- An UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) is also called as “Uninterruptible power source”, UPS / battery or flywheel backup, is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails.
- A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries, supercapacitors, or flywheels.
- The on-battery runtime of most uninterruptible power sources is relatively short (only a few minutes) but sufficient to start a standby power source or properly shut down the protected equipment.
- A UPS is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment or other electrical equipment where an unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.
- UPS units range in size from units designed to protect a single computer without a video monitor (around 200 volt-ampere rating) to large units powering entire data centers or buildings.
Uninterruptible Power Supply
Common Power Problems
- The primary role of any UPS is to provide short-term power when the input power source fails. However, most UPS units are also capable in varying degrees of correcting common utility power problems:
- Voltage spike or sustained overvoltage
- Momentary or sustained reduction in input voltage
- Noise, defined as a high frequency transient or oscillation, usually injected into the line by nearby equipment
- Instability of the mains frequency
- Harmonic distortion, defined as a departure from the ideal sinusoidal waveform expected on the line
- The Standby UPS (SPS) offers only the most basic features, providing surge protection and battery backup. The protected equipment is normally connected directly to incoming utility power.
- When the incoming voltage falls below or rises above a predetermined level the SPS turns on its internal DC-AC inverter circuitry, which is powered from an internal storage battery. The UPS then mechanically switches the connected equipment on to its DC-AC inverter output.
- The switchover time can be as long as 25 milliseconds depending on the amount of time it takes the standby UPS to detect the lost utility voltage.
- The UPS will be designed to power certain equipment, such as a personal computer, without any objectionable dip or brownout to that device.
- The line-interactive UPS is similar in operation to a standby UPS, but with the addition of a multi-tap variable-voltage autotransformer. This is a special type of transformer that can add or subtract powered coils of wire, thereby increasing or decreasing the magnetic field and the output voltage of the transformer.
- This may also be performed by a buck–boost transformer which is distinct from an autotransformer, since the former may be wired to provide galvanic isolation.
- This type of UPS is able to tolerate continuous undervoltage brownouts and overvoltage surges without consuming the limited reserve battery power. It instead compensates by automatically selecting different power taps on the autotransformer.
- Depending on the design, changing the autotransformer tap can cause a very brief output power disruption, which may cause UPSs equipped with a power-loss alarm to “chirp” for a moment.
True Online UPS
- In an online UPS, the batteries are always connected to the inverter, so that no power transfer switches are necessary. When power loss occurs, the rectifier simply drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady and unchanged.
- When power is restored, the rectifier resumes carrying most of the load and begins charging the batteries, though the charging current may be limited to prevent the high-power rectifier from overheating the batteries and boiling off the electrolyte.
- The main advantage of an on-line UPS is its ability to provide an “electrical firewall” between the incoming utility power and sensitive electronic equipment.
- The online UPS is ideal for environments where electrical isolation is necessary or for equipment that is very sensitive to power fluctuations. Although it was at one time reserved for very large installations of 10 kW or more, advances in technology have now permitted it to be available as a common consumer device, supplying 500 W or less.
- The online UPS may be necessary when the power environment is “noisy”, when utility power sags, outages and other anomalies are frequent, when protection of sensitive IT equipment loads is required, or when operation from an extended-run backup generator is necessary.