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Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) & Inverters

Power Controls Limited (PCL) is an authorized reseller and service center for two international UPS manufacturers namely Riello UPS of Italy and Legrand of France. PCL offers the complete range of UPS from the two manufacturers. PCL positions Riello UPS especially from 100kVA and above, for industrial, medical, and other mission critical sites while the Legrand brand 100kVA and below for IT and other mission critical sites that do not require a very rugged UPS system.

PCL also offers power backup inverter systems from Victron of The Netherlands and Outback of the USA. It is important to note that due to their simplicity and flexibility, these inverter solutions can also be used to implement Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and instead of using utility power utilize green energy from the sun.

Electrical power received from utility companies such as Kenya Power is not “clean”: Power surges, sags, blackouts and other power quality problems are some of the problems that occur in utility power. These problems are capable of damaging valuable electronic equipment such as IT systems, medical equipment and other mission critical equipment. In addition, power outages can interrupt power supply to industrial processes leading to reduced production or damaged material.

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is an electronic device that provides short term emergency power supply when the regular input power fails thereby preventing systems going off.  UPS offers temporary power protection for just enough time for an alternative standby power source to start and pick up the load or to allow a graceful shutdown of protected systems. UPS also helps in “cleaning” power to remove power quality problems such as power surges, sags, harmonics, and frequency problems.

A Power inverter, more precisely, an inverter-charger, is a simplified form of a UPS. Just like a UPS, it has an inverter and a battery charger. On the downside it lacks the complex metering and instrumentation systems that a UPS has. On the plus side, due to its simplicity, the inverter’s charger can be oversized to enable it to charge a large bank of batteries thereby providing extended backup time.

There are three types of UPS technologies. These are classified based on the level of protection they can offer. The very basic and cheapest UPS type is the standby UPS. These UPS systems are also known as voltage frequency dependent (VFD). This technology is normally implemented in smaller UPS from 300VA to 1kVA. The next type is a line-interactive UPS. These systems are also called voltage independent (VI). They offer medium level protection and come at medium cost. This technology is implemented in UPS ranging in size from 1kVA to 10kVA. The last type is called online or double conversion UPS type. These are also known as voltage and frequency independent (VFI). Online UPS offer the highest level of protection, are the most expensive and are normally implemented in UPS size ranging from 10kVA up to 1000kVA.

It is worth noting that smaller UPS, up to 10kVA are normally single phase, that is to say that power is supplied to the UPS through only one live wire. On the contrary, UPS bigger than 10kVA are normally three-phase meaning they are supplied with three live wires.

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