Updated: May 23, 2022
Living in the contemporary day without power is like living in the Stone Age. And house inverters have become one of the most important pieces of equipment in everyday life. They are one of the most helpful pieces of equipment for communities that experience frequent power outages.
But can a home inverter be used as UPS for computers? For a very long time, home inverters and UPS are treated as two different types of equipment due to their application. But as the technologies evolved and new rigid computers available in the market and the technology of home inverters developed too.
These evolutions in technologies are starting to obsolete the need for UPS.
Can a home inverter be used as UPS for the computer?
You can use a home inverter as UPS for the desktop computer, only if your home inverter has offline UPS mode [sometimes also marked as UPS mode]. Many home inverters have come with ECO and offline UPS modes. And when the home inverter is on offline UPS mode its switching time becomes less than 5 milliseconds (ms) and modern computers can tolerate a delay of 5 ms.
So, if you have a home inverter with [offline] UPS mode then you don't need a UPS for your desktop. Just keep your home inverter in UPS mode and forget the worries about power cuts.
Inverter for Your PC (Desktop Computer)
If your home inverter didn't have UPS mode, then here are some recommended home inverters you can use to power your desktop as well as home appliances during power cuts.
#1 Luminous Zelio: The Luminous Zelio + 1100 inverter is one of the most popular inverters with a capacity of 900VA on the market. This inverter has an LCD screen that displays important information such as standby power status and battery charge time. It has UPS mode that can keep your PC running in power cuts. And it supports tubular, flat and Gel batteries. It has a bypass switch that makes it convenient to bypass the inverter if there is any problem with it.
It can support battery sizes from 100Ah to 220Ah, and if you have an issue with battery hazard gasses then you should buy, the Luminous 150Ah Gel battery, which doesn't produce gasses and lots safer than FLAT or Tubular battery.
#2 Luminous ECO Watt NEO: Under the 5,000 Rs Range, Luminous ECO Watt Neo is the best inverter you can have to power your PC in power cuts. It has UPS and ECO mode and it can also support all types of Lead-Acid batteries, that is tubular batteries, Flat batteries and Gel batteries. It can support a battery from 80Ah to 220Ah.
#3 Luminous HkVA 2 kVA: Luminous Hkva is a heavy-duty, 2,000 VA home inverter, which can power heavy loads like desktops, fridge (250 ltr) and TV. Highly reliable and constructed with industrial standards. It requires two batteries (each 12V) to work and support a FLAT battery, a tubular battery and a Gel battery. It has a status display to show all status of the inverter and connected battery.
It has an inbuilt MCB for protection from fault in the input power supply. You can bypass it with its bypass switch if you need to.
Most of the home inverters come with the marking of ECO mode and UPS mode but don't get confused with them. There are two types of UPS available in the market, that is Online UPS and Offline UPS. And home inverters only come with Offline UPS.
A home inverter without UPS mode is not suitable for computers, because the switching time of such an inverter is much higher than the permissible switch time for desktop computers.
ECO Mode Vs UPS Mode of a Home inverter
The difference between the ECO and UPS mode of a home inverter is the switching time of the inverter. In offline UPS the transfer/switching time refers to the change from the utility source to the inverter when there is a power outage.
Here are some notable differences between ECO mode and UPS mode in the Home inverter
When the home inverter is in UPS mode its switching mod is 5 milliseconds (ms) and when the inverter is in ECO mode the switching time of the home inverter is 10 to 20 milliseconds (ms). And this switching time is only suitable for home appliances.
It is recommended to keep the home inverter in UPS mode while using a desktop without UPS.
In ECO mode home inverter works 2 to 5 % most efficiently than in UPS mode.
Online UPS mode is still not available in any make of Home inverters due to the high price and low-performance implications. So before choosing home inverters over Online UPS you need to understand the difference between online ups and offline ups.
What is the normal mode in inverter UPS or ECO mode?
