Downtime caused by power outages is frustrating for anyone, especially when deadlines are on the horizon. But, being left high and dry with no electricity can be financially crippling for a business or organisation, especially when employees are working remotely without any power generators or battery backup systems. In this article, we take a look at Enterprise Energy Solutions offered by Tarsus Distribution and our list of industry-leading partners.
Using high-quality uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment can help protect your hardware against damage from unexpected power failures or unclean power, especially during a time of uncertainty. Don’t let your business be left in the dark, let’s guide you through the ins and outs of why investing in a UPS is an optimal option for your business. Every year, billions of rands are lost due to downtime caused by power disruptions that could have been prevented by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or inverter.
A cheap power strip might protect equipment from power surges, but it does nothing to help when the power goes out and your system comes to a halting crash. For that, you’ll want a battery backup, also known as an uninterruptible power supply. An uninterruptible power supply is worth every penny, especially if you’re working from home. Not only does it supply your infrastructure with enough power to ensure enough time to save crucial files and allow for a secure shutdown, but it protects against power surges which can strike at any time. For answers to the most frequently asked questions about enterprise energy solutions, click here.
An inverter converts the DC voltage to an AC voltage. In most cases, the input DC voltage is usually lower while the output AC is equal to the grid supply voltage of 240 Volts. The inverter may be built as standalone equipment for applications such as solar power, or to work as a backup power supply from batteries which are charged separately. The other configuration is when it is a part of a bigger circuit such as a power supply unit, or a UPS. In this case, the inverter input DC is from the rectified mains AC in the PSU, while from either the rectified AC in the UPS when there is power, or from the batteries whenever there is a power failure.
There are primarily two types of power inverters - "True Sine Wave" (also referred to as "Pure Sine Wave") inverters, and "Modified Sine Wave" (also referred to as "Modified Square Wave") inverters.
True Sine Wave Inverters have been developed to replicate, if not improve, the quality of power provided by main power grids or power utilities. They are specifically recommended to power high energy-consuming electronic gadgets and equipment. True Sine Wave inverters are more expensive than Modified Sine Wave inverters and are the more powerful and efficient option of the two.
On the other hand, Modified Sine Wave inverters are much more affordable and are capable of running a fewer or selected number of household appliances and fixtures, for example - kitchen appliances, lights, and small power tools. However, this type of inverter may not possess the capacity to power high energy-consuming equipment and appliances, for example - computers, microwave ovens, air-conditioners, heaters and laser printers.
Without going into too much detail, a UPS provides battery backup to other devices such as computers, routers and monitors, when power supply drops to unacceptable levels.
A UPS contains a battery that "kicks in" when the device senses a loss of power from the primary source. If an end-user is working on the computer when the UPS notifies of the power loss, they have time to save any data they are working on and exit before the secondary power source (the battery) runs out. When all power runs out, any data in your computer's random access memory (RAM) is erased.
Battery backup is both crucial to productivity and uptime. But those kinds of productivity boosts will only occur if remote workers remain connected. To accomplish that, you need to be able to weather the occasional utility brownout or blackout without losing valuable data or being left without internet connectivity, leaving you unable to take advantage of the tools that enable effective communication and collaboration with colleagues, and partners and customers.
A good UPS also provides another important element for home office workers: protection against power surges. Surges are short bursts of power that can damage sensitive equipment such as PCs, monitors and printers because they deliver a higher level of voltage than the equipment is built to handle. And surges are not uncommon. They can result from a number of causes, including outside utility work, lightning strikes and other weather events, even from appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners as they cycle on and off.
The UPS market is a very diverse one. You can find tiny desktop units designed to keep a lightweight desktop computer running for 10 minutes, or walk-in-freezer sized units deployed in data centres to keep an entire bank of servers running through a storm.
It all boils down to what you want to use a UPS device for. For computers and UPS units, watt and VA ratings can differ significantly, although VA rating is always equal to are larger than watt rating. The ratio of watts to VA is called the ‘power factor’ and is expressed either as a number (i.e. – 0.8) or a percentage (i.e. – 80%). When sizing a UPS for your specific requirements, the power factor matters most. Generally, your UPS should have an Output Watt Capacity 20 – 25% higher than the total power drawn by any attached equipment.
You will need to consider exactly how your home is set up and where the various components that provide Internet connectivity are located. If your router isn’t in your office, it should have its own UPS for backup.
Most quality batteries should last three to five years. There are many factors which affect battery life including the environment and the number of discharges. Lithium-ion UPS batteries offer double the lifecycle of lead-acid batteries and perform better in higher temperatures. It is good to keep in mind that a Smart-UPS gives you 2x the battery life of other solutions and up to 50% lower total cost of ownership.
There are three principal UPS design types available. The least expensive design is known as Offline/Standby UPS. If the UPS unit you’re looking at makes no mention of what type of unit it is, then it’s most likely a Standby UPS.
A Standby UPS unit charges its battery and then waits for the mains power to drop off. When that happens, the Standby UPS mechanically switches to the battery backup. This switchover takes about 20-100 milliseconds, which is generally well within the tolerance threshold of most electronics.
A Line-Interactive UPS unit has a similar design to a Standby UPS unit but includes a special transformer. This special transformer makes Line-Interactive UPS units better at handling brownouts and power sags. If you live in an area that has frequent brownouts or line-voltage issues (e.g. the lights frequently dim but you don’t actually lose power), it’s definitely worth the small increase in cost to purchase a Line-Interactive UPS.
An Online UPS unit is the most expensive type of UPS unit, as it requires significant extra circuitry. The Online UPS unit completely isolates the devices attached to it from the wall power. Instead of jumping into action at the first sign of power out or voltage regulation issues like the Standby and Line-Interactive units, the Online UPS unit continuously filters the wall power through the battery system. Because the attached electronics run completely off the battery bank (which is being perpetually topped off by the external power supply), there is never a single millisecond of power interruption when there is power loss or voltage regulation issues. The Online UPS unit, then, is effectively an electronic firewall between your devices and the outside world, scrubbing and stabilizing all the electricity your devices are ever exposed to. Expect to pay a 200-400 percent premium for an Online UPS unit over a similarly specified Line-Interactive Unit.
Tarsus Distribution, South Africa’s oldest technology distribution company, provides industry-leading, scalable energy solutions for a wide variety of industries and applications. Energy is an essential component in the IT infrastructure of any organisation and Tarsus Distribution excels in designing custom power solutions to suit the needs of each customer. Click here to find out more about which energy solution partners Tarsus Distribution works with.