Are you facing power cuts all of a sudden? Are these power cuts interrupting your work on the computer? Then, we recommend buying a UPS to safeguard your unsaved work and the sensitive data you cannot afford to lose. In this guide, we shall tell you everything you need to know about buying a UPS for your computer.
A normal computer UPS can cost you anything between 100 to 300. Generally, a 1000VA UPS will cost 150$. Whereas, if you are looking for 1500 or 2000VA UPS, you will have to pay more than 200$.
A 1000VA UPS can easily keep your office PC On for around 10 minutes. To know more about how long a UPS will last, you can read this article.
What is a UPS system?
UPS stands for uninterrupted power supply. It is a battery backup system that supplies electricity to your devices during a power outage or surges. During power-related issues, a UPS stabilizes the flow of electricity. Thus, it protects your computer and other peripherals connected to it from loss of data, reduced lifespan, physical damages, etc.
Why do I need a UPS system?
The purpose of a UPS unit is to stabilize the flow of electricity to your computer and other peripherals connected to it. Power fluctuations have the potential to damage the components that enable your computer to function efficiently.
During voltage-related issues, the UPS automatically activates and provides the computer the electricity it requires to sustain itself for a limited amount of time. How much time you get depends on how powerful the UPS is. Regardless of the unit you buy, it will give you enough time to switch off your devices correctly. This way, the loss of important data is prevented.
Types of UPS systems
Now that you know what a UPS is and why it is essential, let us understand the 3 types of UPS systems you can purchase commercially. They are:
1. Standby UPS unit
If you are looking for a basic and inexpensive UPS, then this is the correct choice for you. Unless there is a power loss, this sort of UPS will send electricity directly from the wall to the computer’s power source. The UPS will start charging the linked device from its internal battery when the power goes off.
However, these UPS units can often not detect a voltage fluctuation until the very last minute. This can still cause the computer that cannot run without uninterrupted electricity to shut down. As a result, the chances of losing unsaved work and critical data are still high.
As a cost-cutting tactic, certain standby UPS manufacturers may eliminate the UPS’ capacity to filter incoming power as well as surge suppression in standby UPS systems. However, we believe these are the two most critical features of having a solid UPS.
2. Online UPS unit
While Online UPS units are similar to their standby counterparts, they function a bit differently. The power in an online UPS comes from the UPS’s battery, and the electricity from the wall continuously recharges the battery. In a sense, it is similar to using a laptop. Once the electricity goes out, the connected device will continue to function until the UPS batteries lose their charge as well.
Online UPS units are beneficial because the computer is powered directly from the UPS during downtime. This means that the computer itself does not face any fluctuation. Furthermore, as the electricity is supplied directly from the UPS, there is no ‘transfer time’ either. As a result, there is no loss of data.
Online UPS units are generally larger, in sizes beginning from 5,000 VA. So, naturally, they are comparatively expensive but also offer enhanced protection.
3. Line-interactive UPS unit
Line Interactive UPSs are not the same as standby or online UPS units. The electricity from the wall passes into the Inverter/Converter in a Line Interactive UPS. The electricity is then divided into AC and DC currents. The DC charges the UPS battery, while the AC powers the computer. The computer draws all of its power from the UPS battery during a blackout.
During an outage, this unit’s transfer time is shorter compared to the Standby variant. Furthermore, Line Interactive UPSs “filter” the alternating current (AC) flowing from the wall through the inverter, smoothing out static and spikes of wall power that may be passed to the computer.
Secondary features of a UPS system to consider
1. OS compatibility
Before purchasing a UPS, ensure that it is compatible with your device. While many UPS systems can connect to all the major OS such as Windows, macOS, and Linux, some are designed for exclusive use by one type of OS. Therefore, you do not want to buy a UPS only to find out it is not compatible with your computer.
2. User-replaceable batteries
UPS batteries generally do not last more than 3-5 years. Before buying a UPS, evaluate if you can replace the old batteries with new ones. If you cannot, you may have to purchase a new unit. UPS systems can be expensive. Hence, unless you buy the cheapest variety, it makes sense to invest in a UPS with user-replaceable batteries.
Although not all UPS systems feature displays, they may be pretty handy. Unfortunately, the displays are not included in older or newer low-end models. As a result, you are confined to obtaining feedback from the machine through a USB cable connection or (more irritating) beeps from the unit.
It is beneficial to have a little display panel that may show you extra information like remaining run time, battery health, and other details.
