Comparison of rotating and online uninterruptible power supplies

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Comparison of rotating and online uninterruptible power supplies

More than ever, modern uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) systems must be extremely reliable and safe. They must provide optimal performance and ens

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More than ever, modern uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) systems must be extremely reliable and safe. They must provide optimal performance and ensure stable and regulated power to consumers. As high-end computing and telecommunications equipment continues to rely on these systems for uninterrupted operation, the uninterruptible power supply industry must continue to improve its designs and provide consumers with the safest and best systems. The two best UPS systems currently being considered are rotating and online systems.
Rotating UPS systems have become very popular in recent years. These are mechanical uninterruptible power supplies that convert kinetic energy into electrical energy to power systems. They can compete with modern online static UPS systems and feature improved efficiency. Manufacturers claim that rotating uninterruptible power supplies even achieve a higher MTBF (mean time between failure) and generate fewer harmonics than online types. Fewer harmonics are a good thing because harmonics can be just as destructive to critical loads as a sudden partial or complete power failure.
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So keeping harmonic levels to a minimum helps protect equipment from hardware failure or data damage. MTBF is one of the standard measures of UPS power reliability, as it refers to the average operating time (in hours) between the system turning on and off due to a fault. Rotating UPS systems are also considered suitable for loads with leading power factors (e.g., high-end servers) because they are excellent for troubleshooting.
However, rotating UPS systems also have their drawbacks. For example, because they are mechanical devices, their installation and maintenance procedures are complex. They also require lubrication, which can be difficult. The devices can be sensitive to operating temperatures, requiring more frequent maintenance. Rotating UPS systems typically have high MTTR (mean time to repair) rates, and it can take days to replace or repair a failed UPS.
However, installation is a difficult task because mechanical equipment often has problems with noise, vibration, and exhaust. Another disadvantage of rotating UPS systems is their unwieldiness. Their sheer size and weight typically require a larger footprint than static online UPS systems, so expanding systems can be problematic.
By comparison, static online UPS systems are typically easy to install and much less expensive than rotating systems. They can be easily configured in parallel and redundant designs when there is a need for greater security and reliability. Although rotating uninterruptible power supplies have an advantage in terms of MTBF and harmonic ratings, online UPSs are trying to keep up by introducing rectifiers and filters into new device designs.
They are also trying to design better systems so they can handle loads with leading power factors. The modularity and flexibility of online uninterruptible power systems are one of their great advantages, as they require little effort to expand. Ripping out and replacing noisy rotating units is almost always a problem. Expanding the static types of online uninterruptible power supplies is also cost-effective.
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