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Electronics backup
Old 04-25-2019, 02:31 AM   #1
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Electronics backup

When we lived in California (northern Bay Area), power outages didn't occur very often, at least in our neighborhood. Maybe once or twice a year, which included short dropouts.

In the six months we have rented in a suburb of Austin, TX, we have lost power at least six times. A couple have been for several minutes to an hour, while the rest have been short off/on cycles. Sometimes it occurs during thunderstorms. Sometimes it appears to be random. I've taken to using my laptop when the electrical storms start to appear.

I am starting to get concerned about our electronics, specifically my PC and our LED TVs. I used to have UPS battery backups on the TVs, but I never had one on our PCs. I have also never had a PC get fried or damaged due to power outages, but at the rate they are occurring in TX, I fear the electronics are going to fail (even with the Tripp Lite surge protectors).

I am wondering if I need to get UPS battery backups for at least my PC and the two LED TVs/DVRs (not concerned with my wife's PC - it is rarely booted up). Nothing is fail-safe, but I would rather not have these devices power down randomly so much.

If UPS battery backups are a good idea, what are some suggestions for models to consider? My PC is not a high-end gaming PC, and currently, our LED TVs are older, 1080p models. We haven't had the need to "upgrade" to 4K TVs, and we probably wouldn't anyway until we move into a house we own later this year.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:12 AM   #2
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If worried about surges get a whole house protector installed at the breaker box. Battery backups are nice to keep the dvr or cable box or PC from rebooting during quick drop outs.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:54 AM   #3
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First you need to get your requirements/desire straight. A UPS is to provide backup power, which also generally includes surge protection to prevent what's connected from getting fried. However, if the surge protection is specifically what you're looking for and not necessarily the backup power, then surge protection products will work fine - and most will come with lifetime guarantee for the connected devices should they get fried. Getting them to pay off on that guarantee is likely cumbersome, but it is part of the product offerings.

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(not concerned with my wife's PC - it is rarely booted up)
Whether a device is booted up does not matter - if it is plugged in, it can be fried.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:39 AM   #4
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I use a UPS for my PC, cable modem, router and switch.

Should the power go off, the UPS gives me about 40 minutes of run time before the UPS battery gets drained down. A power outage or brownout only happens about once or twice a year during summer storms.

The 40 minutes will at least give me enough time to finish whatever I was doing on the PC before shutting down safely.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I use a UPS for my PC, cable modem, router and switch.

Should the power go off, the UPS gives me about 40 minutes of run time before the UPS battery gets drained down. A power outage or brownout only happens about once or twice a year during summer storms.

The 40 minutes will at least give me enough time to finish whatever I was doing on the PC before shutting down safely.
That's the reason for my post. I want the UPS to allow for time to properly shut down my PC, if necessary, or at least provide power during short duration outages to keep it up and running.

We used to have an UPS on our LCD projection TV, but it had a lamp that needed cool-down time. So when we had a power outage and the TV was on, we could power it off and go through its cooling cycle. Not sure this is necessary with LED TVs.

For everyone else, we already have surge protection on all of our PCs and TVs, including my wife's PC which is not used much. I am mostly concerned with the electronics likely to be powered on being backed up with a UPS. What level UPS we need is an unknown to me.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:18 AM   #6
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I have a CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS:

https://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP...19W/ref=sr_1_3

It has a sine wave output, many electronics don't function well on the cheaper modified sine wave supplies. It's a fairly small device so it fits easily under my desk.

I have my computer, modem, router, telephone, speakers, and scanner on the UPS and can usually run about 70 minutes on backup power. Of course, if your system uses more power you'll get less run time, and more run time if you use less power.

I do not have my printers on the UPS. They take too much power and I don't need to print things during power outages.

I generally have to replace the batteries about every five years. I only buy the genuine batteries now, as an aftermarket set died after just one year.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
I have a CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD UPS:

https://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP...19W/ref=sr_1_3

It has a sine wave output, many electronics don't function well on the cheaper modified sine wave supplies. It's a fairly small device so it fits easily under my desk.

