An uninterruptible power supply (UPS), offers guaranteed power protection for connected electronics. Making the right choice when buying a UPS is critical for the safety of all your devices. If you are new to the world of uninterruptible power supply (UPS), consider this as your definitive guide to choosing the right backup solution for your home or business.
What is a UPS?
A UPS basically is a device that provides battery backup when the electrical power fails or drops to an unacceptable voltage level. It helps prevent loss of data and minimizes the stress a hard shutdown causes on your electronic equipment. It also provides clean power and surge protection for plugged-in, sensitive equipment.
Actolog, the official partners of Makelsan UPS, offers UPS options for Computers & Peripherals, Networks & Servers, as well as Data Centers & Facilities.
What are the Types of UPS to Choose From?
There are basically three categories of UPS system configurations to choose from.
- Online (Double Conversion),
- Line-interactive (Smart) UPS and
- Offline (Backup) or Standby UPS.
These UPS systems are defined by how power moves through the unit. The True Online double conversion system converts incoming power to direct current (DC) and then converted back to AC. This AC-DC/DC- AC design ensures an increased degree of isolation of the load from the irregularities on the main supply. This means there will be no transfer time between the main power source and battery, providing greater protection against spikes, sags, electrical noise, and complete power failure. The True Online (Double Conversion) is a high-range topology
The Line-interactive (Smart) UPS on the other hand provides both power conditioning and battery backup. This technology is particularly effective in areas where outages are rare, but power fluctuations are common. Line-interactive UPS systems support a wide range of input voltage fluctuations before switching to battery backup. Beyond battery backup, line-interactive UPS provides far better control over power fluctuations than offline systems. The critical advantage of line-interactive UPS is the voltage boost circuitry and the range of input voltage that the UPS accepts. The wider the range, the more total protection you will have.
Important to note: The Line-interactive UPS is a mid-range topology and should not be mistaken for the Online UPS. Most IT/Facility Managers confuse one with the other because some of the UPS comes in rack-mount. A solution for this is to request the datasheet of the brand.
The Offline UPS, also called standby UPS or battery backup is a cost-effective choice. It is the most basic out of the three. It provides light surge protection and battery back-up. During normal operations, it gets its power from its main power source (generally an AC outlet). Once it senses that the main power source goes beyond acceptable limits or fails, it switches to the “offline/standby” battery where it will then go to the DC/AC inverter – as such, there will be a small transfer time between the main power source and battery. It is a low-range topology. Examples of this include 500/650/1200va UPS.
Comparing the three: When to choose the Online, Offline or Line- UPS and Why?
When to Choose the Online UPS?
- When to operate the sensitive and important devices and equipment with continuous power supply without switching operations.
- When there are no concerns about the operation, installation, and maintenance cost as the online UPS system is costly than the offline UPS system due to the additional parts in the online uninterruptible power supply.
- When the main power supply fluctuates frequently or daily scheduled load shading and power outage.
- When you need the simultaneous operation of connected devices for a longer time duration like in the financial or medical sector where equipment needs to run continuously. Learn more about some of our Online UPS >
When to Choose the Line-interactive UPS?
- If you have light sag and surges, plus it has lower electric consumption. The line UPS is good enough for you.
- Also if you want a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective UPS, the line-interactive is the way to go. See related product here >
When to Choose the Offline UPS?
- When cost is the major and considerable factor.
- When switching is not a big issue i.e. you are OK to use it with auto or manual change-over or transfer switch between main power, portable generator or emergency generator set, solar or battery power.
Each of these serves various purposes. The Offline (Backup) or Standby UPS is the most basic, and they are good for applications like home computers, printers, or scanners. However, it has limited protection for sag and spikes and its output is not perfectly reliable.
The Line-interactive UPS would be suitable for light sag and surges. It has lower electric consumption. If you want a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective UPS, the line-interactive is the way to go. The disadvantage here is that if AC is unstable, the battery will be used more often.
The Online UPS is the most reliable and offers the best protection, making them ideal for motor applications or situations where you can’t afford any transfer time. The best uses are for data centers or intensive care units. In most cases, most users with highly-critical loads will inevitably choose online UPS topology; its ability to protect sensitive equipment and data from mains problems at all times far outweighs any extra cost consideration – especially as modern UPS hardware has become highly efficient in operation, significantly reducing excess operating costs.