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Ultimate Guide to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)

Ultimate Guide to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)

A power surge, such as during the restoration of power after a blackout, can overload and fry the components inside your computer.

When this occurs, it can damage the hard drive, which can lead to a loss of data or simply cause the device to quit working altogether.

However, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can provide you with on-demand backup power during blackouts and more to help keep your computer and other memory-based hardware safe from the strain of electrical pressure caused by a rush of power into your home’s or office’s sockets.

What Does an Uninterrupted Power Supply Do?

A UPS is a high-drain rechargeable VRLA, VLA, or Li-ion battery encased in a smart unit. This unit can be small or large, depending on the UPS’s overall capacity and whether it’s for home or office use.

The unit also often includes other features, such as LCD/OLED display screens and readout panels, a broad range of input and output options, and more, depending on the model.

A UPS works by taking some of the power from a wall’s electrical outlet and then storing it inside its cells so that it can send it to the computer instead.

This way, if, for any reason, there is a sudden interruption of power to the wall socket, the UPS can use its stored energy to continue to power the computer and prevent the impact of an electrical surge.

However, a UPS is not meant to provide a long-term solution for using the device without mains power.

UPS Power Supply Types

There are many models and brands of UPS power supplies available, and each has its own configurations and features that make it different or best suited for you. However, the three main types include:

Standby Uninterrupted Power Supplies

A standby UPS sits inactive until it detects a disruption in the flow of energy coming from the wall socket, and then it switches power to your computer using its internal battery instead.

However, it can take a few seconds to kick in, depending on the model and brand, so power to your device is not really uninterrupted.

Because of this, standby uninterrupted power supplies are generally considered more suitable as a budget-friendly backup for home PCs where there is less risk of significant hardware or data loss.

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Online Uninterrupted Power Supplies

An online UPS constantly filters, stores, and delivers electrical current to your computer even when there’s no disruption of power to the wall socket, so your device is always protected against a sudden blackout or voltage fluctuation.

Therefore, it is considered the safest option to protect your computer and its components against power surges and the like.

However, the technology, power usage, and operating costs for this type of UPS can be considerably high, so they are typically used most in larger companies where a huge loss in network performance and data can be devastating.

Line-Interactive Uninterrupted Power Supplies

Line-interactive UPS units offer various operating modes, including active filter mode, economy mode, and double conversion mode.

Their main benefit is they detect which mode is most relevant at which time, using a variable power transformer system, so they are more effective at adjusting to the current fluctuations during more potentially damaging power outages, etc., than offline versions.

They also help preserve the battery life by only switching to its power once it detects a problem with the mains power.

Their power usage is also significantly lower at any given time compared to an online UPS, so their performance offsets their costs.

Features to Look for in a Good Uninterrupted Power Supply

UPS Capacity

To determine the best UPS capacity for you, first, consider the number of devices you want it to protect. You need to also check its wattage to ensure it is enough to handle the total power draw of all the devices.

UPS Runtime

The UPS runtime affects how long you will be able to run your devices during a power outage.

So you need to calculate the load and battery size of the UPS to determine its runtime ability during a blackout.

As a rule of thumb, you want to select a UPS with enough runtime to allow you to stop or complete and save any open programs and then properly shut the device down afterwards.

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UPS Circuit Protection

Circuit protection helps ensure that during an overcurrent, high volts of electricity cannot flow through the device and cause damage; therefore, you want to be sure your

UPS offers some form of circuit protection, such as surge protection, blackout protection, over-voltage protection, deep charge protection, and more.

However, for best results, the UPS should include more than one circuit protection feature for optimum safety.

In the end, the overall form of the UPS power supply is also important to consider so that it is not too bulky and protruding in its chosen space, which can lead to trips and falls or just be plain unsightly. You may also consider its look if it’s important to your home or business.

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