Make Your Computer UPS Last for Hours Instead of Minutes. Ups power bank

UPS for Banks, Financial Institutions Insurance Providers

Uninterruptible power supplies help maintain customer access to online and mobile banking, keep trading apparatus up and running, and ensure insurance and other personal information is protected and accessible.

UPS for Banks, Financial Institutions Insurance Providers

Uninterruptible power supplies help maintain customer access to online and mobile banking, keep trading apparatus up and running, and ensure insurance and other personal information is protected and accessible.

UPS for Financial Service Operations Help Avoid Costly Downtime During Outages

The financial sector plays an impactful role in the economic stability of our society. Massive volumes of transactions need to be processed securely, accurately, and consistently every day.

An interruption of even a mere fraction of a second in utility power can cause thousands of dropped financial transactions and potential data loss. Financial institutions require highly resilient and reliable uninterruptible power supplies to maintain uptime in an emergency.

Whether a storm has knocked out regional power or a single branch is impacted, UPS can cover the transition to a standby generator and protect equipment from surges.

Backup Power for Banks other Financial Institutions Protects Processes And Critical Equipment

Customers depend on financial institutions to pay bills, deposit funds on time and provide reliable access to cash, accounts and other investments.

Online mobile bill pay has only increased the demand for 24/7 access and more reliable backup power. With UPS to smooth over transitions to extended backup power during outages, you can reliably close out daily processing or keep operating during a state of emergency. UPS for financial services and insurance companies not only back up data centers to retain access to records and critical processing, but they can also be leveraged to support point-of-use computers, server room computers, ATMs and other onsite equipment in the case of an outage.

Retain access to customer records more with UPS for insurance companies

In addition to protecting access to financial data, UPS systems can also be leveraged to cover the switch to backup power for insurance servers.

A UPS allows insurance providers to protect critical equipment, maintain access to customer files and process bills and payments in the face of an outage. UPS keep online and phone systems up as well, improving customer access and satisfaction. With reliable backup power, insurance providers can continue to serve their customer base when needed most.

Introduction: Make Your Computer UPS Last for Hours Instead of Minutes

For what would appear common sense to me, but perhaps not to all, I have all of my computers on UPS battery backups. After getting frustrated when the power flickered one day, I immediately went out and purchased a UPS. Well, shortly after, the power went out for longer than the battery could keep my computer afloat. I needed a better solution!

I wanted my UPS to be able to last for at least 60 minutes in a power outage. I needed more power! My solution: Car batteries.

Materials: UPS that is rated at least double what you plan to draw (see step 8 to understand why). Wire (12 awg or larger; two different colors) Solder Heat shrink tubing Car battery with terminals on the top Adapters to go from the car battery terminals to threaded rod. Wing nuts the same size as this threaded rod Wire crimp terminals that will fit over the threaded rod. Plastic case for your car battery Inline Fuse holder (radio shack) 30 amp fuse for holder (any auto store)

Tools: Screwdrivers Wire cutters Wire strippers Soldering iron Scissors (optional) heat gun or alternative Drill Drill bits

Step 1: Evaluate Your Needs

I was trying to power two computers (desktop and file server), and two flat panel monitors. My total power consumption was roughly 500 watts peak. (yikes!) Currently I was running on two 300 watt UPS’s (NOTE: VA is not equal to WATTS. Find the WATT rating) with one computer and one monitor on each. Even though the two monitors were hooked up to the same computer, I needed to distribute my power load more evenly to get longer battery life out of my petty UPS’s.

make, your, computer, last, hours

CAUTION:I discovered the hard way after nearly starting a fire and destroying a UPS that you need one that is rated at at least twice the wattage you are consuming. They can’t handle being run for longer than a few minutes at this rating, but the batteries die before it’s a problem normally.

So I now knew I needed 500 watts, and I wanted 60 minutes of power. that means:P / V = I500 watts / 120 volts = 4.16 ampere hours (at 120 volts)

UPS batteries are usually 12 volts, but some are wired with two batteries in series. Check yours out first to make sure you won’t need two car batteries.

So, assuming 12 volts, that means that, after adjusting for the voltage differences, I need a battery with at least 41.6 ampere hours. (yeah, I know there’s inefficiencies in the UPS, but lets keep math easy)

Step 2: Remove Battery From UPS

Unplug the UPS from the wall, and unplug all devices from it.Remove any screws you fine, and open up the case.If you are as lucky as I was, the battery will have terminals that you can slide off. If not, just cut the wires as close to the battery as you can.Once you have removed the battery, you will find something like you see in the picture

NOTE: Pay attention to polarity on the battery, and which wire went to when polarity.

Step 3: Extend Wires on UPS

The wires that are in a UPS are typically not long enough to reach much past where the battery sits. We will need to extend them to reach our car battery.

Cut off the the wire terminals (if any) on the wires from the UPS.Strip at least 3/8 of an inch of the wire on the UPSStrip at least 3/8 of an inch of the wire we are extending with.I used a metal crimp to help me get a great connection, but this is optional.Solder the wires together. This solder joint needs to be able to handle high current. We will be drawing lots of power through here and if we have a voltage drop, the UPS won’t last as long.After making sure the joint is well soldered, place some heat shrink over it, and seal it up good.

Note: Use colors that make sense to you, and will allow you to remember the polarity

Step 4: Drill Hole for Wires

Next we need to make a place for the wires to leave the UPS and go to the car battery.I drilled a hole. Use whatever size will fit both of your wires.Add a strain relief so you can’t pull on the joints you made, or on the PC board in the unit. I simply tied a knot in each of the wires.Next pull the wires through the hole, and carefully put the unit back together.

Note: Remember the polarity!

Step 5: Prepare Inline Fuse Holder

Since this is high current, coming from an extremely high current source (car battery), we need a fuse. and you want it as close to the battery as possible. First, strip the wire on the fuse holder.Place heat shrink on the wire.Take your crimp wire terminal that is sized for the thread on your battery posts, or adapter and crimp it to the wire. Then solder. Nothing is complete until it’s soldered. Why solder? It conducts electricity better. The joint won’t get hot, and you will have a less drastic voltage drop.Next shrink the tubing.

On the other side of the fuse holder, strip the wire, place the heat shrink on, strip the hot wire you’ve recently added to the UPS and solder together. Once completed shrink the tubing.

Step 6: Prepare the Remaining Wire

Next, using the same strategy as connecting to the inline fuse holder, connect the Crimp terminal to the end of your ground wire, Solder, and heat shrink.

Remember: Put the heat shrink tubing on before you put the end on.

When you done you should have something like:

Step 7: Attach to Battery, and Test

Next, attach your battery terminals to the battery, and then your wires to the terminals.Insert a fuse in the fuse holder.And turn on your UPS.It will take a long time to charge the battery, but it will also last for a long time in a power outage. Under this setup mine lasted for around 1.5 hours.

Be sure to put the battery in a plastic case with a lid, as, if something were to go wrong on the battery you would want to contain the acid as much as possible. Also, this will prevent you from dropping something and shorting out the battery.

Step 8: A Word of Caution

I learned this the hard way. it cost me a UPS, and nearly a fire.

The transformer in these UPS’s are cheap. They are not designed to be run at 100% capacity for extended periods of time (such as what you will be capable of using this size battery) When I ran my UPS’s at 300 watts for more than 30 minutes, the transformer melted through the case. When I pulled out my infrared thermometer it read nearly 400 degrees F!!

