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UPS Costs

Discussion in 'General Hardware Issues' started by Kaistar, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Kaistar

    Kaistar Dedicated Member

    I'm still wondering how come my surge protector+Lighning arrestor combo failed me. That's what it is supposed to do right? Arrest the lightning? Bah!

    How much does a basic UPS cost though?
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Moderator note: This thread was split out from http://www.d-a-l.com/help/general-hardware-issues/59208-good-buy-not-2.html#post183853

    There's not much you can do to stop a direct hit with lightning as it has enough "potential" to jump (arc) around just about anything. However, a properly functioning lightning arrestor does not block lightning - it "shunts" it straight to ground (Earth), hopefully via a direct route on a big fat copper wire. Any connection in between must have a perfect "mechanical" connection in order to make the most efficient electrical connection. If not a good tight mechanical connection, dirt and corrosion will get in and create resistance in the connection - not good. This is why lightning arrestors are NOT "set and forget" devices. They need regular inspections and maintenance to stay effective.

    A surge and spike protector is nothing more than a fancy and expensive extension cord. It is for surges and spikes caused by man-made causes, and hopefully indirect lightning strikes. In other words, for normal anomalies - if that makes sense. If Mother Nature is taking direct aim at you, all you can do is unplug completely.

    That said, a surge and spike detector is useless in compensating for sags and dips (opposite of surges and spikes) nor can they handle extended surges for very long. An UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation) is the only way to go.

    A "basic" UPS is not good enough for computer equipment, as that is nothing more than a battery backup. You need a good UPS with AVR for computers to provide regulated power at all times. Battery backup in the event of a full power outage is only the icing on the cake.

    The size you need depends on what you want to protect. A 1000VA UPS supports my PC, all my network equipment, my PDA and 2 22" LCD WS monitors. Mine cost about $130. That may sound like a lot, but they are worth it. You may not need that big of a UPS, depending on your PSU and other devices.
  3. Kaistar

    Kaistar Dedicated Member

    Thanks for splitting the topic up.

    How do I estimate the UPS power I would need?
  4. dobhar

    dobhar Technical Guest

    Hi kaistar...

    UPS Selector Sizing Applications
    - Select country...default is US...then click "Next" button
    - At next window click "Configure Now" button in "PC or Workstation" section

    - UPS Power Requirement Calculator

    I'm running 2 - UPS's, 1 (older one) is 900VA and the other (newer one) is 1000VA
    - One is TrippLite => SMART1000LCD - SmartPro Digital UPS - Line interactive UPS for personal computers, workstations, home entertainment System and media centers
    - One is APC => APC BACK-UPS 900VA 120V
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Or, if you do a lot of PSU calculating, I recommend the pro version of eXtreme Power Supply Calculator v2.5 - they have several prices, including a $10 license good for 200 years. The pro version calculates UPS values, as well as PSUs.

    There's no harm in getting an oversized UPS - bigger costs more, and provides a longer runtime - but often have the latest and greatest technologies too.

    I have several UPS - there are 7 computers in the house, all on UPS. The home theater audio equipment is on an UPS, as is the big screen TV. APC, Tripplite, CyberPower, and Belkin, all make good UPS. APCs cost more, but they also tend to set the bar high for the others to follow.

    It is important to remember that EVERY high wattage device puts anomalies on the line every time they cycle on and off. These devices include refrigerators, microwave ovens, toasters, hair dryers, water coolers, coffee pots, clothes irons, and more. If you have any of these in your home or office building, or you live in an apartment, you need an UPS.

    A couple other points - it is not a good idea to use an UPS and a Surge and Spike protector. S&S strips whack off ("clamp") the tops of sinewaves and many UPS see that as dirty power and shutdown to protect the equipment plugged into it.

    Also, UPS batteries have to be replaced about every 3 years - a pain, but not hard. And Radio Shack will take the old ones (and old motherboard batteries too) to keep them out of land fills.
  6. dobhar

    dobhar Technical Guest

    Very good point....I have to replace the batteries on my older APC UPS (just over 4 yrs old)...I just may buy a new one.
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Certainly you can but the problem becomes what do you do with the old one?

    There are typically two to four 6V or 12V SLA (sealed lead-acid) batteries in a UPS. They are easy to replace, and less expensive than a new UPS. You do not have to buy from the UPS maker - there are many makers of these fairly common SLA batteries.

    How to Select the Correct Replacement Battery Cartridge (RBC) for your UPS

    Scooter batteries, UPS backup batteries, APC system batteries, battery replacements, SLA batteries, wheelchair batteries

    UPS Batteries - UPS Replacement Battery Backup from AtBatt.com

    4 years is good, but I would be cautious. You should probably test your batteries by pulling the plug from the wall and see what happens. If your computer hard crashes right away you will know you should have used a big wattage light bulb to test instead! :shifty: ;)

    So if it holds a big 100 to 150W lightbulb hold for many minutes, THEN you might want to try it with the computer. Unfortunately, when the batteries do go, they don't always give notice - they just fail when you need them. :(