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UPS FAQ

What can cause power problems?
The world has become electronic and digital. Every device from the personal computer on your desk to the lift, which carries you up to the office each day, depends on electronic circuitry, which in turn relies on electrical power. Fortunately, the power supply in the majority of countries in the western world is stable and power outages due to faulty power distribution are not very common. However, there are variations in power supply and quality, which can affect the operation of sensitive electronic equipment. It has been estimated, for example, that some 45% of all computer problems can be traced back to electrical supply problems. Within an office building, many things occur that affect the power supply. Use of heavy machinery such as lifts can momentarily drain the power load so that the current reaching your equipment is lower than it should be. Moreover, adverse weather conditions such as storms, lightning and snowfalls can affect the power supply. There are nine common power problems present in today's typical workplace environment -power failure; power surge; power sag; brownout; line noise; frequency variation; switching transients; high voltage spikes; and harmonic distortion -all of which can cause damage to electrical equipment and loss of valuable data.

What is a UPS?
UPS is an abbreviation for uninterruptible power system, which in basic terms is a box consisting a battery and electronic circuitry, which provides back-up power to protect electrical equipment from unexpected shutdown in the event of a power failure? Another very important function of an UPS is that it provides protection from 'dirty' mains power to ensure efficient running of electrical equipment. At its most basic level the UPS will provide power to your equipment in the event of a total power failure giving you time to save data and shut down files. At a more sophisticated level, the UPS actually conditions and filters the electrical supply so that the power reaching your equipment is 'pure'. Pure power will avoid damage caused by other common power problems. UPS units vary in size from small desktop systems, which can protect a single PC to very large UPS, which can provide power to an entire building. Almost every type of organisation has a power protection requirement from companies with computer networks to hospitals, airports, and oilrigs. In fact, anywhere continuous power is necessary.

What is hot swappable UPS?
A hot-swappable UPS is one that can be added to or removed from cabinet for service while the system is providing conditioned power to the load. In a hot-swappable UPS, the load does not have to be placed on unprotected system bypass as with other UPSs.

What is fault tolerant UPS?
Fault tolerance is the ability of the UPS system to continue supplying conditioned power to the load both during and after a failure has occurred.

What is a modular UPS?
A modular UPS is one that can grow with the changing demands of the data centre environment. Because the Parallel Redundant system has hot-swappable UPS power modules, the load capacity of the UPS system can be scaled up or down. By simply adding or removing UPS power modules from the Standard Cabinet while the conditioned UPS power is being supplied to the load does this.

What is a standard cabinet?
A Standard Cabinet is simply just that, a cabinet that houses the UPS Power Modules. Since, the UPS power modules contain all of the necessary electronics to produce conditioned power, the only responsibility the cabinet has is providing the communications link between each UPS power module and monitoring of the input and output voltage and frequency parameters.

Why do I need UPS maintenance?
You need UPS maintenance in order to keep your UPS in working order. It would be pointless having a UPS to protect your equipment if you have nothing to protect your UPS, and ensure that it stays in working order. Due to the nature of UPS systems, if it has stopped working, you probably won't know until it's too late.

Please explain UPS battery replacement & maintenance?
Batteries do not last forever, especially if the ambient temperature has exceeded 20°C, at 30°C the design life of the battery can halve. A reasonable period, batteries should be used for before replacement is about 3 years, although we recommend that the batteries are checked at least once a year, more often if the ambient temperature is high. Replacing batteries can be a potentially fatal job, and should only be carried out by trained engineers.

Why does my UPS cut out regularly?
This could be a number of things. The most likely situation is that your UPS is overloaded, ie: your 700 VA UPS designed for a desktop computer, is trying to protect your whole office. You need to calculate how much power you need your UPS to cover then take a look at how much power your UPS actually supplies. It is best to get a UPS with at least 1.5 times the power you are trying to protect.

What should I do, we are relocating?
So, you're relocating, and only realised just how heavy that UPS was when you tried to pick it up. Do not fear. Our skilled team of engineers can come and disconnect your UPS, take it to your new site, put it where it needs to go and re-commission it. We can even do it out of office hours for a seamless relocation.

We need to get rid of our old UPS, what should we do?
Your UPS has been replaced, or is no longer necessary. We can come and remove the unit and dispose of it for you. These units cannot be thrown away or taken to the skip, due to environmental constraints covering the disposal of batteries and printed circuit boards. We can remove your obsolete UPS and dispose of it according to the current EEC regulations.

What benefit can a UPS offer my business?
A UPS will supply power to a load (such as a computer, server, telephone switch or medical equipment) if the mains power fails. It may also condition the power and prevent spikes, brownouts, interference and other unwanted problems from reaching the equipment.

How long will a UPS keep my computers/equipment running?
Technically, as long as you want, provided you buy enough batteries and the charging system can cope. Normally, after about 4 hours it's more cost-effective to buy a generator, with a short runtime UPS to bridge the generator start-up gap.

What's the typical lifetime of a UPS?
Most plug-in UPS should last for at least 5 years. You should change the batteries every 3 to 4 years. The lifetime increases with larger equipment (and more investment).

How does a UPS work with a generator?
A UPS bridges the time gap between the mains failure and the generator starting up. A generator that is well-maintained should start within about 20 seconds of mains failure. A lot of today's electronic products are computer-based so will 'crash', normally needing a back-up to be reloaded before work can restart. The UPS eliminates this problem.

What is the impact of power problems?
Disturbances to the electrical power supply, such as loss of electrical power (black out) a reduction in the mains voltage (brown out) or electrical 'noise' (surges, spikes or transients) can affect the performance and lifespan of electronic devices. It is therefore important that the electricity supply is stable and clean. Electrical noise except in its worst cases is typically an 'unseen' event but results in the largest threat to the operating capabilities of electronic equipment and contributes to the premature ageing of electronic components. Power problems can cause: Equipment lock-up, program crashes, system crashes; Data corruption; Data processing errors; Data transmission errors; Printing errors, hardware damage.

How do UPS systems work?
The UPS system is positioned between the incoming mains power supply and the load. It has a battery or backup power source to provide electrical power in the event of a mains power supply failure. The length of time that the load can be supported, the autonomy, depends on the size of the UPS battery. The UPS system provides time to shut down essential computer systems in a safe and orderly manner to prevent data loss or corruption, or allows time for a standby diesel generator to be started up to support the load. When the mains power fails, the UPS system switches to the backup UPS batteries, ensuring a clean, unbroken power supply is immediately available to keep the load fully operational. It also gives computers and data surge protection and defence against an assortment of power problems. Depending on its size, the UPS system can be plugged into a 13-amp socket or hardwired by an electrician into the mains supply board. UPS systems are tools to ensure business continuity

What cable size should be used for the mains supply?
The cable size should be calculated to the isolation point by your electrical contractor. The size is calculated according to the type of cable and local conditions.

What is the ideal operating temperature within the room to get the best performance and long term reliability from the UPS?
The ideal temperature should be between 20-22Cº to maximise battery life and increase the system reliability. However the unit will operate between 0-40ºC but long term operation outside of the 20-22Cº range is not recommended and may invalidate the warranty.

Can I place the UPS in a small cupboard?
No the UPS creates heat during normal operation and in such a confined space the ambient temperature will soon rise to dangerous levels. If the ambient exceeds 40ºC the UPS will shut-down and the load may experience downtime. Long term operation outside of the 20-22Cº range is not recommended and may invalidate the warranty. The UPS must be placed in a well-ventilated space with plenty of free space around it. Do not cover the UPS with any other items or block the cooling vents.

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