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How Exactly Does a UPS System Work?

A UPS is an Uninterruptible Power Supply. It is meant to be a backup for electric devices. It provides your appliances with power loads when it detects that the input power source has failed.

This device is different from an emergency power system or even a standby generator because it will provide instantaneous protection for electronic devices. It does so which helps to avoid dealing with immediate power interruptions. This makes it a good option for devices like Internet routers and even computers. Typically, the on-time runtime of these devices is anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

This runtime is similar for smaller units but they are always meant to provide power for long enough to safely shut down equipment or to allow for an auxiliary power source to be brought online.

This type of product isn't necessarily limited to protecting a specific type of equipment. It can be used for a variety of different things. This can include a computer, a data centre, telecommunication devices, and various other kinds of equipment that could be disrupted by sudden electrical loss.

These units are going to vary in size which limits the kind of equipment that can be used on it. You will find units that are meant to provide gap power to an individual PC and you will find some that are large enough to protect entire data centres. The smaller units typically come with a 200 VA rating and you will find some of the larger units coming with over 1MVA ratings.

There Are Different Designs

There are 3 distinct categories of modern UPS systems. This includes on-line, line-interactive and standby/offline. You can look at options by reading more on data centre design services.


This is a system that has the load powered by the input and the backup power circuitry. This one is only turned on when the utility power ends up failing. A lot of the UPS units that are less than 1 kVA are of this type of variety. Therefore, they are typically much more affordable than the other types.

  • A-Line Interactive UPS

This is the type of UPS product that is meant to maintain the inverter in line which then provides redirection of the battery's DC path from the charging mode to one that supplies current when the power shuts off.

  • On-Line UPS

This is a UPS that uses a different method knowing as a double conversion. From there, it accepts the AC input and rectifies it to DC for paying through the rechargeable battery. From there, it inverts it back to 120V/240V AC to provide power for the protected equipment.

For the larger power units, you may find a dynamic UPS product being used. In this case, a synchronous motor or alternator is directly connected to the mains by way of a choke. Because of this, energy is stored in a flywheel. From there, an Eddy-current is regulated to maintain the power on the load when the power fails. Sometimes you will find Diesel-generators being used to form a DRUP system.

A fuel cell UPS has recently been developed and it uniquely uses both hydrogen and a fuel cell to provide a power source. This helps the unit effectively offer longer run times in a much smaller casing.

Standby/Offline Design

This system is going to typically be limited in the feature set. You will usually only find some of the most basic features of this system. You will find it supplying both surge protection and backup for the battery. With this product, any equipment that is attached to it will be usually protected with the same technology found in a surge protector.

When it detects that the incoming power and the voltage falls below a specific level deemed normal, it activates the DC-AC inverter circuitry that is fully powered from the internal storage battery found inside. From there, the SPS switches the equipment that is connected onto the DC-ACinversert output.

The total amount of time this takes can be as much as 25 ms depending on how soon it is capable of detecting the fluctuations of utility voltage. A lot of this will vary based on the total size of the UPS unit and the sensitivity of the equipment that is taking in the voltage. You will find one available for just about every type of equipment including a regular desktop computer that keeps it at a safe level always.