A Backup Battery Unit, or uninterruptible power supply (UPS), is primarily used to provide a backup power source to important desktop computer hardware components. In most cases, those pieces of hardware include the main computer housing and the monitor, but other devices can be plugged into a UPS for backup power, depending on the size of the UPS.
What Does a Battery Backup Do?
In addition to acting as a backup when the power goes out, most battery backup devices also act as power "conditioners" by ensuring that the electricity flowing to your computer and accessories is free from drops or surges. If a computer isn't receiving a consistent flow of electricity, damage can and often does occur.
While a UPS system isn't required for a complete computer system, including one is always recommended. The need for a reliable electricity supply is often overlooked and not fully realized until damage has occurred.
Battery Backups: Where They Go
The battery backup sits between the utility power (power from the wall outlet) and the parts of the computer. In other words, the computer and accessories plug into the battery backup, and the battery backup plugs into the wall. UPS devices come in many shapes and sizes but are most commonly rectangular and freestanding, intended to sit on the floor near the computer. All battery backups are cumbersome due to the batteries located inside.
One or more batteries inside the UPS provide power to the devices plugged into it when power from the wall outlet is no longer available. The batteries are rechargeable and often replaceable, providing a long-term solution to keeping your computer system running.
Battery Backups: What They Look Like
The front of the battery backup will usually have a power switch to turn the device on and off and will sometimes have one or more additional buttons that perform various functions. Higher-end battery backup units will also often feature LCD screens that show how charged the batteries are, how much power it's using, how many minutes of power are left should power be lost, etc.
The rear of the UPS will feature one or more outlets that provide battery backup. In addition, many battery backup devices will also feature surge protection on additional outlets and sometimes even protection for network connections and phone and cable lines.
Battery backup devices have varying degrees of backup ability. To determine how powerful a UPS you need, first, use the OuterVision Power Supply Calculator to calculate your computer's wattage requirements. Take this number and add it to the wattage requirements for other devices you'll plug into the battery backup. Take this totaled number and check with the UPS manufacturer to find your estimated battery runtime when you lose power from the wall.