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Geek out: Power protection
Computer Battery

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Tuesday night geek out part 2: power protection. Not something many people consider when they buy a computer, but it’s definitely important for reliable operation. This is under my main desk where most of my computer equipment resides. From left-to-right:

APC Back-UPS ES 550 (Model BE550G). Pretty basic UPS with stepped-wave output and no real bells and whistles. Provides emergency power to my Synology NAS, which it can run for at least 30 minutes. Also provides surge protection to various other devices on my desk such as the printer, Wi-Fi router, etc. It has a USB connection to the NAS to provide for safe shutdown.

APC Line-R 1200 (Model LE1200). Automatic voltage regulator (AVR) that feeds the aforementioned Back-UPS ES 550 which doesn’t have a built-in AVR. I didn’t used to bother with AVRs but for awhile power quality at my house was very poor and brownouts killed a UPS and an LCD monitor, so I installed a couple on some of my more sensitive (and expensive) equipment. It’s not something I think everyone needs (depending on the condition of the power grid where you live) but I’ve found it to help in a few situations. One being the problems I had at home, and the other is at work. I have a portable 480v piece of industrial equipment that provides onboard 120v power to a computer that controls it, and we kept having blue screens and other failures with the computer. I figured the power quality wasn’t very good. Putting in an AVR solved the issues.

APC Smart-UPS 1500 (Model SUA1500). Fairly popular UPS. I actually got this one for free, which was a great deal. My company had several they suddenly retired so I made sure to grab one. It still has a good battery. This is a much nicer UPS which provides a sine-wave output and has built-in AVR. It runs my iMac i7 2.8Ghz 27" and a USB hub connected to the computer which it can do for over 30 minutes. It also has a USB connection to provide safe shutdown on the Mac.

Beyond this equipment, I also have a couple APC Line-R 600 AVRs for other parts of my home (lower wattage version of the Line-R 1200), an additional Smart-UPS 1500 (needs new battery), an APC Back-UPS ES 350 that isn’t in use (was using it with my DVR), and of course surge suppressors on anything remotely important. As I can afford to I’m slowly replacing some of my cheap surge suppressors with Tripp-Lite ISOBAR suppressors which I’ve dealt with at work and are the king of surge suppressors.

If you spend serious money on electronics, it’s worth spending serious money on protecting them. You never know when you’ll need it!


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