When operating systems that require constant uptime, such as servers or telecommunications equipment, the loss of power may cause significant issues and setbacks. To prevent such occurrences from happening, one should always invest in an uninterruptible power supply. An uninterruptible power supply is an electrical device that may be implemented to provide emergency powering when the main power supply source fails. While comparable to standby generators and emergency power systems, a UPS utilizes charged batteries to provide almost instant powering and protection to a system.
While the main role of an uninterruptible power supply is to provide instantly supplied, temporary powering for a system, they may also serve for a variety of common utility power issues as well. Depending on the type of UPS, the apparatus may protect the electrical system from voltage spikes, reductions in input voltage, voltage sag, noise, mains frequency instability, and harmonic distortion. While many UPS features may differ from one another, some manufacturers classify their products to clarify which power issues they may aid with. In general, the main types of UPS devices include those that are standby, line interactive, and double conversion.
The standby uninterruptible power supply serves as the most basic type, typically only providing for a handful of features such as providing surge protection and battery backup. To protect a device, the standby UPS type is directly connected to the power device to maintain and monitor incoming power. One of the main functions of the standby type is to monitor incoming voltage, ensuring that it does not either surpass or fall under a set value. When such an issue does occur, the UPS switches the equipment onto its own DC-AC inverter output mechanically in a matter of milliseconds. In general, the standby uninterruptible power supply type is used for equipment such as computers to prevent dips and brownouts.
The line interactive uninterruptible power supply provides similar capabilities as the standby type, though differs in the fact that it also has a multi-tap variable voltage autotransformer. Such a transformer is a special type that may add or subtract powered coils of wire in order to adjust both the magnetic field and output voltage of the transformer. With its capabilities, the line interactive UPS type may endure continuous undervoltage brownouts and overvoltage surges all while not having to rely on switching to the reserve battery power by using varying power taps on the autotransformer. Autotransformers are useful as they can be designed to cater towards a wide range of input voltages. Most often, however, the autotransformer covers a range of 90 V to 140 V with 120 V power. If the voltage then either exceeds or falls below this range, the uninterruptible power supply will switch over to the battery. In general, the line interactive UPS type is used for systems such as consumer electronics, gaming systems, network equipment, some entry level servers, home theater electronics, and more. For these systems, the UPS may be useful during the event of a blackout, voltage surge or sag, or over-voltage.
The double conversion uninterruptible power supply, also known as an online UPS, is a type that has its battery connected to the inverter permanently, avoiding the need for a power transfer switch. With this configuration, the rectifier may drop the circuit and utilize battery power to maintain a steady and unchanged load when power devices fail. When normal powering is established once again, the rectifier continues to power the load while the batteries begin to charge. These types of UPS apparatuses are most useful for devices that are sensitive to power fluctuations, or when there is a need for electrical isolation. Although the double conversion UPS types features much of the same technology as a standby or line interactive type, they typically come at a higher price because of their added benefits for AC-to-DC battery charging and rectifier abilities. For applications, the double conversion type is most useful for data centers, large telecom installations, critical IT equipment, and more.
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