2nd September 2014 and the headline in The Guardian highlights a problem that some experts suggest could become more of an issue in the future – that of an unreliable supply of electricity to homes, business, hospitals etc., across the country.
For many of us, we simply couldn’t survive without our phones, tablets, laptops of PCs but, for businesses, it is essential to have an uninterruptable power supply – known as UPS for short – so that computers keep functioning; after all, for many businesses, small or large, a loss of data is catastrophic.
Regardless of whether you rely on technology for work, entertainment or socialising, in terms of saving you stress and hassle, an effective and reliable USP is the way forward. It will allow you to continue to work for a short time, meaning you can power down the computer system etc. saving valuable data etc. before power is lost completely.
What is a UPS?
A USP is a power protection device that does two things: regulate incoming power so that it falls within acceptable ‘power boundaries or parameters’, as well as providing a limited supply of power should the main power supply be interrupted or lost.
Within these numerous functions and abilities, its aim is singular – to protect electrical devices.
Flickering lights? PC freezing and then spring back in to life?
This can be a common occurrence in many a business or office setting and points to a problem with the power supply.
Not many people realise that the supply of electricity to ours homes and businesses is actually irregular; you flick a switch and, on 99.9% of occasions the light or appliance will spring into life. The ideal voltage supply is 120 volts, but this is not delivered in a steady stream; in residential areas, the voltage can fluctuate between 100 volts and 160 volts. For those people living close to industrial areas, as machinery whirls in to action at various points in the day, the voltage can drop considerably.
On the whole, this is not too much of an issue. But, with technology becoming increasingly sophisticated and important, surges or drops in electrical voltage can cause damage; even worse, it can cause important data to be lost.
But, as well as dips in voltage, there can also be surges or spikes, and these can cause just as many problems to electrical equipment as a drop can. A sudden jump in the voltage of electricity means that electrical goods are unable to regulate this jump in electricity with damage cause to various internal parts; in some cases, the repair of the item can run in hundreds of pounds…
UPS is the answer!
From surges and drops, as well as naturally occurring phenomenon such as lighting strikes and solar storms, electricity supply can be interrupted causing devastating damage to all kinds of electrical goods. In such cases, the addition of a UPS system could form an effective barrier that can absorb some of these supply issues…
The issues that a UPS can cope with:
- A spike in power is a dramatic increase in voltage in a split second; it can cause data corruption as well as parts failing as a result
- A blackout is a term commonly used to describe a complete loss of power; the entire contents of your hard drives could be lost…
- A surge is similar to a spike, except that that rather than a millisecond spike of increase in voltage, a surge is where is lasts for longer, but still short term; again, components can be damage or fail, as they tend to heat up when a surge occurs
- A brownout is something that not many people are familiar with; it is a term used to describe a decrease in voltage over several hours and causes damage to components in electrical goods as they hover between power on and power off status
- A sag is a short tem decrease in power and is a direct result of a brownout
So how can a UPS save your data and electrical goods from damage?
Using a PC in this example, a UPS will regulate the power to the items that are connected to it; in the event of a loss of power, the system, depending on its size and capabilities, will either shut down the computer or allow the PC to carry on running, but alert you to the issue so that you can take action.
Hence the high stress and tense moments of trying to salvage data and work that could be lost as a result of any kind of power supply interference is circumnavigated!
In a nutshell…
UPS allows you many benefits, including:
- Continuity of operation – whatever you were working on, or what the system was doing, a UPS gives you the valuable time you need to save and shut down a system, safely.
- Protection – the level of increased protection for many businesses is important; its continual monitoring for spikes, surges, sags etc. is essential for maintaining adequate power supply within accepted voltage boundaries. In some UPS systems, there is a battery that will kick in with power in the event of a complete black out.
- Online UPS – these battery back-up systems offer greater protection for electrical items within both the homes and business considered particularly sensitive to changes in voltage of power supply.