Selecting UPS systems

May 16th, 2019

During energy month, it may be time to assess what equipment in your office or data centre is critical to keep online. Adopting smart uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology has become the preferred course of action to take, especially in South Africa, where blackouts occur frequently.

Downtime caused by power outages is frustrating for anyone but can be financially crippling for a business or organisation. Every year, millions of Rands are lost due to downtime caused by power disruptions that could have been prevented by a UPS. Small to medium-sized businesses may be most at financial risk due to a limited ability to generate revenue during downtime.

Schneider Electric’s UPS offers guaranteed power protection for connected electronics. When power is interrupted, or fluctuates outside safe levels, the UPS will instantly provide clean battery backup power and surge protection for plugged-in, sensitive equipment. It can be selected for home, office or even data centres and configured, to provide a reliable source of power.

Selection criteria

When selecting a UPS, electronics have both maximum watt ratings and maximum VA (volt-ampere) ratings. Neither rating may be exceeded by attached equipment. Watts measure real power drawn by the equipment, while volt-amps are the product of the voltage applied to the equipment times the current drawn by the equipment.

For computers and UPS units, watt and VA ratings can differ significantly. The ratio of watts to VA is called the ‘power factor’ and is expressed as a number (i.e. – 0.8). When sizing a UPS for your specific requirements, the power factor is important. Generally, your UPS should have an output watt capacity 20-25% higher than the total power drawn by any attached equipment.

Three-phase power protection, with fully integrated solutions, is needed for enterprise-wide networks, data centres, mission-critical systems and industrial/manufacturing processes.

How much runtime do you need to support your attached equipment?

That depends on what you intend to backup with your UPS. Runtime refers to the amount of time a UPS will be able to power its attached equipment in the event of a power disruption. The more equipment you have plugged-in to your UPS, the less runtime you will have, so it is important to make sure your UPS is only providing backup power to your most critical equipment.

Selecting features

Schneider Electric offers the following features on its range of APC UPS.

  • Basic – user-replaceable batteries; surge-only outlets; building wiring fault indicator; transformer-block spaced outlets; automatic self-test
  • Enhanced – automatic voltage regulation; pure sine-wave output on battery; various communication cards for alarm notifications, scalable runtime; power conditioning
  • Advanced – adjustable voltage transfer points; temperature-compensated battery charging; intelligent battery management; predictive failure notifications; plug-and-play external batteries

Schneider Electric South Africa is leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. It provides UPS power supply for home, data centres and industrial environments. UPS power supply provides protection from power surges, blackouts (load shedding) and unpredictable weather conditions. For more information, go to Schneider Electric SA UPS.