PacB Group // A Better Basic Understanding of Uninterrupted Power Supplies


A Better Basic Understanding of Uninterrupted Power Supplies

The wide, wonderful world of invention, development and research – particularly pertaining to science and technology – is never stagnant, always moving, improving, and evolving. Yesterday’s “brand, spanking new and revolutionary” development is in many instances, already today’s history, old and outdated, and obsolete by tomorrow. Consequently, there are still some people who haven’t kept up with the latest technological advances and their terms but have nevertheless heard of some of them, without necessarily understanding what certain talked-about new inventions are designed to do, or how they have become helpful assets or essential aids to humankind in the modern world.

Commonplace Questions About Uninterrupted Power Supplies

Uninterrupted power supplies, also known by an abbreviated term – UPS, is one such invention, but what is the function of UPS? Can UPS replace or be used in place of a petrol or diesel generator or the grid network to provide electricity in a consistent, continuous, and reliable manner? Let’s have a look.

Differences, Pros, and Cons

These questions are best addressed by a basic explanation of the differences, respective functions, and pros and cons of generators and uninterrupted power supplies.


A generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The generator may be energised by a variety of sources – fossil fuels (such as coal, petrol, diesel, or natural gas), wind energy obtained via wind turbines, hydro-electric energy from rapidly flowing water, or from the sun’s energy, collected by strategically placed solar panels and stored in batteries. The most popular generators in South Africa are fitted with an engine that runs on diesel or petrol; the former being for large, industrial power sets, and the latter mainly for residential use that requires less electrical output.

Heavy-duty generators may be used as backup sources of electricity or on a permanent-use basis, as a sole supply source. For businesses and householders that are too far away to connect viably to the national electricity grid, larger units are usually required, since they may be the only available source of electricity and are expected to run for extended periods.

Large, robust industrial generators are capable of generating electrical power for as long as is required, providing that they have a constant supply of fuel and are serviced and maintained at the intervals specified by the manufacturer. However, there’s one particularly negative aspect attached to an electrical generator supply – the time-lapse or pause between the switch-over from mains to the generator.

Uninterrupted Power Supplies

UPS systems are exactly that – units that provide electricity without interruption. They may be used in conjunction with generator sets, or on a stand-alone basis, depending on the application and the amount of electricity and the expected duration of supply required. The function of uninterrupted power supplies is akin to that of a battery set in which electrical energy is stored, pending future need or use, as in backup systems in the case of electricity outages.

The downside of stand-alone uninterrupted power supplies relates to the amount of electrical charge stored in the battery-like sets, which are charged by the mains while the electricity grid is active and functioning. Although large UPS systems with an extended charge are available, no system which operates like a battery has an unlimited charge. Once a battery or UPS is discharged, it cannot function until it has been recharged – from a mains source. Remember, the more battery backup an uninterrupted power supply unit provides, the more it’ll cost.

Ideal Combination

Combining the two systems presents an ideal solution, because uninterrupted power supplies energy is available immediately, effectively bridging the gap seamlessly between the occurrence of mains electricity outage and activation of the generator. This is particularly important in IT functions, saving computerised data and various other essential functions.

Fortunately, the PacB Group’s Power Solutions division is well-placed to advise you on the best option for your particular application. We also manufacture, supply and install the superior system/s that fulfil all your needs – throughout South Africa and beyond.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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