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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a UPS?

 
A: An Uninterruptible Power Supply is a device that sits between a power supply (e.g. a wall outlet) and a device (e.g. a computer) to prevent undesired features of the power source (outages, sags, surges, bad harmonics, etc.) from the supply from adversely affecting the performance of the device.
 

Q: Can I install the UPS equipment myself.

 
A: The equipment available via this website, which operate in the 650 VA (Volt Amps) to 3000 VA range, can be installed by a computer owner / administrator without the need for a qualified electrician or IT / UPS specialist.  If you have a larger installation, then please go to our large system website at www.Metartec.com.

Q: How long can equipment on a UPS keep running after the power goes?

 
A: That depends on how big a UPS do you have and what kind of equipment it protects. For most typical computer workstations, a UPS that is rated to keep the machine alive through a 5 minute power loss is often adequate.
 
If it is important for a machine to survive hours without power, then a more robust power backup solution, including a generator and other components will be needed.

Q: How important is the UPS output waveform?

 
A: Equipment should always be supplied with a sinusoidal input.  Deviations produce harmonics, which may either be interpreted as signal if they get through a power supply, or may actually damage the equipment.

Q: If the power is out for a long time, I would like to have my computer automatically shut itself down gracefully before the UPS batteries die. Can I do this?

 
A: Yes. All of our UPS equipment is supplied with support software that will do this for on all of the main operating system platforms.
 

Q: Will the UPS restart my system when the power returns?

 
A: Yes this can be programmed.

Q: How does this software work?

 
A: There is a serial port, or a USB or network connection on the back of a UPS to connect it to virtually any computer or network.
 
Software packages for UPS machines are getting increasingly sophisticated, providing power and status monitoring via graphic user interfaces, SNMP support, and even call-out paging.
 

Q: How is the "size" of UPS determined?

 
A: Typically, a UPS has a VA rating. The VA rating is the maximum number of Volts x Amps it can deliver. The VA rating is not the same as the power drain (in Watts) of the equipment. This would be true if the load was only resistive or the circuit were DC, not AC.
 
Computers are predominantly non-resistive. A typical Power Factor (Watts / VA) for some computers may be as low as 0.6, which means that if you record a drain of 100 Watts, you need a power source with a VA rating of 167. Some literature suggests that 0.7 may be a good conversion factor, but this will depend heavily on the specific equipment. Moreover, there's really no way to determine these numbers without measuring them.
 
Some UPS can continue to deliver power if the VA rating is exceeded, but not once the supply power is lost.  A UPS should never be run above its power rating.  It is good practice never draw more than 75% of its VA rating.
 

Q: How can I tell what VA rating I need for my equipment?

 
A: You will need the total VA rating, not the wattage rating, for all of the equipment to be supported by the UPS.  To assist you with this, we provide an online calculator, which is based on the VA ratings for a wide range of equipment types.

Q: What else should I consider?

 
A: Firstly, what experience have you had of your local mains supplies?  How often and how long are the power outages, how often are there brown outs, surges, etc?  Secondly, what impact do long power outages have on your business?
If you call one of our specialists and provide them with this information, they will be able to advise you.
 

Q: Should I support my laser printer with a UPS?

 
A: Laser printers and similar devices draw a large amount of current during start up and during printing.  Most UPS include separate unregulated, but filtered, outputs, which are better suited for this type of equipment.