Choosing the right power conditioning equipment
Other than a good power conditioning strategy it's important
to procure reliable power conditioning equipment
As today's business applications are based on technology
solutions and use enterprise wide sophisticated hardware, the need for power
protection systems providing impeccable power quality with high reliability
and availability becomes inevitable.
A large network is a part of the business solution in any
enterprise. And the most critical factor in such a situation is total system
uptime. In such a situation the prime consideration is given to systems
This creates the need for a UPS system which provides the
most effective protection of the enterprise-wide system. However, this UPS system
should address space constraints and have the ability to communicate with other
devices. Developing such a power protection system has become a challenge amongst
the power protection industrys leaders.
A good power conditioning strategy is essential to maximize
business uptime for critical applications. A power conditioning solution takes
into account the business uptime requirement, from the mains supply stage to
the load stage. One should ideally select a UPS vendor, who is a complete solution
provider in all respects of power conditioning.
The vendor should be willing to study the requirement,
the condition, mains power supply, and the surroundings of the installation
requirement. As a part of the total solution, the vendor should conduct a power
audit including a harmonic study and suggest the appropriate solution, which
would provide the highest uptime for the business, considering the best possible
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to the customer.
Factors to consider
Look for vendors who are at least a decade old in this
industry. Better if the vendors main business is power protection. Choose a
vendor that views the concept of UPS systems as managing a complete power conditioning
The vendor should be capable of entire
site preparation, implementation, and power quality management for all infrastructure-dependent
activities. The vendor should carry out power quality audits for all major installations
periodically. There should be proper on-site warranty policies and the after-sales
service support capabilities.
A UPS should adhere to the norms and
specifications as per the standards. The UPS must have an Isolation Transformer,
which isolates the input for better protection. Features like appropriate earthing
and bonding, alternate distribution, static switches, servo controlled voltage
stabilizer, proper battery monitoring, and maintenance are other considerations.
The UPS capacity should match load
The actual power drawn by the equipment
should be measured before assessing the UPS capacity. Select a UPS with a Volt
Amps (VA) rating that significantly exceeds the rating shown on the equipment.
Depending on the application, the UPS hardware and software features needs to
For example, if the UPS is supporting
a group of servers, you should use communication software, which has the ability
to close applications running on each server and ensure its safe shutdown. Intelligent
UPS systems with communication ports allow you to communicate through TCP/IP
or via PDAs or Web phones.
Choose the right topology. There are
three types of UPS topologiesonline, offline, and line interactive. Each
provides different advantages and disadvantages. Decide on the topology appropriate
for your enterprise. You may choose the latest products with Digital Signal
Processor (DSP) controlled UPS systems.
Once the topology and the basic needs
are planned, one needs to compare the specifications of the short-listed products.
The product that offers maximum output
load in the current capacity (expressed in amps and time duration), is better.
The same is the case with transient voltage surge suppression capability, output
response time, and faster battery recharge time.
Information about the specified battery
life, recommended environmental conditions, and whether user-replaceable or
not, is important. Check for alarms or LEDs or LCD that indicate mains failure,
output overloads, whether the inverter is running on UPS battery, and whether
the battery charge is low.
If you buy a more expensive unit, ensure
that the software will automatically save data, close applications, and turn
off the computer equipment in advance, before the UPS standby power goes out,
following a mains failure.
- Choose the right power protection solutions provider.
- Pick the kind of UPS to match your conditions and budget. While the manufacturer's
claims make every unit, even the cheapest, sound like they solve all problems,
it just isn't so.
- Determine which size, or VA rating, will support your load and future plans.
Alternately, check the electronic equipment manufacturer's labels to calculate
your power requirements.
- Choose the run time you needor minutes that the UPS can support the
load before running out of battery back-up power during an outage. Do not
buy a higher rated UPS to get more run time. The objective is to size the
UPS to properly support the power load, and then add extra battery packs to
give more run time. While the less expensive products do not have extra battery
options, most good quality units do.
- Consider accessories that can improve your protection. Sophisticated units
allow swapping a faulty UPS for a new one without turning off the computer
or server, others allow only the battery to be replaced under load. Other
accessories connect your UPS to networks and SNMP systems for sophisticated
monitoring and control.
- Think about redundancy. If you have a real critical system, you may want
a top of the line fully redundant system that provides two complete power
protection paths and automatically switches between them if one should fail.
- Compare the features, prices, software, and warranties.
- List all equipment to be protected by the UPS. (Remember to include all
monitors, terminals, modems, routers and any other critical equipment.)
- List the wattage and VA ratings. These figures can be found on a plate
on the back of the equipment. Multiply amps by volts to determine VA.
- Multiply the VA by the number of pieces of equipment (quantity) to get
- Add the VA subtotals to get a total.
- Use the total figure to select a UPS. When choosing a
UPS be sure that the total VA requirement of supported equipment does not
exceed the UPS VA rating.
- For any clarifications on this contact your vendor.