Yesterday's power outages in D.C. triggered back-up power systems, some of which worked quite well. But HOW do they work?
A blackout is always a hassle for anybody but in the case of a workplace, time is money - and blackout time is downtime. So smart businesses buy a UPS - uninterruptible power supply. It sends the power feed through a battery that functions like a reservoir.
The AC feed is converted to DC inside the battery, then converted back to AC for use in the office. This smoothes out the waveform, which is good for computers. When the power feed is interrupted, the UPS units keeps feeding, and starts draining.
At some point that stored power runs out, so the building manager basically has that much time to get a back-up generator started. The back-up generator is often something as simple as a truck engine, which can generate enough power for, say, a police station.
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