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The UPS Debate: A Conversation on High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPSs

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High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPSs

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are designed to protect against power surges and to keep data center equipment running long enough to power down safely during electrical outages. With the normal expense of powering data centers and the increased cost in dollars and data that can be caused by downtime due to power failure, high efficiency, multi-mode UPSs are fast becoming standard equipment in computer data centers.

How Does Multi-Mode Work?

A multi-mode UPS is capable of switching between two modes of operation. Premium efficiency mode, also called eco-mode, provides superior operation efficiency while double conversion mode provides superior power protection. Multi-mode UPSs can switch between these two modes in a matter of milliseconds to compensate for power deviations and anomalies. In fact, most UPSs have transfer speeds of less than eight milliseconds and, in many cases, as few as two milliseconds, so as not to exceed the tolerance levels of data center equipment. Multi-mode UPSs have the ability to deliver continual computer grade power while reducing both energy costs and environmental impact.

What Are the Benefits of Multi-mode UPS?

Uninterruptable power supplies come in the form of single-conversion systems, double-conversion systems and multi-mode systems. By incorporating the features of both single and double conversion, multi-mode UPS systems are able to offer the following three major benefits:

  • Maximize critical load protection without sacrificing operating efficiency.
  • Extended parts life of one to two years minimum.
  • Output fault mitigation immediately handled by upstream overcurrent protection.


The ability to switch between power protection and operating efficiency modes increases the energyefficiency of multi-mode UPSs to 98 or 99 percent. This automatic switching capability also reduces the load on heating, ventilation and air condition systems. Decreased energy consumption plus decreased load on HVAC systems equals decreased total cost of ownership.

How to Choose the Right High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPS

As with most products, not all UPS systems are created equally. When selecting the multi-mode UPS for your data center needs,Pedro Robredo at Eaton suggests asking these five questions:

  1. Does the UPS sacrifice protection to gain high efficiency?
  2. How does the UPS achieve its high efficiency?
  3. How efficient is the UPS when lightly loaded?
  4. How quickly does the UPS detect and respond to power events?
  5. What extras does the UPS offer for maximum protection?


The answers to these questions and an understanding of UPS will better equip managers to select the right high efficiency, multi-mode UPS system for their data centers.



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