4. Cable filters
You might also want to connect your router and modem to the UPS. In this scenario, you must verify if the UPS you are interested in includes surge-protected ports for those extra peripherals.
5. Fans (and the noise they come with)
Small UPS units do not usually have fans. Larger units are more likely to do so, so read reviews and conduct some research to discover whether the fans are as silent as the manufacturer says. Fan noise is not an issue if you add a UPS unit to a home server in the basement, but it is a significant issue if you add one to your home cinema system.
6. Number of outlets
On-battery and off-battery outlets are standard in UPS devices. Make sure there are enough outlets to meet your demands. Some companies incorporate extra outlet-related features like peripheral outlets that put peripherals to sleep automatically to save energy.
Where will you install the UPS?
UPS systems come in 3 main shapes and sizes. Before buying a UPS, you need to know where you will install it. Let us take a look:
1. Desktop or compact
Computers and peripherals are protected by desktop UPS units, which are small enough to fit on a desk.
2. Tower or mini-tower
UPS units that stand erect on the ground or on a desk or shelf are known as tower models. They are commonly seen in network workstations.
Rack-mount UPS units may be installed in conventional 19″ rack enclosures and need 1U to 14U of rack space (U=rack space). They are commonly seen in server and networking software.
How much runtime do I require?
Once you understand the type of UPS you intend to buy, you must also ask yourself how much runtime you require. This means, that once the electricity grid is down and your device is solely powered by the UPS, what do you intend to do with the battery power? Would you leave the connected devices on as usual, or switch them off immediately in a safe manner?
The minimum runtime is the amount of time it takes to shut down all your devices properly. To determine the correct runtime, you must examine how long the UPS’s batteries can keep equipment running during power outages when there is an electricity outage.
Do remember, the runtime is affected by the number of watts supplied by the UPS: the lower the wattage load connected, the longer the batteries will survive. The shorter the runtime, the higher the power load.
Ideally, we must calculate runtime. Begin by estimating how long it will take to conduct a complete shutdown of all devices, and then work your way up to an acceptable range of runtimes. Of course, you will have more UPS system options if the range is more comprehensive.
What must I know before buying UPS batteries online?
UPS machines are highly essential machines that can keep our devices and work running nonstop in the event of a power outage.
- UPS batteries come in a variety of capacities. Select a backup power supply that is suitable for your computer’s requirements.
- Make sure the UPS’s power rating is appropriate for your equipment. For example, a residential PC requires a 500-700VA UPS, but big servers require a UPS with a high VA rating. Also, keep in mind the amount of time your equipment needs for backup.
- Determine whether your UPS has a warranty period. The longer the duration, the better.
- Modern UPS systems come with a plethora of useful functions. Compare the various models, their features, costs, and so on.
- The battery in the UPS is rechargeable but should also be replaceable. A decent UPS should last at least three years without causing any problems.
- Examine the various battery kinds available. Standard battery, tubular battery, and SMF are a few of them.
- Also, enquire about the AMC plans and which components are covered by them.
- It should constantly be grounded and never be overloaded to avoid disasters.
How long does a UPS last?
UPS units generally last anywhere between 10-13 years. However, the inner components critical for the UPS to function start deteriorating from the 4th year. For example:
- The UPS batteries have to be replaced every 3-5 years. If the batteries are irreplaceable, then you will have to buy another unit.
- The capacitor has to be replaced around the 5th-7th year.
How long a UPS lasts also depends on other factors such as:
- The design of the device
- The temperature of the device.
- The temperature of the environment it is placed in.
- Depth and frequency of UPS battery depletion
How do I calculate the capacity requirements for my computer?
Here is how to assess the capacity requirements for your computer:
- First, evaluate how much power your system will consume while powered on and in active mode; also called a consumption profile.
- Do note, that certain machines consume more electricity than others. Gaming PCs, for example, often demand a lot of power. Knowing your machine’s consumption profile can help you understand your required UPS capacity.
- Second, choose how long you want your computer to remain operational in the event of a power failure. This is known as runtime. Refer to the manual to obtain information regarding the runtime.
I am Anshul Rana, an experienced author specializing in PC gear reviews and Windows 10 software tutorials. With a strong passion for technology and an in-depth understanding of the PC industry, I provide insightful and detailed analyses of computer peripherals, gaming gear, and software solutions. My writing style is concise yet informative, making complex topics accessible to both beginners and advanced users. Through my reviews and tutorials, I aim to offer valuable guidance, helping readers make informed decisions to enhance their PC experience and explore the vast possibilities of Windows 10 software.