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Tricks & Tips

Battery Backup

May 22nd, 2008

UPS BatteryLet me get right to the point: You need a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply, aka. “battery backup”) on most electronic devices you own, especially your computer. If you value your investment, or the data you have collected, don’t skimp here.

Without a UPS, your computer or other electronic device plugs into your electrical outlet and is subject to whatever voltage comes down the line. Low voltage (brownout), high voltage (spike or surge), or other conditions feed right into your device. This can cause minor damage or complete failure.

A UPS plugs into the outlet first. It conditions and protects the power it supplies to your computer. And they work well.  If they don’t, most manufactures offer a warranty of coverage of ($25,000 or more) to compensate.

A UPS is commonly known to provide battery time to sustain your computer while the power is out. On a basic UPS you have 5-20 minutes, tops. This is enough time to save your work and shutdown. Or to prevent shutdown if your power is on the blinks. To provide sustained uptime, that would be a generator. 😉

Recently an office we support had a rare incident of continuous high voltage throughout the office. Initially walking in in the morning, all the computers were off but the lights were on. Odd, but we later determined the UPSes disconnected power to the computers to protect them. A couple of hours later, the power company found a problem on their line. Other medical equipment in the office, not on UPS were fried.

Don’t wait for a problem to occur to take this serious. The common manufacture for UPSes is APC. Office Max sells these for $40 – $100.

Here’s a pretty well written FAQ I found online: http://www.jetcafe.org/~npc/doc/ups-faq.html.