In this age and time, all of us have either used or seen the UPS. It is that magic box that keeps your computer working, the fan running, and the TV blaring even during power cuts. Short for "Uninterruptible Power Supply", UPS is now a common household name. By simple definition, the UPS is an equipment that provides a continuous power supply to electronic devices.
The unreliability of the main electric supply is what fuels the need for the UPS system. In a city like Chennai, you can list a dozen reasons for power failure. The reasons are endless, from shut-downs, load shedding, voltage spikes and sag, to harmonic distortion and maintenance issues.
In short, the UPS is the saviour that powers and protects all hardware components that you rely on for your business and personal work. This includes computers, telecommunication equipment, data centres and even your fans, lights, and kitchen appliances.
Therefore, it is only fair that you learn more about the UPS, the types, and its key components. This knowledge will help you understand how this device works and to identify and avoid potential problems. So let's get started.
Based on its different working principles, the UPS device is categorized into three types.
1. Standby UPS
The basic Standby UPS is a source of short-term, battery-sourced power during outages. Commonly used for computers, VoIP equipment, and modems, this UPS powers the hardware through a direct AC connection. In this UPS model, the inverter and standby unit are essentially idle until backup power is required. Data and sensitive equipment can also be secured with a standby UPS device, depending on its model. The Standby UPS also comes in compact versions for home networks.
2. Online UPS
The Online UPS is an energy-efficient power supply system powered by either a double or delta conversion technology. When it works with the double conversion technology, the UPS does not directly receive electricity from the AC outlet. Instead, the power first travels to a rectifier, where it is converted into DC power. After this conversion, the DC power travels to the battery and then an inverter, where it is again converted back to AC power. This reconverted, clean AC power is delivered to the equipment.
When it works with delta conversion, the online UPS sends a certain amount of power directly to the equipment that needs to function.
3. Line-Interactive UPS
This type of UPS is similar to the Standby UPS, requiring at least ten minutes of transfer time to power up a device. The line-interactive UPS is also a bit expensive. That's because the load is passed on to the AC unit via a bypass mode applied to the power supply. This solution serves as a backup if the UPS function fails. This UPS can also be used with less than 6kVA power ratings. It is also very ideal for household and office applications.
Now that we've dealt with the types let's explore the main components of the UPS device.
On the outside, the UPS is but a plain box with a red light and a few electrical outlets embedded on its back. It is noiseless, and except for that occasional beeping noise, it is hardly noticeable. But there's a lot that goes on with the UPS system, which comprises four main components we have explained in detail.
1. The Rectifier or Charger
The rectifier has one main function: to ensure the batteries are fully charged while waiting to be activated during a power failure. It converts the AC power from the mains into DC power to charge the UPS battery.
In smaller UPS systems, the rectifier and the charger work as two separate modules. In larger systems, they work as a combined component. Also, the charger setup is different for offline and online UPS as the power flow is different for both models.
2. The UPS Battery
As the component that stores the power supply used during a power shortage, the battery serves as the heart of the UPS system. The batteries are stored in long connected strings to ensure continuous power. Therefore, if one battery fails, the entire string is likely to fail. This is why the battery ought to be frequently tested.
The available battery power determines the runtime of your UPS. This power is measured in amp-hours. Hence, the more batteries your UPS has, the more runtime it provides. This is why many people choose to invest in External Battery Packs or EBMs to increase the UPS runtime when there's an emergency.
3. Static Bypass Switch
Your UPS system is designed to be reliable at all times- including those moments when the UPS itself is faulty. During such instances, the static bypass switch automatically connects the load to the main supply and powers your device. It is called the "bypass" switch because it bypasses the rectifier, inverter, and batteries.
The power provided by the static bypass switch is not clean, as it does not undergo the entire conversion and re-conversion process. Nevertheless, it will power your device until the UPS issue is solved.
To power your systems and devices with AC power, the inverter plays an instrumental role by switching the DC power from the rectifier back to AC power. This conversion of AC to DC and vice versa is crucial as it ensures the resultant power is a pure sinewave. The inverter smoothes any disruptions, dips and surges in the AC power to keep your devices safe.
In an online UPS, the inverter is constantly active and alive as it ensures a seamless change when there's a power disruption. However, in offline UPS, the inverter is activated through a bypass switch. The inverter ensures the AC power is modulated, uninterrupted and consistent.
The UPS comes in many sizes, from small compact ones to really bulky models. Other than the above-mentioned components, there are other parts that you must also be aware of. They include:
You must choose a UPS system for your business that is both cost- and requirement-effective. At Nantech Power Systems Pvt Ltd, we can help you pick the right UPS system that suits your needs. As one of the most reputed UPS dealers in Chennai, we are well-known for our products and services. Do get in touch with us to discuss your UPS requirements with our team.