A power outage is an unavoidable occurrence that may happen without warning. Being caught up in such a situation while engaged in something important is inconvenient. Fortunately, certain products in the market can help in these situations like the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and the PPS (Portable Power Station) to make up for the power loss. Both devices offer various features during outages and outdoor activities. In this article, we will go through the key details you need to know before purchasing either of them.
What is a UPS and How Does It Work?
First, let us identify an uninterruptible power supply, also known as UPS. UPS is a device that can instantaneously supply power to your equipment during a power outage. It has three systems, and they are classified as standby UPS system, line-interactive UPS system, and double-conversion UPS system.
This system has batteries that can store energy. When the main supply becomes unavailable, the UPS continuously charges these batteries ensuring that they are reliable when a sudden power outage occurs. During this situation, the UPS instantaneously switches to battery power allowing the connected devices to continue operating.
With its varied sizes and features, the UPS can provide power over a certain time. Its primary purpose is to offer a window of time for activating generators and enabling a safe shutdown of computers and other connected devices.
Safeguarding your equipment and valuable data, it serves as a protective measure against potential damage resulting from power outages. For your UPS to work properly and safely, it must be capable enough to support the connected devices.
Capacity Range of UPS Systems
In terms of capacity, UPS systems can be rated in volt-amperes (VA) with a range of 300 VA to 5,000 kVA. To determine the capacity range, you would need to calculate the load by identifying the wattage of each piece of equipment that it needs to support. The rule of thumb is to multiply the total load x 1.2 for the proper VA rating. Note that the larger the equipment, the larger the capacity required.
The UPS is recommended to charge for at least 8 hours by simply plugging it into the wall socket. Overcharging may lead to damage that could shorten the lifespan of the UPS.
Some sources state that most types of UPS are for indoor use only. It must be located in an area where there is no direct sunlight. Furthermore, it should be away from places that have excessive heat and moisture. Some UPS are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature. Therefore, a proper enclosure is necessary.
Applications of UPS in Critical Situations
UPS is not only good for home offices and industrial setups. UPS also plays a crucial role in hospitals or medical facilities. They serve as the backup power to critical medical equipment connected to them. Not only does it protect the equipment from electrical damage, but it also prevents life-threatening situations that may happen during power outages.
What is Portable Power Station?
Portable power stations are a reliable source of off-grid power. It comes with a rechargeable battery that can be charged through solar panels. Portable power stations cater to AC outlets and car charging ports which makes it very convenient to use. It is similar to power banks, but portable power stations have a larger capacity.
Portable power stations are useful in various indoor and outdoor activities such as camping and can serve as a backup power source at home during outages. They are important in emergencies such as calamities, as they can provide power for an extended period, sometimes lasting for weeks. Moreover, it is useful in work situations where electricity is unavailable and needs equipment to power up such as in a construction site.
Design Overview of a Portable Power Station
There is a portable power station that is available in the market - Growatt INFINITY 1300. It has an impressive 1382Wh capacity and 1800W output. It is a reliable and powerful energy storage solution designed for any of your applications. It offers fast recharging that is capable of charging from 0% to 80% within an hour. It is very versatile as it comes with up to 14 diverse outlets, accommodating devices simultaneously. This system guarantees 24/7 backup power with EPS function, providing a transition(less than 20ms) during blackouts. Control and monitor your power usage with ease through the user-friendly and convenient mobile app.
Portable Power Stations are lightweight making it easier for users to transport the device. They come with built-in carrying handles and wheels for a compact design.
A Comparison between UPS and Portable Power Station: Which One Should You Choose?
At first look, UPS and PPS seem to be the same machine but they’re not. Both devices have batteries that provide electricity when off-grid, but they have significant differences.
In terms of functionality, UPS focuses on providing instant backup power for critical electronic devices such as personal computers and medical equipment. It ensures continuous operation until electricity becomes available. It also gives the user enough time to shut down the device properly to avoid damage to the system and the data in it. On the other hand, portable power stations give more functions. It is very useful in outdoor activities, during emergencies, as well as in remote areas where a power supply is not available.
The power capacity of UPS is measured in VA or Watts and typically, it is applicable for short-term power backup only while portable power stations can provide power for a long period to different applications; it is measured in watt-hours or kilowatt-hours.
Mostly, models of portable power station can recharge their batteries through solar panels, which makes them well-suited for outdoor activities or locations where grid power is unavailable. This is something that the UPS cannot do since it relies upon power from the grid.
Advantages and Disadvantages of UPS
The UPS offers instant power for data protection in computers and servers, with automatic switching functionality ensuring seamless transitions to battery power during interruptions. Its silent operation makes it suitable for quiet environments like offices and small residential spaces, while regulating and distributing power ensures stable and consistent delivery, enhancing device performance and reliability. However, UPS systems have limited capacity for heavy appliances and require regular maintenance, including costly and time-consuming battery replacements.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Portable Power Station
A PPS offers great versatility for camping, and outdoor activities, and emergency backup power, thanks to its larger capacity that can be used over an extended period. With both AC and DC power options, it can support multiple devices and appliances while being environmentally friendly by utilizing renewable energy. However, its downside lies in the limited runtime during off-grid scenarios, as it cannot match traditional power sources, and the charging time may be prolonged, especially when relying on renewable sources.
Choosing between UPS and Portable Power Station
Both UPS and PPS serve different purposes when it comes to mobility and portability. UPS, typically, should be fixed in one area since this does not apply to frequent mobility. This must be placed in a room where the temperature is monitored. On the other hand, PPS units are explicitly designed for portability, being compact, lightweight, and equipped with handles or wheels for easy transportation. It is designed for outdoor activities such as camping, and even in remote locations where electricity is inaccessible.
In general, the difference between the two devices is their role. A UPS serves as a safeguard against power outages while the PPS functions as a backup power source for equipment when electricity is unavailable. Both have batteries that can supply AC power, however for the PPS to function as a UPS requires additional features. PPS has a bigger battery capacity that could last for longer periods while the UPS only lasts on a short-term basis. The choice between the two would always depend on your application.
If you are someone who likes outdoor activities, then you should choose PPS because of its features suited for the outdoors. If you live in an area where power outages commonly occur, PPS can provide dependable power to essential appliances such as televisions or refrigerators, enabling their continued operation even when off-grid. Moreover, PPS typically offers multiple output ports, allowing you to power multiple devices simultaneously. If you also prioritize environmental sustainability, opting for a portable power station is highly recommended.
Conversely, a UPS is an essential backup power to personal electronic devices like computers, laptops, or routers. The UPS ensures uninterrupted usage of these devices, allowing you to stay connected for a little while and providing you enough time to save your unfinished work. Thus, protecting important files and preventing data loss or corruption.
The Growatt INFINITY 1300 is a portable power station that has a EPS feature. It has a <20ms switchover time which is an excellent choice for delivering uninterrupted power in various settings, including home and workplace. Its capacity of 1382Wh ensures an extended period of operation for your devices during outages. The premium materials ensure safe use in any environment.
Note: The EPS function of Growatt portable power series supports switching within 20ms. In order to avoid your losses, please test with your loads before using this function.
UPS and PPS cater to the specific needs and preferences of the user. When choosing between the two, you must consider your power requirements, the need for device protection, and the importance of portability to make an informed decision between a UPS and a Portable Power Station. Evaluating all the factors that each device has will ensure you choose the right solution that aligns with your specific needs and priorities. You may review the manual guide that comes with the device or simply ask the advice of an expert.