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Understanding the different UPS systems

There are many UPS systems available to the home and business consumer … however many people aren’t aware of the differences. It is very common for even an experienced enthusiast to be confused over the different UPS styles or even be unaware of their existence. Additionally, a large percentage believe that there are only two types of UPS systems, “on-line” and “off-line” UPS, and they believe that UPS are designed only to protect computers.

If we were to tell you that there are at least seven different types of UPS systems and that a few of them are able to power entire buildings or industrial facilities, would you believe us?

What is a UPS?

UPS stands for “Uninterruptible Power Supply”, which is an electrical system designed to monitor and, if necessary, regulate the main power source of a load and provide emergency power to the load whenever its main power source fails without any interruption to the load's power feed.

UPS systems find use wherever power generators are ineffective. A power generator needs some time to start, ranging from some seconds to many minutes depending on its size. A UPS will provide power to the load instantaneously, allowing it to continue its normal operation.

For business/industrial applications UPS systems and generators are being used side by side because the runtime of UPS systems is very limited but nevertheless is more than sufficient to power the load until the generator (or any other auxiliary power source) come online.

Because of their instantaneous reaction, UPS systems are being used to power any critical load. Critical computers, data centers, medical and surgical equipment, emergency lighting and military equipment are but a few examples.

The technology and manufacturing advancements of the past 20 years made some battery-powered UPS types affordable by small businesses and home users, therefore it is quite common to find a sub-£70 UPS protecting a small home or office PC.

Today we are going examine the five most affordable types of battery powered UPS systems, those which are affordable by home consumers and small businesses and suitable for power computer/electronics equipment.

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