Can a UPS system protect my business during rolling blackouts?

During load shedding, when ESKOMs generation ability flounders, millions of South Africans are subjected to power failures, sometimes daily.

Besides interrupting our home and business lives, blackouts also cause data corruption on computer systems and damage various sensitive and expensive electronics like TVs, DSTV, and CCTV equipment.

The only way to protect this valuable equipment is to have an emergency backup power system in place, in the form of an inverter with backup from a battery.

The most common, reliable, and useful type of inverter backup systems to protect your assets is an uninterruptable power supply also called a UPS.

A UPS is made of three key components:

  1. A rectifier
  2. A battery
  3. An inverter

The rectifier takes the mains power, also called AC power, when it is available from ESKOM, and converts it into battery power called DC. The battery power is then used to charge the battery where this emergency backup energy is stored. When the power fails, the battery then supplies DC power to the inverter. The inverter takes this DC power and, using clever electronics control and special inverter power electronics; it converts this DC backup power into AC power.

You need to be sure that your sensitive electronic loads are plugged into the inverter so that when mains power fails, it gets battery DC backup power fed through the inverter and keeps on running.

It is important to remember that any DC backup battery, no matter how big, will eventually go flat.

It is possible to get battery backup of several hours for very long runtimes, but when the battery is eventually flat at the end of that time, it needs more than a day to get back to full charge.

Therefore, it is important to buy your UPS from a reputable supplier like Standby Systems; a company that has the knowhow to ensure the system is adequately sized for the load you want to connect, and that the battery charger is big enough to charge the battery in time for the next power failure.

When is the best time to buy a UPS?

Don’t wait for the next round of ESKOM load shedding to begin before scrambling around in a last-minute attempt at getting a UPS for your load sensitive appliances. Call Standby Systems today and let one of our standby power specialists help you select the right system for your home or workplace – be it for one computer, an entire data center, or a medical facility. We have a UPS for every system.

When you are ready to buy a UPS, it is important to tell the Standby Systems team if you want the battery sized for every day rolling blackouts or just occasional power failures; because the DC backup battery needs to be of a different size in each case.

Which UPS?

There are thousands of UPS products available all over the world, so the UPS user is spoilt for choice.

Well known and regularly used for many years, high-end UPS products in Africa are:

  • AROS for its highly reliable Sentry HPS and Sentry Multistandard UPS ranges
  • RIELLO for its high-efficiency Master HE and Master UPS series UPS ranges
  • Meissner power systems for the old MP100, MP2000 and MP3000 UPS ranges changed their name to Eaton in Africa
  • Schneider, known years back as, APC for its Galaxy range of UPS systems
  • Emmerson UPS which became Liebert and then Vertiv for its 7200, 7400 and High Pulse range of UPS systems
  • Many of the series names of these UPS units have remained the same for decades with the technology always changing and improving to compete with efficient and reliable UPS solutions all over the world.

When it comes to selecting a good quality, highly reliable, uptime UPS unit, the African UPS user has a great many to choose from, thus making the selection process challenging at times.

Important matters to consider before you purchase a UPS:

  1. 10-year preventative maintenance costs including any parts that wear and tear
  2. Transformer based inverter technology is the best solution for reliability and load uptime
  3. Overall efficiency and losses/size of cooling systems
  4. Front access only, for space-saving and back to back installation
  5. Large, powerful battery chargers to quickly recharge the backup battery
  6. Use a reliable, safe technology UPS battery product that is 100% recyclable in Africa.

When choosing your UPS system we would encourage you to take time and investigate the best battery options too.

Is your UPS system battery really a green solution for Africa?

In Africa, there are very few battery recycling facilities. All the current recycling facilities that do exist in Africa are designed for 100% lead-acid battery technology product recycling.

Nowadays, there is an ever-growing list of battery design technologies for use in Standby power backup systems, like a UPS or home inverter system.

The most common battery technologies include:

  1. Lithium-Ion,
  2. Lithium Iron Phosphate also called Lithium Ferro or LiPHO4,
  3. Lead crystal,
  4. And thehighly poisonous Nickel Cadmium battery

All these standby battery technologies claim to be recyclable, but few state what percentage is recyclable. Many battery manufacturers worldwide claim 100% recyclability, but they never state where the battery has to be sent for recycling.

As a citizen of the African continent, any UPS or standby power user should only use lead-acid technology batteries to prevent the further pollution and dumping of battery products that have to be shipped back overseas, at a considerable cost, at the end of useable life, for “recycling”.

This results in high costs to the user, at the end of a battery’s life. There are no green alternatives for batteries in Africa other than the lead-acid battery.

In conclusion

There are several UPS systems to choose from and if you consult with a standby power system specialist you will be able to but the one that best suits your emergency power needs. Getting a specialist to help you will reduce the risk of buying something that will land up costing more in the long run.