People spend a lot of money on good computer equipment. It is thus important to keep it safe. Many people do protect their computers with power strips; however, sometimes that is not enough. An Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) system that includes a battery backup is the preferred method of protecting your computer from power outages. This article will discuss how to choose a battery backup that fits your needs.
What Is A UPS and Why Do I Need One?
A UPS is a device that is connected between your computer and power line to provide a buffer power source if the power ever goes out. It generally features a deep cycle battery that charges while being plugged into your electrical outlet. When fully charged, it will continue to provide your computer with power as if the power never went out. It allows your desktop to essentially function as a laptop with its own internal battery in case the power goes out.
The reason this is necessary is that modern computer operating systems can do weird things when not shut down properly. File system management can be particularly troublesome if there are one or more system files that are in the middle of being written. By being given some amount time after the power outage, you can gracefully shut down the system or put in into hibernation so that these problems do not occur. More importantly for most people, you can save one or more open files before the computer shuts down, so you do not lose hours of work.
So What Type of System Should I Get?
The first thing you want to look at is the size of battery you will need to get. You will want to have at least five to ten minutes to power your computer to give you a chance to save your work. If you leave your computer on for long periods of time while you are away from home, you might need to consider an even greater minimal threshold for the amount of time the battery needs to cover.
Then you want to take a rough estimation of the power rating of each device plugged into the UPS. This should include your monitor and computer at a minimum. See how many watts each is rated for as an overestimate of the power consumption or measure it with a special meter for a more precise measurement. Multiply the sum of all of your devices times 1.6 to get the minimum volt-amperes (VA) you will need in a system. Take the rated Ampere Hours capacity of the system you are looking at and multiply that by the battery voltage and the rated efficiency, and then divide it by the volt-amperes measurement you got above. That will be the number of minutes of life that UPS will give you. Compare that to the time you estimated above to see if it is adequate for your needs.
There are several types of uninterruptible power supplies in terms of how they react to outages. The cheapest units, standby UPS units, mechanically switch to a backup mode after a power drop has been detected. This can leave the power off for 20-100 milliseconds, which can be tolerated by most devices. If you live in an area with more frequent spikes or sags in voltage, you might need a more expensive line-interactive UPS unit. These units contain a transformer that helps smooth over frequent outages and sags. If you want your computer completely isolated from the power outlet, you will need to purchase an online UPS unit that filters all electricity through the battery storage. This is the safest system, but much more expensive than the other two.
Get more information on your ups power supply here. It is vital if you want to make sure you never lose your data to an unexpected power loss. This is especially true in third world countries or in storm-prone areas where outages can be more frequent. By using the above tips, you should be able to choose the unit that best accommodates your needs.