UPS but no downs

UPS is very important to me. 

And I don’t mean this  kind of UPS, which is also very important.

I am talking about the Uninterupted Power Source type of UPS.

These are surge protectors with a backup battery built in.  When you plug your electronic things into a UPS, they are actually running off the battery, which is constantly being refreshed.  Thus, if there is a sudden power loss your equipment doesn’t instantly die.  When the power comes back on the surge protector is there. 


Today I took a break and did some cooperative play via Xbox with the famous Fr. Roderick of SPQN fame.

In the midst of the game the UPS the machine was plugged into suddenly erupted with an angry ….


There was my UPS with an angry glowing red light for "Replace Battery".

"Bleep", quoth I in response.

An alarming alarm, considering what these UPS things are supposed to do.

The thing obviously overloaded from a surge of some sort.

I blame Fr. Roderick!

I have several of these USP things.  You should too.

If you have any expensive electronics I suggest you get some also.  They will save your bacon, friends.

Even getting a simple one like this might save you one day.

To the right is a small one.  You need to figure out what load it will have to take and get one which is appropriate.  There are big ones too.

Believe me that the expense of one of these is going to be less costly than your computer or your flat screen TV.

I read a story about a woman who did embroidery for a living with a computerized machine that had all her programs and patterns stored.  There was a massive surge which blew out a lot of things in her house while she was working.  But her UPS protected her machine and allowed her to power it down normally, thus saving her programmed patterns.  Another fellow kept his medicine cool in a small fridge during the big summer power outage in NYC some years ago.  Many times during summer lightning storms out here in the country I have heard my UPSs take hits from surges. 

These are useful gizmos. 

In the past when a UPS has gone down in the line of duty, I called the company APC and they replaced the battery!

They sit there without thanks or praise … these silent sentinels of surges, these bold bastions of blasts, these … 

Yah… okay.

Think about it.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Brian Day says:

    Not only do I have a UPS on the computer, I also have one on the TV & Audio receiver. Even though my home setup is modest, I really don’t want to $pend anything to replace the TV due to power surges.

    I even have a little UPS left over from a previous application. I use it on the cordless phone along with a small table lamp. If the power goes out, I still have telephone service and a source of light.

  2. A Random Friar says:

    Basically, consider a UPS as an investment or insurance on your electronics, especially the expensive stuff. If you have “flaky” electricity, with a fair amount of variation in the voltage, a UPS will extend the life of your electronic equipment. We used to lose electronic equipment at an alarming rate, and it was not due to any major spikes, per se, but just to so many ups and downs.

  3. Brian: I use it on the cordless phone

    RIGHT! People don’t think of that. But if you have only a cordless phone, and not one of those old fashioned phones which are powered by the phone line, if the power goes out and your cellular is down, you haven’t got a phone. People find that out to their dismay.

    These UPS things are really useful.

  4. Random Friar: If you have “flaky” electricity, with a fair amount of variation in the voltage, a UPS will extend the life of your electronic equipment.

    Another compelling reason!

  5. Brian Day says:

    RE: extending the life of electronics.

    If that is a consideration, then spend a few extra dollars and get a unit with Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR). The basic UPS units will filter out spikes, but they do not fill in voltage dips. Be careful and read the label.

  6. Taquoriaan says:

    One of the most interesting questions remains unanswered: was the alien attack successfully averted?

  7. Peter says:

    Tho the large ones should come with a truss in view of their incredible weight.

  8. AlephGamma says:

    Depending on your background – mine was U.S. military electronics – the pronunciation of UPS varies. We pronounced it like “ups” not “you pee es”. Just trivia for now…

  9. Petrus says:

    I gotta ask Fr, what game were you playing?

  10. Christopher says:

    Yes, Father, I too must know what game you were playing on Live.

  11. Imagine one going down that has SEVERAL thousands of dollars of equipment plugged into it. Such is my existence. I have gray hairs at 29 for a reason.

    You know what’s worse then a UPS going dead? Your wireless mouse dying in the middle of Counterstrike Source LOL

    My background is information technology, our pronunciation varies on how “old school” the person is who is talking about it

  12. Phillip says:

    Father, what is your gamertag?

  13. Many UPSes come with a warranty. If you have things connected correctly and a power spike still damages your equipment, it should be covered by the UPS manufacturer.

    On the death of the battery, Father, they just die over time. It’s a continuous discharge/charge cycle on those things, and they have a limited lifetime. I’ve had several units (rack mounted) where I’ve had to bend the frame of the unit in order to slide out (more like force out) the warped, distended battery packs.

    But they’re well worth the cost, especially if it includes the warranty.

  14. Sharon says:

    Is it possible to have a surge protector wired into the electrical system?

  15. Seminarian says:


    I have that same black UPS pictured on the right. I have my Xbox 360 and my computer hooked up to it. The little fellow has served me well thus far and protected me from not a few surges.

    I, too, join in the chorus of those asking for your gamertag!

  16. Badger says:

    Pulling the plug out of the wall takes care of most power surge issues (lightening.) $85-$1000 is quite a bit to spend on something that lasts two years and is attached to something less than 5-10 times the UPS value. Reminds me of people spending $5,000 on a back up solution for $5,000 worth of hardware and software.

  17. Mark M says:

    UPS doesn’t seem to be so popular over here in the UK. I suppose I don’t think of it because we use laptops, and are often running them up and down to keep battery life high.

    Still, I’ve not noticed any equipment blowing when we have power-cuts… it must be something to do with the way our circuitry is fused.

  18. Mark says:

    You need to get a Wii. My wife got me one for Christmas along with Tiger Woods golf. If you like golf, you’ll love this game. Just make sure there’s nothing fragile around as you swing your club. You can play online too, so we could get a huge wdtprs tournament going.

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