I have my computer, modem, router, telephone, speakers, and scanner on the UPS and can usually run about 70 minutes on backup power. Of course, if your system uses more power you'll get less run time, and more run time if you use less power.

I do not have my printers on the UPS. They take too much power and I don't need to print things during power outages.

I generally have to replace the batteries about every five years. I only buy the genuine batteries now, as an aftermarket set died after just one year.
I have an earlier version and less powered CyberPower model. The one I have has only 5 outlets for UPS backup, then 4 more for surge protection. I got this one used on ebay for about $60 a few years back. Still running on the battery the aftermarket battery that was included.

There isn't much room to plug in any wall warts, so a tip, I decided to use an outlet extender or splitter to get all the plugs fit. A bit messy to look at, but functional. I recently added my Ooma box as a device for UPS protection.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:03 AM   #8
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We've got surge protectors and a Generac generator that powers the school entire house in case of power outages. Best $10K we ever spent and will increase our home value if we decide to sell.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I have an earlier version and less powered CyberPower model. The one I have has only 5 outlets for UPS backup, then 4 more for surge protection. I got this one used on ebay for about $60 a few years back. Still running on the battery the aftermarket battery that was included.

There isn't much room to plug in any wall warts, so a tip, I decided to use an outlet extender or splitter to get all the plugs fit. A bit messy to look at, but functional. I recently added my Ooma box as a device for UPS protection.
Given the small number of devices I am concerned with, I wonder if a smaller UPS would be sufficient. I have to admit the one mountainsoft linked to would be great, especially if we were out on errands or eating when the power outage occurred. In those instances, most of the devices (monitor, speakers) would be powered off, so I would just need a power source for the PC and one external hard drive (the other external hard drives are unplugged until needed).
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by statsman View Post
Given the small number of devices I am concerned with, I wonder if a smaller UPS would be sufficient. I have to admit the one mountainsoft linked to would be great, especially if we were out on errands or eating when the power outage occurred. In those instances, most of the devices (monitor, speakers) would be powered off, so I would just need a power source for the PC and one external hard drive (the other external hard drives are unplugged until needed).
Here's a good article with a chart of general power needs.

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How Big Does My UPS Need to Be?
In order to make your UPS run properly, your UPS has to be large enough to support all of the equipment plugged into it. You will need to find the UPS capacity. Capacity is how much power a UPS system can provide (measured in Watts). The higher the capacity, the more electronic equipment, and devices it can support. To find the UPS capacity, you will need to calculate the load. The Load is the combined amount of power each of the devices use. To identify the load, make an equipment list, including the total watts each piece of equipment requires to run properly. Include all of the devices the UPS will need to support. If a piece of equipment has a redundant power supply, only count the wattage of ONE power supply.
https://www.cyberpowersystems.com/bl...hoosing-a-ups/

I suppose another way to measure is to use something like a kill-a-watt and measure the watts used for each item intended to keep up.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:59 AM   #11
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Lots of short outages here too. The main thing you want to avoid is the power going out while you are saving to disk/SSD. That can leave the saved data in an unknown state, and put previously stored data at risk too.

In recent years I've switched UPS brands from APC to CyberPower because many APC models have poor warning beeper designs. I don't care to be woken at night by a UPS that beeps LOUDLY with every momentary outage, and repeatedly while the power is out. I actually hacked into one unit and pulled out its beeper.

My remaining APC unit has a quieter beep, except once the battery exhausts, the beeper will sound every 5 hours or so, forever, even if you install a fresh battery. Many people have reported this trouble, so it's not just my unit. CyberPower gives you more control over the beeper sounding, but I've found that during an outage it does not generate power for as long as the equivalently sized/rated APC. Even so I'd choose CyberPower over APC just to avoid beeper hell.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ransil View Post
If worried about surges get a whole house protector installed at the breaker box. Battery backups are nice to keep the dvr or cable box or PC from rebooting during quick drop outs.

