UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) Information

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) Information

General Information

What's the difference between a Surge Protector/Power Bar and a UPS? 
  • Powerbar or Surge Protector tries to stops power spikes. They usually have imprinted on the back a "Clamp Voltage". This is the maximum power spike they can protect you from. More, and you may still have damaged equipment. Usually small, skinny and light (or is part of the UPS)
  • UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) is a surge protector with 1/2 of it's plugs also connected to a battery (usually Lead Acid)

The number corresponds to the size of the battery, and as a result how much power is available when the power goes out.

Usually a battery will last 2-3 years, at which point you'll need to either replace the battery. Don't forget to recycle battery - not for garbage disposal as they usually contain Lead/Mercury/Lithium. Take it to your local garbage disposal facility, or the local Stationary/Computer Equipment store (Best Buy, Staples, Microcenter, Fry's etc.)

We have a UPS so that we can perform safe shutdowns on your computer. This is to avoid hardware damage, and data loss/corruption from occurring. 

There is usually two styles of plugs on a UPS. Some labelled Battery and Surge, some labelled Surge Only. Only put the minimum amount of equipment necessary on the battery side. Overloading a UPS will cause premature battery wear and shorten runtimes. 

UPS Testing 

Preferably use the software that comes with the UPS to do a controlled test of the UPS which will not fully discharge itself. If this isn't possible, only test when a computer is at the BIOS screen or the computer is not booted into the O/S. Testing with the unplug method does run the risk of damaging the computer in the same manner than unplugging the power cable of a PC can also do that. Use the <Pause/Break> button to stop the computer at the BIOS boot screen if possible when testing: 
  1. Reboot your computer
  2. When in the BIOS (black startup screen before Windows/OS) press the <Pause/Break> button (it should stop booting into windows - if Windows starts, reboot and try again)
  3. Unplug the UPS from the wall. You computer should remain on, but UPS will start beeping/squealing.
  4. Make sure the computer stays running the desired length of time.
  5. If the alarm changes sound, that usually indicated it's about to loose all power. Plugin before that happens to avoid forced power outages.

Sizing recommendations 

4xx-6xx base model - 5-15min runtime (only for surviving power flickers, not power outages. Safe shutdown any PC Towers Immediately on power outage)
  • Switching Equipment: Modems, Routers, Switch
  • Laptop
  • PC Tower only (no Monitor)

1000+ - 10-20mins runtime (minimum for single PC to stay running for finishing 1-3 documents and then perform safe shutdown)
  • Any of the above or
  • PC and Monitor
  • Bubblejet Printers

If you want longer times when the power is out, buy bigger numbers.

Additional devices Ok to plug on the battery side of a UPS
  • Routers
  • Modems
  • Switches
  • Other Network Equipment
  • External HDD's
  • Anything using 10 Watts of power or less

Devices that should never be put on the Battery Side of a UPS (they pull too much power and shorten the life of your UPS battery)
  • Lights
  • Laser Printers
  • Heaters

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