December 14, 2006

Singing the Praises of UPS's

Over at Mountaineer Musings, Sarahk is ready to tear her hair out because her power company must turn off her power to reset their meter every month.

Holy crap - I've never heard of such a thing. I've never had a meter reset by the power company. Maybe this is a Florida thing - I don't know.

However, when I started to comment I realized it would be a long one, so I decided to create a post on it instead.

See, if they would call to warn me, I could at least go unplug my cranky printer, which just does not like getting cut off at the power source. Every few months when Blinky does their thing, something goes haywire with the printer, and the stupid thing won’t fire back up.

Computer equipment is touchy stuff. It doesn't like sudden power outages and it doesn't like fluctuations. Power cycles like that tend to make these things either cranky or just kill them altogether.

Everyone, including people who use laptops, should invest in some sort of surge protector(s). You may need one or two, depending on what you have in the way of "stuff", but every piece should be plugged into a surge protector first. (they make tiny portable ones for laptops and travel - you can get them at Radio Shack for about $12 or so. Get the best you can afford - even a cheap one is better than nothing.

Now if you have intermittent, surprise power outages, then it would be worthwhile to invest in a UPS (Uninteruptible Power Supply). Basically a big battery. Most of the smaller ones will give you about 10 minutes worth of power allowing you to gracefully shut things down if the power stays off, they are also a type of surge protector. So, if you use one of these along with another surge protector, you have double the chance of catching outrageous fluctuations.

In our other house, we had wild power swings that would sometimes mess up our electronic ceiling fan, to the point it had to be reset. Yet in all that time, I never had a piece of computer equipment fail on me - because I had everything double protected and sometimes triple protected. In 9 years there, I never had to buy something because the electronics failed on me. I had other things go wrong - but never a blow-out because of electricity.

If you think of the cost of a computer or a printer, or anything else you might have to buy over and over again. If you think about internet time lost because your modem has been fried. Surge protectors and UPS's turn into a good investment rather than end up as a useless expense.

Everyone has power fluctuations. And good electronic equipment does not like that. Poke around online, find places that sell them and look at prices. Most people don't need top of the line - they need bottom of the line with enough outlets to plug in everything they want to run through it. For instance - I have a Tripp-Lite UPS like this one which cost me about $60. I have all my networking stuff plugged into surge protectors and then into this. I also have one of these fancy surge protectors with the extra wide slots for those honkin' big plugs so many electronics have. Plus the straight sets with 8 outlets.

Check Circuit City, Best Buy, computer stores for one you can carry home with you, or get online and have one delivered - stay out of the stores during the holiday rush. But don't let your electronics sit flapping in the electronic storm. Protect them and they will last you for a very long time.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:01 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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