+1, I have one on the TV and the PC... and an extra one I am thinking about using for the phone... since the PC also has the wifi and we have internet phone it would keep the phone open...
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
There isn't much room to plug in any wall warts, so a tip, I decided to use an outlet extender or splitter to get all the plugs fit. A bit messy to look at, but functional.
I use short 12" extension cords like these:

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Powe...0WQ/ref=sr_1_1

There are numerous vendors in packs of different sizes, this was just one example I found with a quick search. They work well for plugging all those wall warts into the UPS or power strips.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
I use short 12" extension cords like these:

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Powe...0WQ/ref=sr_1_1

There are numerous vendors in packs of different sizes, this was just one example I found with a quick search. They work well for plugging all those wall warts into the UPS or power strips.
Yes. Extensions do the trick. Otherwise, no way will all the wall warts fit.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:23 AM   #15
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Power went out twice due to storms yesterday.

Once for about 3 hours the other only about 30 minutes. My Cyberpower UPS backup did kick in so I was able to to a graceful shutdown of desktop.

My ooma box was connected and despite the blue light showing status okay, still must have sensed a power outage as during first outage, I had no dial tone. Second outage, did have dial tone, but later once the power came back up, needed an unplug and replug in to reboot.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:00 AM   #16
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Power outages around here are counted "times per month". Ten years ago outages were a little less frequent but lasted longer. (8 to 10 hours, sometimes longer) The past year or so we have had a lot more outages but they seldom last more than a hour or two. (BTW, I don't count blips/dips/sags) since I can't keep track every time the UPS alarm goes off. Probably average about one real outage (more than a few mins) per month now. It happens so often, I have the electric co-op outage number memorized (it's on speed dial now).

Many years ago I bought a couple of UPS's for my "entertainment center" and my "computer room". They provide serge protection for my most sensitive electronics and keeps everything up and running until the generator fires up.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:43 AM   #17
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It's been a while since I was concerned about UPS systems, but one caution: Not all brands have user-replaceable batteries. Be sure to look for a UPS that uses standard size batteries and with an instruction manual that explains how to change them when it's time.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:54 AM   #18
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I don't have a UPS. We hardly ever get any power spikes or interruptions here, thanks to the wonderful power company folks that work hard to keep things in tip top shape and to get power back to us very soon after hurricanes.

I do back up the important files on my laptop every weekend. If my laptop ever gets zapped by power fluctuations, which can happen in extreme cases, I'll just buy a new one, copy my files over to it, and continue blissfully posting here on the forum. Actually I have never had that happen, although a few years ago I fried a motherboard, bricking my laptop; but there were no power fluctuations at that time.

Making multiple backups of my files every weekend has been a huge stress reduction measure for me and has made the expense of buying a UPS unnecessary.

As for my TV, if it was totally incapacitated due to power fluctuations I probably wouldn't even notice for a few months. I hardly ever watch TV and would not buy a replacement should that ever happen.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:02 AM   #19
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For a laptop, the laptop's battery functions as the UPS. I don't have my DVR or TV plugged into a UPS. My DVR did manage to keep the time though during the power outage which is nice. Unlike the microwave or stove that needed a clock reset.

The power going out was a good test. I was suprised that the Ooma box needed an unplug/replug. Perhaps maybe it needs the sinewave type UPS instead of a simulated sinewave, which is the type of my UPS.

Think I will use a smart plug for the Ooma box. This way, if I'm not around I can power off and power back on remotely to do the reboot from a smartphone app. I'll do this later after watching a baseball game on tv .
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:29 PM   #20
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Did some testing cutting off the power to my UPS running my router/switch/modem and ooma on battery alone. Worked no problem. I think yesterday since the power was out for about 3 hours, the battery had run down all the way and thus, ooma box needed a restart. Not going to worry about that too much as most of the time I only get an outage a few times a year and not as long as 3 hours.
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