Businesses require a stable and reliable supply of electricity, even under difficult circumstances. Power disturbances are no longer tolerated thanks, in large part, to advances in technology that allow for continuous electricity in situations such as this. In the past, a company would allow for a disturbance, considering it to be nothing more than a slight inconvenience. Now, any loss of power is viewed as a major disruption that needs to be avoided at all costs. For this reason, many facility managers now opt to install Backup Generators to ensure an Uninterrupted Power Supply.
Power Disturbance Causes
A power disturbance may arise for any number of reasons. Most associate these incidents with voltage spikes or sags, yet a brownout or blackout may also lead to an interruption in service. A fault in the distribution system of the utility is another common cause of an interruption in power. As there are so many things that may go wrong, companies frequently choose to look into redundant electrical supplies to protect against interruptions. Often, companies turn to Backup Generators to improve the reliability of their electrical supply.
Types of Backup Generators
Backup generators come in a variety of sizes and types. One may choose from a propane, natural gas or diesel generator based on the alternative types of fuel easily accessible in the area. Regardless of which type is selected, the generator provides continuous power as long as the fuel supply remains in place. This makes it a great option for backup power in both the short and long-term.
How Does The Generator Work?
When an interruption in service is detected, the generator automatically kicks in. Once it reaches full operating speed, a switch within the unit transfers the load from the utility power automatically over to the generator. This process typically takes 30 seconds or less, depending on the generator size. When power is restored through the utility company, the load automatically transfers back to the utility and the generator shuts itself off.
Maintenance of the Generator
Generators must be maintained if they are to work as designed. Facility managers need to start and run the generator for a minimum of 30 minutes every week or two, and the unit needs to be run under the load that would normally be required in the event of a power interruption. Doing so tests the starting and cooling systems and all switchgear needed to supply the necessary power to the loads. In addition, batteries must be checked monthly and the fuel supply inspected each time the generator is exercised or run. When inspecting the fuel supply, the facility manager needs to not only look to see how much fuel remains, but also that all fuel is free from contaminants. Cooling and exhaust systems need to be inspected monthly also.
Generators cannot protect against all faults or interruptions in the power supply. Only UPS Systems are capable of taking on this duty. Many UPS configurations are offered, although most users opt to go with an online system. Online UPS systems consist of three components. The charger/rectifier receives incoming alternating current from the electric supplier and converts this current to direct current. The direct current charges the system batteries and sends power to the inverter, the second part of the system. The inverter then converts this direct current back into alternating current. Storage batteries make up the third component, and the batteries are used to power loads when the electric supply is disrupted for an extended time period.
Benefits of UPS Systems
Regardless of what takes place with the utility power, the UPS system continues to supply power to the facility. Almost all power disturbances are eliminated, as the system is continuously taking the alternating current, converting it to the direct current, and then to alternating current once again. One no longer needs to worry about noise, voltage fluctuations or transients when this type of system is in place.
Maintaining UPS Systems
Facility managers must maintain UPS systems to ensure they work as designed when needed. The lead acid batteries which make up a portion of the system must be inspected regularly to ensure the cable connections remain corrosion-free and that they are correctly torqued. Furthermore, the electrolyte level of the batteries needs to be regularly inspected to ensure it remains at the proper height. If it isn’t at the correct height, the batteries may be damaged. The batteries must also be inspected for capacity loss twice a year. Finally, other components need to be regularly checked and any dust removed, as dust can lead to the unit overheating. Connections need to be checked at this time also to ensure they are properly torqued.
With the correct backup power source, facilities find they can reliably deliver services at all times. In addition, an uninterrupted power supply helps to ensure the longevity of data center equipment. Companies in need of backup generators and/or uninterrupted power supplies should turn to Unified Power for assistance. UP offers a variety of backup generators and UPS systems to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes.