The main role that all UPS power supplies are designed to perform is to be a secondary power source – basically an instant-switch, on-demand battery backup – for memory-based technical hardware such as computers.
Computers are full of delicate but valuable hardware components. They are frequently susceptible to damage that is caused by sudden power losses. High-quality UPS systems are designed to protect these components (as well as their data) in case an atypical power event such as a mains surge or blackout occurs.
UPS units have become increasingly popular types of add-on peripherals that are found in network and server environments as well as small server room cooling solutions, work and home computer setups, and numerous other types of hardware-critical computing applications. In those types of situations, uninterruptible power supplies provide computer users with extra layers of safety for their data and hardware as well as additional peace of mind.
What Are UPS batteries?
Usually, UPS power supplies sit in between the computer that is being powered and the mains wall socket and then plugged into each device using separate cables. Depending on the overage power capacity and specifics of the intended usage environment, the average office or home battery backup is normally a fairly compact and small smart unit that is built based on a rechargeable high-drain power cell.
Lead-acid or VRLA batteries
These have a tendency to be fairly low-maintenance batteries and widely viewed as reliable, basic UPS power supply workhorses that have an average lifespan of 5 years. VR is short for valve-regulated, which refers to the automatically operated, built-in vent systems that VRLA batteries have to control the release of gas that gradually builds up at certain points within a battery charge-drain cycle. Internal pressure sensors trigger this important function, and like most other VRLA cell type aspects – perform at their best whenever the batteries are kept in a temperature-controlled, dry environment, like a centrally heated room inside an office or home.
Li-ion UPS batteries
These batteries, by contrast, are much more lightweight and compact. They come with an array of built-in power management features, including voltage balancing and advanced charge. Many brands also provide an expected lifespan that is somewhat longer compared to lead-acid batteries overall, which means that over the long term that they might provide to be a very economical choice as well. However, upfront, UPS units with Li-ion batteries have a tendency to be priced higher to reflect the much higher production expenses. So basically VRLA-based units will have cheaper initial buy-in costs.
There is a third UPS battery option, which is called VLA or wet/flooded cell types. They are a lot less widely available to purchase in off-the-shelf or high street UPS systems since they are designed for very specific environments and applications. To start with, their chemical makeup makes them potentially hazardous unless they are kept in completely separate battery storage saferooms. Regular user maintenance is also required in terms of continuously monitoring their calibration data and equalisation and topping off the distilled water levels.
What Do UPS Systems Do?
As previously noted in this guide’s introduction, the main function above all else of a UPS uni is providing a temporary source of uninterruptible or constant power to a hardware array such as a computer setup, in the event of an electrical disruption such as a mains blackout.