ECA Today Magazine: The Secret To Specifying A UPS System

We tackle electrical contractors’ main myths about power supplies and explain why specifying a UPS system isn’t as complex as it might seem.

Established in 1901, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) represents the interests of more than 3,000 member organisations involved in the electrotechnical and engineering services.

Its quarterly magazine, ECA Today, offers electricians valuable insight and rounds up the main news and views shaping the industry.

The summer edition offered us the opportunity to tackle some of the main myths that electricians have about uninterruptible power supplies.

Even though a UPS is a key component of many electrical installations, for some contractors they remain something of a misunderstood subject.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that specifying a UPS system is a complex and confusing process. As we explain, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

While there are undoubtedly many different manufacturers and types of UPS, choosing a UPS basically boils down to a couple of key criteria.

Electrical contractors need to establish critical and non-critical loads to work out the power rating for the UPS. So important items such as servers, computers, and telephone systems would often be categorised as “critical”, whereas non-essential applications like desk fans or printers aren’t.

The other main factor is battery autonomy. In practical terms, this is how long the UPS batteries need to last if there’s a problem with the mains.

Inevitably, there are other issues to take into account, for example, the installation environment will have implications on whether a freestanding or rack-mount UPS will be more appropriate.

Get the full lowdown on specifying a UPS power supply in the latest edition of ECA Today magazine