What kind of types of Power Supplies available on the market?

The most recent ATX PSU standard is version 2.31 of mid-2008. The standard ATX form factor dimensions are 140(D) x 150(W) x 86(H)mm. However, there are various other form factor sizes such as:

SFX – 100(D) x 125(W) x 64(H)mm
TFX – 175(D) x 85(W) x 66(H)mm
PS3 – 100(D) x 150(W) x 86(H)mm

FSP offers solutions for all these form factors and more.

How to choose the right UPS?

  1. Decide between offline, line interactive and online functionality:
    1. Offline UPS will only provide back-up in blackout situations.
    2. Line interactive will provide back-up in blackout as well as during Sags, Spikes, Surges, Noise and Transient situation.
    3. Online UPS provides the maximum level of back-up and protection under all circumstances.
  2. Consider the requirements of power quality.
  3. Understand the current capacity of UPS and consider the future expanding.
  4. Limit your choice to brands with a good reputation.
  5. Choose UPS based on your requirements.

a. What are important items you should evaluate when buying an UPS?

  1. UPS reliability and stability.
  2. The excellent engineers and the ability of products creation.
  3. High efficiency and low noise.
  4. Suppliers reputation and financial situation.
  5. Check that the product has a valid CE approval by the European Community.
  6. Manufacturer certifications such as ISO9001, ISO9002, and so.

b. Do I need UPS when I live where seldom power failure happens?

Power failure is just one of power problems that can occur in a home or office. Other power problems such as high voltage, low voltage, and spikes are more important and often go unnoticed. The purpose of a UPS is to provide customers the necessary protection against some or all of those problems. A UPS can also provide extended back up time (back up time depends on the user’s energy consumption and the capacity of the UPS).

c. What could I use for the RJ11 connector on the rear panel of UPS?

The RJ11 connector is used to protect the phone line. Hence, you can connect your phone; fax machine, modem and ADSL with it for better protection.

d. How many kinds of Power problems?

Besides the blackout (no power available), there are other power problems like Sags, Spikes, Surges, Noise and Transients that can damage a PC or other high technical equipment, as well as shorten their usable lifetime.

e. What kinds of equipment should I use with the UPS? Is there any limit for it?

Normally, the UPS is used for PC, high technical equipment & medical appliances. Since most UPS are designed for PC and similar devices, not all kinds of equipment can be connected to it. Copy machines and laser printers that have big starting current also could not be used with UPS, since the huge starting current might overload the UPS’s capabilities. Special care must also be taken with capacitive or inductive loads such as those of cooling fans, refrigerators, and any equipment that includes motors, compressors or pumps, since these kinds of loads will damage the UPS.

f. What is the impact of different output waveforms?

The most common waverforms are Simulated-Sinewave and Pure-Sinewave. There are three major types of loads: Resistive load (Lamps); SPS load (PC power supply) & Conductive Load (Motors). All the types of load can be used with Pure Sinewave. However, only Resistive and SPS loads can be used with Modified Sinewave.

g. What is the impact to the PC with different transfer time?

Except On-Line UPS, all other UPS have a short transfer time of 2ms to 10ms to switch from AC Input mode to battery mode (OFF-LINE UPS & LINE INTERACTIVE UPS). Since this transfer time of 2-10ms is shorter than the hold-up time of a good-quality PC PSU, there should be no problems when a blackout happens. The power supply of PC can continue working for around 16ms without input power, so most PC will still work functionally when the short transfer time occurs (please note that this will heavily depend on the quality of the power supply used).

h. What is the battery type of UPS?

Most UPS use Lead-Acid maintenance-free batteries. This kind of battery is sealed so the UPS can be installed in any location without causing problems due to gas leakage, so it does not pose a threat during charging and discharging. So it also could be an indoor installation.

i. What is the lifetime of batteries?

The battery lifetime depends on the ambient temperature and frequency of charging and discharging. Higher ambient temperature and frequent charging and discharging will reduce batteries lifetime. We offer one year battery lifetime guarantee. However, the battery lifetime is close to two years under normal use.

The importance of Power Supplies

The three elements that play a major role in the stable operation of a computer, are its Motherboard, its memory and most importantly its power supply.

