Creating UPS Powered Mains Sockets Around Your Home

UPS Powered Mains Sockets

Here’s one Automated Home readers account of how he powers various systems around his home from special UPS supplied sockets.  This allows him to keep not only his PCs up during power outages, but also his Home Cinema System, TVs, Phones etc.  As with all mains electricity work, please only use a  qualified electrician and follow the regulations for your area.

Submission by David Chapman – Living in an area prone to power cuts I have purchased a number of UPS’s over the years for home and work from ‘Andy the UPS Man‘.  My setup has been in use and working well for the last seven years, here’s how I’ve done it.

I have an APC 3000VA tower UPS in the garage under a bench and it runs from an ordinary 13a plug in socket. My garage is well insulated but not normally heated and this results in a good environment, temp ranges from 10c to 20c and humidity is normally no higher than 50%.  UPS’s hate heat and I’ve found the batteries don’t last anywhere near as long if they are in warm equipment rooms.

My UPS output is routed around my house and office with dedicated radial circuits that terminate in bright red sockets labelled “UPS ONLY” on the walls (easy to do as our home was a selfbuild).  The UPS powers all the TV and home cinema stuff, alarm, phone, PCs etc.  This works very well and if we have a power cut it’ll run everything for about 30 minutes, longer if I turn off some items.

This gives me time to go to the garage and pull out my Kama suitcase generator (from eBay). This provides  an output that is smooth enough the UPS will accept it as mains and switch back to normal mode.  I put the generator on the bench, open the window, although it’s not noisy or too smelly, and it “re-charges” the UPS whilst that continues to supply the house.

The 1Kw generator has worked fine works fine as the UPS load in “no mains power mode” is normally much less than 1Kw. Although for this winter I’m upgrading to a 3Kw generator so I can run a big fridge freezer at the same time in the case of longer power cuts.

In our hall, we have a “power cut torch” This is a rechargeable torch plugged in to the mains that comes on automatically when mains power goes off – this is useful at night although because the UPS powers most of the screens there is normally enough light to see your way about when power goes off.

Another benefit of the UPS, our mains voltage fluctuates a lot and is normally very high (over 250v) causing more PSUs failures than normal but the stuff on the UPS runs at 238v which can only be a good thing.

UPS Powered Mains Sockets

The UPS output goes in to a neon lit fused spur. This is wired “backwards”. Neon shows UPS output. From here two ordinary 2.5mm T&E cables go to the red sockets in the house. The red sockets are in two locations, my office and “node 0” which is a small cupboard behind TV in living area.

I don’t bother with any UPS signalling for PCs / servers. If I’m at home then generator means they stay on, if I’m away and power loss is long enough for UPS to drain then servers are unlikely to be doing much and can tolerate losing power (that has only happened once).

One final point, the UPS is close to my main Consumer Unit so the layout should be obvious to all.  But even so I’ve added a label on the main CU next to switch warning that red UPS sockets will be live when main power is switched off.

Generators on eBay   :   UPS on eBay   :   Andy the UPS Man

2 Comments on "Creating UPS Powered Mains Sockets Around Your Home"

  1. Brilliantly simple solution to a problem. Wish I had thought of that when re wiring my house.

  2. Colin Smith | April 29, 2014 at 10:07 am |

    Excellent solution – really like it. I’m planning something similar with the addition of an additional CU style switches feeding back from where the UPS wiring is cabled back to so the red sockets can be easily (and independently) isolated if someone wants to make certain there is absolutely no power to red or white sockets in one of the rooms (without turning my servers in the rack off or having to pull cables). Have a rackmount APC UPS and planning to add a few of the daisy-chainable external battery components to it so it can last a bit longer.

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