I had to redesign my system. I chose two UPS’s that were rated at 600 watts each, but used 24 volts (2 twelve volt batteries in series). Under my new setup, I have over four hours of backup capacity as I have two car batteries.

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Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Would a Smart battery charger auto or marine battery dc/ac inverter function as a UPS?

A UPS monitors the AC voltage input and switches the output between directly connected to mains (AC) and connected to the output of the inverter. A good UPS is also able to step up a low voltage (so given 100v mains, your computer still sees 120v without going on battery). The actual charge circuit is only intended to charge the battery when mains is powered. the charge circuit does not provide enough power to both charge the battery and run the inverter.

A small battery charger (12v 2a) can only provide 24w. Even if your inverter is 100% efficient (it’s not), your load would be limited to 24w in that case. A larger battery charger (6a) is still limited to 72w.

You would want some type of way to feed wall power to your stuff until the power goes out as many inverters output crap 60HZ that is absolutely horrible for your electronics. It would make no sense to convert 120vAC down to 12vDC, then back up to 120vAC, as this wastes a tremendous amount of energy. I would recommend 3 2-way relays (The kind that has a common and a normally open and closed.) and have them switch on the Inverter and connect it to the output and isolate the inverter from mains.

Yes, that’s essentially what a UPS is, except deep cycle batteries would be better.

Hi all, I know this post is very old but I will add some analysis and advises.From my understanding you fused to UPS able to charge 7A Battery to be able to charge a bigger battery, this case a 40-50A Battery. I hope you explained that in your able from the start, and also provide a schematic since it is a electric project, and it is always easier to have a schematic.1. Deep cycle battery or marine battery is used here, Smart move, dont was your time with car battery, because even if you see a car battery rated 70A or more, it doesnt mean those kind of battery are made to produce 70A during a long period of time, not everybody understand this!! They are rated 70A or high, to be able to give a proper kick to start the engine, that all, after all that the car is running on gas, not on voltage either on Amps. I had to point this because some think because I got a high rated car battery so I may use it! You may be you should first know what kind of car battery it is!!2. if you want do this type of project, with only 2 backup UPS 7A, do not go with to high rated battery!! 50A max!! Why, because the 2 UPS (2 in the case) are gona struggle constantly to be able to provide this big amount of current asked for such high rated battery (50A in our situation), to be able to fully charge it!! Even the autor say that it take a lot of time to charge it completly. Perso for me time is not an issue, I prefere slow and safe charging.Plus 3- Dont attempt this project with Backup UPS that autoShunt down after some time, why?? because those Backup UPS are made just to give you anough time to save your work, and to shutdown your PC when there is a Power Outage!! Even if you increase battery capacity, you wont be able to keep the UPS running because the running time is set by the chip inside the UPS! Not necessarly batt the battery capacity. 4. it is a good idea to add a PC fan to cool the transformers, cause they gona get pretty hot!! not necessarly running them at 12v, even 5v or 9v is a good start, and giving an acceptable noise, or drill some addtionnal cooling hole into the UPS case, for additional passive cooling.

Thx for everybody that contributed to this ible, there are a lot to leaning about UPS and battery from the Комментарии и мнения владельцев

It’s a 40Ah battery, not a 40A battery. Huge difference between Ah (amp-hours) and A (amps). You don’t need a 40A fuse for a 40Ah battery. You need a fuse that matches the max amps you’re going to pull at 12v (or rather, 24v in his case). The 40Ah is the capacity he needed for 60minute runtime. I think he sized the fuse for 300w (half of 600w) for each of the UPSs at 24v. That should be 12.5A by my math, so 7 does seem low, but not an order of magnitude.

And yes, the charger circuit in the UPS is going to charge this really slowly, who cares? If your power goes out frequently for more than an hour in the same day, this probably isn’t a good solution; look into a natural gas generator maybe.

I really like your cooling fan idea. And you might be able to add it to the relay that powers the inverter so that the fan isn’t running if the UPS is running from mains.

Did your UPS automatically adjust to the extra amp hours with the extra batteries? Basically what I’m asking for example I have a load going and the power goes out. The UPS says it has 18 minutes of power supply left until shutdown. If I were to add 4 extra 12v sealed batteries (the ones that are in the UPS) so it will have a total of 6 batteries. When the power goes out will it display the correct time left with the extra batteries? Example: With the same load as the previous example. Will it now read 55 minutes of power supply left until shutdown? Basically will UPS display the correct amount of time remaining even with the extra batteries? Thank you in advance for answering my questionsJ

Do not use Car Battery used for starting the car, it has a low recharge cycle opt for a Deep Cycle battery. They are meant for a constant load where a car battery is used to supply a High amperage for starting the engine.

Speaking from experience here, what you have done may very well destroy the charging circuit of the UPS. The extra load of an exhausted car battery (obviously after hours of use) could cause the Charger to fail. I too thought I would be clever and try this. Lets just say, I now have a brand new, larger backup supply designed to take their additional battery packs.

I’m not suggesting that no-one gives this a go, just that those doing so should be prepared for this failure.

I have a 430W UPS with a dead battery. I want to power a 55 LED TV during load shedding. I think that 430W is roughly 4 times as much wattage as I need, probably closer to 5 times. I also believe I need minimum a 6ah battery to cover 4 hours, in the best case scenario (no losses). I plan on making a box with an intake and exhaust fan for cooling, and will position the components optimally for cooling purposes.

Is an 18ah battery big enough to power a 55 LED TV for 2.5 hours, without damaging the batteries?

Will my UPS be able to charge a 12v 18ah battery? Even if it takes 20 hours?

Your 430watt UPS is theoretically capable of powering your TV since the TV is probably less than 100Watt. Fairly similar to an office PC monitor. Mid upper range gaming PCs pull just over 200Watt under load. based on my Core i7, 32GB RAM, 7x 3TB HDDs, GTX2060 Super. it pulls around 212Watt playing 2021/2022 games at 4K. Excluding the monitor.

An 18Ah battery is probably not going to give you much of a lifespan unfortunately. Your UPS is probably equipped with a 9Ah (or maybe 7Ah) battery as standard, so an 18Ah is only double the capacity/ runtime.

UPS internal inverters are sadly rather inefficient and waste a lot of energy compared to dedicated inverters, the reason being that a UPS is designed to run for 15 to 20 minutes for a computer user to save their work and shut down, or for the generator to kick in and power the building.

The UPS would be able to charge an 18Ah battery, time would be the limiting factor mostly since chargers don’t have a high output (you’ve probably seen that they have fairly thin wires).

For a load shedding TV power solution you’d be best off getting a dedicated inverter, e.g. a 650watt camping/caravaning inverter and a car battery/ or a deep cycle battery of say 65Ah or a pair of batteries if your inverter of choice is 24V instead of 12V. Though I suggest a camping unit because many of them are 12V. And get a nice automotive charger like an Optimate.

Asking at the camping shops will get you a lot of information for free based on their experiences so far battery life and so on are concerned.

Also, going with a big’ish battery is better, the less you draw from it, the longer the theoretical life span of the battery will be.

The moment you start using UPS as a solution for loadshedding you’ll start to see how quickly those little 9Ah batteries go vrot. Running them flat twice a day for a week or two will already start having a negative impact on how long they can deliver.

