The Computer Log # 8 for December 23, 2009
Today I will talk about UPS's or Uninterruptible Power Supplies. These are great devices and are usually used to keep power on for the computer if the local, what we call as shore power (The Local Power Company) goes out.
UPS's are a good idea for your computer because it can prevent damage to both the Operating System and your hardware. This is caused when the power go out then the power returns, usually with a surge that can smoke many parts in everything from computers to TV's and other electronic equipment. I have found that UPS's can be used for other electronic devices such as the new hi end Hi-Def TV that just cost you $1500, and to be used to keep some lights on and helping grandmother to get out of her power recliner chair. I have even seen a fish tank on a UPS.
UPS's are nothing more than a battery and charger/converter with some power filtering in a nice package that is easy to install. Depending on size, can be a bit heavy because the battery or group of batteries are Gel-Cells and are chemically the same as a car battery. In one case, I rebuilt a UPS that used 2 Lawn Tractor gel-cell batteries. Batteries in a UPS can last from 3-5 years, depending on your power companies reliability, and usually no big deal to swap out. The 2 brands I am familiar with are Tripplite and APC and both work well and both will have the ability to be connected to your computer so the auto shut down will work just like a laptop. The larger the UPS the more money you will spend. The way to tell size is in VA so a small 550VA may cost $60 plus shipping and a big one of 1500-2000VA could cost depending on brand $200-350. It all depends, I have seen a 1500VA UPS for $140 locally at times. But the cost is worth it if it save you all the grief of repairs or replacement of your computer system or home entertainment system.
Now a bit if off topic, since you have a UPS, lets be sure the electrical wiring is up to snuff. If your wiring is is not up to snuff or your grounding is not up to par, your new equipment may cause you some grief to popping a breaker to causing a fire. I have seen some big Hi-End Hi Def flat screen TV's draw up to 1500 watts depending on how high you have the brightness set to. That will cause some electric circuits to have problems. You should have a “Trusted”, (in some areas, License) Electrician or Home Inspector check your house for proper grounding and heavy enough wiring to handle your new equipment.
Here is a basic bit of info on your house wiring, if the outlet is a 2 wire and you need an adapter to plug in a 3 prong plug, or a power strip you need an electrician. If you have fuses and no circuit breakers, you need an electrician. And finally if your house is over 35 years old and it has not been re-wired lately you may need an electrician to update some of your wiring.
These are some of the things to look for. I hate to hear the scanner go off for a fire call and find out later it was electrical in origin. In one case I later learned was sourced to a computer problem and the whole house burned down.
My free software for the week is not software but a great site to read your daily comics on a computer. All you do is choose the line-up once and your all set on that computer. Go to http://www.darkgate.net/comic/ and enjoy!!!
So be careful and be safe and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Franklin S Werren is a computer technician and runs Chautauqua Lake Hosting and Franks Radio in Sherman NY.And can be found on the web at http://www.chautauqualake.net and http://computerlog.chautauqualake.net and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Neither “Franklin S Werren” or the “Chautauqua Star” have received any money or promotional items in anything talked about in this column.