A UPS System or Uninterruptable Power Supply, to give it its full name is designed to provide near instantaneous power switchover when the mains power to electrical devices fails.
Almost all businesses these days will have computers, servers and other electronic devices that need continuous power. Should that power fail, then the effects can have a serious impact on the business.
A single phase UPS System will protect your equipment that is running off standard AC mains, referred to as single-phase.This will suffice for most home and office situations, but if your supply in a data centre, factory or installation is 3-phase then a more powerful 3-phase UPS will be needed. Most of the major manufacturers supply both types of equipment in a range of power ratings. Be sure to discuss your full requirements with an expert in your supply chain..
A UPS System can be used to protect any equipment that is running of mains or battery power and is commonly used to protect telecommunications equipment, data centre equipment and personal computers. A disruption or termination of the main power supply can have many effects depending on the equipment being used, the extreme case being some kind of injury or even loss of data which might have a serious impact on a business.
A UPS can also protect against power surges and even brownouts which could cause some electronic devices to malfunction or even fail altogether.
What is the difference between single-phase UPS and 3-phase UPS?
A single-phase uninterruptible power supply is located between the main power outlet and the device that is being protected and protect against AC mains power fluctuations and problems such as surges, power spikes, sags and brownouts.
A 3-phase UPS provides protection and protects against the same problems associated with single-phase systems except that 3-phase systems are of higher voltage, in the order of 400 Volts. The substation provides 3-phase power over 3 windings over which the power is 120 degrees out of phase with each other.
A normal household would only be fed from single winding thus providing single-phase, whereas a factory or engineering plant may be supplied with the full 3-phase power.
UPS Systems are normally categorised as Online, Line-Interactive or Standby:
Online - An Online Double-Conversion UPS is designed to protect sensitive equipment that could be damaged or caused to malfunction due to excessive power fluctuations. The output voltage and frequency are maintained within strict limits regardless of the input.
Line-Interactive - This category of UPS is able to maintain output voltage by automatically adding or subtracting coils through use of an auto transformer and different tap points. At the same time it is able to conserve valuable battery power.
Standby - A standby UPS, sometimes referred to as an offline system only provides basic protection for the device(s) it protects. It does provide surge protection and battery backup when the input voltage drops below a level which is predetermined. It will not easily protect against extended periods of power loss and certainly not from anything but the briefest of brownouts.
Some manufacturers even have a range of UPS Systems that meet the unique, stringent regulatory requirements for use with some of the equipment and patient support systems unique to hospitals and medical facilities.
A UPS System with power ratings from 200vA to 16KvA in a range of styles such as Desktop, Tower or Rackmount are normally available from most manufacturers, with some systems having the capability to have additional battery packs for extended runtime.
Whatever your UPS, requirement, make sure that you evaluate your power consumption requirements thoroughly before purchasing a system, otherwise you may find that the system chosen might not give full protection to all devices for the period expected.