What is a UPS? - Inergy

September 19, 2022

You’re probably well acquainted with UPS the delivery service, but in the realm of emergency backup power there’s a more relevant UPS that you might not be familiar with. 

UPS stands for uninterruptible power supply. It’s a form of emergency backup power that’s meant to plug in between your device and the wall outlet and will automatically take the place of grid power if the grid ever goes down. 

 

Technically, any portable power station can act as a UPS as long as the charger can keep up with the power needs of your equipment. But, if it’s not specifically designed as a UPS, using it in this way can significantly reduce the lifespan of your system. That’s because a standard power stationdoesn't have a battery bypass. Without a bypass all power coming in and out of the system has to go through the battery. 

In a standard power station the battery will be continuously discharging to power your device and simultaneously recharging itself. Over time this will eat up your battery’s charge cycles and drastically shorten your system’s life. 

A true UPS, on the other hand, is specifically designed with a battery bypass along with a sensor to detect grid power failure and a highly responsive switch. 

Under normal circumstances, electricity will flow through the UPS, bypass the battery entirely, and power your equipment. If the UPS senses a grid failure it will switch to battery power within a fraction of a second; fast enough that your equipment won’t notice the power ever went out. When power is restored, the UPS will switch back to grid power to continue running your device and to recharge itself. 

This preserves battery functionality and extends life for long-term use. 

Now you might be wondering why you would even use a UPS. It may sound a little too specialized for your needs, but the truth is that anyone can benefit from a UPS. Here’s why. 

 

What’s a UPS For? 

The UPS was initially created to keep alarm systems running during power outages for safety. 

It was later adopted to protect sensitive computer equipment. Improper shutdowns can damage some computer hardware and important work might be lost if the system shuts down unexpectedly. A UPS offers the chance to save your work and shut down the equipment correctly during a power outage thus saving time and money. 

Since then, the UPS has found wider use. 

Refrigeration allows us to preserve food and important medication like insulin. Fridges and freezers are insulated and can keep things cold without power but they’re especially susceptible to extended power outages, which run the risk of spoiling food. 

While a standard power station can be used to manually back up a fridge, the reality is that you aren’t always home to make the change to backup power when the need arises. Connecting your fridge or freezer to a UPS can bring peace of mind if you’re going to be on an extended vacation or in a situation where you need to evacuate because of natural disasters. Should your home lose power while you’re away, your UPS will keep your appliances powered and potentially save you hundreds on spoiled food and lost medication. 

Medical equipment can also benefit from a UPS, especially devices that need to run continually like oxygen machines and CPAPs. The danger of losing power is emphasized at night when you’re likely asleep and won’t notice the power going out—potentially fatal if you rely on oxygen. A UPS will eliminate that danger by automatically keeping your medical equipment powered during an outage. 

There are dozens of uses for a UPS that we haven’t mentioned, all of which serve to illustrate one thing: Everyone can benefit from a UPS. 

 

How does a UPS compare to a standard power station? 

But that begs the question: Why aren’t all power stations capable of UPS function? 

Typical power stations have the benefit of being versatile and generally portable, while a UPS relies on the use of grid power. But what it lacks in versatility a UPS makes up for by being extremely effective at providing emergency backup power. 

In fact, a UPS is just as, if not more, effective at providing backup power as a portable power station. 

Without the battery bypass and automatic switching features that define a UPS, you run the risk of seriously reducing your battery’s performance and lifespan with prolonged use. 

The Kodiak X2 features all the perks of a portable power station, including solar charging and long-term battery storage, with the added benefit of UPS capabilities. 

To learn more about the Kodiak X2 and how we're changing the future of portable power, click here.

Written by: Eitan Mizrahi


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