If you don't have a UPS, get one!

And just this morning, I was reminded why I have a UPS.

One of those unexpected severe storms we tend to get during the summer here in Kansas rattled me out of bed 5 minutes before my alarm. Trying to get back to sleep for 5 more minutes (plus two extra hours, probably), when I hear a beep coming from the corner of the room. That was my UPS alerting me of a power surge that had the potential to damage my electronics had they not been protected.

As I said before, if you care about your expensive electronics, invest in a UPS. $100 or so for the extra equipment is a small price to pay for keeping your $1000+ computer from becoming a paperweight.

Yep, that is for sure. They left it that way for about 3 years. It was so big that I would use it as a step when I needed to get to the far corner of the closet. They gave up on the wireless link. It was too sensitive to weather. They got dark fiber run from the data center to their office.

I was wondering about that wireless link.

I've used old UPs as stepstools as well before they went to recycle. The other virtue to them is they're so heavy they won't tip when stepped on!
The wireless was a real disappointment to them. The distance was only about 1 mile and our building was 9 stories and their office building was about 200 feet up the mountain. Editor note: People in the south call anything over 500 feet a mountain. So it had clear line of sight. But they were replicating databases over it and the errors made it take forever.

Way back in 2003 we experimented with line of sight wireless using Israel army surplus radio gear. At the top of the mountain, all the TV stations have antennas so we made a deal with one to put a transceiver up on the mast. But Birmingham has a lot of trees and we tried a couple of dozen locations in the valley and no one could get a good signal.

We talked about doing wide area wifi a few years ago. But the profit just wasn't there. The upfront cost was about $40,000 amd when the sales guys canvased the area there wasn't a lot of interest. Cable is really cheap here and most businesses have TV, phone and Internet bundles for around $89 a month.
My CyberPower 1500AVR battery pack went bad just last week. I have to take an injection every two weeks, so at the same time I run a power check on my UPS. All along, it has been performing just fine until Tuesday when I ran "pwrstat -test" (My everyday computer runs Linux). The computer immediately died as the relay kicked in. Having the power removed from the computer doesn't phase Linux at all, so when I powered back up (no UPS) I investigated the CyberPower. As soon as I opened the battery compartment and laid a finger on the pack, I knew it had truly died. The temperature was way up. Charging circuitry tested fine (visually and electronically) so Amazon had replacements for around $70. I put them in today and I'm back in business.

I've always been a firm believer in UPS backup, even to the point where I have a small (300W) unit powering my three external Terabyte backup HDs. Can't be too careful out there.

As for CDs and DVDs, I agree. They are great for permanent storage for which you probably won't need to change the data--ever. I even have a complete, downloaded, copy of the old DHR Forum we ran back in TRS2004 days on DVD. I also have three more UPSs out there backing up power for my A/V system (I HATE to reprogram the time on my VCR/DVD burner & player).

The company I work for has many customer sites with UPS installed. They typically get serviced around the 2 1/2 years mark, usually replaced. Old units get returned to manufacturer, for refurbish of the unit and recycle of the batteries. Personally, I would go no longer than 4 years. When I had the last unit replaced after 4 years, the new units available were cheaper and better, with more accessories.
Yep, backup drives and UPS are a key for data backups and for keeping your system on long enough to save and shutdown the correct way.
I have a server using Windows and a UPS that communicates with the server, so if the battery should kick on and I'm not around, the UPS will send the signal to the server to shutdown.
I also have the server configured for every 24 hours an off-site backup will be performed so I can restore the data should anything happen to the server. Of course, every month or so, I always perform a restore simulation to make sure everything works, else its just a waste of space and useless files.

So the summary:
Basically I shove the things I want saved onto the server, and let the server take care of my data.

I'm feeling pretty dumb. I've had a PowerShield UPS hooked up for over 3 years and thought that was all there was to it. Having followed this thread, I realise there is more.

How do I actually test if the UPS is still working? Is it just a matter of unplugging it at the wall socket and seeing if my computer stays on, or do I need some monitoring software?

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yep pull the plug Dino and wait for the beep sign and led flashing, that is all to it and ample time to easily shut down trainz and wait for better times.:wave:
and of course i switch it on to power up my computer and tv and power UPS down when done .
Thanks Roy. I have both Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian for my computer, so I can pull the plug if I think it's in its best interests. :D

p.s. "Sawat dee" to Kuhn Ning and your 4-legged child too.

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Most UPS units come with software to run on your computer that monitors the health of your UPS. On mine (CyberPower) there is also a "test" function that switches to battery power for 15 seconds, then tells you the percentage of juice left in them. When new, you can usually run this test as many as 10-15 times in a row before the percentage slips below 100%. On mine, after three years of use, I could run the test once and the batteries would be around 55%--a sign they are getting weak. My software can also shut down the computer when on battery power and it gets below a setpoint. My problem is, I have two computers attached. Only one will shut down remotely, the other will crash. One is Windows 10, (and the "master" computer) so it gets the UPS software. The other is Linux, in which a power failure doesn't phase it.

Pulling the plug works as well, but if the batteries have gone bad, then your computer will crash immediately. On Windows, this isn't a good thing. If you test that way, best to begin a reboot and stop it at CMOS (usually F2) and then pull the plug.

Bill, thanks for the extra info. I downloaded the associated software for my UPS today and, now that I know what to look for, I will see if it can do the test-shutdown/battery-check thing.

I can think of 3 occasions in the last 3 years when this UPS saved my PC from power cuts, but a dead battery is something I never thought about before now. A very timely thread.
UPS units usually hook up using a USB port. The older ones used a serial port, which are hard to find on modern computers (darn it). My very first UPS communicated using the parallel printer port.

We get quite a few brownouts as well as complete power failures. My UPS has always come through for me. Research on my part shows that sealed lead-acid batteries (which a lot of UPSs use) will come up with bad cells at around the 2.5 year mark. I test my UPS every two weeks, the same time I take my shot. interestingly enough, my UPS uses two, 12v batteries in series for 24v. They can be separated. So, since only one goes bad (usually), I can combine the good one with another good one and have a standby 24v set for use until the new ones come. My UPS has been perking along now for over 7 years and now in its third set of batteries. When you leave your systems running 24/7/365, there is nothing like having UPS on duty. Even my modems, routers, and servers are on one in the basement.

We get a lot of other people's second hand tropical storms coming through during the Winter and one just knocked out the power while I was in the middle of doing something. As soon as the power came back on I went on-line and ordered a UPS. it's an Eaton 5E Tower UPS, 650VA/360w and I was surprised at how cheap it was, - only $NZ 131.62 with free shipping.. In the past such things were expensive here in New Zealand and I've got two old vintage UPS's sleeping in my computer stash to prove it that were purchased ages ago to back up our home network when it was a more extensive thing than it is now. I wouldn't trust either of them to back up anything so a new one was the way to go.
As others have said I thought about a new UPS a few times in the past and then did nothing about it, but today's outage was just plain annoying so I've finally done it.