When assembling a computer, the average computer user is more likely to pay more attention to the role of the motherboard and memory in the stability of the computer, while many consumers are ignorant of the importance of selecting a good power supply. Novice computer users mostly use brandless supplies that come with the case, yet many users do not know that the design of such power supplies does not conform to standard power supplies, which may well result in reduced performance and unstable operation of the computer and cause damage to computer peripherals!

Electronic components are affected differently by the different designs of supplies. Therefore, in case of any slight problem occurring when the power supply is transforming utility power (AC current) into +3.3V, +5V, +12V current useable by the computer, the power supply may not be able to operate normally. Or, in case of poor design of the power supply, under certain circumstances it may result in an unstable electric current and insufficient power supply. The computer may seem to operate normally, but in reality the life-span of peripherals is gradually shortened. Therefore, when assembling or purchasing a computer, it is advisable to choose a power supply with a good reputation for quality and to avoid those power supplies that come with the computer case, unless of course you can be sure of the quality of that particular product!

What are the new trend in Power Supply Units?

In the wake of the emergence of global environmental awareness and the implementation of the European Union environmental policy, the demand for and attention on energy-saving products have become the latest trend.

On 27 January 2003,the European Union issued the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)Directive, therewith outlining regulations for the use of heavy metals(lead(Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury(Hg), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)) and flame retardants (PBB) (Polybrominated Biphenyls) and PBDE (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers)) in electrical and electronic equipment imported into the Member States of the European Union, strictly controlling levels of electromagnetic waves that may be harmful to the human body, demanding reduced material waste during manufacturing processes, and requiring a reuse/recycle rate of 75%. This Directive became effective on 1st July 2006.

With the concepts of environmental protection and material recycling in mind, FSP Group was the first to introduce low-waste, environmentally friendly high-performance power supplies. The use of solvents containing fluorine (bromine) has been banned from materials and manufacturing processes, the use of chemical compounds containing heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium) for casings has been restricted, and used materials have been reduced by 600grams, substantially eliminating weight of any electronic articles that are discarded for recycling. The superior high-performance active PFC circuit design of our various power supplies delivers a performance of up to 90% at nominal load, while the low power consumption design of less than 1W in standby mode considerably reduces electricity costs, making this a truly environmentally friendly product of superior quality.

Seeking stable operation of computer systems and even higher performance, great expectations and demands are placed on power supplies that have seen a development from low to high wattage, from general output to high performance, and from noisy to silent products. End-users have of course reaped the most benefits from advancements in product technology and design. With high-standard and economic power, our lives have undergone considerable transformation, and FSP has played its part in being a responsible product developer.

PSU Knowledge

What you should know about Power Supply Units!

a. The more fan, the better?

Fans are relied upon to effectively disperse the waste heat generated by the power supply. In addition to the commonly seen single fan power supplies, power supplies with a double or even triple fan design for even better heat convection and concurrent dispersion of heat inside the computer have emerged on the market. Although in theory better dissipation efficiency can be attained with a larger number of fans, a good case design can actually also successfully dissipate waste heat. In single fan products, the fan is positioned either at the bottom of the power supply or the back of the power supply. A large number of fans may generate excessive noise, which is why single fan power supplies have gradually become the mainstream product. Therefore, the key is not the number of fans, but the heat dissipation efficiency.

b. The larger the fins, the better?

When opening the case of a power supply, the first thing that you will notice is the heat sink fins. Although the design concept used in many products is based on the theory that the larger the fins are, the better the heat dissipation will be, this theory does not necessarily apply to power supplies. In power supplies, the main function of the fins is to transform energy lost in the power transformation and output process into waste heat, and conduct this along the fins for dissipation. In other words, this waste heat is actually energy that is lost during operation of the power supply. The size of the fins should therefore be interrelated to the “efficiency” of the power supply. High-efficiency power supplies can adequately use and transform power, and thus generate a relatively small amount of waste heat, making it unnecessary to equip them with large fins. Besides, consumers who have studied fins probably know that rather than fin size, the fins’ “dissipation area” is what’s important when evaluating the dissipation efficiency, because the larger the dissipation area is, the greater the dissipation efficiency will be. Another key factor for the dissipation efficiency is whether the fins have a single-piece design.

c. Power Factor Correction (PFC) makes power supply more environmentally-friendly

In order to comply with the European EN61000-3-2 and IEC1000-3-2 standard for electrical equipment, the design of power supplies meant for export to Europe includes a PFC (Power Factor Correction) Circuit which reduces the difference between effective power (input AC) and apparent power (power consumption) and thus minimizes wasted energy. This way power can be saved and the goal of producing an environmentally friendly product achieved, while at the same time consumers are enabled to economize on their electricity bill.

