The inverter market is very diverse. There are small desktop units that can run a lightweight desktop computer for 10 minutes, and built-in freezer-sized units that are installed in data centers to run entire server clusters during a storm.
So you can spend $100 on a simple UPS, just as you can spend thousands of dollars. The most important part of the UPS selection and purchase process is to assess your power needs before spending your hard-earned money on overloaded (or underloaded) equipment.
First, think about all the systems in your home or office, or both, that need the advanced protection a UPS offers to keep them online during a power outage. Each unit has its own unique configuration. Let’s use our home as a model for the different power needs that arise in a typical residential environment.
The most obvious example is a desktop computer. We have two desktop computers, one in our home office and one in the kids’ playroom.
Less obvious, but still important, are secondary computer systems, such as a home media server and network storage for local data backup. In our case, the media server/backup server is in the basement.
In addition to the main and secondary computers, are there other electronic devices you want to keep online and protect from power outages? In this case, we also want to protect our cable modems, routers and Wi-Fi nodes from power outages. For cable modems, for example, there is no equivalent to “soft shutdown”, but our specific cable modem is complex and must be manually reset after a power failure. By being connected to a nearby inverter, our inverters are only slightly overloaded and do not experience the micro blackouts that occur during high winds and summer storms.
What size UPS do I need?
The UPS must provide at least the amount of time required for a normal computer shutdown. This is the absolute minimum allowed. If there is not enough power available between the UPS shutdown and normal shutdown, you risk damaging your computer or losing data.
So how do you calculate your system’s power requirements? First, you need to think about your main system and the devices you want to power down in the event of a power outage. In the case of our servers, there are no peripherals (they are headless servers, which do not consume more power than the hardware installed directly on the tower), so there is no need to calculate the load of the peripherals. Try also: APC easy UPS
On the other hand, our two computers (one in the home office and one in the game room) also have peripherals such as monitors and external hard drives. In the event of a power outage while we are working on the computers, it would be helpful if the batteries could also power the monitors so that we could interact with the machines.
Start by determining the power requirements of your home server, as this is the easiest option. If you want to be very precise, you can measure the actual consumption of your devices with a power meter.
You can also use the power indicated by your computer as a reference value for the maximum power. Please note that a 400 W power supply does not necessarily consume a constant load of 400 W. Our server is equipped with a 400 Watt power supply, but if you measure with a Kill-A-Watt meter, the maximum output load is slightly more than 300 Watts and the constant operating load is only about 250 Watts.
If you want to carefully evaluate your power consumption, you can choose the maximum power of your power supply and peripherals (so you can afford to run them too briefly). Using a meter also improves the accuracy of your calculations and allows you to spend more of your budget on the features of your desired UPS and less on buying a larger capacity battery.