With spring rapidly approaching – trust me on this one – and bearing in mind that we live in the Lightning Capital of Canada, it is time to take a look at the reasoning behind buying an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS. Our service department is always busy for a few days after a big storm with people bringing in computers that have been damaged from inadequate protection and most of this damage could have been prevented by the use of a UPS.
When you buy a new computer system, a UPS should be considered as an integral component of that system. Do not rely on an extension cable or surge protector to protect your investment. A surge protector may not prevent your equipment from damage if it cannot act fast enough – by the time it does work the damage could already be done.
A surge protector will do nothing to protect you from under-voltage which is just as harmful to power supplies and other electronics. An under-voltage scenario is normally seen as ‘brown-outs’ when we see the lights dim or flicker. Some electronic components will shut down entirely. Others will be damaged by such an event.
Most good quality UPS models have automatic voltage regulation to ensure that power is distributed within a safe range. It has a surge protector to prevent spikes and electrical noise and an internal battery to compensate for dips in power during brown-outs. Most UPS units have multiple outlets so you can plug in other sensitive devices like printers and scanners.
The internal battery will save your equipment and your work. If you lose power the battery will be able to keep your computer powered providing you valuable time to save files and close down your computer safely. Most models feature a replaceable battery to extend the life of the UPS. The battery will need to be replaced at some point as it is continually in use.
Power spikes will take the path of least resistance and can enter your system through ‘back-doors’ such as data lines so it is important to get a UPS that can protect the cable or phone line coming into the house.
Your choice of model will depend mainly on the number of power outlets provided so that you can protect all your equipment and on the amount of run-time you require in the event of power loss. If you only need to save and close a few documents, five to ten minutes will likely be enough. But if you work on large video files you will need something with a higher capacity battery that will give an extended run-time. Most UPS models will also give you added peace-of-mind in the form of an insurance policy covering damage to equipment that was properly connected to the UPS.
Please come in to discuss your needs and we can get you set up with the proper protection for your system.