So yeah, rather buy a car battery for a grand and a half than spend R450 on an 18Ah that’s going to go bad in a month or two and need to be replaced. They aren’t covered by warranties for anything other than manufacturing defects.

Alternatively you can go with a real inverter /- 5kVA and a Lithium Iron-Phosphate battery or two. That sort of setup is in the region of R50K, plus another /- R18K for 4x 650watt solar panels. That would get a smartly configured home almost totally off grid. You’d literally just power your geyser now and then from mains.

With the price of electricity in South africa, spending 40 grand on just panels and an inverter will break even after maybe 4 years. I paid around R16 000p/a for electricity before the most recent price increase.

TBH I don’t actually know what I’m paying right now for electricity because I haven’t received an invoice for more than 18 months and my Tshwane metro online account is inaccessible.

I just go to Pick ‘n Pay and drop 3 grand every month. Should be okay since I switched to a gas stove/oven end of last year and every light is now LED. so far so good, they haven’t cut off my power yet.

Flash forward a few years.

I live in South Africa, we have power problems because there is only 1 parastatal that has the electrical supply monopoly in South Africa.

Due to gross mismanagement and squandering of taxpayers funds, maintenance on power generation, power distribution etc. has been neglected nationwide.

The unfortunate upshot of this is that we regularly have scheduled power outages to divert power to other areas when repairs need to be affected. Google South Africa Load Shedding if you need more info or a chuckle.

I’ve been meaning to buy an expandable UPS for ages now but haven’t ever gotten around to it, we’ve kind of just gotten used to living with the scheduled power outages.

The UPS I was looking at was the APC Smart RT2000.- it’s a 2kva 48volt sinewave unit with a jack on the back to daisy chain in more 48volt battery banks.The unit features an RS232 like interface for programming, but not quite RS232.

The APC banks are 48v x2 packs per bank (the UPS is 48v x1 battery pack) and according to APC the charge circuit can handle 10 banks inside of 12 hours. the UPS being 9Ah and the banks being 18Ah or the capacity to charge 189 amps worth of batteries (and 22U of rackspace) in 12 hours as the recommended maximum, but as they also state, there is no theoretical limit on battery banks as long as sufficient time is given to charge them.

Not a shabby little UPS if you are looking for a stretchable unit that doesn’t need to run a server farm, just a few hundred watt.

It is however now discontinued, and has been replaced with an RT2200 or some such. Not a problem for me since a client hospital recently threw out a perfectly good RT2000 that was running the PC on a Philips screening table, and paid us to replace it with a 3kVA unit, and I was requested to please dispose of the faulty unit because they didn’t want it any more.

As I’d suspected one of the individual batteries had failed, it’s neighbour was also quite sick and the other 2 were still pretty decent

I’ve since cleaned and serviced the unit and replaced all 4 batteries with 4x new 9Ah Yuasa batteries and it’s working like a charm, gives me 4 hours as is running my home networking gear.

Now to fix the front grille that’s been kicked to hell, and shop around for another 48v single deep cycle battery or some big 12’s. something with a similar charge profile.

TL;DR Don’t be afraid to adopt a dead UPS, it’s quite possibly just the batteries that need replacement, and the expandable units offer a lot more flexibility provided you access their software and tell them what their battery monitor is looking at.

The Best CPAP Battery and Power Backup Solutions in 2023 (For Camping, Flying, or Power Outages)

Power outages are an inevitable part of life. If you don’t have a reliable battery backup, you may be faced with sleeping without your CPAP machine, and skipping even one night of CPAP treatment can put your health at risk and impact your overall CPAP compliance.

Fortunately, CPAP battery backups offer peace of mind with uninterrupted power so you can continue enjoying the benefits of treating your sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Whether you’re planning your next camping or RV trip, flying on an airplane, or preparing for mother nature, we’re here to help guide you to the best CPAP battery for you and your machine. We’ll teach you what to look for when shopping for your ideal CPAP battery, including:

Why is a CPAP Battery Backup Important?

Even if you’re not into hiking, camping, or going off the grid, it is still recommended to have a backup CPAP battery. Some CPAP batteries can be used as a backup that will kick in whenever there’s a sudden loss of power—ideal if you notice a storm in the forecast. In fact, the battery backup feature is why many people purchase additional or alternative batteries in the first place because you shouldn’t have to be without your therapy.

Can I Use a CPAP Battery Like a UPS Backup?

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is able to automatically detect a power outage and switch to battery power without any manual intervention. Some CPAP batteries do not function as a UPS backup, and will require you to disconnect your machine from the wall outlet and switch it to battery power in the event of a power outage.

Fortunately, for those worried about power outages, every battery on this list will function as a UPS except for the Zopec Voyage.

What’s the Best CPAP Battery Backup for Power Outages?

The Portable Outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply is ideal for a CPAP battery backup. If power is lost, it will automatically kick in, and your therapy won’t miss a beat. Thanks to its 110V AC outlet, you won’t need to worry about any adapters or converters to get your CPAP machine set up, either! At a 159 Wh capacity, the Portable Outlet UPS Battery is also the largest capacity approved for air travel by the FAA and TSA, making it great for weekend getaways, too.

If you’re not concerned with travel and are looking for a robust battery to use at home, we recommend looking into our range of Zopec Explore batteries listed below. All of the Zopec Explore batteries (but NOT the Zopec Voyage) operate as automatic backup batteries and will take over as soon as the power goes out. They all feature at least 1 AC outlet that’s universally compatible with any CPAP machine as well as most small appliances, TVs, game consoles, and more. Explore batteries can also be linked infinitely in a series to meet your power needs.

Types of CPAP Batteries

When it comes to powering your CPAP machine off-grid, there are three main options: deep cycle batteries (commonly found on boats, golf carts, and mobility scooters), lithium-ion batteries (found in most modern electronics), and a relatively newer technology called Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries.

  • Deep cycle batteries are typically found in auto part stores, are much heavier than lithium-ion batteries, and require special equipment to recharge. As a general rule of thumb with deep cycle batteries, more weight = more power.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are the most common CPAP batteries available today and are designed to provide a decent runtime—some can even power a CPAP machine for multiple full nights of therapy! They also typically charge quickly, reaching full power in four to six hours.
  • Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries like the EXP PRO EXP48 and EXP96 batteries are very similar to lithium-ion batteries but use different internal chemistry to increase durability and longevity. Where lithium-ion batteries can only operate between 32° F and 104° F, LiFePO4 batteries can operate between.4° F and 132° F. Where lithium-ion batteries can only be recharged about 500 times before a new battery is needed, LiFePO4 batteries boast a lifecycle of 5,000 recharges. To top it off, LiFePO4 batteries are less prone to thermal runaway, making them a safer and more reliable bet for home use.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the three different types of CPAP batteries:

Deep Cycle:

  • Limited Portability
  • Setup is Complicated/Involved
  • Great for RV Camping
  • Longer Battery Life

In order to connect to the deep cycle batteries, you can use an inverter. You’ll use alligator clips to connect to the positive and negative terminals, and then plug in your machine like you normally would.

If you’re looking for a light and simple option for a battery backup, we recommend a lithium-ion battery.


  • Great Portability
  • Use In-Flight
  • Typically Plug-and-Play
  • Quick Charge
  • Great for Flying

In addition to this, you should also consider whether you’re interested in a battery solely for travel, a backup battery to protect you during power outages, or something that can do both.

Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4):

  • Better Thermal Performance
  • Longer Overall Lifecycle
  • Lower Environmental Impact

Simply put, LiFePO4 batteries are an evolution of lithium-ion batteries that are better suited to long, stable discharges, which makes them great for CPAP. They also handle temperature fluctuations better and have longer overall lifecycles. They are a bit heavier than lithium-ion batteries and may take a bit longer to charge, but your investment will go much farther with LiFePO4 batteries because they are rated for 10 times as many recharge cycles as lithium-ion batteries.

CPAP Machine Battery Compatibility

CPAP MachineCompatible CPAP Batteries
ResMed AirSense 11 Portable Outlet UPS BatteryEXP96 Pro Lithium Ion Battery Bank (With AS11 DC Adapter)EXP48 Pro Lithium Ion Battery Bank (With AS11 DC Adapter) BPS Universal Freedom V2 Travel CPAP BatteryZopec VoyageZopec Explore Portable Series
3B Medical Luna II Medistrom Pilot-24 LitePortable Outlet UPS BatteryZopec VoyageZopec Explore Portable Series
ResMed AirMini Medistrom Pilot-24 LitePortable Outlet UPS BatteryEXP96 Pro Lithium Ion Battery BankEXP48 Pro Lithium Ion Battery Bank BPS Universal Freedom V2 Travel CPAP BatteryZopec VoyageResMed Power Station II Battery KitZopec Explore Portable Series
ResMed AirSense 10 Medistrom Pilot-24 LitePortable Outlet UPS BatteryEXP96 Pro Lithium Ion Battery BankEXP48 Pro Lithium Ion Battery BankBPS Universal Freedom V2 Travel CPAP BatteryZopec VoyageResMed Power Station II Battery KitZopec Explore Portable Series
HDM Z2 Portable Outlet UPS BatteryEXP96 Pro Lithium Ion Battery BankEXP48 Pro Lithium Ion Battery BankBPS Freedom V2 Travel CPAP Battery Machine Cable KitsZopec VoyageZ2 PowerShell Extended BatteryZopec Explore Portable Series

Best CPAP Batteries in 2023

Medistrom Pilot-24 Lite

The Medistrom Pilot-24 is a top-ranked CPAP battery thanks to its lightweight and compact design. It’s FAA compliant, meaning you can carry it on and use it during your flight.

The Medistrom Pilot-24 gained popularity because of its native compatibility with ResMed’s immensely popular AirSense 10 and AirMini CPAP machines. Not only can the Pilot-24 power your CPAP away from home, it can also act as a CPAP backup battery in the event of a power failure. It even features a USB port for charging mobile devices and a built-in LED flashlight!

Additionally, separate cables can be purchased to make the Pilot-24 compatible with the 3B Medical Luna and Philips Respironics DreamStation Go.

Alternatively, the Medistrom Pilot-12 is also available for 12-volt machines. It is compatible with the following:

  • DeVilbiss IntelliPAP IntelliPAP 2 (With Optional Cables)
  • HDM Z1 and Z2 Series Machines (With Optional Cables)
  • Philips DreamStation (Except DreamStation Go)

Drawbacks: As a lithium-ion battery, the Pilot-24 can’t tolerate excessively hot temperatures for extended periods of time. It cannot operate above 104° F, meaning it may not be the ideal choice for camping or hiking in hotter climates. It also doesn’t come with its own power supply, which means if you want to charge it, you’ll need to use the power supply that came with your compatible machine. A final drawback specific to AirMini owners is that charging the Pilot-24 using the AirMini’s power adapter takes 7-9 hours for a full charge compared to a 2-3 hour charge time with the AirSense 10’s power adapter.

Power Cell Type LG Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 95Wh
Rated Output DC 24V, 3.75A
USB Out 1 Port – 5V, 2.5A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Status Lights
Recharge Time 2-3 Hours 7-9 w/AirMini Power Supply
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant Yes
Weight 1.3 lbs
Dimensions 3.5″ x ‎6.7″ x 0.8″

Zopec Voyage

The Zopec Voyage charges in four hours and can provide a night of battery-powered CPAP therapy for most machines at up to 15 cm H2O with the humidifier and heated tubing turned off.

While it isn’t the longest-lasting CPAP battery, it is very versatile thanks to its standard AC outlet, USB-C port, and two standard USB ports for charging mobile devices. The Voyage can charge or power anything that uses a standard AC power supply, including appliances, game consoles, televisions, and more.

The Zopec Voyage is compatible with all modern CPAP machines and most small appliances thanks to its dedicated AC outlet. The Voyage produces a modified sine wave, so if you’re running an older machine that requires a pure sine wave, it will not run as smoothly on this battery and can cause wear on your machine over time.

Drawbacks: As a lithium-ion battery, the Zopec Voyage can’t tolerate excessively hot temperatures for extended periods of time. It cannot operate above 104° F, meaning it may not be the ideal choice for camping or hiking in hotter climates. It is also the only battery on this list that does not have UPS functionality and cannot be used as a backup battery without manually switching to battery power during an outage.

Power Cell Type Panasonic Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 150Wh
Rated Output AC 110V, 60Hz, 80W
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 2.1A1 USB-C Port
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Status Lights
Recharge Time Under 4 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? No
FAA Compliant Yes
Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 5″ x 7″ x 1.5″

Zopec Explore Portable Series

The main thing to know about this particular entry is that it’s not simply one battery we’re discussing, but two: the Zopec Explore 4000 and Zopec Explore 5700. These are effectively the same battery with different capacities and are part of Zopec’s “Portable Series”.

make, your, computer, last, hours

Both of these batteries function as a backup battery and will automatically switch when the power goes out. They also each have a dedicated AC outlet, a digital display capacity indicator, and two USB outlets for charging mobile devices. These batteries feature FAA-approved capacities of 130 Wh for the Explore 4000 and 160 Wh for the Explore 5700. The Portable Series batteries have a UPS protection rating of Silver, which means they’ll be able to take over your therapy when the power goes out as long as you’re not using a humidifier or heated tube.

All said and done, the Explore 4000 and Explore 5700 are great batteries for camping and hiking trips thanks to their light weight and versatility. Multiple Explore batteries, even those of different capacities, can also be linked in a series to easily scale with your power needs.

The Zopec Explore 4000 and 5700 batteries are compatible with all modern CPAP machines and most small appliances thanks to their dedicated AC outlets! These batteries produce a modified sine wave, so if you’re running an older machine that requires a pure sine wave, it will not run as smoothly on these batteries and can cause wear on your machine over time.

Drawbacks: Since the Explore series uses lithium-ion battery technology, none of them can tolerate excessively hot temperatures for extended periods of time. They also cannot operate above 104° F, so they’re not well-suited for camping or hiking in hotter climates.

