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Choosing a UPS

Friday, July 20th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Security Help

Choosing a UPS

Imagine this: Your expensive computer and all the important data you have on it could be rendered useless due to power surges, spikes and burnouts. Which is why it’s best to have a UPS and a voltage stabilizer that is designed to protect you against such power disturbances and more importantly, power up your computer even when there is no power supply. Here are a few tips that should help you in choosing the right UPS for you.

1.) Power Points

The more power points on the UPS, the better it will be for you. If you are a home PC user, look for a UPS with at least a 500 to 700 VA rating.

2.) Backup Time

Don’t expect your UPS to keep your PC running all day. Most of them are engineered to provide you with a backup time of around 10 to 20 minutes. What they essentially do is save your work when there is a power shutdown to save your system from an abrupt shutdown that could mess up your computer settings. Depending on your needs, choose the UPS that meets your backup time demands.

3.) Other Features of a UPS

When you are buying a UPS, ask the vendor for more features. This will help you in finding the UPS that has that one additional thing that will help you in your buying decision. Of course, the best feature is its Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR), which isolates your PC from voltage fluctuations that lead to computer disturbances. What a UPS does is condition the incoming power before being fed to the PC’s SMPS. Most of them also automatically initiate a scheduled shutdown sequence after saving your work, which works to prevent damages within the computer hardware.

4.) Warranty

Obtain a guarantee before buying a UPS. It’s a pre-requisite. Undue delays in replacements can affect business. Some vendors offer onsite warranties where they replace the batteries at your place, which is nice. If you are planning to use the UPS at work, go for a longer warranty term.

5.) SMPS-UPS Ratio

Even if the SMPS carries a high rating, your UPS doesn’t need to be competitive. A 600 VA rating on a UPS should be fine for most systems. So, don’t go on a VS shopping frenzy. Just relax!

6.) Battery Replacement

The general rule is three years, but if you are experiencing low backup times more frequently, you could get the battery replaced immediately if it’s under a warranty. If you are facing no problems, expect your battery to work for at least three years.

7.) Power Up

Contrary to the myth, it’s perfectly fine to leave the main switch on even when you are no longer working and the computer is shut down. However, it’s best to pair your UPS with a voltage stabilizer for additional safety.

8.) Software Reports

The software provided with the UPS is not always accurate with its reports, so don’t go by what it has to say most of the time. You don’t need to listen to it when it says your battery needs to be replaced, even though you’ve never experienced low backup times. These faulty reports shouldn’t worry you though. The software is good at its essential function of shutting down the PC properly.

9.) Usage Tips and Tricks

Do not overload the UPS when it’s not necessary. For example, connecting external devices like the printer, scanner and the fax machine, which all draw a lot of power. Do a regular check on your UPS by turning off the mains, particularly when you’ve not experienced power outages in a long time. To optimize the charge of your batteries, discharge them completely at least once a month. And lastly, make sure the UPS is properly earthed all the time to prevent any electrical disasters.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to find a UPS that is just right for you!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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