How to Find the Right UPS

Nov 6, 2022

Within the current environment, having a reliable and consistent power supply is a top, if not the first, requirement for all workers. Occurrences such as power outages or surges should not be a reason to lose a day’s worth of work and that is why we here at Dukatech have sales on electrical appliances such as generators to keep things moving. However, generators may responsive enough to help save work as they take time to load and begin functioning. For this, you get an Uninterruptible Power Supply, UPS

Definition of UPS

In simple terms, the UPS is a battery in a box often which is connected to the main supply (DC power) and other devices (AC power), as it saves energy and also detects any issues that may arise. When a power issue arises, such as a blackout, surge, or overvoltage occurs the UPS switches to battery power.

The UPS is an electrical appliance that acts as a backup power source that provides emergency power when the main power fails. This helps prevent a herd shutdown leading to the loss of unsaved work on your PC or laptop, as the device keeps running especially when the outage is short. They can protect a single computer or a large data center depending on the technology and the battery length.

For businesses having a UPS is a simple, cost-effective measure to help you avoid losses due to downtime caused by power problems. With the many different models available they also offer longer periods of power with little maintenance cost. 

Types of UPS devices

There are three categories of UPS devices often referred to as topologies which are ranked based on how they transfer power supply and store energy. This is not to be confused with the form factor. Below are the three topologies:

  1. Standby UPS

This is the most basic Uninterruptible Power Supply system type. It is essentially made up of a static switch, a bidirectional converter/inverter, and a battery bank. It is usually connected to the main supply and transmits power to the device when power is running normally. At this time the bidirectional converter/inverter charges the battery. During a power interruption, the device switches to battery power.

  1. Online/Line-Interactive UPS

A more advanced system as it also acts as an autotransformer by regulating the voltage from the main supply. It comprises a rectifier, an inverter, a static switch, and batteries. When power runs normally the rectifier maintains a normal voltage through DC and also charges the batteries. In case of a power interruption, the Magnetic Contactor disconnects from the AC and continues supplying power from the battery. 

  1. Double Conversion UPS

This system converts AC power to DC power and then DC power to AC before it reaches the connected device. The battery receives DC power rather than AC but it keeps functioning as the power supply remains uninterrupted. During a power failure, the battery continues to provide power to the connected device without any downtime.

When it comes to form factor you have;

  • Desktop/compact; that can be placed under a desk or hidden.
  • Tower/mini-tower; the design allows it to be placed in an open area or on a desk depending on the size.
  • Rackmount; is most suited for server rooms.

UPS brands available in Kenya

In Kenya there are several UPS brands by different manufacturers they include - 

Each brand has its own unique qualities and depending on your budget as well as backup power needs. Dukatech has something for everyone.

Importance of UPS

Downtime and loss of work can cost a business or any PC many problems. With a UPS device you are safe from power interruptions as you get backup power that allows you to save sensitive information and reduce losses. Depending on the type of UPS device you have will determine the amount of time you have on backup power. Some UPS devices offer protection from lesser-known problems such as - 

  • Brownouts - a drop of voltage for extended periods often caused by a strain in resources to avoid a blackout.
  • Surge - a brief, intense spike in electricity which can damage electronics
  • Over voltage - this happens when there is a surge in the power supply but not as high as a surge.
  • Frequency noise - this disrupts the performance of circuits by introducing abnormalities.
  • Harmonic distortion - a drop in the necessary electrical signal from a dedicated power source.

How to buy a UPS - Essentials to check before your first UPS

When it comes to reserve power devices it is easy for any buyer to get confused with the kind that they need due to there being more than one option and device capabilities. To ensure that you get the most out of your UPS device there are certain necessities that can make that choice alot easier. Below we will look at some of them. 

  1. Equipment

Most UPS devices have at least 2-3 ports to connect to your devices. When thinking of purchasing one make a list of all the different devices that may need backup power such as laptops, modems and other essential electronics in your work space. Should you discover that the available devices are more then you can find a UPS with at least 8 or more ports.