FeaturesExplore 4000Explore 5700
Power Cell Type Panasonic Lithium-Ion Panasonic Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 130Wh 160Wh
Rated Output AC 110V, 60Hz, 120W AC 110V, 60Hz, 120W
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 3.1A 2 Ports – 5V, 3.1A
USB-C 1 Port- 5V, 3A 1 Port- 5V, 3A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Digital Display Digital Display
Recharge Time Under 4 Hours Under 6 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes Yes
FAA Compliant Yes Yes
Weight 2 lbs 2.5 lbs
Dimensions 7.5″ x 5.5″ x 1.0″ 8.5” x 6.0” x 1.0”

Zopec Explore Professional Series

Continuing with the theme of Zopec Explore batteries, the next two batteries on our list belong to the more qualified “Professional Series” and feature some upgrades over the Explore 4000 and Explore 5700. In this case, the Explore 5500 and Explore 8000 feature a higher UPS protection rating of Gold, which means they’ll actually be able to take over when the power goes out even if you’re using a humidifier. Keep in mind, though, that humidifier usage significantly increases the battery draw and will reduce the time it can power your CPAP by about 60%.

The Explore 5500 and Explore 8000 both feature two dedicated AC outlets rather than one and relocated digital display, which has been moved from the side of the device to the top for easier viewing. The unique advantage of the Explore 5500 is that it’s FAA-approved for air travel, whereas the Explore 8000’s capacity far exceeds the limit outlined by the FAA.

And just like the Portable Series batteries listed above, multiple Explore batteries can be linked in a series to scale to your power needs, even if they don’t all have the same maximum capacity.

Just like their Portable Series cousins, the Zopec Explore 5500 and Explore 8000 Professional Series batteries are compatible with all modern CPAP machines and most small appliances thanks to their dedicated AC outlets! These batteries produce a modified sine wave, so if you’re running an older machine that requires a pure sine wave, it will not run as smoothly on these batteries and can cause wear on your machine over time.

FeaturesExplore 5500Explore 8000
Power Cell Type Panasonic Lithium-Ion Panasonic Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 160Wh 288Wh
Rated Output AC 110V, 60Hz, 250W AC 110V, 60Hz, 250W
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 3.4A 2 Ports – 5V, 3.4A
USB-C 1 Port- 5V, 3A 1 Port- 5V, 3A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Digital Display Digital Display
Recharge Time Under 6 Hours Under 8 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes Yes
FAA Compliant Yes No
Weight 3 lbs 4 lbs
Dimensions 8.5” x 6.0” x 2.0” 10.0” x 6.0” x 2.0”

Zopec Explore Oxygen

Designed to provide backup power for a CPAP machine and oxygen concentrator simultaneously, the Zopec Explore Oxygen is essentially the biggest, baddest battery in the Explore series. Featuring two dedicated AC outlets, the Explore Oxygen boasts a mind-boggling 576 Wh capacity that can power your machine without a humidifier or heated tubing for up to 8 nights at a setting of 10 cmH2O.

What’s really special about the Explore Oxygen battery, however, is its Platinum-grade UPS protection rating. While other batteries would simply shut off in a power outage if you’re sleeping with your humidifier and heated tubing, the Explore Oxygen will seamlessly switch over and continue delivering therapy all night long. Other batteries can’t do this because of their lower UPS protection ratings, and this is the only Platinum-rated CPAP backup battery on this list.

It should come as no surprise that the Zopec Explore Oxygen is compatible with all modern CPAP machines and most small appliances. However, the Explore Oxygen does produce a modified sine wave, so if you’re running an older machine that requires a pure sine wave, it won’t run as efficiently on this battery and may cause wear on your machine over time.

Drawbacks: Certainly, the most apparent drawback of the Explore Oxygen is its size and weight. It’s not approved for air travel due to its massive capacity and has the same temperature guidelines as the other lithium-ion batteries on this list, though we don’t expect anyone to take this battery camping unless it’s for extended periods of time.

FeaturesExplore Oxygen
Power Cell Type Panasonic Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 576Wh
Rated Output AC 110V, 60Hz, 250W
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 3.4A
USB-C 1 Port- 5V, 3A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Digital Display
Recharge Time Under 12 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant No
Weight 7.5 lbs
Dimensions 10.0” x 6.0” x 3.0”

BPS Universal Freedom V2 Travel CPAP Battery

An upgrade on the original BPS Freedom CPAP Travel Battery, the Universal Freedom V2 Travel CPAP Battery Kit has a 20% longer battery runtime and leaves bulky adapters as a thing of the past. This battery kit includes a universal cable kit that works with nearly every CPAP machine, minus the HDM Z2 Auto. The Freedom V2 works with both 12V and 24V machines.

The Freedom V2 can charge in as little as two hours and allows your CPAP machine to run for one to three nights. It also features a digital display screen to keep track of your charge levels and is FAA and TSA-approved for air travel.

The Universal Freedom V2 is compatible with:

  • AirSense 11
  • 10-Series AirSense, AirCurve, or AirStart Machines
  • DreamStation Series Machines
  • AirMini
  • ResMed S9

Drawbacks: The Universal Freedom V2 does not feature a full-sized AC outlet like other battery packs, such as the Portable Outlet, and has limited compatibility. As a lithium-ion battery, the Freedom V2 can’t tolerate excessively hot temperatures for extended periods of time. It cannot operate above 104° F, meaning it may not be the ideal choice for camping or hiking in hotter climates.

Power Cell Type LG/Samsung Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 99.9Wh
Rated Output DC 12-24V, 8A
USB Out 1 Port – 5V, 2.4A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Digital Screen
Recharge Time 2-3 hrs @ 90W I 3-4 hrs @ 60W I 8-9 hrs @ 20W
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant Yes
Weight 1.7 lbs
Dimensions 4.8″ x 7.5″ x 0.8″

Portable Outlet UPS Battery

If you’re going where there’s no electrical outlet in sight, you’ll appreciate the convenience of the Portable Outlet UPS Battery. The biggest benefit to the Portable Outlet is its versatility. You can power your CPAP machine, cell phone, laptop, or anything that uses a standard AC power supply!

The Portable Outlet can also be set up as an uninterruptible power supply to keep your therapy going during a power outage. It features a USB charge port for powering a mobile device at the same time and a detailed color display.

The Portable Outlet UPS is compatible with all modern CPAP machines and most small appliances thanks to its dedicated AC outlet. This battery produces a modified sine wave, so if you’re running an older machine that requires a pure sine wave, it will not run as smoothly on this battery and can cause wear on your machine over time.

Drawbacks: The only real disadvantage to the Portable Outlet UPS is its weight and size compared to other FAA-approved CPAP batteries. It also only offers one USB port, though it is a 3.0A Rapid charge port which most other batteries do not feature. As a lithium-ion battery, it also can’t tolerate excessively hot temperatures for extended periods of time. It cannot operate above 104° F, meaning it may not be the ideal choice for camping or hiking in hotter climates.

Power Cell Type LG Lithium-Ion
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 159Wh
Rated Output AC 110V, 60Hz, 100W
USB Out 1 Port – 5V, 3.0A
Lifespan 500 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Digital Screen
Recharge Time 4-5 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant Yes
Weight 2.9 lbs
Dimensions 5-3/8” x 9” x 1.5”

EXP96 Pro Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Bank

Easily the longest-lasting CPAP battery on this list, the EXP96 Pro advertises up to six full nights of CPAP use off-grid! While that number comes from testing without heated tubing or humidification, the EXP96 should still deliver at least two full nights of therapy for most machines, even at 14-16 cm H2O.

