“What is a Battery Backup? What is an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)?” Why would your service company or contracting business need one for their computer system?
Whether for commercial or residential environments, these are important questions many business owners have been asking in recent years. Many more contractors and service business owners are now interested in finding answers to these questions, as advances in technology push us to use electronic media to store critical data more responsibly and more sustainability.
A battery backup/UPS provides a backup power source for devices to which it is plugged. In simplest setup form, the battery backup device is plugged into a wall outlet, and other devices, such as computer towers, workstation machines, monitors, and mobile devices, are plugged into the battery backup. When a power failure occurs, one or more batteries, within the battery backup, provide power to devices connected to the battery backup.
Many battery backup devices will also help protect a computer system and other mobile data storage devices from drops in power supply and from surges. This is important when considering that such changes in power can cause data loss and even physical damage to computers and other devices. Certain battery backup models on the market today feature LCD screens which display helpful information about battery charges and power usage at a glance.
There are many different makes and models of battery backup systems; a more powerful system will provide a longer run-time during a power outage. While the most common systems provide approximately 7-10 minutes of run-time during a power failure, more expensive and powerful systems may offer up to 20 or more minutes of run-time. This is an integral function of the battery backup system, as this run-time will allow you to properly shut down your computer and/or other devices, and backup necessary files to prevent data loss. In the Software portion of this article, options related to safe and proper shutdown will be discussed in more detail.
Common battery backup/UPS systems contain one or more batteries, and often these batteries are rechargeable and replaceable, offering a long term answer for powering the user’s devices.
Depending on what type of battery backup system is used, not all outlets located on the battery backup system will provide backup power to devices; this information should be available with the product. As there are varying manufacturers and models of battery backup systems on the market today, those interested in purchasing a UPS system should research diligently their personal needs in relation to device wattage and choose an adequate battery backup system to support their needs.
Battery backup devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes; however, many are designed to be free standing, in order to be placed on a floor or on a safe and sturdy surface, near the computer or other devices to which it is plugged. Also important to note, when considering one’s needs in relation to a battery backup device, is that a general battery backup device can weigh between 15 and 60 pounds; this will vary depending on how many batteries are contained within the battery backup system.
Backup System Software
Battery backup software will need to be installed, and possibly periodically updated, in order to maintain optimal performance. Often, alerts and reminders can be created to prompt users of these software updates and other functions. All software types are not equal, but many provide similar optional settings for powering down a computer system in the event of power failure. Such options may include, but are not limited to:
- UPS/Battery Backup and Power Outage Monitoring
- View and Report Power Activity and System Performance (Blackouts/Brownouts/Surges)
- Setup Runtime Options
- Ability to Control Power Levels of Other Devices
- Setup Alerts and Notifications
When researching battery backup systems, it is important to find a system that includes software to automatically shut down a computer system, in the event the user is away from the computer during the power failure. In most cases, this software will be included with the system and will be connected via USB port, on the computer system; in the event of a power failure, the software will provide safe shutdown of a computer system.
UPS System Cost
Computer battery backup systems range in price from $35 to over $1000, with replacement batteries costing between $20 and $75. As is true with almost anything, quality products will cost more, but will also provide longer run time, more power for other devices and additional option settings to control and remain informed of the system. Most users can expect to pay around $60 for a battery backup device; however, for those looking into systems for industrial or office environments, larger, more expensive systems may be needed. Before making a decision, on a system, be sure to check battery backup needs in relation to total wattage used by all devices that will be connected to the battery backup system.
In this age of information, it is absolutely necessary to have the ability to maintain power supply, in the event of a power outage, prevent against power surges and shortages, and safely shutdown and backup a computer system. Battery backup/UPS systems are the solution to these needs, and, whether for home or contracting business, no computer should be run without one.
Author: Rich Browning
Aptora Technical Support Solutions Specialist