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Comparing Transformer-Based and Transformerless Uninterruptible Strength Supplies

Selecting between transformer-based or transformerless uninterruptible power supplies may not be a simple ‘either/or’ decision, particularly above 10kVA. Each technologies have their place in today’s energy protection scenarios but the key distinctions between them are: physical size, performance, noise output and the levels of input harmonic distortion that they generate.

Both uninterruptible power supply designs produce a tightly regulated source of uninterrupted power however they differ in the way they generate the dc voltage required by their inverters and their output stages.

Transformer-based Uninterruptible Power Supplies: until the earlier 1990s, the only design of online uninterruptible power supply was transformer-based. Nowadays, the design is still available but generally in larger sizes for UPS from 8 to 800kVA. The most common applications with this are large industrial sites.

This type of UPS has a robust transformer-isolated inverter output, which makes it more suitable for the type of application where there is a likelihood of electric noise; spikes, transients, and possibly, a high degree of short-circuit currents.

The particular inverter generates an ac supply from its dc power source, which is fed into a step-up transformer. The main function of the transformer is to raise the inverter ac voltage to that needed by the load. The transformer also protects the inverter from download disruption, whilst also providing Galvanic isolation (a method of isolating insight and output).

Modern inverter styles use IGBTs (Insulated Gate Zweipolig Transistors) in place of more traditional switching parts (such as power transistors and thyristors). IGBTs combine the fast-acting and high power capability of the Bipolar Transistor with the voltage manage features of a MOSFET gate to create a versatile, high frequency switching gadget. This in turn has given rise to more powerful, efficient and reliable inverters.
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Transformer-based UPS are also supplied with the dual input option as regular, which can be selected at installation by just removing a linking connector from its input terminal. This allows it to be powered from two separate air conditioner supply sources thus adding more resilience. A transformerless UPS could be installed with dual input capacity, with supplies derived from the same source, but this is typically a factory-fit option.

Transformerless Uninterruptible Power Products: transformerless UPS is a newer style, commonly available from 700VA in order to 120kVA. The primary purpose behind the creation of transformerless units was to reduce the entire physical size and weight hence making an uninterruptible power supply device more suitable for smaller installations and/or computer room/office type environments, exactly where space may be limited. It also generates far less noise and heat than its transformer-based cousin and has less input harmonic distortion levels making it compatible with environments where electronic tools (such as computers) may be more sensitive to this type of distortion.

In place of the step-up transformer, a transformerless UPS uses a staged process of volt quality conversion. The first stage combines the rectifier and booster-converter to generate a dc supply for the inverter. An uncontrolled, three-phase bridge rectifier converts the ac supply into a dc voltage. This is passed through a mid-point booster circuit to step the particular dc voltage up to typically 700-800Vdc from which a battery charger and inverter are powered. In the second stage, the inverter takes the supply from the booster-converter and inverts it in return to an ac voltage to supply the load.

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