Using a 3D Printer UPS Can Prevent Build Failure
Have you ever, at one time, tried checking the progress of your 3D build only to find out that the printer had stopped printing the model halfway? If so, the printer may have stopped printing due to a power outage that you may not have noticed.
A half-printed 3D project can frustrate you because you will have to start printing again from the beginning. Not only can this be a waste of your printer filament but also time. If your printer experiences 100 milliseconds of power loss, you will lose an equivalent to 10 hours of printing time.
If your 3D model is no longer printing, your printer or computer may have a problem. Remember, the job could have stopped printing due to just a short power outage. To avoid this, you should never start your build without a 3D printer UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). A UPS will ensure that your printer is always powered.
Power Supply Issues
Many times, voltage instabilities of your main power source, even just for some milliseconds, can lead to build failures of your 3D models. Sometimes, power failure can be due to bad weather. To ensure your 3D build projects are completed, you need to ensure there is an uninterrupted power supply.
Most buildings experience slight power outages, which you may not easily notice. For example, if the lights flicker when someone switches on the tumble dryer, the flicker indicates interruption of power. Such a slight outage can make your 3D printer to stop printing.
On the same note, if you hear a slight crack sound through your speakers when the lights are switched on in another room, this is also an indication of interrupted power flow, which leads to voltage instabilities. The slight outages can affected the working of your 3D printer is one.
Why Are 3D Printers Vulnerable To Power Failures?
A 3D printer is a sensitive device. The slightest change in power voltage, even if it’s just for less than a second, is enough to make the printer terminate any further building.
When there is a slight power outage, the 3D printer can indicate that it experienced a power failure and cannot continue to build your model. Even if you power the printer again and try to continue the printing process, nothing will happen.
Most 3D printers respond like this to a power outage.
Another way your 3D printer may respond after experiencing a power fluctuation is trying to guess where it left the build and continue printing from there. During the printing process, your printer keeps track of how far it has progressed with your print and what it still has to do to complete the model.
Unfortunately, in case of power fluctuation, your printer might have a difficult time keeping track of how much printing it still needs to do to finish your build. When the voltage levels are restored, the printer will start printing at an incorrect stage, resulting in an incorrectly printed model.
How Does a UPS Protect a 3D Printer?
A 3D printer UPS uses different technologies to ensure your device keeps working even in case of voltage changes. The UPS has a backup battery that supplies power when an outage happens.
Using surge protectors will not solve the problem since they only protect devices against high voltages. On the other hand, voltage conditioning only offers protection if the supply of power is very poor, for example, in a rural area.
Below are the ways that a UPS will protect your 3D printer.
This is kind of power failure that you would actually notice. Severe storms can cause a blackout.
Other factors that can cause a blackout include an accident such as someone hitting down a power line, a construction worker or an animal damaging a power line and so on.
Today, power supply infrastructure is advanced and power outages can be rectified in a few minutes to an hour. However, the frequency of outages is high.
If your microwave’s clock flashes at 12:00, your home may have a power surge.
There are two types of power surges: internal and external power surges.
External power surges are caused by factors outside your home. The most common cause of power surges is lightening. Transformer problems and restoring power supply suddenly can also cause an external power surge.
Internal power surges are caused by the equipment inside your home. Some appliances or devices in your home like a refrigerator or air-conditioner draw a lot of current and this can lead to a power surge when they are switched on and off. For example, you might notice that the lights are flickering when you switch on your air-conditioner.
When a brownout happens, the voltage coming to your home is greatly reduced. Brownouts may be due to an effort by a power company to restore other parts of the power network to prevent a full blackout from happening in your area. The effects can be seen in electronic devices that require very specific voltages to operate optimally as they will get damaged quite easily.
Check the video below on installation of an Uninterruptible Power Supply for a 3D printer:
Choosing Battery Backups for 3D Printers
There are some factors you should keep in mind when looking to buy an Uninterruptible Power Supply for 3D printers. These factors include:
a) Enough power to continue printing
This is probably the most important criteria for choosing a UPS. The device should supply enough power to your printer for as long as possible.
Home and school 3D printers use very little electricity. Their different components such as the nozzles and fans are very efficient. All these components use just a little above 50 watts.
The biggest power consumers on your 3D printer are the build plate and the process of heating the filament. The power consumed during the heating and cooling process will vary but t should be in the range of 50W – 200W. This power is necessary to build high-quality models with great details.
On average consumer 3D printers use around 100 watts power each hour.
b) Enough time to react
The Uninterruptible Power Supply for 3D printer that you buy should protect your device from a short power outage of a few seconds. If a power line is knocked down, you will need a UPS that can continue to power your printer during a printing process. The power should be enough to allow you to pause the printing process or stop it manually.
