I’d been debating with myself the likelihood of damage occurring due to a power outage.
You see I have a number of computers – computers that I’ve recently built at some expense – in my studio, and I rely on them daily for assistance in getting things done. I need a UPS; an Uninterruptible Power Supply.
You may think that I’m rolling in it, – because I’m an artist with quite a few releases under her belt.
‘Not so, I’m afraid to say. – In fact I sometimes have trouble just making ends meet.
What I’d really hate to happen is for there to be a huge unexpected power spike or an outage, and my latest £1000 worth of computer-build gets damaged.
I’m so concerned about this, in fact, that I was prepared to pay another £80 odd, for a unit which will prevent exactly that circumstance from happening.
The unit that I bought is called a UPS. UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. – It’s a unit that plugs directly into the 13-Amp UK mains outlet socket on the wall, and whatever you’re protecting from power spikes or outages is plugged into the output sockets on the rear of the unit.
(Exact connection details may, of course, vary in other countries.)
How it works is thus: When there’s a power-spike or an outage, the unit’s electronics sense this, and they switch the output supply over to a supply that is generated by an inverter, from a lead-acid battery-backup inside the unit; thus avoiding the power-spike or outage affecting whatever is connected to it.
Hopefully this will prove to be a wise investment on my part, and it will save my equipment from damage over its lifetime.
I already hear you asking: “What does this geek stuff have to do with entertainments?”.
Well most if not all entertainers use a computer…
You catch my drift?
I think it was fairly late in the day on the day before the day that I wrote this that I decided to buy a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) unit, which I ordered off eBay of all places. It turned out that it was an Amazon listing that was also posted on eBay; and Amazon deliver rather fast, as I was about to find out.
It was scheduled to turn up on Friday; but when I got back from town today, Wednesday, my neighbour told me that a delivery driver had left it with him.
In all honesty I’m not that happy about my ordered goods being left with neighbours: You may think I’m a bit paranoid. but in the past I’ve had packages opened by the neighbour they were left with..(A different neighbour than the one mentioned herein.) I’m not sure if the intention was to steal it if it had resale value, or just sheer nosiness; but I was rather pissed-off about it whatever the case.
Anyway I got it pre-charging as soon as I got indoors, with the hope of connecting it up and getting it running that same day.
How I’ve got things set up in my studio is the computers are on a rather large custom-built computer-desk that I had built for me some time back, and the electricity to power everything on said desk comes from a dual-13-Amp UK plug mains-outlet socket which is behind me, on the wall that runs alongside me on the left as I sit here typing this. – So everything including several 13A bench-sockets on strips, 3 computers – 1 of which is used part-time, 3 screens, 2 x 5.1 speaker sets, a stereo speaker set, a bench power supply unit, a Western Digital “My Book” hard-disk-drive which I use as a server via one of the computers, a modem and router, an LED desk-light, and 3 halogen studio lights used for occasional video productions + other stuff I’ve forgotten about, are powered on that line and could easily be powered via the UPS – with some caveats, such as the halogen floods will drain the UPS very quickly.
I intend to plug the UPS into one of the 2 outlets, connect both plugs that were in the outlets into the 2 sockets on the back of the UPS, and leave a spare socket on the dual-outlet.
Now obviously if I run the halogen lights from the UPS it’ll last seconds – so I’ve no intention of doing that.
I’m hoping that the electronics in the LED bulb of my desk-light are OK on the supply manufactured by the UPS. If not I’ll try a dimmable LED bulb and see if that works better if necessary.
The computers are fairly light on power consumption: The budget PC only uses about 15-20 Watts maximum, despite the CPU having 4 cores. It isn’t running 24/7, unlike the other two.
The * Idol Tower * – which isn’t a tower – has a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU, and is capable of draining well over 100 Watts. – But I have a temporary 2GB 8-PCIe-lane graphics card in it currently – which reduces power-drain, and I’m not currently using it to its full potential. Even if I was doing so; it might be inadvisable to run it off a UPS along with everything else while it’s using over 100 Watts.
So all in all we’re looking at a maximum of around 350 Watts with all the computers and all the screens + external HDD + a light + modem & router on, and the UPS is rated at 390 Watts Max output power. – So even if I’m on full power, bar the halogens + anything else I forgot I have connected when the power goes out there’s still a margin of error. – I’ll just have to wire the halogens into a different outlet, and do without them in the event of a power-outage – not that I use them all that much anyway.
Hopefully this thing will work first time.
Time For Action
When that finished I shut down the computers and wired in the UPS as planned. – It was a case of unplugging 2 British 13 Amp plugs, plugging the 2 plugs into the 2 13 Amp sockets on the rear of the UPS, and plugging the UPS into one of the outlets that I’d removed the 2 plugs from originally.
I’d already disconnected some of the unnecessary lighting from the circuit; such as the old 100W filament lamp that I haven’t used in years, and the defunct halogen spots that were also uneconomical and hardly ever used.
I still need to find and disconnect the connection of those halogen floods in the circuit. – I’ll reconnect those to another outlet as I do use them from time to time.
The UPS has a USB2 connection to connect to a computer that has the software that comes with it loaded onto it. I extended the fairly short USB cable provided with the unit by plugging an extension lead onto it, and connected it to my * Idol Tower * build. As a result; now if the power goes out, I’ve set it to start shutting down the machine in 2 mins. Hopefully the power will come back on before the battery is drained, because the * Idol Worx Plus * – which is stationed right next to the * Idol Tower * and running 24/7 – will still be running and handling the ongoing backups. – The software will only shut down 1 PC, even if you connect it to 2 PCs. – But if it does power-out and cause damage, the * Idol Worx Plus * is not that expensive to replace if the worst does come to the worst.
– Hopefully it won’t, but maybe?
So I now have short-term power-outage protection and it’s configured & up & running. It’ll ensure the supply lasts a few minutes longer in the event of an outage, and will ensure that the * Idol Tower * – which isn’t a tower – doesn’t suffer damage as a result.
The reason I invested just short of £80 in the UPS is that I have a grands’ worth of computer just built, and although there hasn’t been an outage here for over a year, there are occasional brownouts, and its not unknown for the power to fail here, usually several times in a relatively short period of time. Power outages are notorious for damaging computers, and I want to protect my investment.
The last thing I want is for £1000 worth of computer to get damaged because I didn’t bother to take precautions, which means that I have to spend another £500 or so repairing it.
Perhaps you should consider investing in a UPS too?
- See also this link.
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- If you’d like this article as a 6-page .pdf file; click or tap here.
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