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Also known as an uninterruptible power supply or UPS, a battery backup is a means of providing a continual supply of power to electronic equipment, even when the main source of power fails for some reason. The battery backup is only one of several solutions that are used to keep systems operating even when a utility or other power sources is rendered inoperative for a period of time. Business often include this type of backup along with other solutions as a means of keeping computers and other necessary systems running even in the event of a blackout or some a natural disaster that cuts off the main power supply for anything from a few minutes to several days.
Like all types of emergency power, a battery backup makes it possible to switch to an alternative source of power as soon as the main power source fails. Today, it is not unusual for a UPS to be connected to banks of computer workstations, servers, and even telecommunication equipment. When the flow of electricity is interrupted, the backup battery automatically activates, routes power through a surge protector of some type, and allows the connected devices to continue functioning. Often, this occurs with little to no downtime at all.
Most battery backup devices have a limited amount of battery power held in reserve. Earlier designs normally allowed the batteries to supply power for anywhere from five to fifteen minutes before exhausting the supply. This makes them ideal for maintaining operations while a second source of alternative power is put into place and activated. For example, one or more UPS devices may serve as the first phase of the emergency power strategy, and supply power for the ten minutes it takes authorized personnel to connect and activate power generators that are capable of supplying power for several hours.
While the idea of battery backup was once associated more with business settings, the use of this type of device in the home has become more common. UPS devices for home use are usually somewhat compact in size, but just as powerful as many of the larger commercial models of years past. The home battery backup may be used to power essential appliances, keep healthcare equipment up and running, or simply power a desktop computer during a power outage. Over the years, the cost for a reliable battery backup device has decreased significantly, making this type of support equipment affordable for businesses of all sizes, as well as for use around the home.