A battery backup, also known as Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) supplies power in case your regular power source fails or during a power outage. It allows a safe shutdown of all connected electronic equipment in the event of a power interruption to help prevent damage to your appliance or computer. The most basic type of UPS is the standby, wherein it switches to DC battery power and then inverts it to AC power to run the connected device. This is most suited for consumer electronics, basic computers, and security systems. Usually, a battery backup power supply is also used in home solar systems for maximum efficiency.
Other types of UPS systems include line interactive and double conversion (online). Line-interactive mostly regulates minor power fluctuations like under-voltage or overvoltage. It's suitable for consumer electronics, gaming systems and mid-range servers. Double conversion, on the other hand, is specifically designed to protect more critical equipment such as large telecom installations, data centres, and high-end servers. It provides the cleanest, almost-perfect power by converting incoming AC power to DC, and then back to AC again.
What Is a Good Battery Backup?
When looking for a backup battery pack, consider the output first. Opt for something that provides not just power for your devices, but serves as a surge protector as well to avoid damaging your connected equipment in case of voltage spikes. In terms of power output, a good battery backup should be around a minimum of 400W. A UPS with a Sine Wave Inverter feature is a reliable option too, as this is considered the cleanest type of output. Beware of cheaper batteries that use a simulated sine wave output though, as this can damage electronics like laptops and audio gears.
Another thing to look for would be the run time and number of outlets. A higher-end UPS will be able to power larger and more devices for an extended period of time, so prepare an estimate of how much power you'll need in case of an outage. Lastly, keep in mind that a UPS power supply is not meant to be a substitute for generators. Make sure the equipment you will be running are compatible with the battery backup you purchase.
How Long Will a Battery Backup Last?
Most UPS batteries have a lifespan of 3-5 years, but this can be dependent on a number of factors such as temperature, humidity, and frequency of power failures. To help preserve the battery lifespan, make sure to keep it in a cool and dry location. Storing it in extremely hot or cold locations can reduce it's longevity by half, so it's important to follow the manufacturer's temperature recommendations and leave a space on both sides of the UPS to allow ample airflow. Too much moisture can also shorten battery life and just like temperature, most manufacturers specify how much humidity is safe for your UPS. To be sure, avoid placing your unit in areas with high levels of moisture such as near windows. Lastly, take note of usual power issues that you encounter like voltage fluctuations and power outages—these cause frequent discharge cycles, which will eventually reduce the capacity of your battery.
Can LiFePO4 batteries be used for UPS?
Yes! LiFEPO4 is actually ideal for use as a UPS due to its edge over other batteries in the market. Lithium iron phosphate batteries bring an outstanding combination of the best battery attributes including high energy, extended lifespan, and portability. A LiFEPO4's stable chemistry also allows for enhanced safety, as this type of battery does not catch fire and is made of non-toxic substances. They have a wide operating temperature range and although they can be a little expensive, the long-term costs that go along with purchasing a battery are significantly lower when you choose a LiFEPO4.