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Uninterrupted Power supply

Data Centers 101: An Introduction To The Uninterruptible Power Supply

By | Backup power, Critical Power Products & Services, Uninterrupted Power supply

If your company has a computer system or a data center, meet your new best friend, the uninterruptible power supply. An uninterruptible power supply, what’s that? It is only one of the most essential components of your data center. Also called UPS, it provides essential power during blackouts, brownouts and any weather-related or accident related power outage. An uninterruptible power supply does exactly what the name suggests, offers uninterrupted power to the devices it’s attached to. So, no matter the circumstance, your essential devices will always be running.

What’s In A Name?

The uninterruptible power supply goes by a few different names, which mean essentially the same thing. Common terms that are interchangeable with the term uninterruptible power supply are:

  • Battery Backup
  • Power Backup
  • UPS Backup
  • Uninterruptible Power Source
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply

Most people in the data center and computer industries use the abbreviated version of Uninterruptible Power Supply and just say UPS. They don’t say it like the word “up”, they spell out each letter, like this: “you-pea-ess”.  So when you hear your computer tech or data center tech person say “U-P-S” you’ll know what they’re referring to.

What Do UPS’s Support?

UPS’s support much of the essential equipment that keeps your business alive. Here are some of the many devices your UPS can support:

  • Computers
  • ATM
  • ABM
  • Servers
  • Data Centers
  • VoIP
  • PBX
  • Phone System
  • Other Telecom Equipment
  • Heart Lung Machines
  • Dialysis Machines
  • Other Lifesaving Medical Equipment
  • Cash Registers
  • Debit Machines
  • Other Point Of Sale Equipment

A UPS Keeps The Heart Of Your Business Beating

These are just a few of the many examples of what a UPS can support. Essentially your UPS supports any equipment that cannot lose power, whether it’s sustaining a person’s life, sustaining the security of your computer, or keeping essential lines of communication open. And, UPS’s are everywhere, in hospitals, in supermarkets, in retail businesses, banks, data centers and so much more. If you haven’t noticed them before, you’re sure to notice them now. Imagine them as a pacemaker for essential electronics, when power fails, they kick in to keep the heart of health centers, businesses alive.

Learn More About How Critical A UPS Is Critical To Your Business

Critical Power Products and Services offers a wide variety of UPS’s and equipment to keep your business up and running in any situation. Contact us to find out more about how an uninterruptible power supply can be a literal lifesaver for your business.

Sizing A UPS Unit

By | Backup power, Uninterrupted Power supply

Whether you are adding a new UPS unit to your facility or replacing an old one, one of the first things you’ll need to determine is the needed UPS capacity. Units range in size from small enough to protect a single computer to large enough to protect an entire city – that’s not much help when you’re trying to find the right size for your facility; there’s too much choice!

So how can you narrow your choices down and select an appropriately sized unit?

How To Factor Your UPS Needs

  • Make a list of every piece of equipment that needs to be protected by the UPS. It’s easy to jot down the big pieces, but remember, even a monitor needs power. Include everything to make sure you have appropriate power when you need it.
  • Determine the amps and volts for each piece listed. Find these ratings on the labels on the backs of the equipment. Determine VoltAmps (VA) by multiplying amps x volts. If the power ratings are listed in watts, you can convert watts to VA by dividing watts by the Power Factor (PF).
  • Multiply the VA by the number of pieces of equipment to get the VA subtotals.
  • Add the VA subtotals together.
  • Multiply the total by 1.2 to get the grand total. (This step accounts for future expansion).
  • Use the grand total to select your new UPS. Choose a UPS with a VA rating that is higher than your total VA requirements.

A Word About kW And kVA

The fact that UPS systems don’t have a standard rating system doesn’t make it any easier to appropriately size a UPS. Some UPS units are rated in in kilowatts (kW) and others are rated in kilo-volt-amperes (kVA). Kilowatts, represents the useful power available while kilovolt-amperes represents the apparent power. Learn more about kW and kVA, here.

The important thing to note is that neither the kW nor the kVA capacity of the UPS can be exceeded or the unit will fail and you won’t have power. That’s why it’s so important to account for the power needs of every piece of equipment that is to be protected by the UPS. A general rule of thumb is to plan to run the UPS at 80% of tis actual rated capacity. That will give you enough wiggle room to accommodate peak loads and handle growth before you need to upgrade your unit again.

One Last Consideration

One last consideration comes into play if you plan to use the UPS with a generator. Some UPS designs have different electrical characteristics from generators. You’ll need to have an electrical engineer double check both the UPS and the generator to make sure the generator won’t stall when the UPS kicks on in an emergency.

How Much Do You Stand To Lose In A Power Outage?

By | Critical Power Products & Services, Emergency Preparedness, Uninterrupted Power supply

You know power outages happen. You know emergencies and natural disasters happen. You know a power outage means your business will grind to a halt until power can be restored. Yet, you’re still gambling with the chance that the outage won’t happen to your business. After all, backup power systems cost money, sometimes a lot of money, and you just can’t justify the expense. Or can you?

Have you ever actually calculated how much money you stand to lose in a power outage? Chances are very good that the money you spend on a backup generator or power system will be recouped with just one extended power outage. But, see for yourself. Use this calculator to determine you actual costs during a power outage, then compare that number with the cost of installing a backup power system. 

Calculating Power Outage Costs

At its most basic, a power outage will cost you in terms of revenue, but that is not the full picture. Outages will also cost you in the areas of labor and service.

  • Labor Costs = E x P x R x H
    • E = number of employees affected
    • P = average percentage of workforce that is affected
    • R = average employee cost/rate per hour
    • H = number of hours of outage (If you have experienced outages in the past, use those durations to start calculating your losses)
  • Revenue Loss = (GR/TH) x P x H
    • GR = gross yearly revenue
    • TH = total yearly business hours
    • P = percentage impact
    • H = number of hours of outage
  • Service costs
    • Service costs are more intangible. They may be things like late delivery surcharges, overtime costs to make up for lost productivity, or missing critical due dates and having to pay fines and penalties associated with them. In severe cases, you might even include the loss of an important customer account due to being unavailable during the outage.
    • Your accounting or financial team should be able to help you identify service costs associated with an outage. Divide these costs by the number of hours the business was closed or systems were down to determine the cost per hour.

Once you have these three areas of loss, total them up. This will give you an idea of the total amount of loss you can expect to have during a power outage of a certain duration.

The numbers are kind of shocking, aren’t they?

Plenty Of System Options For Multiple Needs

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to backup power systems – and that’s a good thing! That means you can customize your backup power solution to your needs. Features like kW hours, amps, fuel sources, age of machine, new vs. used machines, where the unit will be located, how often you plan to run it, and more can all affect the final price.

To find the right backup power system for your needs, contact Critical Power Products & Services. We will work with you to determine your power demands, discuss when and how you expect to use your backup solution, and provide recommendations that fit your needs and your budget.

Call CPP&S at 877-315-4176 or contact us online to learn more.