Survive a power blackout
27 June 2005 | 0
The APC Back-UPS RS
The Riello Dialog Plug 600
The Belkin 1200VA Universal UPS
It’s a common misconception that total blackouts are the only causes of power-related damage to your PC and data. Unfortunately, the power supplied to your PC isn’t as clean as you might hope and occasionally suffers from slight dips or peaks – known as sags and spikes. Natural phenomena, such as lightning, can also play havoc with your system and other equipment attached to the mains.
There are a number of options available to protect your PC and peripherals from damage. The simplest, and cheapest, is a surge protection system. Usually built in to a multi-plug adapter, a surge protection unit consists of a metal oxide varistor (MOV). The MOV will allow the electricity to flow only when a safe level of voltage is reached – at any other time, it will halt the supply, but what it won’t do is clean the sags and the spikes from the mains supply. The next step up is an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which can run your system for a short time, while you save your work. The two versions of UPS most relevant to home users are known as passive standby, sometimes referred to as offline, and line interactive.
Passive standby only kicks in when the power supply is lost, whereas line interactive is always monitoring the supply and conditioning it to ensure attached equipment has a clean supply of electricity.
APC Back-UPS RS
The Back-UPS RS offers battery backup and protection. It’s a line interactive unit and it conditions the power supply to ensure all attached equipment has a clean 500VA supply, regardless of any outside power fluctuations.
As with the other devices, LED indicators keep you informed as to the status of the UPS, but the included software, which takes a little getting used to, gives you a better idea of what’s going on. Once you’ve attached it to your PC, via USB or serial ports, you can also set various power management features and auto-save options.
Riello Dialog Plug 600
A small, compact UPS, the Dialog Plug from Riello uses line interactive technology to prevent damage caused by spikes and sags. A total of four sockets sit on the unit, three of which are supported by the battery during a power failure. It also features protection for your modem/phone line.
This UPS supplies 550VA and will keep everything ticking away for up to 10 minutes during a blackout.
A USB socket on the side of the UPS allows for remote monitoring. Management software can be downloaded from the Riello site, but we found the application tricky to set up and use.
Belkin 1200VA Universal UPS
The line interactive Universal UPS from Belkin is without doubt the heaviest device featured here –its weight is due, in main, to the 1200VA battery inside. With such a large battery, it’s able to keep your PC powered for up to 40 minutes if there’s a power cut.
Three of the four plugs offer UPS support, while the other protects only against surges. A USB socket allows the unit to be configured and monitored from your PC using some well-designed software. It’s expensive and probably overkill for most home users, but if you want more time during a blackout, or simply have several power-hungry devices that require a UPS, it’s well worth considering.
Contact: CMS Peripherals 094 9374000