The simple answer?… Yes. By UPS, I mean Uninterruptible Power Supply. Believe it or not, some businesses in Florida don’t do this. They are setting themselves up for trouble when the power goes out due to storms or other factors.
Uninterruptible power supplies aren’t expensive. We recommend that you have one for every computer device you use.
What Is An Uninterruptible Power Supply?
It’s a battery backup power supply that powers a device long enough for equipment to properly shut down when the power fails. It will prevent data loss and stress on your devices from a hard shutdown.
When Do You Need A UPS?
These are power problems you may experience and where a UPS will protect your equipment.
- Power Spikes (surges) – These are common during lightning storms. Spikes in power can damage your computers if you don’t use a UPS.
- Blackouts – When the power goes out. It can last for minutes or days. This typically occurs during times of severe weather, power shortages, power grid failures or accidents.
- Brownouts – When there’s a drop in voltage for an extended period of time. Power companies sometimes lower the voltage of electricity to prevent a total blackout.
- Voltage Sags – Where voltage decreases suddenly and for brief periods of time.
- Over Voltage – This is like a power spike but not as high. It lasts longer than a power spike.
- Frequency Noise – Where power is degraded due to abnormalities in a system.
- Frequency Variation – When power frequency fluctuates more than usual.
- Harmonic Distortion – When the electrical signal is less than ideal.
Why You Need A UPS For All Of Your Computers
A UPS is an essential piece of hardware for all businesses; especially when you live in a storm/hurricane-prone areas like Winter Haven, Tampa, Plant City and Lakeland where the power can go out.
An uninterruptible power supply not only protects your computer but your data. It provides a power source in case of main power failures blackouts, brownouts, and power spikes.
There Are Two Types of UPS Devices
A UPS can be a standby or on-line system.
- Stand-By UPS: With a standby system, the UPS turns on when your power supply is interrupted. It will automatically do this for you. Standby systems are typically less expensive than on-line UPS devices. They are designed to work for a single device only.
- On-Line UPS: With an on-line UPS, the power supply will be on all the time.
These typically provide a faster switching time and can support equipment requiring higher voltages.
Which is the right UPS system for your business? This depends on whether you need a power backup for a short time, or if you have more complex equipment that must stay up and running.
What Size UPS Do You Need?
It must be large enough to support all of the equipment plugged into it. Check the capacity of the UPS and compare it to the wattage you need to run your device(s).
You will need to determine the load or combined amount of power for each device that’s going to be plugged into the UPS.
Here are some general wattage requirements, (always check your device specifications to be sure):
- Desktop: 120 watts
- Monitor: 60 watts
- External Hard Drive: 20 watts
- Wireless Router: 10 watts
If you were going to plug all four of these devices into a UPS, it would need to support a load of 210 watts.
Note: Never Plug a Laser Printer Into a UPS! A laser printer will destroy your UPS device.
What Amount Of Runtime Do You Require?
This is the length of time (number of minutes) that a UPS can run during a blackout. You need enough runtime to shut down your device properly.
Will You Need A UPS With Sine Wave Technology?
Sine wave is the optimum waveform for electronic equipment. The incoming AC current is a sine wave, so for electronic equipment like computers, a sine wave UPS is best.
High-end UPSs produce true sine wave power through an AC-DC-AC conversion process, and automatic voltage regulation to produce it. A UPS with sine wave output will prevent unexpected shutdowns and damage from electronic stress.
What Shape UPS Do You Need?
UPS systems come in different forms:
- Towers (or mini-towers)
Your primary determination will be where you need to put the UPS. You can hide a desktop UPS under a desk. A tower or mini-tower can sit on top of a table or desk. Rackmount UPSs are typically used in server rooms.
Be Sure To Set Up Your UPS Devices Correctly
When some people set up their UPS systems, they don’t do it right. There’s a battery backup side and a non-battery backup side. The non-battery backup section functions as a surge protector that will protect your devices when power spikes occur.
Here, I’m pointing to the side of the surge protector that supplies the power. These outlets should be used to maintain power for your devices when the electricity goes out. This is where you should plug in your computer, monitor, and essential peripherals that you need to keep working with the power goes out.
This side of the UPS is where the surge suppressors are located. They won’t keep your computer on if the electricity goes out.
If you need help determining what size and type of UPS your business requires, or you need assistance setting up your UPS devices, we’re always here to help.
In the meantime, check out our Tech Tips for other helpful articles about IT today.