The EXP96 Pro has two USB ports and one USB Type-C port for keeping up with your mobile devices at the same time as your CPAP therapy. Instead of using lithium-ion cells, the EXP96 Pro utilizes lithium-iron-phosphate technology resulting in a battery with a ten-times-longer lifespan and higher tolerance for temperature fluctuations than lithium-ion batteries. It can power your devices anywhere between.4° F and 132° F and is not inherently flammable like lithium-ion batteries.

The EXP96 Pro is compatible with:

  • AirSense 11 (With AS11 DC Adapter)
  • AirMini
  • AirSense 10
  • AirCurve
  • AirStart
  • DreamStation Auto
  • System One
  • HDM Z1 and Z2
  • IntelliPAP
  • Transcend

Drawbacks: You will need to have your specific device’s DC cables to recharge or an inverter if using a machine that requires AC power. The EXP96 Pro is not FAA-approved, as it exceeds the maximum 160-watt-hour capacity requirement laid out by FAA regulations. It is also the heaviest CPAP battery on this list.

Power Cell Type Lithium-Iron-Phosphate
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 307.2Wh
Rated Output DC 12-24 V
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 2.4A 3.6-12V, 1.5-3.0A1 USB-C Port
Lifespan 5000 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Status Lights
Recharge Time 10-12 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant No
Weight 6.5 lbs
Dimensions 6″ x 8.2″ x 3″

EXP48 Pro Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Bank

For up to four nights, you can keep your CPAP machine running on the go with one charge thanks to the EXP48 Pro. The EXP48 Pro is approved for in-flight use and is powered by the same lithium-iron-phosphate technology as the EXP96 Pro.

With the inclusion of one USB-C port and two USB charging ports, one of which is Rapid-charge capable, you’ll be able to power up to three additional devices in addition to your CPAP machine! It also has built-in rubber plugs and a durable outer shell, perfect for flying and other travel plans.

The EXP48 Pro is compatible with:

  • AirSense 11 (With AS11 DC Adapter)
  • AirMini
  • AirSense 10
  • AirCurve
  • AirStart
  • DreamStation Auto
  • HDM Z1 and Z2
  • IntelliPAP
  • Transcend

Drawbacks: Like the EXP96 Pro, you will need to have your machine-specific DC charger. It is also the second-heaviest battery on this list.

Power Cell Type Lithium-Iron-Phosphate
Charge Capacity in Watt Hours 154Wh
Rated Output DC 12-24 V
USB Out 2 Ports – 5V, 2.4A 3.6-12V, 1.5-3.0A1 USB-C Port
Lifespan 5000 Charge Cycles
Battery Indicator Status Lights
Recharge Time 4-6 Hours
Can It Function as a Backup Battery? Yes
FAA Compliant Yes
Weight 3.3 lbs
Dimensions 6″ x 8.2″ x 1.6″

What Size Battery Do I Need for My CPAP?

Outside of compatibility with your machine, the single most important aspect of any battery purchase is its capacity. Battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and how far you can stretch those watt-hours depends on your machine as well as your pressure and comfort settings.

Most CPAP machines will draw 30-60 watts on a pressure setting of 5-10 cm H2O without a humidifier or heated tube, but peak power consumption can go as high as 90-110 watts for a machine running a humidifier at a higher pressure setting.

Simply put, one watt-hour of energy would be consumed if your CPAP machine operated at one watt for one hour. Looking at a real example, let’s take the Medistrom Pilot-24, which has a capacity of 99.9Wh, and the ResMed AirMini, which operates at an average draw of 6.3W.

After dividing the 99.9Wh capacity by the average draw of 6.3 watts per hour, we see that the Medistrom Pilot-24 could power an AirMini for 15.8 hours before needing a recharge—assuming the power draw remains at 6.3W the whole time. Please note, though, that this is only a general rule of thumb and can be affected by many of the variables we’ve already mentioned, in addition to whether the battery is suppplying AC or DC power. Travel CPAP machines are also significantly more energy efficient than their full-sized counterparts.

Also worth noting is that if you plan to travel by air with your new battery you’ll be limited to a capacity of 160Wh per FAA and TSA guidelines. However, if you plan to use your battery as a backup power source, you’ll want the largest capacity battery you can reasonably afford.

Battery Run Time

Most lithium-ion CPAP batteries are designed to last at least one night per charge, though some can handle two or more nights. However, battery runtimes can vary depending on:

  • Machine Type/Age
  • Pressure Setting
  • Humidification Use
  • Altitude Level
  • Inverter Use

Because there are so many variables that can affect the run time of your CPAP machine on battery power, we recommend spending 1-2 weeks powering your CPAP machine solely from your new CPAP battery before you ever need to rely on it away from home.

This will help you set reasonable expectations for the battery and allow you to dial in exactly how much humidity you can get away with without draining your battery before the night is done. It’ll also give you a good idea of how long it takes to recharge your battery.

How to Achieve Longer Battery Run Times

If you’re able to, there are a few things you can sacrifice to improve the runtime you’ll get out of your battery. Camping with your CPAP or running on backup power may not always be the most comfortable experience, and for the best results, you may need to:

  • Forego Humidification
  • Use a Standard, Non-Heated Hose
  • Avoid Using an Inverter if Possible
  • Use an APAP Machine (Can Reduce Battery Load by Using the Lowest Necessary Pressure)

A travel CPAP machine will typically perform much better on a CPAP battery than a full-sized machine. It may also help to use a machine-specific battery instead of a universal battery if your manufacturer makes one. A good example of this would be the Extended Life Battery for the Z1 and Z2 Travel CPAP Machine or the Resmed Power Station II for the ResMed S9, AirSense 10, and AirCurve 10.

The most significant impact on your battery run time will be whether you choose to use your humidifier and heated tube (if you have one). Below is an estimate of how battery life changes depending on these factors (based on the 160 Wh Zopec Explore 5500 battery):

AirSense 10 DreamStation
No Humidifier or Heated Tube 16 Hours 21 Hours
Humidifier on Medium, No Heated Tube 8 Hours 6 Hours
Humidifier and Heated Tube on Medium 4 Hours 4 Hours

Are CPAP Batteries FAA Compliant?

For frequent travelers, we have great news! Many CPAP batteries are approved for in-flight use and can be used to safely power your CPAP machine while you travel to your next destination. Many of the batteries are lightweight and ultra-portable so fitting them inside your carry-on bag will be a breeze.

make, your, computer, last, hours

You can finally sleep on even your longest flights and get to your destination feeling refreshed and awake. If you fly often, a travel CPAP machine may also be useful for your adventures.

FAA and TSA Guidelines for Lithium-Ion Batteries:

Per TSA and FAA guidelines, lithium-ion batteries, such as CPAP batteries, must be stored in carry-on baggage only and are prohibited in checked luggage. Exposed battery terminals must also be covered and protected from direct contact with any other metal to prevent an accidental short-circuit.

There is no technical limit to the number of lithium-ion batteries you can pack in your carry-on so long as no single battery exceeds a capacity of 100Wh and the batteries are for personal use and not for resale or distribution. You may also pack up to two spare high-capacity batteries with a maximum capacity of 160Wh per battery, though the FAA states that these spare batteries are only allowed at the discretion of your airline. Thankfully, every major US airline allows for these high-capacity spare batteries at the time of this writing, including Delta, United, American Airlines, and Southwest.

Which CPAP Batteries Are FAA Approved for In-Flight Use?

