What is a UPS? (and why you need one)


Power outages suck. If you live in a place with frequent lightning -or a bad electricity grid, you’ve probably experienced some of those yourself. You’re working on your computer -or playing your favorite video game and BAM, it’s all gone. That’s what happens when you don’t have a UPS system installed.

What is a UPS?

It’s a backup device that kicks in immediately in case of a power shortage to keep your computers and other electronics running. The term UPS stands for Uninterrupted Power Supply or Uninterrupted Power Source. Unlike a backups power generator, an Uninterrupted Power Supply starts working instantly whenever there is a power outage. As it provides an alternative power source instantly, you get to save anything that you’re doing and turn off your equipment properly. It pretty much guarantees that you’ll never be disconnected when you’re not ready.

Why do I need it?

Asides from protecting you from sudden power outages, these systems protect your electronics from other power problems. These include power surges, brownouts, spikes, and electrical noise. If you have valuable equipment, a UPS is an added layer of protection that you simply need to have. So, it doesn’t only protect your equipment from electrical damage, it protects you from sudden data loss.

How does a UPS work?

It’s quite simple. You connect your computer/device to the Uninterrupted Power Source and connect it to your AC power source. Whenever there is a blackout, the system uses the DC power it had converted and stored to keep your computer running. Having the UPS between your electronics and the AC source ensures your devices get the exact amount of electricity they need to run properly without being damaged. Just connect your UPS to the power source and your electronics to the UPS and you’re up and running. Upside: You won’t have your $2,000 gaming rig fried due to a sudden power surge! The following video explains the entire process of selecting and installing a UPS. You don’t really need to watch a video as the process is straightforward in most cases. However, seeing it for yourself will definitely help.

What are the different types of UPS?

There are two different types of Uninterrupted Power Sources that you can use. You need to choose one based on your needs and the type of protection that you’re after. Standby UPS: As the name suggests, these systems designed to protect you from sudden blackouts. Whenever the electricity is out, it’ll start working immediately to keep your systems running. These models are generally cheaper and don’t provide protection against other electrical problems.
A diagram that shows how the Standby UPS works
A diagram that shows how the Standby UPS works
Line Interactive UPS: These systems aren’t as simple as the prior ones. Instead of working only when there is a power outage, they’re constantly monitoring the electricity that’s coming through your power line. In addition to protecting you from sudden power loss, these systems project you from the other power problems that we’ve mentioned earlier. They’re more sophisticated and as a result, more expensive.
A diagram that shows how the Line Interactive UPS works
A diagram that shows how the Line Interactive UPS works
There are other types of UPS which are the Double Conversion On-Line UPS and Delta Conversion On-Line UPS. These two types however, aren’t used in a home setup so you don’t need to worry about them.

Do you REALLY need a UPS?

After people find out what a UPS is, they’re usually wondering whether they really need one. Should you really spend some of my hard-earned cash on one of these systems? Is it worth it? Well, it depends. For home users, it’s necessary if: You have valuable electronics and equipment: If you use equipment that’s worth thousands of dollars, investing a couple hundred bucks in a Uninterrupted Power Supply is totally justifiable. The risk of losing it all due to a power surge is just too high to ignore. You can’t afford a sudden shutdown: Whether you’re a gamer or use your computer for work, an Uninterrupted Power Source is a worthy investment. The peace of mind it brings and the data loss it’ll help you avoid is enough to make you consider it. For big companies, these systems are simply a must. When you have so many people working together and so much data involved, a single blackout or power surge can cost you thousands of dollars in work hours or destroy irreplaceable data. So, a good Uninterupted POwer Source is mandatory. It’s much more complicated though to install such a system for a large company. There are plenty of details to be taken care of and as a result, you’ll need professional help.

Editorial Staff

We're a team of nerds passionate about technology and all things geeky.

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