Types of Backup Power Systems
Backup systems are crucial for the seamless working of the various electronic and electrical components at home. For businesses and companies, it is even more important to be able to ensure uninterrupted functioning. For something such as a hospital, a continuous power supply is incredibly important, especially considering that there is a lot at stake. Even the lapse in power for a few seconds could prove to be incredibly dangerous.
Enter the uninterruptible power supply or the UPS in short.
What makes the UPS different from other backup or emergency power systems is that it provides nearly instantaneous power supply during an interruption, by supplying energy stored in its various batteries, flywheels, and supercapacitors. The runtime of such a UPS is generally very short, usually a few minutes only. This, however, is enough for the standby power source to switch on and provide long-lasting power.
Where is it used?
UPS are typically employed in data centres, electrical equipment and in telecommunication equipment since they require seamless functioning. Severe data loss, business disruption, or even injuries and fatalities can be avoided by the use of UPS in these places.
UPS also serve a number of different purposes.
- In case of a voltage spike, they can prevent any damage to electrical appliances that have been connected to it.
- Noise or oscillation present in the current is also rectified.
- Any sort of instability in the mains frequency can be controlled.
Another form of electricity backup is called an Inverter.
These are quite similar to a UPS, except for their comparatively larger sizes and weights. An inverter trolley is often provided to be able to move the entire system easily around the house. This is due to the presence of large batteries that are used to store electricity. Another critical difference is that they are not instantaneous, and may take a few seconds to provide electricity in case there is any sort of interruption.
With much higher capacities, these devices are used to power a large number of household appliances and can provide supply for several hours. Due to batteries being used, water topping must be done regularly. The water topping involves the pouring of distilled water, to restore the electrolytic solution present in the cells. A flat plate or tubular battery is kept on a battery trolley, and water can be poured in through the multitude of opening on the top surface.
Inverters are available in three types: sine wave, modified sine wave, and square wave. Square wave inverters are the cheapest and of the lowest quality and are not appropriate to be used inside homes. They tend to have a lot of harmonics, and devices such as phone chargers cannot be powered. A modified sine wave is a closer approximation to a sine wave. These are a little more expensive and are good enough to use for more hardy appliances. A pure sine wave is the highest quality and reproduces the exact waveform that is supplied by the electricity board. Although expensive, it is your best bet for ensuring a safe and smooth supply.