Uninterruptible power supply



An uninterruptible power supply or uninterruptible power source (UPS) is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries, supercapacitors, or flywheels. The on-battery run-time of most uninterruptible power sources is relatively short (only a few minutes) but sufficient to start a standby power source or properly shut down the protected equipment. It is a type of continual power system.
For large power units, dynamic uninterruptible power supplies (DUPS) are sometimes used. A synchronous motor/alternator is connected on the mains via a choke. Energy is stored in a flywheel. When the mains power fails, an eddy-current regulation maintains the power on the load as long as the flywheel's energy is not exhausted. DUPS are sometimes combined or integrated with a diesel generator that is turned on after a brief delay, forming a diesel rotary uninterruptible power supply (DRUPS).
Autotransformers can be engineered to cover a wide range of varying input voltages, but this requires more taps and increases complexity, and expense of the UPS. It is common for the autotransformer to cover a range only from about 90 V to 140 V for 120 V power, and then switch to battery if the voltage goes much higher or lower than that range.
The online UPS is ideal for environments where electrical isolation is necessary or for equipment that is very sensitive to power fluctuations. Although it was at one time reserved for very large installations of 10 kW or more, advances in technology have now permitted it to be available as a common consumer device, supplying 500 W or less. The online UPS may be necessary when the power environment is "noisy", when utility power sags, outages and other anomalies are frequent, when protection of sensitive IT equipment loads is required, or when operation from an extended-run backup generator is necessary.
Ferroresonant units operate in the same way as a standby UPS unit; however, they are online with the exception that a ferroresonant transformer, is used to filter the output. This transformer is designed to hold energy long enough to cover the time between switching from line power to battery power and effectively eliminates the transfer time. Many ferroresonant UPSs are 8288% efficient (AC/DC-AC) and offer excellent isolation.
There has been much experimentation with 48 V DC power for computer servers, in the hope of reducing the likelihood of failure and the cost of equipment. However, to supply the same amount of power, the current would be higher than an equivalent 115 V or 230 V circuit; greater current requires larger conductors, or more energy lost as heat.
The rotary UPS is generally reserved for applications needing more than 10,000 W of protection, to justify the expense and benefit from the advantages rotary UPS systems bring. A larger flywheel or multiple flywheels operating in parallel will increase the reserve running time or capacity.