Do you find the job of choosing the most appropriate power backup daunting? You may especially be daunted if you are not a technical person with just a need for power for your business or office. There are many considerations when choosing a backup power system including the use, type of plugs, size required, and input and output voltages. Without an understanding of what these considerations entail, you cannot appropriately choose a UPS or backup system.
How do you choose the right backup solution? Here are 5 things to consider:
1. Type of Equipment to be powered
Power backup systems and UPSs are meant to ensure continuous power supply in the event of a power outage as well as protect your equipment from damage by power surges. Not all units are created for the same applications, meaning that you need to know the type of equipment that needs the power and protection. The type of equipment informs the size of the UPS or backup system required. The type of equipment also determines whether to use a Smart Online UPS or a Line Interactive UPS. A medical equipment would require an always on power backup, hence an online UPS, while a printer would do with a basic line interactive unit.
Another consideration in choosing an appropriate backup power system is equipment criticality. You must ask whether equipment downtime is an option or not. After determining whether downtime is an option, you can consider between a UPS that offers redundancy or an internal bypass. A Line Interactive UPS, for example, would be sufficient to protect a work computer. On the contrary, a server that does not require downtime should be protected using an Online Smart UPS.
2. Power requirement of the equipment
You must consider the maximum total power that your equipment will draw from the power backup system or UPS. Do you know that some equipment such as lab equipment and cooling units require more power at start-up than they need to stay running? Considering such differences in power should help you choose a backup power system or UPS that could, for example, allow medical equipment rated at 2,000 watts for running draw 3,000 watts at startup. When calculating the load that your backup system can handle, you should use the higher power draw of 3,000 watts rather than the 2,000 watts. To ensure the right sizing of power backup systems, you should be careful with the rating units used such as Volt-amps (VA), watts (W), or kilowatts (kW). UPS systems are usually rated at KVA, while most equipment are rated at KW. The best way to go around this is to ask the seller or service provider to give you the KW rating of the UPS and not the KVA. This way you can easily match your load requirements with the backup size.
3. Input & Output voltage requirements
Input and output voltage requirements apply specifically to UPS backup systems. You should know both the voltage of the equipment that is to be plugged in the UPS as well as the voltage of the room. Knowing the different voltages allows you to determine whether you need a split-phase UPS, a standard UPS, or a UPS that has a step-down transformer. You should also know the type of plug, both for input and output receptacles, to use in the UPS and whether the UPS will be hardwired. When choosing the appropriate power backup system, you should ensure that the system has enough output receptacles for the number of equipment that requires power and protection. If for example, you have a piece of equipment that requires 120V and the outlets in the room give 240V, you should choose a 240V UPS with a step-down transformer to give 120V to the equipment.
4. Required run-time
You must know the run-time required in order to determine the size of the power backup system required. Knowing the run-time required helps determine the number of batteries that will be needed in the backup system. The more hours needed for the system to run, the more the batteries the system will require. If you need just enough run-time to ensure a safe shutdown, then you may require a UPS. Generally a small UPS would also be sufficient where there is a backup generator for your equipment. Where there are longer backup hours required, you should consider having a battery backup system that is well-designed, which can power your equipment for more than 6 hours.
5. Location of the backup
The area where your power backup system is to be installed is an important consideration. For UPSs, you should consider whether it will stand alone as a tower or whether it will be positioned on a rack. If the UPS is to be positioned on a rack, you should determine how much space you will require, which will inform your decision on the size of a rack to acquire. For battery power backup systems that are larger, there should be sufficient space to mount the batteries and the inverter. The location for all backup power systems should be well-aerated and should be easily accessible for repairs and maintenance. The weight of the systems should be factored in, meaning that any mounts should offer strong enough support.
Choosing the most appropriate power backup system should follow the above general guidelines. These guidelines are effective in choosing appropriate backup power systems that are small such as UPSs or large such as battery backup systems.
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