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Whether you are powering critical medical equipment or a series of surveillance cameras, the UPS battery system can protect you from coverage in the event of a power failure. UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply, a component that responds immediately to power failures, but it is different from a backup battery. Understanding the differences between these two systems will help you make the right choice for your power needs.
Any online double-conversion uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system has four main components: rectifier, UPS battery, inverter and static bypass switch.
The rectifier performs several key functions. The first is to convert the input power from AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current). Its second main function is to charge the battery, while the DC power also leads to the inverter. Depending on the size of the UPS, the rectifier module may include a battery charger. For smaller UPS battery systems (that is, less than 3 kVA), it is not uncommon for the rectifier and battery charger to be separate components. The UPS rectifier can accept a wide range of input voltage fluctuations, which means that the system can handle overloads or surges without the need for batteries.
When the utility power fails, the battery in the UPS battery system provides emergency power. A rectifier or a separate charger ensures that the battery is always charged. The UPS battery system has at least one set of batteries, and the number of batteries required depends on the DC voltage of the UPS. The batteries in the string are connected in series, so if a single battery fails, the entire string will also fail. For smaller UPS battery systems, the battery is usually located inside the equipment. In larger solutions, UPS batteries are usually installed in their own independent cabinets.
This component completes the second half of the double conversion by switching the DC voltage from the rectifier or battery back to the AC output that powers the critical load. This conversion process (AC to DC to AC) and filtering can eliminate events such as spikes, dips, surges, and electrical noise, ensuring that the final output is a pure sine waveform.
If the UPS battery system fails, this component is a protective measure. If the UPS fails, the static bypass switch will automatically connect the load to the utility power supply, bypassing the rectifier, battery, and inverter. It is not ideal to have to transfer to utility power, because the power is not filtered or regulated as usual in an online double conversion UPS, but it does allow the equipment to continue to operate when the UPS is repaired or replaced.
Depending on the size and type of the UPS, it may also contain several other common components, such as fans or capacitors. In addition, there are some components, such as external maintenance bypass, which can be removed and/or replaced without interrupting the load, UPS, transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS), and simple network management protocol (SNMP)-compliant monitoring and Communication applications.
The UPS battery system is a stopgap measure between your main power source and backup power source. The problem is that even with a powerful backup battery or generator, your system may take a few minutes to respond to the loss of main power and start extracting from the backup power. In hospitals, banks, and other key functions, these precious few minutes can be a matter of life and death. UPS is designed to solve this problem by responding immediately, providing a large amount of power to the system, and then handing it over to the backup system as soon as the system is up and running.
The most important thing to understand is that the UPS battery system itself is not designed as a backup. The battery connected to the UPS battery system will not be able to withstand a continuous load for more than a few minutes. Therefore, you must prepare a comprehensive backup system to take over as soon as possible.
The main function of UPS battery is to bridge the gap between power outage and backup power. It can also make your system more reliable under normal conditions. This is because the UPS must be very sensitive to fluctuations in input power in order to respond immediately in the event of a power failure. Therefore, if you are in an area with unstable power, such as a field office or a rural hospital, the UPS may maintain power levels during turbulent dips and spikes in your main power supply. In this case, UPS has never really transferred the responsibility to your backup system, but it does play an important role by providing short-term power to fill the gap, and then everything returns to normal. This is possible when the UPS device is installed between your main power source and protective equipment, so if the power source fails, it will be the first reference point. This setting also allows the UPS battery system to continuously charge its own battery in mini cycles while it is working.
Adding an UPS battery system (uninterruptible power supply) to an existing setup is a great way to ensure that every moment of power outage is important. Unless you know that the UPS is on board and make sure everything is safe, you don’t want to struggle to start the generator.