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Is a UPS Back-Up worth it?


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#1 Venek

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:57 AM

Right now I'm using an excellent surge protector to keep my computer from frying during black/brownouts and power surges. What happens, though, is that my computer will automatically shut off suddenly, as that is normal. It'll start back up just fine, but I'm not at all crazy about my computer blinking out unexpectedly and always leaves me a little bit panicky until I turn it back on.

So, with that said, should I invest in a UPS? My work uses them and they do work very well, keeping my computer running long enough to save my work and shut down. I'm just trying to decide if it's worth spending over $100 for a peace of mind or am I blowing it out of proportion and the surge protector is just fine?

I've looked before at UPS and learned I need a pretty substantial one to support my rig as it's a pretty heavy duty gaming machine, not to mention my 24" BenQ monitor.
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#2 the_patriot11

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:12 AM

depends on when it shuts down. If it suddenly shuts down during a brown/black out, then yes, thats completly normal. If the computer is not receiving power, then it will not function and surge protectors dont supply power they just transfer power while giving some protection against a power surge. If it shuts down by itself when there is no blackout/brown out you have another problem with the computer, and a UPS will not fix that.

If the problem is the former, and if you have a lot of power issues (frequent black/brown outs) then yes a UPS would be a wise investment, a surge protector helps keep your computer from frying but its not a garentee it wont fry. or if you have stuff you dont want to lose. a UPS backup is never a bad idea. me personally I do not have one, never have. The power is good around where im at and rarely goes out, and the surge protector I have has adequate protection so Im not conerned about spending the money on it personally, but like Its never a bad idea, and if the power goes out a lot where you live may be a wise move.

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#3 Venek

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:54 AM

Nah, power's pretty stable around where I live, and I just about always shut down my computer when a storm is on the way anyway. It's just the occasional brown/blackouts that worry me. Only once did I have a power surge and that was when I was running my vacuum cleaner while my computer, 50" HDTV, ceiling fans, and lights were all on at the same time. Won't make that mistake again!
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#4 tg1911

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 12:56 PM

I've been using one for years.
We have frequent brown-outs/power failures (one of the joys of living out in the sticks :thumbsup:).
It has saved my butt frequently.

One of the biggest advantages; if you're working on something, and the power does go out, you don't lose your work if it hasn't been saved, or possibly corrupt the file.
Also, if you're in the middle of something, that has to get done, you can continue to work.
With my system, I have a 30 minute reserve on battery backup.
Plenty of time to do what I need to do, then shutdown.

Another nice feature, is the auto-shutdown software that comes with a UPS.
If your away form the computer when a power failure occurs, it will close all open apps, then do a proper shutdown of your system.
Not something I use, as I always shutdown when I'm through with the computer. :huh:

Some of our outages can last for quite a while (hurricanes, strong storms, etc.).
My UPS has a line conditioner, which allows me to use dirty power (portable generator), if necessary.
I have used generator power before, with no ill affects.
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If none of these things are a concern, then a surge protector should suffice.
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#5 dpunisher

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 05:15 PM

I use a medium size UPS (600VA) for my cable modem and router only. I keeps them going for 2+ hours without a sweat. I used to have a couple more UPSs I used on my machines, but they failed over the years and I never replaced them, never missed them until 3 days ago when we lost power twice.

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#6 MrBruce1959

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 05:56 PM

One of the things I want to point out about surge protectors is if your lines are not properly grounded, then your surge protector can't do its job.

Surges are spikes in electricity where lets say a water hose is flowing smoothly and suddenly there's a blockage such as the nozzle at the hose end is closed, then it is opened, there is a sudden burst of force displayed at the nozzles output, which quickly decreases to a normal flow rate again.

What a surge protector does is regulate that surge so the output is always the same. However spikes have to be sent somewhere effectively, this is what Earth ground is used for in electronics, the spikes are discharged to the Earth where they are harmlessly absorbed.

Same goes with lightening strikes, a good Earth ground is important to discourage lightening from taking a route through your electronic devices in an attempt to reach Earth Ground, make sure your house wiring is properly grounded to a well grounded termination point in Earth's ground, usually a 5' spike planted 4 ' into the ground, to which the ground wire (usually un-insulated copper or aluminum wire) is securely attached.

Unless you are hit directly by lightening, there is a chance the lightening will by-pass your devices for a more favorable path to its destination which is the Earth its self.

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