Uninterruptible power supply on white background Written by: Randy Walker
Power backup systems are the lifesavers of your unsaved work when the electricity starts to flicker and the dark computer screen sends you screaming in anguish. Losing documents, photos, and funny memes for your social media page can just put a damper of your happy day. Power backup systems using an APC battery can give you a short amount of time to keep everything that was important to you safe on your computer. Yet, don’t just hook everything up and go typing away.
Here are 10 important things to understand when using these backup power systems:
1: It won’t automatically save your work.
The power goes out, but the computer is still on — cool. You can work on the computer for an extra hour or so to finish up the big project because you know you have the backup power. But, be advised that you are pushing your luck by not hitting on that save button now. These backup power systems only keep the machine running. It won’t help you hit the Ctrl + S on the keyboard to save anything. So keep this fact in mind if you are pretty far in your project.
2: There are different outlets on the device.
Not all the outlets are the same on the backup power system. Some of the outlets are surge protectors to prevent an uneven electrical power supply from damaging your equipment. Other outlets are surge protectors and will also supply your devices with power when the electricity is off. Always check to make sure you are using the right outlet with each device as you don’t want to place the fax machine in the battery backup outlet that was intended for your computer.
3: It isn’t a replacement for your computer battery.
Your lithium-ion battery is bad on your laptop, so you just decide to unplug the backup power system and use it as a replacement. Really? This method might be a temporary solution, but you can’t just keep plugging and unplugging the backup power source from the wall. You are going to have to bite the bullet and buy a new laptop battery. There are tons of places to find these batteries. Once you get a new one, learn about the tips about prolonging the laptop battery life so it will last longer.
4: It won’t last forever.
You only have a set amount of time from when the backup power system will drain completely, and you will not be able to resuscitate your computer. Use up your time wisely by saving your work, downloading software (or pausing the download for another day if it will take several hours), and playing the computer game. Prioritize your tasks and be grateful for the extra time you have with your beloved before the light flickers out from the monitor.
5: You can’t load everything up onto it.
There are backup power systems that have up to 10 outlets on them. Placing everything on it such as the air conditioner and mini-fridge probably isn’t the best idea because of the amount of power these items use. While you want to be cool and comfortable, you need to really decide on what items you want on there that will benefit from the surge protection and backup power. So unplug the popcorn machine, and instead, plug in the router.
6: The more you plug in, the faster the juice runs out.
The backup power system has a VA rating that tells you the amount of maximum wattage that it has. The bigger the device, the more wattage it has. You have to understand that the VA rating only applies to those outlets that supply electricity, not the surge protector outlets. Also, the device itself will use up power to operate, such as about 30 percent. So you want to purchase the one that can handle your complete computer workstation or just certain devices.
7: Too many brownouts won’t do you any good.
The lights are flickering all the time even on the sunny days. You are losing power at least three times a week, or even in one day. Having the backup power in this circumstance is a smart idea, yet you have to address the bigger problem with your electrical supply. For some reason, your home isn’t drawing enough power, and the reasons can be numerous — such as a tree branch shorting out the electrical line leading to your home, a bad outlet, or even a mouse chewing on your wiring. Investigate for the problem, so you can use the backup device for its intended purpose.
8: Only use it for its intended use.
Speaking of intended purposes, the backup power system is not to be used in wacky science experiments just to get the most YouTube views. Only use one for what it is built for and avoid stupid trial and error experiments you do on a lark. Also, never take the device apart and mess around with the components inside. You can find yourself in a hospital room. The APC battery or Lithonia battery also have intended purposes.
9: Pick and choose the devices to use on the surge outlets.
It can be difficult to decide which devices to place on the surge protectors and which ones you want on the power supply outlets. You’ll definitely want the computer, monitor, router and external modem on the backup system. But, you might want to take the printer off the surge protector and also place it in backup power outlet as you will be more inclined to print things out versus faxing documents. So place the devices that you rarely use, such as the fax machine and scanner, in the surge outlets.
10: The more, the merrier…
The electricity goes out as you breathe a sigh of relief for having purchased a backup power system. Unfortunately, you don’t hear the familiar beeping noise to tell you it is working. When you look underneath the desk, it is gone. Yes, the kids nabbed it again to use their computers upstairs to play their online games. You might want to just face facts and purchase extra devices and batteries so everyone can use their computers when the power goes out.