Just say 'No' to power interruptions

July 1, 2010

by Karen Johnson, Security Dealer & Integrator

Power outages, shortages and brownouts happen, locations where it is impossible to keep a power current going, exist. When such events or locations call for a source of power to keep security systems and data centers going the solution could call for an uninterruptable power source or supply (UPS).

Essential for keeping systems up and running in most settings and environments, UPS products are designed to keep it all together when regular sources of power have failed. Loaded with new features and options, UPS products can accommodate the demands of challenging applications 24/7.

As Dave Boroevich, vice president of Marketing, Alpha Technologies, British Columbia, pointed out, "it is critical to ensure the right UPS solution is chosen for the application."

It's important to understand the engineering choices involved when choosing a UPS system. "There are quite a few approaches to UPS power protection in a data center environment," said Rich Feldhaus, product manager, Tripp Lite, Chicago. "Much of the way the facility is wired is influenced by the company growth patterns, budgets or facility management team preferences and specialties."

Demand for extended backup

"Integrators in the field need to have the knowledge and ability to know how these systems back up," added Chuck Gougler, marketing manager, Staco Energy, Dayton, Ohio. There are three types of UPS systems: Line Interactive, Offline and Double Conversion Online. Each version works from offering such basic features as surge protection, to adding and subtracting power, to providing power for several hours with greater current loads.

The demand for these systems has grown, especially in data centers where more servers are coming online. "Network devices are being put into place and consequently this level of activity demands backup and it is a good thing to have a UPS attached providing longer run times during power shortages," said Bill Allen, director of Marketing Para Systems, Minuteman Power Technologies, Carrollton, Texas. "It used to be we could get away with providing 10 to 20 minutes of back up time, but demand has grown with two to four hours being common and the industry is looking to provide eight hours in some situations, which is desirable." Boroevich of Alpha Technologies, agreed that "the demand for extended backup time is a big trend as buyers realize their security system is only as effective as the assurance of power."

New reliability enhancements

Other enhancements to the UPS are increased reliability. "Customer demand and industry trends are continuously driving new product development in exciting new directions," Feldhaus stated. "The most recent lineup changes involve enhanced reliability in the form of fault-tolerant UPS systems with simple, easy-to-replace power modules that can be serviced by non-electrician IT staff without down time for connected equipment." Feldhaus also found the emphasis on low power consumption and 'green' modes of operation are something users are eager for. Also desirable are products with efficiency levels of upwards of 97 percent.

Efficiency adds significant value to these systems which are becoming smaller, saving money in floor space, but are still doing the job of providing instantaneous or near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions. "The units have become lighter, which means they are easier to install and maintain, but there is a limit to how small they can become," said Gary Anderson, marketing manager, AC Power Systems, Emerson Network Power, Columbus, Ohio. "The UPS must remain the key product that delivers clean power to servers in the data center. Those servers need to have constant power that does not vary too widely." Power shortages, changes in frequency and voltages can cause problems and even damage servers.

"More intelligence is featured in a UPS system and costs are coming down as well," remarked Mike Stout, vice president of Engineering, Falcon Electric, Irwindale, Calif. "The good news is functionality is going up. The systems also have options as frequency converters." Another example of increased intelligence is found in redundancy and digital signal processing technology. Ethernet connectivity to the UPS is also available, making the systems smarter, Stout said. With these enhancements, UPS devices can be found backing up data, providing sources of power in many situations. Wherever there's a critical power need, the UPS delivers.

UPS Product Showcase


The FLU-10S by Staco Energy Products Co., Dayton, Ohio, is a second generation FirstLine 10kva three-phase Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). UL1778 listed, the online, double-conversion UPS provides computer-grade power quality. Even with its small footprint and light weight, the FLU-10S has a standard battery run-time of over nine minutes (with optional batteries for extended operation).


Tripp Lite, Chicago, expanded its popular line of SmartPro Advanced Line-Interactive UPS Systems with a new high-capacity rack mount model. The SMART3000RMXL2U UPS System provides mission-critical equipment with power protection plus enhanced power management in just 2U of rack space. The system supports loads up to 3000 VA / 2880 watts, while high-efficiency operation reduces direct electricity costs and BTU emissions.


The Minuteman PRO-RT series, a new line of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) designed to provide fail-safe protection from all power anomalies for small to medium-sized telephone, security and server systems was released by Para Systems, Dallas, Texas. The PRO-RT UPS devices are new to the PRO-E Series and includes the PRO1000RT (1000VA) and PRO1500RT (1500VA). An uninterruptible power supply serves as an "electrical firewall," preventing catastrophic occurrences from blackouts, brownouts, surges and spikes.


ReServ Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) by Altronix, Brooklyn, N.Y., assures cameras are on and at the ready. The ReServ Series provides uninterrupted regulated power for video surveillance cameras, so a brownout or power outage doesn't compromise security operations. The products available include Altronix ReServ1 for simultaneous power for 12VDC and 24VAC cameras whether or not AC input power is present.


The Alpha Micro Secure 1000, by Alpha Technologies, Burnaby, B.C., provides outdoor-rated uninterruptible power supply or backup power solution that supports loads up to 100W. Protected by an outdoor rated (NEMA 3R) enclosure, the Micro Secure is a small compact design which operates in most severe weather conditions. The product is available with standard wall mounting or optional pole kit. Communications are via the RS-232 port or optional Ethernet SNMP interface which provides local or remote monitoring and control.


Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Warrendale, Pa., added the 300kVA/300kW and 500kVA/500kW to their product offerings for the 9900B Series UPS Systems. With current power ratings of 300kVA/300kW - 750kVA/750kW, the 9900B Series now offers a product lineup that is efficient true and will meet on-line UPS systems demands. The 9900B offers maximum efficiency greater than 96 percent in a package that is 30 percent smaller than conventional UPS.


The digital static transfer switch design on its industrial UPS increases redundancy and reliability and is from Cyberex CyberWave from Thomas & Betts Power Solutions, Memphis, Tenn. CyberWave systems are ruggedized for the most hostile industrial environments and are completely customizable with a range from 10kVA to 112kVA.


As data center managers strive to deliver both efficiency and high availability, Emerson Network Power, Columbus, Ohio, introduced Liebert GXT3, an online UPS that protects IT equipment from power disturbances due to blackouts, brownouts, sags, surges or noise interference. Configurable as a tower or rack-mount model, the compact Liebert GXT3 UPS delivers continuous AC power to connected equipment with no break when transferring to battery.