Abbreviation for Alternating Current.

AC Blackout
Total loss of distributed commercial ac feed power.

AC Brownout
The condition that exists when the AC line voltage drops below some specified value.

AC Input
Electrical power in the form of alternating current (AC) supplied to the UPS and bypass.

AC Input Impedence
The impedance of the AC input at the input terminals of the UPS with the UPS disconnected.

AC Line
The set of conductors that route AC voltage from one point to another.

AC Line Filter
A circuit filter placed in the AC line to condition or smooth out variations that are higher in frequency than the line frequency.

Actuator Fuse
A fuse incorporating some mechanical means to close a dry (unpowered) contact when the fuse opens, such that an alarm and/or control function may take place.
Abbreviation for ampere hour.

Air Gap
A space in the magnetic core, void of magnetic material, used to lower the permeability and increase the ampere turns before the core saturates (provides the required reluctance to the flux path). The gap is filled with a non-magnetic material other than air.

A method or signal of attracting attention to an abnormal condition in the UPS.

Alarm Circuit
A circuit with a primary function of alerting an operator by either a visual and/ or audible signal that an abnormal condition exists.

Alarm Interrupt
Stop of normal UPS operation via activation of an alarm condition having a control function.

Alive (Live)
Electrically connected to a source of voltage or electrically charged so as to have a voltage different from that of earth; the term may be used in place of "current-carrying" where the intent is clear, to avoid repetition of the longer term.
Alternate Source
Secondary or backup AC feed to the static switch of the UPS system which is also termed Bypass Source. Often it is unprotected commercial power See Commercial AC Power.

Alternating Current (AC)
A periodic current the average value of which over a period is zero. Unless distinctly specified otherwise, the term refers to a current that reverses at regularly recurring intervals of time and which has alternately positive and negative values.
Ambient Temeperature
The temperature of the environment immediately surrounding the UPS into which the heat of the UPS is dissipated. For forced air-cooled units, the ambient temperature is measured at the air intake. Also see Operating Temperature, Storage Temperature, Temperature Coefficient.
American Wire Guage (AWG)
A standard for sizing cross-sectional areas of wire, and for measuring sheet-metal thicknesses.
Current carrying capacity of electric conductors or devices expressed in amperes.
Ampere (A)
Electron or current flow representing the flow of one coulomb per second past a given point in a circuit.

Ampere Hour (AH)
A measurement of a quantity of electricity computed as the product of current (in amperes) and time (in hours).
Ampere Hour Capacity
The number of ampere-hours which a storage battery can deliver under specified conditions such as temperature, rate of discharge and final voltage.
Ampere Turns
The S1 unit of electromagnetic force defined as the field produced by the flow of one ampere in a single turn of wire in a coil.
A circuit or element that provides gain.
Amplifier, Comparator
See Comparator
Active redundancy
See Redundancy (active)
Alternate power source
See Power source (alternate)
Amplifer DC
A direct current amplifier that can provide gain for zero-frequency signals.


Amplifier, Differential
An amplifier which has available both an inverting and a non-inverting input, and whose output signal is proportional to the algebraic difference between the two.
Amplifier, Inverting
An operational amplifier that produces an output signal of nominally equal magnitude and opposite algebraic sign to the input. Such an amplifier can be used with degenerative feedback for stabilization purposes.


Amplifier, Non-Inverting
An amplifier who’s output is the same algebraic sign as its input.
Amplifier, Operational
A DC amplifier whose gain is sufficiently large so that its characteristics and behavior are substantially determined by its input and feedback elements. Operational amplifiers
are widely used for signal processing and computational work.

The electrode at which an oxidation reaction occurs. During discharge, the negative electrode of the cell is the anode. During charge, the situation reverses and the positive electrode of the cell is the anode.
Anode Terminal
In semiconductor diodes, the terminal that is positive with respect to the other terminal when the diode is biased in the forward direction. The positive terminal, such as the plate in an electron tube.
Apparent Power
The product of the RMS current times the RMS voltage.
An electric current through air or across the surface of an insulator associated with high voltage. Arcs occur at the time contacts open deenergizing an inductive load or when fault protection devices open. Arcing across a device's contacts will shorten its life.
Arc Quenching
(Electronic see Surge Arrester). Mechanical An arc-extinguishing medium to facilitate current interruption.
Arcing Times
Infuses, the time measured from when fuse element melt time ends to when current is interrupted and becomes zero.
Astable Multivibrator
A free-running osciIlator circuit using resistors and capacitors for feedback coupling. It has a square wave output whose frequency is determined by circuit constants or by an external synchronizing voltage.
Asymmetrical Waveform
1) A current or voltage waveform that has unequal excursions above and
below the horizontal axis or whose axis of symmetry is offset from the zero axis (DC offset).
2) A current or voltage waveform that’s negative going half cycle differs in time from its positive going half cycle.
A condition where circuit operating frequency is determined independent of a reference source.

