#1 By: howtogeek, April 23rd, 2013 11:24
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/161479/how-to-select-a-battery-backup-for-your-computer/
A cheap power strip might protect equipment from power surges, but it does nothing to help when the power goes out and your system comes to a halting crash. Read on as we show you how to buy the right battery backup device for your needs.
#2 By: bedlamb, April 23rd, 2013 12:48
Great article. I'll be buying a backup when I setup a media server.
Question... Does a laptop serve as its own backup, or does it also need a remote backup?
#3 By: Jason Fitzpatrick, April 23rd, 2013 12:52
If we're talking battery backups here, no a functioning laptop with a healthy battery doesn't need a UPS unit. It still needs properly surge protection but since it has an internal (and more effective battery that likely provides anywhere from 2-8 hours of power) it doesn't need an expensive and bulky UPS.
If you're working in your home office though and your desktop has a quality UPS unit, there's no reason you can't plug your laptop into one of the non-battery outlets on the UPS unit in order to take advantage of the power protection the UPS unit provides (without the hassle of having a second surge protector).
#4 By: bedlamb, April 24th, 2013 03:44
#5 By: Erik Hicks, April 24th, 2013 07:23
The problem I've experienced when using the line-filtering feature of UPSs and surge protectors is that the signal for my cable modem is degraded, causing intermittent network performance issues. The cable company recommended against using such filtering and following their advice, the problem was resolved.
Another problem I've experienced with UPSs in general are the batteries. They tend to fail just outside the warranty period of the units. That in itself isn't the problem. The problem is with the aftermarket batteries I've purchased from Batteries Plus, etc. They are junk, in my opinion, as they typically only have a 1 yr. warranty and always fail around that time. The total cost of ownership grows quick when replacing these batteries yearly, especially with dual-battery high-end units. I know from experience. It may be better just to replace the entire UPS units once their factory-installed batteries fail.
Never a bad idea to use power surge/interruption protection, but I gave up on UPSs due to the high cost of maintenance. I stick with quality surge protection and most importantly, quality PC power supplies.
#6 By: Bobby_Phoenix, April 24th, 2013 10:07
I normally would agree with this because of the cost to maintain, but some people like me live in an area where the power is not as steady as it should be. Like the article says I have the issue where the lights dim, but I don't lose power. It's very rare that the power does go off, but it does happen from time to time, and when it does it's only for a split second. I mean the lights don't even go completely off (I guess they do, but they really seem to just blink), but it's enough to cut the power supply to the PC, PS3, and TV. When that does happen all three shut off/reboot, so I really have no option but to have a UPS. Now I never worry about any power interruption, and the added bonus (just happened last week) is when a storm hits, and the power goes out for a couple minutes, I don't have to stop what I'm doing.
#7 By: Jason Fitzpatrick, April 24th, 2013 10:21
@erikhicks You do have to weigh the cost/benefit for your personal situation. In my case, the expense of maintaining a system of UPS devices across the house far outweighs the pain of 1) having my work computer get fried and/or 2) my home server with all my photos and media get fried.
#8 By: Jason Fitzpatrick, April 24th, 2013 10:23
This is what started my research into UPS units. Over the last year the quality of the power delivery in my area has plunged. We used to have a power outage every few years and never had issues with line voltage. Now we have 3-4 power outages a year and very frequent issues with line voltage. It got real irritating real fast to have to reboot my cable modem and check on my server once a week or more because of line voltage problems.
#9 By: 2Noob2BTrue, April 25th, 2013 00:31
I enjoyed the article and have often thought of getting one due to frequent outages in this area. Since my primary PC is a laptop I don't have a pressing need for it but such a UPS would be handy for the PS3 and desktop PC.
I was a little disappointed that you didn't recommend any sites with a good selection but I guess that's what we have Google for.
#10 By: Jeroen Soutberg, April 26th, 2013 06:03
Noise can be annoying even with some UPS's that do not have fans. Some APS models produce a high-frequency whine that was heard by young adults (~20) but not older people (~60). The non-fanned UPS for our file server (in the garage) would not be tolerable in living quarters as it produces a very audible hum.
#11 By: rhonda, May 3rd, 2013 16:25
If you have a surge protecter and a standby do you just plug the computer into the standby and the standby into the surge protector and the surge protector into the wall socket?
This is a cyber power standby they have at best buy for $42 it allows you so many minutes to shut down your computer in case there is a power failure.
#12 By: Lowell Heddings, May 3rd, 2013 16:36
Battery backups have built-in surge protection. There's no need for an additional surge protector.
#13 By: rhonda, May 3rd, 2013 17:15
What if your socket is ten feet away?
#14 By: Lowell Heddings, May 3rd, 2013 17:37
Well then you can use one in the middle (or before), it won't hurt anything either way.
#15 By: rhonda, May 3rd, 2013 17:46
Are you saying computer plugs into the standby and standby plugs, wait, that doesn't answer my question. My socket is 10 feet away and I have a computer and a standby that is not long enough to reach the socket, because you said you don't need a surge protector. The surge protector would be 10ft long. I do however, have a 10ft extension cord.
So that now makes it Computer to standby, standby to extension cord (but it says not to plug into an extension cord), to socket, So now what?
#16 By: Lowell Heddings, May 3rd, 2013 17:50
You can plug the computer into the standby, and the standby into the surge protector, or the other way around, it really shouldn't matter too much.
You can use an extension cord... but only if it is a high-quality one rated for the right amount of power. Most 10ft cords are probably not.
#17 By: rhonda, May 3rd, 2013 19:50
Do you know what that rating would be?
The One I have is Certified: 13A,
The extension cord is pretty thick like construction workers use.
#19 By: W. Schroeder, May 3rd, 2013 20:50
I once had an expensive battery backup system but after about 15 months, the battery died. To replace it was so expensive that I did not bother.
Just today we had a short power failure and of course the desktop went down. But apart from losing your logins, that is usually not a big problem. Interestingly enough I did not lose any logins in my two virtual Linux systems that were also running at the time of the power failure.
Maybe for a server it is worth to invest into a battery backup, but for a normal desktop I would not do it again. And laptops are safe anyhow.
#20 By: Henry Lahman, May 3rd, 2013 22:46
If a laptop doesn't have a battery obviously yes
if its battery life isn't good enough it might need one (depending on your needs)
but yes in general the battery does act as well as high-end UPS machines in terms of prevention against sudden power loss or voltage drop
#21 By: Doctordeere, May 4th, 2013 18:26
I have a small and very old battery backup that's only connected to the DSL modem and router. Since I'm usually on a laptop or tablet, keeping the router & modem running keeps me happy during a power outage. And it's an old backup that uses inexpensive sealed lead-acid batteries that I can get anywhere and cheaply. my average annual battery expense is around $15 (USD). No complaints here!
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