What is an uninterruptible power source and why is it important? Various types of design approaches are available, each with distinct performance characteristics. The most common design approaches are as follows:

  • Standby
  • Line-interactive
  • Double conversion on-line

To understand the difference and make the best power solution choice based on your needs, we have provided descriptions of each uninterruptible power source below.

  • An uninterruptible power source, or UPS, is an electronic apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or main energy power source fails. Unlike other systems, it provides near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions allowing sufficient time for a standby power source to be initiated if necessary. A UPS is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment or other electronics where unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.
  • Offline/standby is the basic feature of a UPS, providing surge protection and a battery backup in case of power interruption. When incoming voltage falls or rises above a predetermined level, the UPS mechanically switches the connected equipment to its DC-AC inverter output, subsequently protecting certain equipment such as a personal computer, from experiencing a brownout or potentially harmful dip in power.
  • A line-interactive UPS conditions and regulates the AC power from the utility. With automatic voltage regulator or AVR Technology, instead of going to battery during high or low input voltages, the unit will increase (BOOST) or reduce (TRIM) the voltage to a safe operating range. This is achieved by re-routing the input voltage through the internal Automatic Voltage Regulating transformer, all without running off of the internal battery. The main advantage of this is that it helps to prolong the life of the battery and extends the operating range in which the UPS can operate online.
  • In a double conversion online UPS, the batteries are always connected to the inverter, so no power transfer switches are necessary. The main advantage of an on-line UPS is its ability to provide an electrical firewall between the incoming utility power and sensitive electronic equipment. The initial cost of the online UPS may be higher, but the total cost of ownership is generally lower due to longer battery life.

When operating from battery power, a line-interactive UPS system generates the waveform of its AC output. An on-line UPS does this continuously. All on-line and many line-interactive UPS systems have pure sine wave output. Pure sine wave output provides maximum stability and superior compatibility with sensitive equipment. Pure sine wave power is required by some equipment power supplies and prevents others from overheating, malfunctioning or failing prematurely.

ICS is now the only Authorized Distributor and Authorized SWAP Center for APC by Schneider Electric. Please visit the APC partner page to learn more about the variety of power solutions offered through this premier brand.