What even is a UPS?

When we talk about computer battery backup systems, we can also use the term UPS. What does UPS stand for? It stands for “Uninterruptible Power Supply”. It is also a type of power supply that uses battery backup to maintain power during unexpected power outages. There are two basic types of UPS systems: standby power systems (SPS’s) and on-line UPS systems. An SPS system monitors the power line and switches to battery power as soon as it detects a drop in power being supplied to the unit itself. The switch to battery, however, can require several milliseconds, during which time the computer is not receiving any power. Standby Power Systems are sometimes called Line-interactive UPSs. They come in different size configurations depending on the type of computer system requiring protection.

An on-line UPS avoids these momentary power lapses by constantly providing power from its own inverter. It does this even when the power line is functioning properly. In general, on-line UPSs are much more expensive than SPSs. Moreover, they have the capacity to perform what is known as power clipping. On occasion the power will surge high to the unit. When this condition occurs this type of UPS clips the excessive power off to keep it from damaging the system due to voltage overload. The size of either type of UPS depends upon the number of power receptacles the unit has on board to plug devices into.


Most all UPS devices have a built in monitor to display the loading process as devices are plugged into them. Ensure you do not load the UPS beyond 85% of its capacity because in the event of dropped power it may take the unit too long to recover and some devices connected to it will stop functioning until the UPS can catch up.

Almost all new UPSs have built in monitoring with a laptop or desktop. Some have the capabilities to send an alarm via text or e-mail alerting the user that power is unstable, or that the unit is off-line or overloading. Some devices should never plug into a UPS due to start-up power requirements. Large laser printers and scanners are a good example of this. They draw more load on start-up than any other time they are running.

Our Services

Our services team at Volta has installed many UPS devices. We can help your company determine which UPS is right for you, and give instructions as to what devices should not be plugged in. We also offer continuing UPS services engagements to take the necessary but pesky monitoring tasks off your to-do list. Contact Volta to get started today.