We are entering the time of year when it's important to protect your electronics from power fluctuations, a.k.a., surges or brownouts. Soon, air conditioners will be running 24/7 and afternoon thunderstorms will be the norm.
As temperatures rise, the strain on the power grid affects everyone. If the lights in your house dim when you use power tools in the garage or a hair dryer in the bathroom, you are witnessing power fluctuations.
Voltage dips and spikes can damage electronic devices, so wise consumers usually buy power strips with built-in surge protection to guard computers, big screen TVs, and other expensive devices.
Basic surge protection, however, doesn't guard against voltage dips or provide a backup power source when an outage occurs. For this kind of protection, you need a device called an uninterruptible power supply ("UPS") that uses a large, built-in battery to generate AC power.
How long the battery lasts varies, but even the smallest UPS usually affords enough time to gracefully shutdown vulnerable devices like a PC. More advanced units will actually shutdown connected equipment for you, and many also provide surge protection.
APC's Back-UPS ES product line does this and more. Models like the Back-UPS ES 750, shown today on the Fox 8 News Morning Edition, can actually save electricity.
SmartShedding technology allows the unit's master outlet to sense when a computer has either been powered-off or gone into sleep mode, at which point power is removed from peripherals plugged into slave outlets. By reducing these "dark loads," APC claims the Back-UPS ES 750 can provide savings of up to $40 per year.
The 450-watt unit offers ten outlets, all of which provide surge protection. Five also provide battery backup. Also available are protected coax connectors and either telephone or Ethernet jacks, ensuring that surges and spikes do not travel through data lines.
The unit's onboard data port, used in conjunction with included PowerChute PE software, can even perform an unattended, graceful shutdown of a Mac or Windows computer in the event of an extended power outage.
The APC Back-UPS ES 750 has a street price of $99.99 and comes standard with the company's Lifetime Equipment Protection Policy, which covers properly connected equipment up to $75,000. For more information, visit APC.com.
'Ridiculously simple' backup solution no exaggeration