The importance of our network of computers and other equipment cannot be underestimated. But with an increasingly fragile electrical grid, coupled with the increasing power consumption of IT equipment, the stability and reliability of this network are under constant threat. Therefore, the value of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) is increasing for industrial applications, businesses, and even our homes. Visit Also: UPS Systems for Industry
However, if you are new to the investor world and have spent some time researching them to determine which products are best suited to your needs, you may have a few questions, it is the least we can do. One of those questions that can make your head scratch is the difference between watts and VA (volt-amps) and how they should affect your purchasing decisions. This confusion ends here.
Here, we explain how watts and VA interact with each other and with the system of your choice to provide the reliable, uninterruptible power supply you need. Keep reading to know more.
There is a lot of technical jargon in this section for starters, but don't worry. We will do our best to explain everything clearly so that you can understand better regardless of your electrical and physical engineering background.
First of all, you need to know that all electronic devices have maximum power and a maximum VA rating. A UPS is no different.
Watts are the "real power" consumed by devices in the circuit, while volt-amps are the "apparent power." VA is calculated by multiplying the voltage applied to the equipment by the current drawn by the equipment itself. If this isn't entirely clear to you, you can think of horsepower as the amount of power you need to get from a utility company to run your equipment and VA as the amount your wiring needs to handle.
When looking for a UPS system, make sure that the combined wattage and VA of all connected equipment (called "load") never exceed the wattage and VA of the UPS system you choose.
A closer look at watts versus volt-amps
For inverters, wattages and VA ratings may differ considerably, but the most important thing to remember is that the VA rating is always equal to or greater than the rating. The watts / VA ratio is called the "power factor" and is expressed as a percentage or number (e.g. 0.9 would be 90%). This "power factor" is essential to correctly size your UPS system. And because?
How Watts, VA, and Power Factor should be used
Since UPS systems are generally rated in kW (kilowatts) or kVA (kilovolt-amps), the power factor is extremely important in determining the correct size in kilowatts. In general, the equation to determine the correct power rating for your system is:
Total Watts = Volts * Amps * Power Factor.
In a perfect world, a 1 kVA inverter is rated at 1000 volt-amps and therefore 1000 watts. However, no UPS system is 100% efficient, which is why the power factor is so important. Some power capacity will always be lost in the transformers or system circuits, and this fact must always be taken into account.
Sizing your inverter
Like your inverter, all equipment in your facility or home has a maximum wattage, which you can usually find on the label or in your owner's manual. To start sizing your inverter, you need to determine the devices you want to connect and add their total wattage. You can then use this number to determine the maximum load capacity your UPS can provide.
Even if your instincts tell you to buy the inverter that meets your needs, our experts generally recommend that it provide 20% more load capacity. Not only will you take into account what your system needs to handle under peak conditions, but you can also expect this to have a positive impact on life and performance.
What about UPS uptime?
Understanding the impact of watts, VA, and power ratings on your inverter needs is only half the equation. You also need to determine what kind of battery life your computer needs. The operating time of your UPS system will depend on the type of battery or power source you use.
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