There are two types of PFC circuits, namely active PFC and passive PFC. Passive PFCs mostly have a big choke (inductor), while active PFCs are equipped with a controller chip.

d. Others special designs

Today’s power supplies have many ergonomic and consumer-considerate designs. Fanless power supplies, for example, enable the user to find a balance between heat dissipation and noise, while with the fully automatic voltage setting of many power supplies users no longer need to worry about using the correct voltage when abroad. Other power supplies have focused on modular cabling, using better materials, coated anti-interference power cords, or wires of various lengths for easy planning and management. Serial-ATA and PCI-e power connectors are the main trend of today and the future. When purchasing a power supply, these are all design characteristics that consumers can take into consideration.

e. Weight is definitely not the decisive factor

The weight of components is definitely no longer a factor in deciding upon the quality of a power supply. Good quality power supplies are those power supplies that have a proper design and that comply with the relevant norms and standards. The method that was used in the past to determine the quality, comparing weight, can only be considered as unfair. Of course, standard-compliant power supplies are usually not that light. Users who have once used an inferior brand power supply that came with the computer case probably understand what is important.

On the market most power supplies are sold together with a computer case. To reduce costs, a good computer case is not necessarily paired with a good power supply, and we therefore strongly advise to purchase a computer case and power supply separately.

What are the risks of an inferior quality power supply?

a. Hard disk burnout after power failure!

After the computer is turned on and ready, it will send a PG (Power Good) signal to the motherboard. Upon receiving this signal, the system will boot and the hard disk will start to read and write. When at this point there is low voltage and insufficient power, the hard disk will experience an abnormal rotation speed due to which the magnetic heads of the hard disk cannot be suspended to their normal position and will scratch the disk.

b. Unstable screen picture

Using an inferior quality power supply may influence the display, giving a rippled or unstable picture. If a problem with the display card is ruled out, the problem most probably lies in an unstable power supply to the motherboard.

c. Overload causing burnout of chips, cards and/or motherboard.

Sudden cutoff from power supply or computer shutdown due to power failure. None of the peripheral hardware, nor the CPU, memory, motherboard and display card, will be able to work normally. As the +5V and +12V output terminals of an inferior quality ATX power supply use the same voltage regulator circuit, it may occur that a higher +5V load causes a higher +12V output voltage. Since most chips, cards and motherboards require a +12V power supply, a substantial increase in the +12V voltage of an inferior quality power supply may lead to burnout of these components.

d. Excessive noise of sound card

Inferior quality power supplies are well below the standard for electromagnetic screens and current output purity. In such a poor environment, they can hardly be expected to produce a nice sound. False and deceitful label specifications of inferior quality power supplies lead to unexpectedly frequent re-starts of the computer.


What is the meaning of this label data on Power Supply Units?

1. Wattage
A Power supply can transform alternating current (AC) of the utility power into direct current (DC) required by your computer. Most power supplies provide the computer with +3.3V, +5V, +12V, -12V, -5V power, and we usually use the wattage (watts) to evaluate the power’s capability.

2. Capacitance
Capacitance plays a very important role in power supplies. A high-capacity filter capacitor can provide the computer with a better and purer input current, which is extremely important for the stability of the computer, If the input current is not pure this will lead to chaotic signals, interfering with the normal processing of signals by the computer and causing instability. Many cheap power supply manufacturers use low-capacity filter capacitors to cut costs, resulting in the computer’s performance falling short. There are even inferior quality power supplies that pose the risk of an exploding capacitor when the computer is struck by lightning or affected by any other unexpected impact.

3. Output
AC input stands for the input from the external power source (utility power), in Taiwan or USA 110V, and the specification is therefore 115V (+-10% margin). The 230V specification is for use in Europe, while amperage and frequency are relevant corresponding specifications. The voltages supplied by the power supply after transformation of AC current into DC current useable by the computer and most important to gamers, are 3.3V, +5V and +12V. +3.3 and +5 are usually required by processors, chipsets, display cards, and PCI and USB devices, while storage devices, CD-ROMs etc. need +12V. Users, and in particular gamers who often use the power management or Wake on Lan (WOL) function, must also pay attention to the +5Vsb (standby power) indication, because the WOL function, for example, requires a power of approximately 600mA. Therefore, if your platform consists of high voltage (HV) equipment such as a high-end high-speed processor with a high-end display card, choosing a high quality power supply is of crucial importance.