In an inverter, ECO mode is essentially the Normal mode. If there is no desktop or important equipment such as a desktop attached to the inverter output power distribution, it is suggested to maintain your home inverter in normal [eco] mode. Otherwise, your inverter's efficiency will be compromised.
Offline UPS VS Online UPS
Both Online and Offline UPS have batteries, AC to DC converters, and DC to AC inverters. Both are almost identical from the outside, but the difference between them is their internal circuit.
The internal circuit of both UPSs defines the sort of operation that they are capable of doing in order to offer an uninterrupted power supply to a desktop computer.
Refer to the below diagram showing the typical block of the internal circuits of an Offline UPS and an Online UPS.
When the power is available
Online UPS: Converter Charges battery and Inverter discharge battery simultaneously to power desktop.
Offline UPS: Converter charges battery [if it needs to charge] and Inverter is isolated from desktop [and other loads]. And the desktop is powered directly from the grid via a transfer switch.
During the power outage [cuts]
Online UPS: The converter stays idle because there is no power available to charge the battery and the Inverter will discharge the battery to power the desktop.
Offline UPS: Converter stays idle because there is no power available to charge battery and transfer switch transfer power source from grid to inverter output. This will make the inverter start discharging the battery to power the desktop via a transfer switch.
10 differences between Offline UPS and Online UPS.
Online UPS has Zero switching time whereas Offline UPS has a switching time of 5ms or less.
The online UPS always kept its battery on charging and discharging simultaneously. Whereas offline UPS discharges the battery only during the power outage and charges only as long the battery gets a full charge.
Online UPS is more expensive than Offline UPS.
Offline UPS are more energy-efficient than online UPS.
Offline UPS can’t protect the computer from the voltage fluctuation of the utility source. Whereas Online UPS protects the computer from the same.
Online UPS produces lots of heat as compared to Offline UPS.
The battery life of Online UPS is lower [due to simultaneously charging and discharging of battery] as compared to Offline UPS.
Due to low battery life, online UPS has a small rating of battery as compared to offline UPS.
Offline UPS can provide more backup time to computers than online UPS.
Online UPS provide a fixed and stable power supply to computer irrespective of the availability of utility power. Whereas offline provides the power supply to the computer only during a power outage.
If the power supply by your utility company is very distorted and voltage fluctuation is noticeable then don’t go with offline UPS until it comes with AVR (automatic voltage regulator). These types of offline UPS with AVR are also called line-interactive UPS.
On the other hand, if the voltage fluctuation is very low (hard to notice) then you can go with offline UPS or a home inverter with offline UPS mode.
How to choose an inverter for a PC?
The only inverter that can operate a PC during a power outage is one that has a UPS mode. A PC consumes 200 to 300Watt of power, hence the size of the inverter should be big enough to run your PC as well as other appliances.
What size inverter is required to run a computer?
If you only want to operate the computer, the 900kVA of the home inverter will be enough. However, if you want to use additional household appliances, you will need a 1500kVA home inverter.
To obtain the desired backup time, you'll need the correct inverter size as well as the right battery size.
How long can a desktop run on an inverter?
The backup time for a desktop to run on an inverter depends upon the battery rating. The higher the battery rating higher will be the backup time.
120Ah: 120 min to 180 min
150Ah: 150 min to 210 min
200Ah: 195 min to 280 min
On the other hand, if you have a PC and other home appliances on an inverter then the backup time for 120Ah, 150Ah, and 200Ah batteries is given below. [considering 500 watts at the total power of home appliances].
120Ah: 30 min to 50 min
150Ah: 45 min to 70 min
200Ah: 50 min to 90 min
How to connect the computer with the inverter
To connect your home inverter with a computer you will need wiring to be done from the home inverter to the power plug near your desktop. You can also use a power extension cord and connect it with the output of your inverter. In both cases make sure that your inverter is on UPS mode.
Can we run and charge the laptop on the inverter?
Yes, you can charge your laptop run as well as charge your Laptop on an inverter. You also don't require an inverter with a UPS mode to power your laptop. An inverter without UPS mode can also be used to power your laptop.