Decrease in amplitude or intensity of a signal.
Audible Noise
Frequencies that can be detected by the human ear produced by the battery charger and/or inverter and measured in decibels (a measure of intensity). The acoustical noise.
A transfer from the "alternate source" position of a static switch to the "inverter" position without operator intervention.
Auto-Retransfer Circuit
Electronic circuit which simulates the operation of "Inverter to load" pushbutton.
A Transfer from the "Inverter." position of a static switch to the alternate source position without operator intervention.
Auto Transformer
A transformer whose primary and secondary are electrically connected.
Automatic Transfer
A transfer is made by the UPS without operator/user involvement and is usually based upon the status or condition of the input/output AC power.
Auxiliary Contacts
An accessory attached to a circuit breaker or magnetic switch having low ampacity contacts that operate coincident with the on-off-trip operation of the main device and to provide secondary circuit functions, as lights, control signals, or interlocking functions.
Average Value
The value of the function or quantity averaged over a full cycle unless otherwise specified. The value of alternating current or voltage of sine wave form that is found by dividing area under one alternation by distance along X axis between 0 and 180'.

EAVG = .637 EMAX             EAVG= 2/T                 e(t)dt

Battery Backup
Time during which the UPS can supply the rated load with nominal-quality power while utility power is down. This time depends on the battery and the efficiency of the UPS. Typical backup ranges from five minutes to several hours.

Battery on shelves
Battery cell installation system whereby the cells are placed on several vertically stacked shelves or racks made of insulating material.

Battery (recombination)
Battery with a gas recombination rate at least equal to 95%, i.e. no water need be added over battery life. So, usually called "maintenance free."

Battery (tier-mounted)
Battery cell installation system whereby the cells are placed on tiers made of insulating material.

Battery (vented)
The battery cells are equipped with a filling port for distilled, demineralised water used to top up the free electrolyte.

Battery cells
The interconnected battery elements that supply electrical power created by electrolytic reaction.

Battery circuit breaker {see Circuit breaker (battery) }

BMS (Building Management System)
System used for control/monitoring building utilities and systems. It is generally composed of sensors, actuators and programmable controllers connected to a central computer or several computers, equipped with specific software.

The act of taking the UPS offline and feeding the critical bus from utility power. This can be done either manually, for service, or automatically in the event of failure or overload.
Device associated with the rectifier and used to supply the battery with the electrical power (DC current) required to recharge and/or float charge the battery

Circuit breaker (battery)
DC circuit breaker that protects the battery of a UPS.

The technical description of conductance is the real part of complex admittance. It is a measure of an electrical circuit current response that results when an AC voltage pulse of a known frequency and amplitude is applied. Siemens is the international unit of measure which is sometimes called "MHOS", which of course is Ohms spelled backward. Conductance is also sometimes referred to as "admittance" or "acceptance", because it relates the electrical (conductive) efficiency of a circuit. The conductance value is one way to measure the resistive characteristic of any battery or cell. As batteries age and fail, their internal resistance will typically increase because the plate surface can sulfate or shed active material, which adversely affects its ability to perform. This increase in resistance can be observerd with declining conductance readings. It is a measure of that decline over time that can be used to calculate the capacity loss in cell or battery as it occurs. This is done without discharging the cell or battery, and the simple rule of thumb is; High conductance is GOOD, Low conductance is typically BAD.

Cos phi
A measure of the phase shift between the current wave and the voltage wave observed at the terminals of a load supplied with AC power at a given frequency.

Cos phi1
A measure of the phase shift between the fundamental current wave and the fundamental voltage wave observed at the terminals of a non-linear load.

Crest factor (Fc)
Ratio between the peak current value to the rms current value.

Current (inrush)
Temporary current observed in a network when electrical devices are energized, generally due to the magnetic circuits of the devices. The effect is measured by the currentís maximum peak value and the rms current value it generates.

Current harmonics {see Harmonics (current and voltage) }

Current loop (20 mA)
Transmission system used on certain devices and offering better performance than the RS232C. It provides a high degree of immunity to interference and is easy to implement, but has not been standardized.

Distorsion (individual)
Ratio between the rms value of an nth order harmonic and the rms value of the fundamental.

Distorsion (total)
Ratio between the rms value of all harmonics of a non-sinusoidal alternating periodic value and that of the fundamental. This value may also be expressed as a function of the individual distortion of each harmonic Hn = Yn / Y1

Electromagnetic compatibility
Possibility of a device to operate normally when installed near other devices, given the disturbances emitted by each device and their mutual sensitivities.

Filter (phase-shift)
Filter used to reduce, if necessary, the overall distortion due to the current harmonics injected into the utility upstream of a UPS by its rectifier-charger. Filtering is superior to that of a traditional filter of the L or C type.

