One would not normally expect to find power protection on the mind of the average person, unless they have recently suffered through a power event that caused the loss of valuable computer files or worse, equipment damage. Determining the solution to prevent a reoccurrence can be even more frustrating as one has to attempt to research enough knowledge to make the right decision for his specific power quality problem in a power protection market that is so large and competitive; it has become unintentionally misleading. They may go down to their local home improvement center, describe the problem, only to be told that a surge protected plug strip should be the solution. They go home thinking the problem is solved, and it's not the solution. Next they may go to a computer store and are told that they need a UPS. After clarifying a UPS has nothing to do with a parcel service, they are shown thirty different models and sizes. This results in more research and wrenching decisions. In the end this "one solution fits all" approach often does not prevent the problem encountered from happening again.
The situation is not hopeless and one does not have to become an Electrical Engineer to resolve the majority of the power problems encountered by the average end-user. The following will guide you through successfully determining the type and level of power protection equipment required for your specific environment.
What is a standby power supply (SBS), an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and why do they not provide the same level of power protection?
This is often not clearly understood, because the term uninterruptible power supply is often used to refer to a wide range of power protection products. It is often deceptively used to describe the standby backup supply (SBS), which only solves a minimal number of power quality problems. It is appropriately used to define the true On-line uninterruptible power supply (UPS), capable of removing or eliminating the greatest number of power quality problems.
To better understand this in today's UPS market, one can purchase an SBS for as little as $50.00, while a true On-line UPS will cost more. There is a big difference between the performances of the SBS and On-line UPS.
There are three basic design types, each offering more power protection than the proceeding. If manufacturer is honest, they state the design type clearly on the product box or specification sheet. The three design types are:
* OFF-LINE (SBS), the lowest grade
* LINE-INTERACTIVE (SBS), the middle grade
* ON-LINE (UPS), the highest grade