Byte Me Article 201 – UPS protection is vital

UPS Protection is Vital

Wednesday night I sat on my front veranda and watched a spectacular light show as a heat storm passed over large areas of Central Queensland, sending lightning bolts earthward and momentarily turning night into day.  I couldn’t help but to reflect back to over a decade ago when I would spend a similar night cringing about the myriad of phone calls I would get the next morning.

Back then we had around 500 customers on our books which were evenly split between private and business users and after a severe electrical storm there would easily be half a dozen dead PC’s the next day!  We only had 2 techs back then and EVERY dead PC would constitute an emergency in the eyes of its owner.  Nowadays we have a similar split of customers however the number has grown to two and a half thousand, so what happened this Thursday morning?

Well, this Thursday there was not a single call about a dead PC.  So what has changed?  For the last 12 years we have implemented a policy of bundling a UPS with every Kerr PC.  Our existing customers will know what a UPS is but if you currently have a desktop PC and don’t know, then you need an introduction.  The acronym stands for Uninterruptable Power Supply and refers to at least a shoe box sized device that sits near your PC.

2014-11-22 Byte Me Article 201 - Power Surges

A UPS plugs into the power socket on the wall and constantly filters the power passing through it to the computer.  This device is not to be confused with a surge protection power board – which offers little protection to computer equipment.  We often see people that have spent $120 on a ‘surge board’ which has largely been a waste of their money.  A UPS also has an internal battery which can power your PC for around 10 minutes to allow for proper file saves and a shutdown if the mains power has been cut completely.

Computers need a stable clean supply of 240 Volt power and only a UPS can guarantee this.  Keep in mind that even a low voltage mains power condition can harm a PC and in this instance a normal power protection board will do nothing.  Power protection boards will only ‘help’ if there is a massive voltage spike for a long duration at which point they can only cut the power to the PC completely.  We see plenty of ‘power surged’ computers that have always been on a surge protection board, however the results from UPS protected PC’s speak for themselves!

For the protection of a standard PC the price of a good UPS is around $200 however there are also heavy duty models that are several times this price which are necessary if you have a business server or live in a rural area with a single power supply wire looping from post to post through the paddock.  This is often referred to as a SWER power supply and without a suitable UPS it presents huge risks to the life of your PC.

Laptop devices are not in the same need of protection as they already have a low voltage power supply and a battery to smooth things out however any desktop PC or server needs the protection afforded by a UPS – especially in Central Queensland.  PC users need to consider that going without one can not only incur the costs of equipment replacement but also the costs of lost production and sometimes even valuable data loss. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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