Is there a lithium battery for desktop computers out there or how could I build one?

Bronte September 14, 2011
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I live in a part of the world where electricity seems to be a major problem. I installed an expensive UPS to manage the fluctuations so my desktop would not go off randomly. It works most of the time, but the computer does restart a few times a day because of electrical fluctuation.

A friend and I were having a discussion about it recently, and he said it would be nice if someone would design a lithium battery for desktops so if the power goes out, at least you don’t lose all your work (despite the UPS).

So my questions is: do any such solutions exist? Can anyone suggest a setup where a lithium battery takes over a 750 Watt desktop computer?

  1. Saša ?etkovi?
    September 17, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Remember Google's servers with internal batteries?

  2. Mike
    September 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    You can power a desktop PC with a battery but you have to look out for:
    1) A battery that offers enough Voltage for the PSU and enough power for more than "10 minutes" of usage2) Since batteries are direct current you need a DC input DC output power supply unit with computer specifications. Basically it has to offer 3.3V, ± 5V and ±12V and enough Ampere to power your components.As for your problem in general:You either have a damaged unit or the wrong type of UPS for your requirements. You most likely have an offline (or standby) UPS which simply is not fast and sensitive enough to switch to the backup source during fluctuations.I'm not that much of an expert on UPS but you probably need a line-interactive unit if not an online or double-conversion type UPS. Those units are mostly (depending on internal design) capable of handling regular voltage fluctuations and under-voltage.The online thing I can tell you here is that a line-interactive UPS will fully switch to battery on fluctuations might have a rather short life if this happens constantly. A double-conversion unit will definitely be more intelligent in that regards but also more expensive.

    • Mike
      September 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      I meant to say "The only thing I...." and sorry for the messed up spacing (it was Disqus, not me)

  3. Dave Drager
    September 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    This is an interesting thought. I think what you are proposing is a sort of internal mini-UPS for desktop computers to help insulate against fluctuations in power sources. I see several negatives (and positives) about this, which I will flesh out below:

    First, the negatives:
    - This will add to the cost of a PC, and when PCs are a commodity I think many will choose low price over this addition.
    - Batteries are heavy and environmentally unfriendly.
    - Batteries go bad after a year or 2 of use, and need replacement.
    - PSUs are currently built to a spec, you would need to get involved in that spec (or break some conformities) to get this product to the market. 

    But the positives:
    - This is a cool idea, never lose data again! PC will shut down gracefully if power is lost. 

    I think the issue is that since UPSes already exist, isn't it simpler for those who want the feature to buy a UPS? This keeps the cost of the PC low while giving those who need it the option of adding a battery backup.

    TL;DR: No, I don't think this sort of thing exists but I am not sure if it is a viable business idea.