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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Power | External Power ]

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

While there are many less-expensive methods you can employ to provide some degree of protection for your PC from power problems, none of them can insulate your system from power troubles as well as a good uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The idea behind a UPS is pretty obvious from the name. In addition to filtering, enhancing or modifying the utility power, special circuitry and batteries are used to prevent the PC from losing power during a disruption (blackout) or voltage sag (brownout). These units are called different names depending on their exact design, but all fit into the general category of backup power.

Once considered an expensive luxury, UPSes are now available quite inexpensively. While once I would have recommended a UPS to only those whose systems really needed them, I can say now that anyone who uses their PC for any work purpose should be thinking seriously about getting one. If you consider your time valuable, a UPS can pay for itself the first time the power flickers or goes out.

Note: Some people pronounce "UPS" using the three letters sounded out (like the name of a famous parcel delivery company) while others pronounce them as a word ("ups"). I do the former, so you will see "a UPS" and not "an UPS" on this web site.

Warning: I have received information that warns about possible equipment failure and even safety hazards as a result of plugging surge suppressors into the output jacks of a UPS. You should never do this, as they are not designed to be used this way (there is no need to anyway) and a hazardous situation could result.

Next: Uninterruptible Power Supply Overview


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