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
or
  • 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

    • Related Articles

    • Laser Printer Information

      Toner: The fine black powdered ink used to print text and images.     Drum: The device used to transfer the toner to the paper (creates the image). When Ordering: HP Laser printers usually have the Toner and Drum parts together. Brother printers have ...
    • New Computer Setup process

      Stage 1 Takes 10-15mins Plug in power and everything else EXCEPT the network cable Call me. I'll walk you thru the initial setup  Stage 2 Give me a couple hours to prep the system, run updates, remove the crap and get the base software installed ...
    • The 5 Passwords of life - Keeping your Digital Persona secure and avoiding Identity Theft in the modern day

      3 simple steps to securing your digital identity STEP 1 You should have at the most 5 passwords to remember. Each password is different, and those passwords are never used anywhere else (#5 can be stored in your password manager if you don't check ...
    • Backups - The 3-2-1 Rule: If you don't have one expect to loose your data

      Do I need to have a backup? Throw your computer/electronic device out the window, and then ask yourself do you want to get access to anything that was once on your device. If you say "OMG, I need xyz back!", then you need to have a backup solution. ...
    • Enhancing your Computer Efficiency - Highlighting and Clipboard Cut/Copy/Paste

      About the most valuable lessons you can ever learn about your computer is highlighting and copy/cut/paste. If there's nothing else that you take with you, that's the most important thing I could ever teach you. It'll literally save days of your life ...