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Losing Power

Make sure you choose the right battery backup for your business

tldr; Battery backup is still important. The initial investment far outweighs the cost of repairing a pc or devices that lose power and get corrupted.

What is battery backup?

Battery backup is a battery enabled power distribution device that will continue to power devices after the main power source has gone off line. The size of the batteries and how many devices are plugged in will determine how long the battery backup will run.

Why do you need a battery backup?

The biggest reason to use a battery backup is power failure. However, battery backups can also help increase the life of your devices by filtering the power output used to keep PCs, networking equipment, IoT devices running. That’s why it’s very important that you choose the right type and options when considering a battery backup solution.

Battery backups types:

  • Online Double Conversion

  • Line-Interactive

  • Offline Standby.

Online double conversion

A UPS using this method and true double conversion is the most protective of the three battery backup types. Online Double Conversion accepts power from the main, converts to DC to charge the batteries, and then converts back to AC power for the devices connected. True Online Double Conversion will filter the power in this process and provide a clean and stable power connection. This means the spikes and irregularities associated with power from your main connection will be removed.

 

If you been in an older home and heard the air conditioning kick on and noticed lights flicker? The dip in current is hard on electronic devices. Using online double conversion this dip doesn’t occur and your devices last longer due to consistent power without fluctuations.

 

When power fails, Online Double Conversion devices have no delay in switching to battery because youre devices were already being fed by the batteries. Your now at the mercy of how large your batteries are.

Line Interactive

This has the benefit of being the more cost effective solution. Most of the battery backups you will purchase at a local retail store or online, for desktop pcs, will be Line Interactive. Line Interactive systems will incorporate automatic voltage regulation (AVR) to clip spikes and dips without the need to switch to the battery. While this might sound like Online Double Conversion, it’s not the same. It does help protect equipment but there will still be spikes and dips, just not as severe. A quality Line Interactive system will use Pure Sine Wave output when operating from battery power.

Pure Sine wave is regulated power where there is little to no change in the waves of electricity flowing to devices. Modified sine wave is a cheaper alternative, but less effective and maintaining spikes in electrical output.

Line Interactive is the most common battery backup found in office situations. They’re economical and provide some amount of reassurance you will have time to shutoff your devices before the batteries fail.

Offline Standby Technology

When input voltage fails to a predefined level, Offline Standby battery backup will switch to battery power. This might sound very similar to Line Interactive. The biggest difference being Line Interactive has better power filtering and conditioning. When the unit is Online, meaning power has failed or dropped to a level that won’t power devices, it will output in a square, sine wave , or step output.

Offline standby is generally the cheapest of the three technologies.

 

Which Battery Backup is best?

 

How to choose a battery backup

First, determine what and how many devices you want to power and for how long average desktop computer has a 300-400 watt power supply. They won’t draw their capacity 100% of the time, but they can spike up to their capacity. Internet gateways and firewalls, wireless devices, and printers might also be important to your business or home. Larger environments should perform a business impact analysis to determine what will need battery backup. A BIA will guide your efforts and help determine power supply needs.

Second, do you want to power them individually or use a more comprehensive solution where everything is powered from one battery backup source? Powering them individually is cheaper to start, however, the long term will have more management overhead and less ROI as you replace batteries that will eventually fail. Larger, single source, backup solution will cost more upfront but have a better ROI and less management overhead going forward. You’ll also gain more professional features such as network alerting and monitoring of your solution. One additional downside, single point of failure. If the batteries have failed, and the power goes out, all of your devices will shut off.

Third, implementation of your battery backup solution. If you are a small company, this will not be very labor intensive. Larger environments, you will have a more involved and complex install and implementation. It should also be added to your monthly monitoring checks to ensure that the batteries and control units are working as expected.

 

The best battery backup system is the one that will fit your needs, supply power for a period of time long enough to meet your goal. If that goal is to run continuously, expect to spend quite a bit. If your goal is simply to have enough time to save your work and shutdown, you’ll spend quite a bit less.