for Home and Office

A standby UPS may also be referred to as an Offline UPS, a term that differentiates it from the fully uninterruptible, Online UPS. Though fundamental in design, an offline uninterrupted power source delivers backup runtimes for less demanding home and professional environments. Comms Express representatives have detailed information regarding Offline, Line Interactive and Online UPS models for network, server and desktop UPS applications.

What is Online UPS?

An Online UPS is a type of uninterruptible power supply that utilises either a double or delta conversion technology. With double conversion, network equipment does not receive electricity directly from the AC outlet. Instead, AC power travels to a rectifier, where it becomes DC power. Next, it travels to the battery, and then an inverter. After inversion back to AC, the power is delivered to equipment. With this online UPS device process, computing equipment receives continually clean power. With delta conversion, a certain amount of power is sent to run computers, routers, and other equipment directly. This creates an energy-efficient online UPS system where some of the power skips the processing steps.

If an electrical failure occurs, an Online UPS system maintains consistent current flow for the protection of network equipment. Upon fluctuation or failure, the rectifier within the UPS is automatically bypassed, and power is sourced from the battery until restoration occurs. The online UPS circuity is seamless. This is why Online UPS systems cost more than units in the offline or line-interactive UPS categories.

Double Conversion UPS Technology

Sensitive equipment can be protected with double-conversion UPS technology. Online UPS units are available for a wide range of users. With double-conversion UPS processes, network servers, data centres, and a full scope of environments can be protected, and there is no transfer time in the transition to battery power. Intelligent online UPS systems are available to support demanding loads and run times. More affordable double-conversion UPS units are available to smaller offices. Normally, the larger the unit, the longer equipment can be kept running.

What is Line-interactive UPS?

A Line-interactive UPS is one type of uninterruptible power source that can regulate voltage automatically. The line-interactive technology responds to high and low voltage conditions. Units also support systems during outages without battery drainage. With a line-interactive UPS, the electrical source is the first line of power; however, an inverter/converter technology allows for the unit’s battery to be charged throughout normal operations. During an outage, this UPS converts battery power to AC flow for device delivery.

Line-interactive UPS Systems for IT Applications

Within the category of power protection products, line-interactive UPS systems will safeguard sensitive equipment during brownouts and blackouts. Units in the line-interactive UPS classification are more expensive than standby models but more affordable than an on-line UPS unit. A line-interactive UPS will maintain performance during low voltage situations and short-term power failures. If a lengthy outage is anticipated, its battery power allows devices to be shut down safely. Some live interactive units also offer filtering features.

What is the difference between Online vs. Line-Interactive UPS?

Before buying a power protection unit, you may want to compare on-line versus line-interactive UPS technology. A line-interactive UPS adds an autotransformer to the basic standby design. It has the capability to increase or decrease voltage output. This transformer responds to changes in the AC power and can automatically regulate issues. In comparison, online UPS models use an inverter to transmit all or some of the power, at all times. This means an online UPS can live up to the term “uninterruptible” with a zero transfer time. It takes an interactive UPS a matter of milliseconds to switch into battery backup mode when a failure occurs.

Power Management Solutions with Battery Backup

Reliable power management systems help to ensure that electrical power to valuable equipment is never interrupted. When buying a UPS unit, the volt-ampere (VA) rating of the device should be compatible with the total load that must be protected. This load will include all equipment and network accessories. An advanced online UPS system uses double conversion technology for power management. It delivers consistently clean power, even during the brownout or blackout, for server-grade and data centre systems. Contact Comms Express for questions about VA and wattage ratings on UPS devices.

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