Keeping the Power Flowing, Whatever the Circumstances
In the modern era, we are more reliant on electricity than ever. Are you adequately equipped to cope when the lights go out?
Power outages are an inevitable part of life, and if the doom-mongers are right, they could become more common after the UK severs its relationship with the EU. Meanwhile, power fluctuations, while they might seem barely noticeable, can have a detrimental effect on the components in our electronic devices and gadgets.
So what are the tools at our disposal both to ensure we have the necessary emergency backup power in case of power failure and to protect our beloved home electronics from surges and fluctuations?
The simplest option is to install a backup UPS. This will protect household equipment from minor voltage drops and short-term power outages. The main advantage of a backup UPS is that it is inexpensive. The drawback is the relatively long lag time in switching across to battery power, which may be present problems with some devices.
An interactive UPS is great for protecting monitors, system units, LAN nodes, workstations, computer peripherals, and other devices with switching power supplies. This makes it an ideal choice in an office setting. The advantages of a linear-interactive type UPS are the smoother signal stabilization and the ability to work across a wide range of input voltages.
Double conversion UPS
A double conversion UPS is used to power sensitive and expensive equipment with high quality and reliability requirements. For example, servers, workstations, active network equipment and the like.
These devices are significantly more expensive than others. They also generate a fair amount of heat and noise when in use, so are not a good choice in a domestic setting. As well as IT equipment, they can be used to power appliances with asynchronous electric motors, such as refrigeration or heating systems.
The main advantage of a voltage regulator is that it allows you to adjust the signal in a very wide range. The downside is that if the power cuts out, then so does the voltage regulator. Nevertheless, this is a handy tool if you are operating in an environment where the voltage has a tendency to “jump” unexpectedly.
If the power supply is stable but there is a risk of long-term outages, then the only sure fire solution is a generator. These are manufactured with a variety of different power ranges and can be used to keep the electricity flowing in both domestic and industrial settings. Most generators are diesel powered and they will come with either an electric starter or a manual system, similar to that found on a petrol lawnmower. A generator will keep running indefinitely as long as you keep it fuelled up, and is relatively straightforward to service, maintain and operate.
The downside is that there is no way to automate the transition to generator power. Also, generators can be noisy and will inevitably create exhaust gases while running.
To ensure maximum protection, using just one of the above solutions might not be sufficient. An integrated solution of, for example, a UPS for emergency lighting and a generator for sustained power outages could cover all the necessary bases.