Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are always considered to be having complicated circuitry and are therefore are costly, difficult to procure or build.
A simple idea presented here can be built at home using most ordinary components to produce reasonable outputs. It may be used to power not only the usual electrical appliances but also sophisticated gadgets like computers. Its inverter circuit utilizes a modified sine wave design.
An uninterruptible power supply with elaborate features may not be critically required for the operation of even the sophisticated gadgets. A compromised design of an UPS system presented here may well suffice the needs. It also includes a built-in universal smart battery charger.
Difference Between UPS and an Inverter
What’s the difference between an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and an inverter? Well, broadly speaking both are intended to perform the fundamental function of converting battery voltage to AC which may be used to operate the various electrical gadgets in the absence of our domestic AC power.
However, in most cases an inverter may not be equipped with many automatic functions and safety measures normally associated with an UPS. Moreover, inverters mostly don’t carry a built in battery charger whereas all UPSs have a built in automatic battery charger with them to facilitate instant charging of the concerned battery when mains AC is present and revert the battery power in inverter mode the moment input power fails. Also UPSs are all designed to produce an AC having a sine waveform or at least a modified square wave resembling quite like its sine wave counterpart. This perhaps becomes the most important feature with UPSs.
With so many features in hand, there’s no doubt these amazing devices ought to become expensive and therefore many of us in the middle class category are unable to lay their hands on them.
I have tried to make a UPS design though not comparable with the professional ones but once built, definitely will be able to replace mains failures quite reliably and also since the output is a modified square wave, is suitable for operating all sophisticated electronic gadgets, even computers.
Understanding the circuit Design
The figure alongside shows a simple modified square inverter design, which is easily understandable, yet incorporates crucial features.
The IC SN74LVC1G132 has a single NAND gate (Schmitt Trigger) encapsulated in a small package. It basically forms the heart of the oscillator stage and requires just a single capacitor and a resistor for the required oscillations. The value of these two passive components determines the frequency of the oscillator. Here it’s dimensioned to around 250 Hz.
The above frequency is applied to the next stage consisting of a single Johnson’s decade counter/divider IC 4017. The IC is configured so that its outputs produce and repeat a set of five sequential logic high outputs. Since the input Is a square wave the outputs are also generated as square waves.
Parts list for the UPS Inverter
R4,R5 = 220 Ohms
T0 = BC557B
IC1= SN74LVC1G132 or a single gate from IC4093
Uninterruptible Power Supply - Battery Charger Section
The base leads of two sets of Darlington paired high gain, hi-power transistors are configured to the IC such that it receives and conducts to the alternate outputs.
The transistors conduct (in tandem) in response to these switching and a corresponding high current alternating potential is pulled through the two halves of the connected transformer windings.
Since the base voltages to the transistors from the IC are skipped alternately, the resultant square impulse from the transformer carries only half the average value compared to the other ordinary inverters. This dimensioned RMS average value of the generated square waves very much resembles the average value of the mains AC that is normally available at our home power sockets and thus becomes suitable and favorable to most sophisticated electronic gadgets.
The present uninterruptible power supply design is fully automatic and will revert to the inverter mode the moment input power fails. This is done through a couple of relays RL1 and RL2; RL2 has a dual set of contacts for reversing both the output lines.
As explained above an UPS should also incorporate a built-in universal smart battery charger which also should be voltage and current controlled.
The next figure which is an integral part of the system shows a smart little automatic battery charger circuit. The circuit is not only voltage controlled but is also includes an over current protection configuration.
Transistor T1 and T2 basically form an accurate voltage sensor and never allows the charging voltage upper limit to exceed the set limit. This limit is fixed by setting the preset P1 appropriately.
Transistor T3 and T4 together keep an “eye” over the rising current intake by the battery and never allows it to reach levels which may be considered dangerous to battery life. In case the current starts drifting beyond the set level, the voltage across R6 crosses over – 0.6 volts, enough to trigger T3, which in turn chokes the base voltage of T4, thus restricting any further rise in the drawn current. The value of R6 may be found using the formula:
R = 0.6 / I, where I is the charging current rate.
Transistor T5 performs the function of a voltage monitor and switches (deactivates) the relays into action, the moment mains AC fails.
Parts list for the Charger
P1=4K7 PRESET, LINEAR
RL1=12V/400 OHM, SPDT
RL2=12V/400 OHM, SPDT, D1—D4=1N5408
TR1=0-12V, CURRENT 1/10 OF THE BATTERY AH
C2 = 1uF/25V