We live in a modern world, and an UPS power supply - uninterrupted power supply is crucial to many of us - especially businesses. Loss of power supply - even for a short period of time - can be detrimental to a company’s profit and general well-being.
Not to mention a huge inconvenience.
We believe prevention is the best cure for these types of hiccups, so the solution? An uninterruptible power supply system (UPS).
We’ll teach you everything you need to know about a UPS power supply, how it works, and where to hook yourself up with one.
What is a UPS Power Supply?
A UPS power supply system is a computer-generated electrical back-up structure that means all outages are immediately remedied and is designed to ensure all crucial power-operated apparatus has a constant supply - no matter what.
Because we live in a digital, internet-reliant society, having an airtight power supply is imperative for many of us, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic saw many businesses becoming more internet-based than ever before.
This is why it’s so important to have a “back-up” plan, in case we lose power. Typically a UPS power supply will be a single-phase or triple-phase configuration, which will be powered via batteries or a flywheel component.
Depending on your needs, a UPS power supply system can range from a small plastic box that is attached to a computer (for smaller power needs), to a megaton megawatt affair that is designed to protect big buildings (such as hospitals).
Naturally, the type of UPS power supply you opt for depends entirely on your needs and the capacity of what you intend to use it for.
What Does a UPS Power Supply Do?
To put it simply, they eradicate the possibility of power loss during the day or night, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Other purposes of UPS power supply systems include:
- Covering you against any and all types of power interruption.
- Enabling you to have a “ride-through” period, which allows you to tackle the source of the outage without everything coming to a grinding halt (or you having to fumble around looking for a torch!).
- Maintaining a strong power supply during an outage.
- Many UPS power supply systems come with another back-up solution (such as a generator) for potential long-term outages.
Smaller UPS power supply systems will typically run via batteries, but larger structures will rely on the flywheel configuration (a form of kinetic energy that relies on the conservation of angular momentum, which will store the rotational energy). Flywheel operations are designed for big structures with multiple appliances that require constant energy.
The integration of a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) with solar panels ensures constant power supply for your home. BLUETTI EP500Pro, equipped with UPS functionality, offers uninterrupted electricity, even during grid outages. With its high capacity and reliable performance, EP500Pro keeps your essential appliances running and provides peace of mind. Experience uninterrupted power and energy independence with BLUETTI EP500, allowing your home to stay powered anytime.
Because there is more than one type of UPS power supply, each model will operate differently, and when shopping for one, the supplier should be able to give you sage advice on the right system for your needs.
Types of UPS Power Supply Systems
As we mentioned above, UPS power supply systems aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair. However, there is what’s known as the “main three”. These are:
- Double Conversion. This UPS has a back-up battery/batteries, which are charged via the input AC and supplies power to the output inverter for an immediate and uninterrupted switch.
- Line-interactive. This option features a battery and inverter set-up which is permanently connected to the output, which allows a switch to flip during an outage to allow a change in the power flow.
- Standby (sometimes known as an ‘offline’ or ‘line-preferred UPS’). This solution features a surge suppressor, switch, inverter, battery, and a low-pass filter, and is permanently on standby (except in the case of a primary power outage).
How UPS Power Supply Systems Work
Because systems vary, the technical side of UPS power supply systems differ, but the general principle is the UPS will plug into a power source, which then draws and stores energy.
Many systems will also filter and refine the energy too for a more seamless and reliable electrical flow.
Pros & Cons of UPS Power Supply Systems
As a business owner, you may find a UPS power supply system will be a valuable bit of tech to invest in.
Some of the benefits include:
- Constant, seamless power. Naturally, the key benefit is the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that an outage won’t bring your company to a standstill, or even allow momentary power glitches.
- Eradicates any inconsistencies. Having a UPS means you can eliminate any irregularities that may come with your generic power supply, meaning perfectly functioning equipment and less chance of data loss.
- Keeping your business running smoothly. Even a momentary glitch can cause huge delays and hassle to a business, so with a UPS in place, you know your business (and equipment) will maintain itself, day-in and day-out.
- Provides extra time. This is especially applicable if you already have a standby generator and need to switch from your UPS to the generator. It can make the transition more smooth and seamless. This also means you’ll have the time to decide what your next course of action should be (for example, if you wish to wait out the outage, or go ahead and opt for a controlled technical shutdown of certain devices).
- Protects your devices. A UPS helps keep any expensive equipment (as well as sensitive data) safe, which can be imperative for certain businesses.
- Saves money. Because you’ve got this back-up solution to protect devices, this will save money on any expensive troubleshooting, as well as possibly lowering your insurance.
Some of the disadvantages of a UPS system include:
- Additional costs. You may find that your UPS system is somewhat costly to run, as well as any potential maintenance.
- Start-up costs can be high. Your initial UPS investment may be rather costly. It is important to shop around and find the right option for you.
- If you’re using it for larger-scale commercial use and you’re opting for a battery option, you may find you get through a lot of batteries, which can be costly - as well as unsustainable, if not recycled.
- They can be high-maintenance. Again, this tends to be applicable only to a battery-powered UPS. If your home/business is dependent on your UPS and you use a battery system, you will be getting through batteries (as mentioned above) and failure to keep up with this/replace dead batteries may render the UPS power supply system futile in the event of an emergency.
Industries That Benefit From a UPS Power Supply System
Anyone who wishes to protect and preserve equipment and data can benefit from a UPS system, but some of the industries who may find one imperative include:
- Hospitals and medical centres.
- Army bases.
- Data and call centres.
- Electronics manufacturers.
- Food industry/hospitality (anything with perishable, electric-reliant items).
- Police and authorities.
- Utility companies.
- Production-based manufacturing companies.
- TV stations.
- CCTV and traffic control.
UPS Power Supply: FAQs
How long will a UPS power supply last?
The longevity of the average UPS system is anywhere between five to eight years, which, of course, depends on the manufacturer and how well the product is cared for.
Is a UPS power supply worth it?
While the initial purchasing and set-up fees of an uninterruptible power supply may be high, it can undoubtedly save you a lot of time, money, and hassle if ever there is an outage that may put your business at risk.
It can also be a good investment for those dependent on uninterrupted energy in a low-quality power grid area.
Does a UPS need to be plugged in?
It is wise to keep your UPS plugged in at all times to maintain its lifespan, if nothing else. Unplugging it heightens the chance of the UPS’s battery self-discharging.
Does a UPS use a lot of electricity?
Depending on the UPS system you opt for (and what you use it to back up), the average UPS system is fairly energy-efficient.
For example, a home-use battery-powered UPS will have a rating of around 92 - 95%, which translates to circa 3 -10 watts per hour.
What happens when a UPS runs out of power?
UPS systems are designed as a temporary solution only, so if your area is at risk of a long-term outage, it is important to have another solution set up and ready to take over once the UPS runs out of juice.
This is when having a back-up generator is wise, as it will take over seamlessly once the UPS goes into what’s called an automated graceful shutdown.
Which is more reliable, battery or flywheel?
Generally speaking, a flywheel is more reliable, as it provides constant kinetic energy and doesn’t require batteries, which also makes it the more cost-effective option, and means it has a whopping 90% less environmental impact.
Also, flywheel UPS systems are twelve times less likely to fail than a battery-powered system.
Where can I purchase a UPS?
You can purchase one from most reputable electronic manufacturers, or invest in a battery back-up system instead.