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06-27-2010, 05:53 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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One caveat - there are severe storms expected here in lower Michigan this afternoon. I am concerned about these. I have lost my power twice already this month on separate storms so there is high degree of probability I may lose it again this time.

If that happens all this is out the window.
You really should invest in a UPS.

No, I don't mean the delivery service that wears brown clothes.
I'm referring to a uninterruptible power supply.

In layman's terms, this is a really big and heavy surge protector, that has a large battery inside. When a surge or over-voltage hits, the UPS absorbs it. When the power is low or outright disappears, the battery kicks in to provide temporary power.

The cheap $40 units have about 5-15 minutes of power, depending on what you plug into them. The bigger $200 units can have 30-60 minutes of power.

Many of them also include "voltage regulation," meaning that your device is not going to be zapped with too much energy. It works to keep you at precisely 120V, or as closely as it can. My incoming power here is up to 126V, but the units keep it down to a steady 121-122V at all times. There's a digital readout on my most expensive unit. I can hear the units working from time to time, to discharge the extra energy. (They momentarily shut off and run from battery only.)

Anybody with a computer, big expensive HDTVs, or DVD recorders and PVRs should use a UPS. Think about it ... you pay $1,000 or more for each of these items, and then stick them unprotected into a wall? Or into a $5-20 "surge protector" that doesn't actually protect anything? That doesn't make any sense!

I suggest any of these:

At minimum, I'd look at the $60-75 units, skip the $30-50 units. For better protection, look at the $100-200 range. The more money you spend, the better the battery and wattage allowed on the circuit.


Never plug in a UPS into anything other than the wall. You can plug extension strips into the UPS if you want. (The non-surge "surge protectors" as people mistakenly call them.)

You cannot daisy-chain UPS units.

Try to not plug two UPS units into the same wall outlet. Even better, try to not have more than one UPS on any one home circuit -- especially older homes. If that's not possible, so be it. But make the effort.

If needed, you can use industrial grade extension cords, although it's still not suggested. For example, if you need the unit by a desk, but want the unit powered by another home/office circuit.

Note that most UPS have some slots that are battery protect, and some that are not. On mine, I only use un-protected slots for the shredder, cheap $10 speakers, etc.

Never plug a vaccuum cleaner in a UPS. I learn this the hard way, killing a $100 UPS a few years ago. Oops. The thing damned-near blew up. Vaccuum cleaners can cause one hell of a surge when first turned on. So much that my UPS kamikaze'd itself. (Which is what a good UPS should do -- sacrifice itself so the connect devices are not ruined!)

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Last edited by admin; 06-27-2010 at 09:39 PM. Reason: fixed error, as per dyfan
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06-27-2010, 09:35 PM
dyfan dyfan is offline
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The acronym "UPS" stands for uninterrupted power supply, also uninterruptible power source/supply.
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