I.T. Alphabet soup: UPS

USB, DNS, SSD, we computer guys love our acronyms. So much to the point many of us forget that rest of the world has no idea what the hell we are talking about.  So here is I.T. Alphabet Soup a series of blog posts turning our favorite jumbles of letters into plain English.

Uninteruptible Power Suply

Also known as a backup battery, this device provides power to you computer when the electricity goes out. Couple things that you should know about these devices. A UPS is also sometimes called an APC, for American Power Conversion witch is one of the biggest manufactures of UPS and other surge equipment. 

You shouldn’t keep working!

A battery backup is not there so you can keep looking at YouTube videos when the power goes out.  It is there so you can get your work saved and shut down your PC correctly. So you don’t lose that expense report and you don’t screw up the computer.  A good UPS should keep your machine up for around 10-20 minutes.  Enough time to get your documents saved and get logged out of any websites.

If you have a desktop you need one.

Laptops and Tablets have there own batteries installed and can get away with just surge protection. However a desktop needs a steady stream of power. I was recently at a business client that had over a dozen workstations. The power went out suddenly and everything stopped.  The power came back up a few minutes later but hours of work were lost and one station didn’t come back online correctly.  It had lost power and just the wrong time it was writing to the hard drive. It took almost two hours for me to repair the damage.

You need to connect it correctly.

UPS Back All UPS have two sets of outlets Surge Only This is where you plug in printers, scanners, speakers, lamps, adding machines, electric pencil sharpeners, phone chargers, and that air ionizer thing that you got a sharper image that make the air smell like tin. These outlets will just protect against you guessed it power surges. Battery Backup This is where you plug in your tower, your monitors, your modem router and anything else that you can’t afford to lose power. The battery will do you no good if your tower is plugged into the surge side.  I have also seen UPS ruined because people have plugged laser printers into the battery side. Laser printers draw so much juice they can damage the battery even to the point where they leak or explode.

Its cheaper to replace the UPS then it is to just replace the battery

So you have a UPS? That is great. How old is it? That is not great. Here is South FL it does not  matter if the battery is from a car, a boat, or a UPS the battery will last about 2-3 years. The heat, humidity and frequency of power outages and surges just beats them to death.  Yes you can replace the actual battery but for most office and home grade UPS your better off and will save money just replacing it.  UPS are bought in bulk so retailers will have specials on them, also with a new UPS your getting a new battery and new insulation and control circuits. I think UPS’s are important. Especially down here in SWFL with our summer afternoon thunderstorms.  Last year my home lost power nearly every day during the summer. So if you have data that you don’t want to lose, or hardware you don’t want to replace a UPS is good place to start.  My name is Joseph Serrago I tech computers how to behave themselves.  Give me a call I can help you protect your home or business technology.  


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