Float current {see Current (float) }

Floating voltage {see Voltage (float) }

Fourier theorem
Theorem stating that any non-sinusoidal periodic function (frequency f) may be represented as a sum of terms (series) made up of: n a sinusoidal term with frequency f, called the fundamental frequency, n sinusoidal terms with frequencies that are whole multiples of the fundamental frequency, (harmonics), n a possible DC component. where n is a whole number. n = 1 corresponds to the fundamental, n > 1 to the harmonic of the nth order.

Sinusoidal term of the Fourier series expansion of a periodic function. The harmonic (or harmonic component) of the nth order is characterised by: Yn is the rms value of the given harmonic component, w is the angular frequency of the fundamental, related to frequency by : w = 2¼f; phin is the phase angle of the given harmonic component at t = 0.

Harmonics (current and voltage)
All alternating current which is not absolutely sinusoidal is made up of a fundamental and a certain number of current harmonics which are the cause of its deformation (distortion) when compared to the theoretical sine-wave. For each current harmonic of order n and an rms value In, there is a voltage harmonic with an rms value Un. If Zsn is the voltage source output impedance for the harmonic of the nth order, then: Un = Zsn x In

High-frequency interference {see Interference (high-frequency) }

Individual distortion {see Distortion (individual) }

Inrush current {see Current (inrush) }

Interference (high-frequency)
High-frequency parasitic current that is either conducted (electrostatic origin) or radiated (electromagnetic origin) by a device.

UPS subassembly that recomposes a sine-wave output (regulated and without breaks) using the DC current supplied by the rectifier-charger or the battery. The primary elements of the inverter are the DC/AC converter, a regulation system and an output filter.

Inverter (off-line or stand-by)
UPS configuration in which the inverter is parallel-mounted to the load supply line and backs up the utility. This configuration offers a substantial cost reduction but is applicable only to low outputs, under 3 kVA, because it results in an interruption lasting up to 10 ms during transfer and does not filter inrush currents.

Inverter (on-line)
UPS configuration in which the inverter is in series mounted between the utility and the load. All power drawn by the load passes via the inverter. This is the only configuration used for high outputs.
Load (linear)
Load for which voltage form and current form are similar, or in phase. Voltage and current are related by Ohm's law U(t) = Z x I(t).

Load (non-linear)
Load (generally with a switched-mode power supply) generating major harmonic currents. Current wave form is out of phase with the voltage wave form. Ohm's law is not applicable. It can be used only with each harmonic.

Load power
Apparent power Pu that the UPS inverter supplies under given load conditions. It is less than or equal to the rated output Pn. The ratio Pu/Pn defines the % load of the inverter.

Maintenance Bypass (Wrap Around)
Manually operated series of circuit breakers creating a make before break (preferably) parallel path around the UPS and static switch. Once energized, all load power is supplied through the bypass, and the UPS can be completely de-energized allowing any service activity.
Micro-outage (or micro-interruption) Total loss in the supply of power for 10 ms.

MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
Mathematical calculation of the duration of normal operation of a repairable device between failures. The product, expressed in hours, is an indication on the reliability of the device.

MTTF (Mean Time To Failure)
Mathematical calculation of the duration of normal operation of a non-reparable device, i.e. for which a MTBF is not possible. The product, expressed in hours, is an indication on the reliability of the device.

MTTR (Mean Time To Repair)
Mathematical calculation (or statistical average if available) of the time required to repair a device.

Noise level
Acoustical decibel level of a source of noise, measured according to the applicable ISO standard.

Non-linear load {see Load}

Off-line inverter (or stand-by) {see Inverter}

On-line inverter {see Inverter}

Output (rated)
Apparent power Pn that the UPS can deliver under given load conditions (power factor = 0.8).

Overall distortion {see Distortion (overall) }

Percent load
Ratio between the power Pu drawn by the load and the rated output Pn of a UPS system (Pu/Pn). Sometimes referred to as the load factor.

Phase-shift filter {see Filter (phase-shift) }

Power factor (l)
Ratio between the active power(true power) P supplied to a load and the apparent power S supplied to said load by an AC power supply.

Power source (alternate)
Backup source used in the event of a mains failure. The connection time and the duration of the source depend on the type of source used.

Power source (safety)
Power source for loads defined as critical by applicable safety regulations. This supply must not be affected by a mains failure and is generally separate from other supplies.

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)
Inverter high-frequency chopping technique using a means of regulation enabling rapid modification of pulse widths over a single period, thus making it possible to maintain the inverter output within tolerances even for non-linear loads.

Rated output {see Output (rated) }

Reactance (subtransient Uscx %, for generator)
Relative measurement (%) of the internal impedance of an AC generator during harmonic phenomena. This reactance, also called the longitudinal subtransient reactance of the generator, is sometimes identified as X"d. For most common generators, the value ranges between 15 and 20%. It can drop to 12% for optimized systems and to 6% for special devices.