One of the most popular FAA-approved lithium-ion batteries is the Medistrom Pilot-24 Lite. It’s one of the lightest CPAP batteries around and is compatible with many popular CPAP machines. Lithium-ion batteries are the go-to when it comes to in-flight use, and the only batteries on this list that actually aren’t FAA-approved are the EXP96 Pro, Zopec Explore 8000, and Zopec Explore Oxygen due simply to their large capacities, which exceed 160 Wh.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide was helpful in preparing you to choose the best CPAP battery for your machine or next adventure!

Don’t forget to thoroughly test and understand your new battery in the comfort of your home well in advance of any travel plans you plan to take it on. Be aware of the temperature restrictions of your battery and FAA guidelines if flying. Lastly, make sure you have any special cables or adapters your CPAP/battery combo may require as well.

Universal batteries like the Portable Outlet and Zopec Voyage are a great choice for their versatility, but machine-specific batteries may be better-optimized for power consumption, so be sure to explore your options before purchasing.

Whether you’re hitting the trail or opting for a battery backup, you can’t go wrong by having a CPAP battery on hand and ready to go!

Eric has been writing for the blog since 2021, where he combines his passion for understanding the nuances of complicated topics with a commitment to educating individuals diagnosed with sleep apnea. With thorough research, empathy, and product knowledge, he empowers readers to confidently navigate the world of CPAP therapy and reclaim the restful sleep they need to protect their health and live their lives to the fullest.

Uninterruptible power supply buyers guide

A surge protector will save your equipment; a UPS will do that and save your work, too—or let your save your game after a blackout.

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) offers a simple solution: it’s a battery in a box with enough capacity to run devices plugged in via its AC outlets for minutes to hours, depending on your needs and the mix of hardware. This might let you keep internet service active during an extended power outage, give you the five minutes necessary for your desktop computer with a hard drive to perform an automatic shutdown and avoid lost work (or in a worst case scenario, running disk repair software).

In terms of entertainment, it could give you enough time to save your game after a blackout or—perhaps more importantly—give notice to others in a team-based multiplayer game that you need to exit, so you’re not assessed an early-quit penalty.

This article was updated July, 2022 to add a link to our IOGear GBB1000N UPS review.

A UPS also doubles as a surge protector and aids your equipment and uptime by buoying temporary sags in voltage and other vagaries of electrical power networks, some of which have the potential to damage computer power supplies. For from about 80 to 200 for most systems, a UPS can provide a remarkable amount of peace of mind coupled with additional uptime and less loss.

UPSes aren’t new. They date back decades. But the cost has never been lower and the profusion of options never larger. In this introduction, I help you understand what a UPS can offer, sort out your needs, and make preliminary recommendations for purchase. Later this year, TechHive will offer reviews of UPS models appropriate for home and small offices from which you can make informed choices.

Uninterruptible is the key word

The UPS emerged in an era when electronics were fragile and drives were easily thrown off kilter. They were designed to provide continuous—or “uninterruptible”—power to prevent a host of a problems. They were first found in server racks and used with network equipment until the price and format dropped to make them usable with home and small-office equipment.

Any device you owned that suddenly lost power and had a hard disk inside it might wind up with a corrupted directory or even physical damage from a drive head smashing into another part of the mechanism. Other equipment that loaded its firmware off chips and ran using volatile storage could also wind up losing valuable caches of information and require some time to re-assemble it.

Cyberpower CP800AVR UPS

Hard drives evolved to better manage power failures (and acceleration in laptops), and all portable devices and most new computers moved to movement-free solid state drives (SSDs) that don’t have internal spindles and read/write heads. Embedded devices—from modems and routers to Smart devices and DVRs—became more resilient and faster at booting. Most devices sold today have an SSD or flash memory or cards.

It’s still possible if your battery-free desktop computer suddenly loses power that it may be left in a state that leaves a document corrupted, loses a spreadsheet’s latest state, or happens at such an inopportune moment you must recover your drive or reinstall the operating system. Avoiding those possibilities, especially if you regularly encounter minor power issues at home, can save you at least the time of re-creating lost work and potentially the cost of drive-rebuilding software, even if your hardware remains intact.

A more common problem can arise from networking equipment that has modest power requirements. Losing power means losing access to the internet, even when your cable, DSL, or fiber line remains powered or active from the ISP’s physical plant or a neighborhood interconnection point, rather than a transformer on your building or block. A UPS can keep your network up and running while the power company restores the juice, even if that takes hours.

When power cuts out, the UPS’s battery kicks in. It delivers expected amounts over all connected devices until the battery’s power is exhausted. A modern UPS can also signal to a computer a number of factors, including remaining time or trigger a shutdown through built-in software (as with Energy Saver in macOS) or installed software.

One of the key differentiators among UPSes intended for homes and individual devices in an office is battery capacity. You can buy units across a huge range of battery sizes, and the higher-capacity the battery, the longer runtime you will get or more equipment you can support with a single UPS. In some cases, it may make sense to purchase two or more UPSes to cover all the necessary equipment you have, each matched to the right capacity.

AmazonBasics Standby UPS 800VA 450W Surge Protector Battery Backup

Batteries do need to be replaced, although it can be after a very long period. A UPS typically has a light or will use a sound to indicate a battery that needs to be replaced, and it might indicate this via software running on the computer to which it’s connected.

With great power, comes great power conversion

UPSes for consumer and small-business purposes come in standby and line interactive versions. Standby units keep their battery ready for on-demand, automatic use, but it’s otherwise on standby, as its name indicates. A line interactive version feeds power through an inverter from the wall to connected devices while also charging the battery. It can condition power, smoothing out highs and lows, and switch over to the battery within a few milliseconds. (Other flavors are much more expensive or intended for critical systems and higher power consumption.)

A few years ago, the price differential was high enough that you had to really balance the need for particular features against cost. Now, you may want to opt for a line interaction UPS because of its advantages, which include less wear and tear of the battery, extending its lifetime. Batteries are relatively expensive to replace, at a good fraction of the original item’s purchase price, so keeping them in fit condition longer reduces your overall cost of ownership.

A UPS isn’t just about providing power when it’s interrupted, though, and that’s another place that a standby and line interactive approach vary.

These three voltage fluctuations can happen regularly or infrequently on power supplied by your utility:

  • Surges: Utilities sometimes have brief jumps in electrical power, which can affect electronics, sometimes burning out a power supply or frying the entire device. Surge protection effectively shaves off voltage above a certain safe range.
  • Sags: Your home or office can have a momentary voltage sag when something with a big motor kicks on, like a clothes dryer or a heat pump—sometimes even in an adjacent apartment, house, or building.
  • Undervoltage (“brownouts”): In some cases with high electrical usage across an area, a utility might reduce voltage for an extended period to avoid a total blackout. This can mess with motor-driven industrial and home equipment—many appliances have motors, often driving a compressor, as in a refrigerator or freezer. With electronics, extended undervoltage has the potential damage some power supplies.

A standby model typically relies on dealing with excess voltage by having inline metal-oxide varistors (MOVs), just as in standalone surge protectors. These MOVs shift power to ground, but eventually burn out after extensive use. At that point, all the UPS models I checked stop passing power through. (That’s as opposed to most surge protectors, which extinguish a “protected” LED on their front, but continue to pass power.)

For power sags and undervoltage, a standby model will tap the battery. If it happens frequently or in quick succession, your UPS might not be up to the task and provide enough delay that a desktop system or hard drive loses power long enough to halt its operating system or crash.

