Uninterruptible Power Supply Explained


What’s your tolerance for pain?

That’s what you have to ask yourself when considering which level of UPS you need because electricity courses through everything we do — from keeping the lights on to making sure your local network is up and running to ensuring ventilators and other critical hospital gear is able to keep patients alive.

Power makes the world go round and losing it can be genuinely catastrophic.

To that end, incorporating a UPS is a must nowadays.

With the exception of planned outages, the power being cut is never something that comes with advanced warning. And, typically, the resulting issues that unexpected power loss can cause boil down to three things:

  • Downtime
  • Damage
  • Data loss

A generator is a great backup plan but from the time the power goes out to when your generator actually kicks can feel like an eternity and can create compounding issues.

The solution is to incorporate a UPS, or uninterruptible power supply, into your system to close that gap and allow the generator to get to speed or to simply give your school, office or financial institution the time to finish what you were doing, properly save and shut down.

It’s about mitigating pain.

  • Can you afford to have a crucial Word doc or Excel spreadsheet you been working on go poof?
  • How much money will it cost you to not be able to put in that sell or buy order on a stock?
  • What happens to patients on life support if the power is out for even a second?

Tripp Lite offers 3 levels of uninterruptible power supply for every budget and need: we’re talking nearly 400 models so genuinely every budget.


This is the most economical and affordable option, and also the most limited in terms of functionality. Think of this as a battery in a box that gives you a basic level of protection.

Yes, you’re getting surge suppression, line noise filtering and battery backup but the Standby option doesn’t completely close the downtime gap.

In normal operation, Standby will stop surges, filter noise to a degree – but not distortion – and charge the battery. In a blackout, the charged battery kicks in to support whatever load you have attached.


Everything that Standby can do, Line-Interactive can do as well. However, it will also function as a regulator that removes spikes in electricity and prevents sags, or dips in voltage also known as brownouts which can lead to computer malfunction, system crashes and ultimately data loss.

Distortion is still a weakness, and can cause issues with sensitive equipment when the UPS is being relied on to power your equipment.

Line-Interactive also comes awfully close to being seamless in terms of the time it takes to transfer to battery backup with the downtime being four milliseconds. It sounds great but 4ms is potentially still enough time to cause your system to reboot.

Nonetheless, for the vast majority of industries and businesses, this level is a perfect middle ground of functionality and affordability.


Truly the crème de la crème of uninterruptible power supplies, On-Line does it all.

The advantages of this system are supreme. In addition to all that Line-Interactive can do, On-Line also does double-conversion – AC to DC and DC to AC. And, of paramount importance, it has absolutely no downtime.

The power output stays as a pure sine wave because On-Line is running constantly in the background and actively filtering for noise all the time to provide seamless, 100% clean, distortion-free power in the event of an outage.

As far as maintenance goes, On-Line will inform you about when it’s time to do it unlike the other models which require your attention. Keep in mind maintenance is something that typically only needs to happen every three to five years so it’s not necessarily a no-brainer that’s easy to remember... and it’s certainly not something you want to get lost in the shuffle.

Additionally, for system maintenance, you can bypass On-Line and directly power the load.

This type of UPS is a must if you utilize critical equipment in a hospital setting, for instance.

Why Incorporate a UPS?

You already invest a substantial amount in ensuring you have the best tech in your building. Regardless of the industry, staying competitive means staying current. And, in some industries like medicine, making sure that your system stays up 24/7/365 can be the difference between life or death.

A UPS helps you avoid data loss by giving you the time to save and shut down properly. It can also help circumvent damages to the equipment itself.

In other words, it’s an insurance policy you can’t afford to be without.

Consider your mass communication system as an example. It does a lot on a normal day, but in an emergency it’s doing some real heavy lifting. If it goes down in a power outage when you need it most, what’s the point of that investment?

Which brings us back to our original question: What’s your tolerance for pain?