Recombination battery {see Battery (recombination) }

UPS component that draws on the mains the power required to supply the inverter and to float charge or recharge the battery. The alternating input current is rectified and then distributed to the inverter and the battery.

Redundancy (active)
Parallel UPS configuration in which several UPS units with equal outputs are parallel connected and share the load. In the event one UPS unit fails, the other units pick up its share without any interruption in the supply of power to the load.

Redundancy (standby)
UPS configuration in which one or several UPS units operate on stand-by, with no load or only a partial load, and can immediately back up a faulty UPS unit by no-break transfer of the load, carried out by a static switch.

Probability that a device will accomplish a required function under given conditions over a given period of time. Rms value of AC current with harmonics The rms value Yrms of a non-sinusoidal alternating current may be determined on the basis of the individual harmonic currents: where Y is the rms value of the fundamental.

RS232C (Recommended standard RS232C)
Standard defining the communication circuits between devices for synchronous and asynchronous transmissions on the following types of lines: two-wire, four-wire, point-to-point, telephone lines and local links with short cables. Though the standard covers only transmissions over distances up to 15 meters, it is often possible to ensure correct transmission over greater distances using high-quality shielded cable in a reasonably satisfactory electrical environment. Most terminals and devices on the market can implement this transmission standard.

RS422A (Recommended standard RS422A)
Standard RS232C is sufficient for transmissions in a normal environment. For transmissions in a disturbed environment or over long distances, standard RS422A offers a differential operation option, with a balanced voltage, ensuring far superior performance. What is more, it can be used for multipoint links, with generally up to ten connection points (one sender and up to ten receivers).
RS485 (Recommended standard RS485)
This standard is similar to RS422A except that the number of possible links is greater and up to 32 senders may be interconnected to as many receivers. This system is particularly designed for local-area networks.

Safety installation
Installation supplying electrical equipment which may have a direct effect on the safety of users and must therefore remain energised even in the event of a mains failure. In general, characteristics concerning the power supply and conditions for transfer to the safety source for such electrical equipment are covered by applicable regulations.

Safety power source {see Power source (safety) }

Static bypass switch
Power-electronics device that can be used to switch from one source to another without interruption in the supply of power. In a UPS, transfer is from Mains 1 to Mains 2 and back. Transfer without interruption is possible due to the fact that there are no mechanical parts and the ultra-fast switching capabilities of the electronic components.

Sub transient reactance of generator (Uscx %) {see Reactance (subtransient Uscx %, for generator) }

Thevenin generator
For a given load, it is possible to consider the power supply as a voltage generator, referred to as a Thevenin generator, made up of a perfect voltage Uo generator, in series with an internal impedance Zs: n Uo is the voltage measured across the load terminals, given that the load is to be disconnected (load terminals forming an open circuit), n Zs is the equivalent impedance as seen from the load terminals (again considered an open circuit), obtained by short-circuiting the upstream voltage generator(s).

Tolerance in %
Limit for allowable variations for a given quantity, expressed as a percent of the rated value.

Transformer short-circuit voltage (Uscx %)
Relative measurement (%) of the internal impedance of a transformer. This short-circuit impedance is commonly called the short-circuit voltage because it is measured during a short-circuit test (shorted secondary winding subjected to a current set to In). For most common three-phase transformers, this value ranges between 3 and 6%.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a non-governmental, non-profit certification organization in the United States in which not only government authorities are represented, but also consumer groups, "export" services, research, etc. Following certification, a product may bear the UL label.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power supply)
An electrical device providing an interface between the mains power supply and sensitive loads (computer systems, instrumentation, etc.). The UPS supplies sinusoidal AC power free of disturbances and within strict amplitude and frequency tolerances. It is generally made up of a rectifier/charger and an inverter together with a battery for backup power in the event of a mains failure.

UPS (parallel with redundancy)
A UPS made up of several parallel-connected UPS units with equal output ratings (P) and each equipped with its battery. If one unit fails, one or several of the others pick up the resulting excess load. If a UPS has a rated output n x P and is made up of n + k units, k is the level of redundancy for the entire set of n + k units.

UPS (parallel without redundancy)
A UPS made up of several (n) parallel-connected UPS units with equal output ratings (P) and each equipped with its battery, for large loads. The total output is equal to the number of units multiplied by their individual output (n x P). In this configuration, no UPS unit is redundant.

UPS (single)
A UPS made up of one single UPS unit (rectifier/charger, inverter and bypass) and a battery.

Vented battery {see Battery (vented) }

Voltage (float)
DC voltage applied to the battery to maintain its charge level. This voltage depends on the type of battery, the number of cells and the manufacturerís recommendations.

Voltage harmonics {see #Harmonics (current and voltage)}