PC Surge Protectors and UPS Units - dummies

PC Surge Protectors and UPS Units

Surge protectors or UPSs can safeguard your computer system. Using both a surge protector and a UPS helps guard against less serious power surges, and both a surge protector and UPS provide additional AC sockets for your rapidly PC growing system.

If you can afford to pay a bit more than the cost of a surge protector, the UPS is the better choice because of the following reasons:

  • Safety nets: A UPS provides a number of extra minutes of AC power if your home or office experiences a power failure — generally enough so that you can close any documents you’re working on (such as that Great American Novel you’ve been slaving over for 20 years) and then shut down your PC normally.

  • Auto shutdowns: More expensive UPS models can shut down your PC automatically in case of a power failure.

  • Current cleaners: Most UPS units filter the AC current to smooth out brownouts and noise interference from other electronic devices.

  • Audible alerts: Some UPS units sound an alarm whenever a power failure or significant brownout occurs.

If you’re using a dialup, cable, or digital subscriber line (DSL) modem connection, make sure that you get a surge protector or UPS that also protects your modem from electrical surges. That juice can travel just as easily across a phone line as across your power line.

The number of minutes that your UPS will last during a power failure depends on the power rating of the battery. Don’t forget that a big CRT monitor uses much more power than the PC itself, so allow for it when deciding which UPS to buy.