How The University of Nevada, Reno Keeps Its Lab Running When The Power Fails

Uninterruptible Power Supply UPS Protecting Laboratory Instrument
Uninterruptible Power Supply UPS Protecting Laboratory Instrument

In early November 2015, Dave Quilici, Ph.D., of the University of Nevada, Reno Proteomics Center had a problem. His laboratory instruments continually lost power thanks to the lack of reliable power coming from NV Energy (the electric utility service Reno, NV). His Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer from Thermo Fisher Scientific was of particular concern as the voltage fluctuations and electrical noise could eventually and permanently damage the expensive instrument. He needed a solution.

Dave knew that a standard uninterruptible power supply (UPS) used for datacenters and computers would not work with any of his sensitive laboratory instruments. A special double conversion pure sine wave output uninterruptible power supply with a built in isolation transformer was required.

Double conversion UPS systems for laboratory power protection are different than standard uninterrupted power supplies in the fact that double conversion (also referred to as online) units always have their batteries engaged. This means there is absolutely no switching time delay when battery power is required. In non-double conversion uninterruptible power supplies the switching delay normally ranges from 2-25 milliseconds. A small backup power switchover time is acceptable for most computer systems, but is not tolerated by sensitive laboratory instruments. Another benefit of most double conversion (online) uninterruptible power supplies is that they can use either grid/utility power or generator power as an input source.

Dual Input Power Options
Dual Input Power Options

A pure sine wave UPS (Google trends now shows more commonly referred to as a battery backup) puts out exactly the same waveform power as you get from a wall socket, although it is usually much cleaner. As a comparison to water systems which are easier to understand, think of it as putting tap water through a filter and getting crisp, clear, clean water out. This is typically required for any electrical device with a 120 volt to 12 volt or 5 volt step down transformer (commonly referred to as wall wart), Active PFC power supply, Energy Star 5.0 or above rating, and sensitive instrumentation. Standard UPS systems usually have square wave, modified sine wave, simulated sine wave, or some other sub-standard waveform output as it keeps the cost of the uninterruptible power supply down. These lower quality waveform models are ok for most inefficient older electronics and non-sensitive equipment, but unacceptable for newer energy efficient electronics and precision electronics. As a comparison to water systems which are easier to understand, think of it as putting tap water in and getting grey water out, fine for watering plants, but not to drink.

Pure Sine Wave
Pure Sine Wave

An isolation transformer is a heavy device (think of it as a bunch of large copper coils) used to transfer power from the source (building, wall socket, etc.) while keeping it isolated. This helps eliminate electrical feedback and noise created by other electrical equipment on the same circuit or plugged in elsewhere in the building (i.e. a microwave, laser equipment, etc.). Isolation transformers are also used to enhance safety. In a lab or medical environment with critical equipment, you can’t tolerate a device malfunction because someone used the microwave in the other room or ran a test on a laser system nearby.

Battery Backup Power Uninterruptible Power Supply Complete 5 Tier Power Protection
Battery Backup Power Uninterruptible Power Supply Complete 5 Tier Power Protection

Back to Dave’s story. Dave ended up contacting Battery Backup Power, Inc. at engineering@batterybackuppower.com and was referred to the 4,200 watt pure sine wave double conversion UPS with built in isolation transformer. He purchased the unit online and received free shipping/freight (standard for customers of Battery Backup Power, Inc. in the United States). Out of the three battery loadout/run time options available, he picked the first option with 14 minutes of backup time for his particular piece of equipment (sufficient to condition power, last through minor outages, and resolve voltage issues). He received the uninterrupted power supply within 14 business days and had his facility electrician hook it up. Now Dave can run his mass spectrometer with one less thing to worry about.

 

Back Side Of Laboratory UPS
Back Side Of Laboratory UPS

Battery Backup Power, Inc. Laboratory Qualified Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Systems

Battery Backup Power 4,200 Watt Uninterruptible Power Supply For Laboratory Instruments

http://www.backupbatterypower.com/collections/frontpage/products/6kva-double-conversion-battery-backup-power-ups

Battery Backup Power 7,000 Watt Uninterruptible Power Supply For Laboratory Instruments

http://www.backupbatterypower.com/collections/frontpage/products/10kva-double-conversion-battery-backup-power-ups

Battery Backup Power 10,500 Watt Uninterruptible Power Supply For Laboratory Instruments

http://www.backupbatterypower.com/collections/frontpage/products/15kva-double-conversion-battery-backup-power-ups

Battery Backup Power 14,000 Watt Uninterruptible Power Supply For Laboratory Instruments

http://www.backupbatterypower.com/collections/frontpage/products/20kva-double-conversion-battery-backup-power-ups


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