Tripp Lite Smart1500LCDT

A line interactive UPS continuously feeds power through a conditioner that charges the battery and regulates power. This automatic voltage regulation, known as AVR, can convert voltage as needed to provide clean power to attached outlets without relying on the battery. With a line interactive model, the battery is used only as a last resort.

There’s one final power characteristic of a UPS that can be found in both standby and line interactive models: the smoothness of the alternating current generation produced by the model from the direct current output by its battery. Alternating current reverses its power flow smoothly 60 times each second, and a UPS must simulate that flow, which can be represented as an undulating sine wave.

A UPS might produce a pure sine wave, which adds to cost, or a stairstepped one, in which power shifts more abruptly up and down as it alternates. A rough simulated sine wave can be a showstopper for certain kinds of computer power supplies, which have components that interact poorly with the voltage changes. It could cause premature wear on components or cause them to outright shut down or cause additional damage.

If your device has active power factor correction (PFC) or incorporates fragile or sensitive electronics, especially for audio recording, you likely need a pure sine wave. It’s not always easy to figure out if your device has active PFC; when in doubt, opt for a pure sine wave—the additional cost has come way down.

Even for equipment that isn’t susceptible to power-supply problems, a stepped sine wave can cause a power supply to emit a high-pitched whine when it’s on battery power.

One final UPS feature that may also be helpful: less-expensive models have one or more LEDs to indicate certain status elements, like working from backup power or the internal battery needing to be replaced. Others have an LCD screen (sometimes backlit) that provides a variety of information, sometimes an excessive amount, which may be viewable through software installed on a connected computer.

All UPSes have built-in audible alarms for outages, and some are quite loud.

Determining your UPS needs

Most of us have two main scenarios to plan for: keep the network up, and prevent our AC-powered computers from abruptly shutting down. These involve very different choices in hardware and configuration.

One common element between both, however: having enough outlets spaced correctly to plug all your items directly in. Most UPSes feature both battery-backed outlets and surge-protected outlets that aren’t wired into the battery. You need to study quantity and position, as it is strongly recommended you don’t plug a power strip or other extensions into either kind of UPS outlet, as it increases the risk of electrical fire.

That can be particularly tricky if you have large “wall wart” style AC adapters or wider-than-average AC plugs.

Scenario 1: Keep the network up

APC Smart-UPS C 1000VA (model SMC1000)

Examine all the devices that make up your network. That may include a broadband modem, a VoIP adapter for phone calls, one or more Wi-Fi routers, one or more ethernet switches, and/or a Smart home hub. Because you may have these spread out across your home or office, you might wind up requiring two or more UPSes to keep the network going.

If you have a modem, router, and switch (plus a VoIP adapter if you need it) all in close proximity, you might be able to live without other parts of your networking operating during an outage. It’s also probable that you already have this hardware plugged into a surge protector. (These devices tend to not benefit from a UPS’s sag/undervoltage assistance, as their DC adapters tend to provide power in a larger range of circumstances.)

You might already have a simple battery backup built into or included with one or more pieces of equipment. Many Smart home hubs have built-in battery backups. And since government regulators typically require a multi-hour battery backup for VoIP service, your broadband modem or VoIP adapter might include an internal battery for that reason.

To find out the size of UPS you need, check the specs on all your equipment. This is usually molded in plastic in black-on-black 4-point type on the underside of the gear or on a DC converter that you plug directly into a power outlet or that comes in two parts with a block between the adapter to your device and a standard AC outlet cord. The numbers you are looking for are either DC voltage and amperage, like 12 volts and 1.5 amps, or total wattage, like 18 watts.

Add up these quantities, and that can let you use planning tools to find the right unit. For instance, APC offers an extended runtime chart that lists wattage and runtime for each of its units. You can also use a calculator on the site in which you add devices or watts and it provides a guide to which units to purchase and how much time each could operate at that load.

For most combinations of gear and affordable units, you should be able to keep network equipment running for at least an hour entirely on battery power. Spend more or purchase multiple units, and you could boost that to two to eight hours.

Scenario 2: Bridge power blips and shut down a computer

Your goal here is to make sure all your devices that need to continue running have enough power to do so across a short outage and to shut down—preferably automatically—during any outage that lasts more than a few minutes.

There are two separate power issues to consider: the electrical load that devices connected to the UPS’s battery-backed outlets add up to, and the capacity of the internal battery on the UPS, which determines how long power can flow at a given attached load. (The outlets only protected against power surges have a far higher power load limit that computer equipment won’t exceed.)

Start by calculating the total wattage for all the equipment you’re going to connect, just like with network gear. Most hardware will show a single number for watts or a maximum watts consumed; if it only shows amperes (or amps), multiple 120 (for volts) times the amps listed to get watts. In my office, I have an iMac, an external display, a USB hub, and two external hard drives. That adds up to about 250W.

With that number, you can examine the maximum load on a UPS, which is often perplexingly listed using either volt-amperes (VA) and watts or both. Although volts times amps and watts should be equal, UPS manufacturers use a different formula. which is probably a bad idea. Watts on a UPS is volts times amps times power factor, or the efficiency with which a power supply on a computer or other device provides power from its AC input to its components.

In practice, you can still add up all your devices in watts, and use that as a gauge to find a UPS that exceeds that amount by some margin: you can’t exceed the UPS load factor with your equipment, or it won’t function. (If a UPS is rated only in VA, multiply that number by a power factor of 0.6 or 60% to get the bottom level in watts.)

With that number in hand, you can then look over the runtime available on models that can support your total load, consulting the figures, charts, or calculators noted above that manufacturers provide to estimate how many minutes you get on battery-only power.

With my iMac set up above of 250W, I have several options in the 100 to 150 range that have a power load maximum far above that number and which can provide five or more minutes of runtime.

It’s also critical to pick a UPS model that includes a USB connection to your desktop computer, along with compatible software for your operating system. While macOS and Windows have built in power-management options that can automatically recognize compatible UPS hardware, you might want additional software to tweak UPS settings (like alarm sounds) or to provide detailed reports and charts on power quality and incidents.

The OS power-management tools and software from UPS makers give you options to create safe, automatic shutdown conditions. You can define a scenario like, “If the outage lasts more than three minutes or if the battery’s power is less than 50 percent, begin an immediate safe shutdown.”

It’s also important to be sure that all your running apps can exit without losing data and not halt the shutdown. For instance, an unsaved Word file might prevent Windows from completing a shutdown. In macOS, the Terminal app refuses to quit by default if there’s an active remote session, but it can be configured to ignore that.

Picking the right UPS

With all that in mind, here’s a checklist to go through in evaluating a UPS:

  • What kind of time with power during an outage do you require? Long for networked equipment; short for a computer shutdown.
  • How many watts do your equipment consume? Calculate your connected devices’ total power requirements.
  • Do you have frequent or long power sags? Pick line interactive instead of standby.
  • With a computer, does it rely on active PFC? If so, pick a model with a pure sine wave output.
  • How many outlets do you need for power backup? Will all your current plugs fit in the available layout?
  • Do you need to consult the UPS status frequently enough or in detail that an LCD screen or connected software is required?

We’re in the process of reviewing several uninterruptible power supplies and will update this stories with links to those reviews as we finish them. Stay tuned.

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