What is a UPS?
I have discussed topics such as backing up your data and securing your computer to protect your personal information on your computer. The one topic I have not discussed is protecting your actual computer hardware. This is just as important as backing up your data as leaving your physical computer unprotected can cause you to not only lose data, but also replace your system.
In this post I will talk about an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), what it is and how it can protect your computer from harm.
Overview of UPS
The term UPS is an acronym for Uninterruptible Power Supply. This is simply a stand-alone device containing a battery that can be used to supply power to your computer in case of a power outage. When a loss or decrease in power from your utility power source, the UPS device will detect this and continue to power your computer using the battery.
The UPS connects directly into the electrical outlet, and then the computers, or other electronic equipment, plug into the UPS. The UPS will then act has a protective barrier against such things as power failures, voltage sags and spikes, line noise, and other issues that could potentially damage electronic equipment.
Purchasing a UPS
You can buy UPS systems at any computer or electronics store. They come in various sizes and battery capacities, and are can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. For home users, the appropriate UPS devices cost $100 to $300.
Before purchasing a UPS it is important to determine the amount of power you will need. This is important as each UPS has different volt amp (VA) and watts (W) rating. The ratings represent the maximum amount of load the UPS can support, but you should take care not to exceed 80% of the maximum. To determine amount of power you will need, you must determine which components will be connected to the UPS, and then add up the total power needed by each component. There is usually a sticker located on the device that states the power requirement.
From there you have an idea about the capacity of the UPS you will need. Keep in mind, however, that a UPS is a short term solution to power and can only power your equipment from several minutes to an hour or two, depending on how much power the equipment connected to the UPS requires.
To protect the physical electronic hardware from power incidents, such as failure, spikes, and noise, a UPS is definitely a wise investment. For home users, spending $100 to $300 on a UPS system to protect thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment will help ensure you don’t lose any vital data, and prevent damage to any of the hardware.