If you own a power-hungry printer like the Creator Pro, buy a powerful UPS like the Cyberpower AV1500 that has 1500VA and 900W capacity. The UPS that will give at least 53 minutes of printing time.
Should power supply be interrupted, you will have enough time to pause the building process and notes the position of the z-axis. You can also continue your building flawlessly once power is restored.
When using the CyberPower AV1500 UPS with the Monoprice Mini Select, you will have over 4 hours of backup power supply should your main power go down. The UPS is more than enough to cope with some of the rare and common power outages.
c) Line interactive technology
For a UPS to protect your 3D printer from brownouts and possible voltage fluctuations, it should have line interactive technology.
The UPS has a special transformer that enables it to recompense for low and high input current without consuming any backup battery. The result is a longer lasting battery as the strain on it is significantly reduced.
The most common types of power failures are brownouts and voltage fluctuations. This is why it makes sense to get a UPS that will prevent these power failures from affecting your 3D printer.
d) Surge protection
A big power surge may happen due to a sudden restoration of power, industrial machinery current consumption, transformer malfunctions and when lightning hits your power lines.
Power surge protectors don’t work forever due to the nature of the complex functions they perform. Whether you are using a power strip or a UPS, the devices have metal oxide visitors (MOV) that are gradually sacrificed every time there is a power surge.
Choose a UPS that comes with the highest possible surge protection rating. This also is referred to as Surge Energy Rating and is calculated in Joules.
For example, if you get two UPS, one labeled SRE 1000 and the other SRE2000, the latter can take twenty hits of 100J while the former can take ten hits of 100J.
e) Ethernet protection
If your printer is connected to your computer through an Ethernet cable and a large voltage surge happens, the current will flow through all your cables in your house, the network and television coax. If your 3D printer is connected to a UPS but still has an Ethernet cable connecting it to your computer, it might still be at great risk of damage. To protect your devices, connect the Ethernet input and output ports on the UPS.
You will know that your UPS is doing a good job if you don’t realize that the power is out. A good UPS software will warn you that the UPS has kicked in to power your printer and for you to pause it, if necessary. The software should indicate the current power consumption and how long the backup battery will keep you going.
Best UPS for 3D Printers
This UPS offers great value for money compared to other similar products on the market. It has a 1500VA/900W capacity and can run for 4 hours. If you have a large 200W printer, the UPS will power it for up to 50 minutes from one of the five backed up outlets on the machine.
The UPS will provide your printer a constant voltage supply through its Intelligent Automatic Voltage Regulation feature that stabilizes the incoming power flow. This will prevent blackouts or brownouts from affecting your 3D printer.
The UPS provides protection against high voltage loads or surges through addition surge protection in all its outlets. The outlets can handle surge voltage of up to 1500J and can protect your Ethernet and USB cable connections.
The Cyberpower CP1500 AVR looks pleasant to and can be put on your 3D printer desk. At the front, there is a bright LCD screen that displays all the information and statistics you need.
This UPS comes with a warranty of 3 years and the company offers up to $500,000 guarantee for malfunction damage of anything that is connected to your UPS.
This Cyberpower CP1500’s specifications are similar to the AVR model with the exception of a pure sine wave. You should buy this UPS if your devices need to connect to your UPS using active power factor correction (PFC).
Most hobby 3D printers do not have an active PFC. However, if you have a 3D printer DIY kit, it might probably have a PC power supply. In this case, you should protect the printer whose power supply would be much similar to that of a computer.
The Surge Energy Rating (SER) of this UPS is lower than the AVR model at around 1030J. However, you’ll get a whole lot more than you would with the APC UPS.
When you are running the latest PC technology devices, this UPS would give you good value for money.
The specifications of this UPS are much like those of the Cyberpower AVR 1500. However, its output is lower at 865W.
The APC Back-UPS comes with a lower max surge energy rating of about 354J. This is about a third of what you get with Cyberpower models. Therefore, the UPS would stop protecting your printer against surges long before a Cyberpower UPS would.
One thing that makes the APC UPS different is that you can add 4 additional batteries to supplement the two that ships with the printer. Adding the batteries will give you up to five times more power.
Where Can You Buy these UPS?
The 3D printer UPSs reviewed in this article are available for purchase on Amazon. Here are the links to the products:
Best UPS for your 3D Printer
If you are looking for a UPS that will fit all your 3D printer needs while still providing great value for money, get the Cyberpower CP1500 AVR. Your sensitive devices are in good hands with this UPS.