Properly Protecting Your Computer System: Surge Protector vs. UPS


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ben_lubar said:

    When the power goes out in my house, the internet goes out with it because my modem has no power.

    You don't have a UPS?


  • kills Dumbledore

    @FrostCat said:

    You don't have a UPS?

    I've had one powercut in the 5 years since I moved out from my Parents' off-grid house into proper mains electric housing. Are they really so common in the US that you need a UPS as a standard appliance?



  • @Jaloopa said:

    Are they really so common in the US that you need a UPS as a standard appliance?

    It varies. I've never had a power outage at my current apartment, but at my last house we normally had 2 - 3 big ones (couple hours) per year, and a dozen short ones (couple minutes at most) per year. Then, at work, we have tiny 5 - 10 second outages almost every week.



  • We had one every time it rained here a few years ago, and then they replaced some wires and now we haven't had an outage since.


  • mod

    @mott555 said:

    @Jaloopa said:
    Are they really so common in the US that you need a UPS as a standard appliance?

    It varies. I've never had a power outage at my current apartment, but at my last house we normally had 2 - 3 big ones (couple hours) per year, and a dozen short ones (couple minutes at most) per year. Then, at work, we have tiny 5 - 10 second outages almost every week.

    At the place I just moved out of we had 2 power outages in 4 years, one of which was caused by a lightning strike. Having the UPS was worthwhile since it protected my system and allowed me time for a proper shutdown.


  • kills Dumbledore

    I have a surge protector. I think the risk to my system of being forcibly powered down once every 5 years is low enough not to make a UPS a viable investment


  • mod

    @Jaloopa said:

    I have a surge protector. I think the risk to my system of being forcibly powered down once every 5 years is low enough not to make a UPS a viable investment

    Good surge protector: ~$20
    UPS for a single desktop (550VA): ~$55

    That's a really steep investment.


  • kills Dumbledore

    I already have the surge protector, so that's a sunk cost


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    In my case there is no spread. We "recycle" UPS's all the time that people replace when all they need is a new battery. I have two shelves full of them. I one time even got a big rack mount APC UPS with two external battery packs that was replaced and the only thing wrong with it was a tripped poly fuse. I disconnected the main battery pack, plugged it back in and it has been working ever since.


  • mod

    @Jaloopa said:

    I already have the surge protector, so that's a sunk cost

    Have you considered that surge protectors generally have a life expectancy? That's what the joule rating on a surge protector is all about: they can only absorb so many surges, small and large. Do you know how worn out your surge protector is?

    Surge protectors also don't protect against "brown-outs" – when the voltage drops, but the power doesn't go out. Most UPS systems provide at least some protection against brown-outs.


  • kills Dumbledore

    @abarker said:

    brown-outs

    Your electrical system really is screwed in the US


  • mod

    @Jaloopa said:

    @abarker said:
    brown-outs

    Your electrical system really is screwed in the US

    I have only ever seen a brown out in the office where I currently work. I don't think it's a major issue. From what you are saying, I bet your main problem is most likely small power surges you aren't even aware of.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Jaloopa said:

    Are they really so common in the US that you need a UPS as a standard appliance?

    It depends on where you live. US infrastructure is really going to shit. At my house, we have a couple of outages a year that last over an hour and several short ones a month during storm season that last the few minutes it takes for the breakers to automatically reset on the transformers. Here in the Midwest you hear every winter of some rural area going without power for days at a time due to ice storms felling lines.

    So yeah, UPS's are pretty common. I get enough of them for the cost of a replacement battery that we have them on all sensitive electronics. Power supplies don't cope with slow drops in power as well as they should. Especially so with all of the cost-cutting measures in consumer electronics.


  • kills Dumbledore

    @abarker said:

    Good surge protector: ~$20

    Mine obviously isn't good then, it's a 6 gang version of this:


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Yeah, that is more like a multi-tap. I wouldn't trust it to protect electronics.

    Plus, nothing will plug in to it with those silly, misshapen holes...


  • mod

    Only a 476 J rating‽

    If this is the same strip you were using when you had your power go out in the last five years, it's probably no good now. I would advise replacing it. Now. If you are intent on staying with a surge protector, get something that has a minimum rating of 1000 J.


  • kills Dumbledore

    Works as an extension cord and the computers plugged into it are still working


  • SockDev

    until you have a powersurge that blows circuits inside them.

    a new powerstrip is dirt cheap compared to having to replace a computer


  • mod

    @Jaloopa said:

    Works as an extension cord and the computers plugged into it are still working

    But if there is any sort of surge, it will go straight to your computer.

    Edit: undefinedd


  • kills Dumbledore

    Yeah, but as we've already established I live in a country that doesn't have a third world electricity infrastructure


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