3D printers can print virtually anything that you design on a computer. However, the printing process must run uninterrupted for extended periods to succeed. A UPS battery backup is vital for 3D printers, as even a brief power outage could cause a failed print job.
Choosing a UPS battery backup for your 3D printer begins with identifying which critical devices you need to keep the 3D printer running. Then, consider the power supply risks in your area. Next, calculate your backup power needs and shortlist UPS models that can provide the necessary power. Lastly, choose the UPS with value-added features that support your 3D printer’s operations.
This guide will walk you through a step-by-step process of choosing a UPS battery backup for your 3D printer.
How Do I Choose A UPS Backup Battery For A 3D Printer?
3D printers have unique backup power needs. You’ll have to understand those needs and match them with your UPS options to find the best model for your needs.
Here are the steps you can follow to find the best UPS backup battery for your 3D printer:
Step 1: Identify Critical Devices
The first step to choosing the best UPS battery backup is to decide which devices are the most critical and require UPS protection.
Never forget that all UPS models have limited resources, regardless of their brand or how much you pay for them.
Those resources are their backup battery capacities and the number of power outlets (i.e. the number of devices you can connect to it at one time).
Of course, your 3D printer is the most critical device you want to protect with the UPS. But are there others as well?
Depending on your 3D printer setup, you might also want to provide backup power for things like:
- The computer that your 3D printer is connected to.
- The WiFi router that your 3D printer connects to, primarily if the printer is controlled and monitored remotely.
- Multiple 3D printers operate in the same place, like if you’re running a printing business.
- Any other supporting devices you need for your 3D operator to function correctly.
At this step of the process, you’ll want to list down all the devices you use. Then, narrow down that list by identifying the critical ones that require a UPS battery backup.
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Step 2: Understand Your Risks
Next, you must understand the risks you face regarding the power supply in your area.
Is your area prone to blackouts or other power disruptions? And when they happen, do they typically occur for brief periods or several hours?
Understanding your risks is crucial to ensure you don’t under or over-invest in the UPS battery backup you purchase for your 3D printer.
Let’s look at two examples:
- Example 1: Suppose your area is prone to frequent blackouts that only last a few seconds each time. In that case, you won’t need to buy a UPS with an excessive battery capacity to keep your 3D printer running.
- Example 2: Suppose blackouts or voltage disruptions only rarely happen in your area. But when they do, they can last for an hour or more. In that case, you’ll want to consider investing in a UPS with a high battery capacity to keep your 3D printer running for longer.
Remember: you can buy a UPS with as high a battery capacity. However, the higher the battery capacity, the more expensive it’ll be. That’s why it’s best to find one with just enough battery capacity for your particular needs.
Step 3: Calculate Backup Energy Needs
Now comes one of the most crucial steps in this process. When choosing the best UPS battery backup for your 3D printer, you must calculate your backup energy needs.
These calculations are crucial for two reasons:
- The UPS backup battery must store enough power to keep your 3D printer running during a blackout.
- The battery capacity also affects how long the UPS can power your 3D printer, particularly during extended blackouts.
The battery capacities of different UPS models are typically measured in volt-amps (VA). The higher the VA, the more backup power the unit can provide.
Start by calculating the VA needs of your 3D printer and other devices. You can sometimes find this information in the user manual.
Alternatively, you can calculate it manually by multiplying the printer’s voltage and amperage (volts x amps).
Then, multiply that figure by x1.2 to add a 20% safety buffer. Doing that will give you a total that includes your VA needs and an additional 20% extra battery capacity.
Once you have that total figure, you can compare it with the VA ratings of the UPS models you’re considering.
Step 4: Shortlist Suitable UPS Units
Just because a UPS model has a sufficient battery capacity to cover your VA requirements doesn’t make it the best choice for your 3D printer.
That’s why it’s worth taking the time to shortlist a few suitable UPS units with sufficient VA requirements.
A shortlist allows you to compare different models based on price, battery capacity, and other value-added features.
Step 5: Consider Value-Added Features
The final step in this process is to compare your shortlisted UPS battery backups based on their value-added features. That includes features like:
- LCD screens and other indicators
- UPS management and monitoring software
- Different form factors (e.g. one that fits on your desktop or one that stands independently)
- And more.
When providing backup power for 3D printers, an important feature is support for hot-swappable batteries.
Some UPS models allow you to switch out their batteries even when the device runs during a blackout. That will enable you to keep the UPS working for much longer because you can replace a drained UPS battery with a fully-charged one.
That ability to replace the battery without shutting down the UPS is called ‘hot-swappable’.
As you might imagine, a UPS that runs longer because of hot-swappable batteries can keep your 3D printer running indefinitely during a blackout as long as you have enough batteries.
That can be a lifesaver if you work on high-priority 3D printing jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you’ll find helpful for understanding your 3D printer and its UPS needs:
What Happens If Power Goes Out While 3D Printing?
A power outage while 3D printing can cause a failed print. However, that depends on your 3D printer and whether or not it has power-loss recovery features. Still, having a UPS battery backup reduces the risk of a failed print during a blackout.
What Happens If You Leave A 3D Printer On Overnight?
Leaving a 3D printer running unsupervised overnight is dangerous. That’s because no one is around to monitor the printer and shut it down if problems like short-circuits occur. Connecting the 3D printer to a UPS can reduce the risk of electrical faults from voltage spikes, but the printer should always be supervised.
Can A Power Outage Damage A 3D Printer?
A power outage can cause temporary damage to a 3D printer. Disruptions in the power supply can cause the printer’s components to malfunction. As a result, digital files could become corrupted. A UPS battery backup would reduce the risk of damage.
Can You Stop A 3D Print And Resume It Later?
Yes, you can choose to stop a 3D print that’s in progress to continue later. However, you can’t stop it manually during a sudden power outage. A UPS battery backup would provide power for long enough that you can pause the print job safely to resume later.
Does A 3D Printer Require Internet?
No, a typical 3D printer is connected directly to a computer through a USB cable. Some 3D printer models might require the internet if they are controlled remotely. You should only connect the router to your 3D printer’s UPS battery backup if the printer is controlled or monitored remotely.