Line Interactive UPS
This type of UPS is able to tolerate continuous under voltage brownouts and overvoltage surges without consuming the limited reserve battery power. It instead compensates by auto-selecting different power taps on the autotransformer. Changing the autotransformer tap can cause a very brief output power disruption, so the UPS may chirp for a moment, as it briefly switches to the battery before changing the selected power tap.
This has become popular even in the cheapest UPS because it takes advantage of components already included. The main 50/60 Hz transformer used to convert between line voltage and battery voltage needs to provide two slightly different turns ratios: one to convert the battery output voltage (typically a multiple of 12 V) to line voltage, and a second one to convert the line voltage to a slightly higher battery charging voltage (such as a multiple of 14 V). Further, it is easier to do the switching on the line-voltage side of the transformer because of the lower currents on that side.
To gain the buck/boost feature, all that is required is two separate switches so that the AC input can be connected to one of the two primary taps, while the load is connected to the other, thus using the main transformer’s primary windings as an autotransformer. Note that the battery can still be charged while “bucking” an overvoltage, but while “boosting” an under voltage, the transformer output is too low to charge the batteries.
Autotransformers can be engineered to cover a wide range of varying input voltages, but this requires more taps and increases complexity, and expense of the UPS. It is common for the autotransformer to only cover a range from about 90 V to 140 V for 120 V power, and then switch to battery if the voltage goes much higher or lower than that range.