front view of an Uninterruptible Power Supply

When do We Use a UPS

Loadshedding is here to stay and is part of our lives whether we like it or not. To overcome loadshedding issues it is a smart idea to think a little out of the box, conjure some clever ways to safeguard equipment, keep staff and workers safe in factories and mines, and in general bear in mind that we can and will overcome the inconveniences that go hand in glove with an unstable utility. 

UPS is one way to make a difference in the way we overcome the inconveniences and damage that can and will occur when the power continuously goes out. 

UPS will protect critical loads when the mains experience problems whether they include complete blackouts or simply spike and dip. A UPS uses a battery which will fill the gap while a generator kicks in – it’s the difference between having enough time to switch off your delicate electronics or machinery in manufacturing plants or other emergencies, thus preventing accidents and at times, fatalities. 

A UPS is one of the most critical investments when buying computer equipment as it protects the hardware and loss of data, although it is wise to switch your systems to the cloud to ensure your data is safe and secure, especially as the power has become something we simply cannot rely on. 

About your UPS and what it does 

  • A UPS provides reliable backup power during unpredictable power issues which will protect both data and the computer equipment connected to it; in turn, it stabilises the electric current when power from the grid is unstable 
  •  A UPS comes in a wide range of sizes and representations that target a variety of electrical devices such as PCs, telescopes, hospital equip, mining equipment and more 
  • Knowing the right one to use is essential for the protection of the equipment you use 

Lighting strikes, particularly in the Highveld during the summer months, could be detrimental to your equipment and usually the biggest threat to your electronics. Surges as a result of lightning strikes or hikes in the grid travel through the wiring into your office or home and moves to your electric equipment damaging your equipment. 

Complete surge suppression will filter out any unreliable voltage that would usually damage equipment. 

 

Back view of an Uninterruptible Power Supply

What Size UPS Do I Need?

UPS is a device that guarantees that there will be no lapse of continuous AC power to the electrical devices connected to the grid when power is interrupted or unstableSome UPS systems integrate surge protection to protect the attached device from current fluctuations or lightning strikes to guarantee a perfected current that is noise-free and free from voltage instability. 

Once you have decided to invest in a UPS the next thing to ask yourself is what size UPS will you need and where do you find one? 

It is best to find a company well-versed in UPS Systems with a good track record. There are, however, certain methods you will be able to put into place prior to shopping for your UPS so that you can choose the right size UPS for your needs. Knowledge is key and the more you know the better equipped you will be in finding the perfect size UPS for your equipment. 

  • List all the equipment that requires protection from dips and surges, brown-outs and blackouts 
  • It is important to include items such as monitors, external hard drives and routers as these also need protecting from unstable grid power 
  • The next step is to list the amps and volts of each device  
  • Most amps and volts ratings are found at the back of your electrical devices  
  • Multiply your Amps by Volts to get your VA (VoltsAmps) reading 
  • Some electronics list their power in Watts only 
  • These need to be converted into VA readings  
  • Divide the Watts by the power factor – an example is – Servers have a power factor of around .9 
  • Multiply the VA by the number of electronic devices to get the VA subtotals 
  • Add all the VA subtotals together 
  • Multiply the total by 1.2 to get the grand total (this step is important if you need to increase your UPS at a later stage) 
  • Use your grand total to choose the right UPS 
  • When investing in a UPS device remember to check the total VA requirement as this should never be more than your VA rating on the UPS of choice 

Use the grand total to select a UPS. Perhaps one of the most important points to consider when selecting UPS devices, be sure that the total VA requirement of maintained equipment does not surpass the VA rating of the UPS. 

Front side view of an Uninterruptible Power Supply

How Does UPS Work?

The reality of dips and peaks, brownouts and blackouts and load shedding is once again staring us in the eye. 

South Africans are becoming adept at discovering smart ways to outwit our power and water woes, and UPS is certainly one such device that will, at worst, protect our sensitive, expensive computer equipment from being damaged during instability of the grid, and give us sufficient time to save any important work from being lost. Most UPS Power systems are relatively short – somewhere in the region of 15 minutes. 

A UPS system is different from other emergency power systems such as a standby generator in that it protects your equipment and affords you time to save your work using one or more batteries and other electronic circuitry for low power users and generators and flywheels for power users that are higher. 

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply is also referred to as battery back-up systems provide enough back-up power when the power goes down or when voltage drops to low levels.  

The UPS offers backup power that will give you enough time to shut down your PC and other important equipment and any other connecting power devices. 

The size and the configuration of your UPS device will be the deciding factor of how much power you can get from your back-up system. 

There are numerous UPS topologies provide varying levels of protection against power interruptions. CyberPower UPS offers three topologies – these include line-interactive, double-conversion, and standby. 

  • Standby UPS 

Perhaps the most basic UPS relying on battery back-up power when the voltage dips or surges and when the power goes out. The UPS automatically switches to DC power when the utility dips below the norm, then inverts it back into AC power to devices that are connected.  

Standby UPS is most commonly used to protect computers, POS systems, security systems, automatic gates, among others 

 

  • Line Interactive UPS  

 

Line Interactive UPS uses technology to readjust and correct slight power instabilities without switching over to a battery back-up; this UPS system is equipped with an autotransformer that assists in the regulation of voltages that dip and corrects over voltages without switching over to battery backup. This UPS System is great for gaming, home theatre, and entry and mid-range servers 

 

  • Double Conversion UPS  

A double-conversion UPS delivers reliable, clean power, irrespective of the state of power from the grid. This UPS converts incoming AC power to DC, and once again it converts the DC power back to AC. UPS systems with this technology operate on isolated DC power continuously with a zero-transfer time. 

A UPS is used to protect computers, data centres, telecommunication equipment or other electrical equipment to prevent losses or injuries.