  1. Power needs.

Once you have a list of all the devices, check on how much power they each need so you can know which UPS will be enough for all of them. You can do this by checking the wattage required on each and adding it up to compare with the power of different UPS devices. If they require too much your UPS may not be sufficient to provide the necessary power.

  1. Battery life of the UPS device

Each UPS has a set limit on the amount of power the backup battery will provide. The standard standby UPS will provide just enough power to allow you to save your work in case of power issues while more advanced models can offer 4 or more hours of runtime before you are required to resort to other measures.

  1. The type of UPS system

This is determined by the environment in which you are. There are two types to consider - 

  • Network and server UPS - this is mostly used in corporations that process large amounts of data.
  • Desktop UPS - It is used to provide backup power to computers and other accompanying electronics in the office or at home.
  1. Additional features

While it may not be necessary to have these features on your UPS, they do help in making it run better while saving on costs. A feature like surge protection is important despite it not being available in all models. It is rare to find a one size fits all kind of UPS but they can be customized in accordance with your needs and specifications once you make the first purchase. 

Other features you may need include - 

  • Data protection - This is made possible by adding a data protection circuit between your telecommunication provider and your computer. 
  • Recovery software - This creates a seamless transfer of power and is highly recommended with any UPS purchase. It is advisable to configure it to your specifications as the default settings may not provide sufficient power and runtime for the connected device.
  1. Service time

Like any battery, UPS batteries will eventually die and require replacement. On most occasions, a UPS battery will serve for 3-4 years before you are required to purchase a new one or replace the existing one. You are recommended to regularly check on the battery strength and to keep the device in a well-aerated room for optimal health and function. 

Remember that a UPS and a generator are not the same. While a generator will provide power for the whole house or company, UPS’ are limited to specific devices and for a limited time. Overloading your UPS is likely to cause damage.

Maintenance of UPS devices

Like most electronic devices, UPS too need regular checkups to ensure they continue to function and run optimally at all times. For this to occur there are two categories of maintenance;

  • Corrective maintenance - is performed as a result of failure to get the unit working again.
  • Preventative maintenance - performed to ensure the unit does not run into damage by scheduling the required actions it performs.

To get the most out of your UPS always read the user's manual that comes with your unit and follow the necessary specifications during installation and use.

Essentials when it comes to UPS maintenance include - 

  1. Place the UPS in a dust-free, well-aired room with ideal temperatures. The too high temperatures will reduce the battery life as it cannot function optimally and too low temperatures will slow the unit.
  2. Keep a record of maintenance and alarm operations so you can know when another checkup is scheduled as well as easily identify where the problems arise from.
  3. Ensure all inputs and outputs are clean and well connected. Check for wire damage or burn spots resulting from power surges. 
  4. Perform a functional test on the system to ensure that they are within the necessary specifications.
  5. The air filters should be regularly replaced as dust will accumulate and too much of it may cause overheating leading to losses. If the replacements become too regular it may be time to move your UPS to a less dusty area or renovate its current environment.
  6. At times it is good to perform an off-line load test as this helps you ensure the system is running properly and also detect any issues that may arise.

These maintenance checks should be done regularly by professionals or your in-house team. Here at Dukatech we provide checkup and maintenance service either on call or at your requested regular intervals. You can reach out to us through the contact provided on our website. 

Power in UPS devices

To ensure the proper running of your UPS device you need to ensure it has enough power. This is referred to as capacity and it is measured in Watts. The higher the capacity of a UPS device, the more devices it can support. However, before you connect it to multiple devices you are required to identify the amount of power (load) that will be needed for your UPS to function optimally. 

The load is the combined amount of power each device needs. You can find this on the manufacturer's website.

Where to get UPS in Nairobi

You can purchase your UPS device today from authorized dealers, such as Dukatech, at suitable prices and offers and get to enjoy delivery chap chap wherever you are. Always ensure to purchase from authorized dealers to get the best warranties and original equipment. We also offer installation and maintenance upon request. 


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