The data provided on labels of power supplies available on the market are not always identical. As each manufacturer may have “different ideas”, labeling often seems “ambiguously unclear”. There are manufacturers that indicate the maximum power of a continuous output, while other indicate the peak surge output. As long as there is no set norm, though the indicated specifications may be similar, some power supply brands will show no problem in case of overload, while others will stop working altogether after only 1 or 2 seconds of overload. Imagine if we were to compare the other detailed output specifications, short circuit protection data, etc. of power supplies and take into consideration factors such as power quality. Therefore, choosing a high quality power supply is extremely important!

4. Input Voltage Range
On the label, the indicated input voltage range can be full range 100-240 Vac, covering global commercial voltage levels. In Europe, a single range (230V only) power supply can be used.

5. Input Frequency
The commercial range for input voltage frequency is usually 50 or 60 Hz, while electrical specifications are usually 47-63Hz.

6. Efficiency
Efficiency = (output power) / (input power), the input-output surplus becomes energy.

7. Turn-on delay time
The time that it takes for the output voltage to reach a stable voltage range after the system is powered on.

8. Hold up time
The time during which the output can be maintained after the system is powered off.

What are EMI waves?

“Electromagnetic waves” are waves that are created as a result of the interaction between an electric field and a magnetic field and that move through the air. The way they move can be compared to the wave movement of the sea. Our living space is full of all types of invisible electromagnetic waves, the existence of which we are never aware of.

In Taiwan, the awareness of and protection against electromagnetic interference is gradually receiving attention, and although Taiwan has not yet introduced strict measures for the control of electromagnetic interference caused by electronic products, electromagnetic interference related implementations by American and European governments and the widespread use of digital products mean that also in Taiwan swift demands must be set on electromagnetic interference.

According to an article in the Scientific American (magazine), electromagnetic waves of over 60Hz are harmful to the human DNA structure.

Note: microwave oven: 2450MHz, mobile phone: 700-1900MHz, computer: 300-450MHz)

The harm of electromagnetic waves to the human body includes:

  • increased risk of leukemia
  • reduced immunity
  • infertility, miscarriage and fetal deformities
  • brain tumors, breast cancer, headaches, arrhythmia, disrupted melatonin secretion, dementia
  • Only certified and guaranteed products provide EMI protection.

Do FSP have safety standard certifications?

Our products have passed the safety standards of various countries, including the FIMKO(Finland), NEMKO (Norway), CSA (Canada Standards Association), D (Denmark), CB (International Certification Body), UL (American Underwriters Laboratory), DVE (Germany), TUV (North America), and SEMKO (Sweden) safety standard. They have also obtained electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic radiation interference related certification, such as CE (European safety standard for electrical equipment), FCC (American Federal Communications Commission) and CCEE (Chinese Great Wall) certification. Most consumers, when they do not understand the specifications indicted on the power supply, look at the number of passed certifications to determine whether they are dealing with a good or bad power supply.

Of course, if a product has passed a safety standard certification, this indicated that it complies with “a certain” norm for electrical equipment in that particular country, however, that same safety standard can be divided into many different subcategories with each subcategory having different implications. CSA certification, for example, does not only distinguish region and product type, but also distinguishes different classes, so who can guarantee the universal quality of power supplies?

When a power supply has passed many different safety standard certifications, this of course indirectly means that this product in some way has reached a certain standard, however, some safety standard marks are easily copied and the public is often deceived by “underground certification”. There are even manufacturers without concern for the implications for the user.

If safety standard indications can be falsified, then how can you distinguish original from fake? Once a product has passed a safety standard certification, you can check relevant information either with the organization that issued the certification or on that organization’s website. Of course, this requires” time”, so when purchasing a power supply, another option would be to choose a product from a reputable large manufacturer or a brand praised by gamers. Some power supply manufacturers include a copy of the safety standard certification in their packaging as a user reference, and although this is a responsible method of the manufacturer, the user has no way of knowing whether this copy isn’t fake also.