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My Heart Stopped - Pc Flashed During Storm - Need A Proper Surge Bar


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#1
superstar

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Here goes my story:

I was sending some data to a friend over a messenger program today so I left my pc running. I was feeding my dog downstairs while I heard a storm beginning to brew. All I heard was light thunder in the distance and not much fuss. I thought "Hey it's far it'll pass". I walked to my room in order to see how far the files I was sending were at when all of a sudden...


Posted Image


I heard a big bad boom out of the sky that sounded as if it were in my neighborhood. As that happened I watched as my pc screen flashed [blinked] before my very eyes! As a natural reaction [for my dear babies life - yes my pc] I went to the START menu and shut down my pc as fast as possible even though I had heeps of programs running. I than turned the switch to "off" on my dollar store power surge bar [lol yes I've been meaning to upgrade], unplugged the power surge cord from my wall outlet, and finally disconnected the two main phone jacks running to the modem and cordless phone. I sat back in horror as my baby had just been shocked????


Great well this is my first time experiencing anything like this. I'm always around when a storm comes and on time to turn off an unplug everything according to my procedure above. I can't believe I took a risk this time thinking that the storm was afar, and that it was only thunder in the clouds. Believe me I already apologized to my $3000 pc, and used a defibrillator on my heart after that scare. I don't know much about surges or the laws of electricity so I guess that was a surge, the power going out, or the same thing. I don't know much but I do know this... My cheap crummy power surge bar is headed in the trash this week. This is the surge bar I use on my pc:


Posted Image


There are no jacks for phone lines or cable tv lines on it. All it has is a "Reset/Off" switch. What do I have plugged into this crap boy you ask?


1. 22" Inch Tv
2. Vcr
3. Nintendo Wii
4. High Speed Dsl Modem
5.17" Pc Monitor
6. Computer [with/ 450 Watt Psu]


Great well now that we've established the fact that there is so much good stuff plugged into the bar to lose, maybe you can all help me find the right UPS for my needs. Yes I said UPS... Forget these darn throwaway 1990's power surge bars! By the way I am very fearful of losing my computer since it has life long work of data on it, and not to mention very rare parts such as a profession sound card I bought which is around $500. All in all I've invested about $2000-$3000 into my pc. No I am not rich but I do want an adequate UPS to protect my equipment. I'll spend money for protection... But my budget is around $50. If I really have to I will spend more! I love my baby and she can't die on me.


Can you all please answer the following questions by sequence and also add whatever info you wish at the end of your reply:

1. What are the best brand name UPS?

2. What are the best UPS models you know of?

3. What should I be looking for in an UPS?

4. What is the main procedure you should follow when using UPS protection?

[ie: I told you my power surge bar procedure at the beginning of this post, whereas when storms come I turn off my pc, flip the switch to off on the surge bar , unplug the surge bar cord from the wall outlet, and unplug all phone lines going to the modem and my cordless phone.]

5. Are the $10,000 [warranties/guarantees] on all things connected to the UPS they sell nowadays really true?

6. Any more info you would like to tell me about UPS, storms and pcs, or anything about this topic? [since I am very illiterate when it comes to protecting my pc when up against these conditions/situations]







Thank You

Edited by superstar, 01 June 2007 - 01:00 AM.

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#2
SRX660

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After 5 fried computers many years ago, i will not trust any surge protector to keep my computers from being destroyed by lightning. Since i live in florida i see quite a lot of lightning. I have gone so far at to have my refrigerator and freezer hooked to UPS's to keep them from getting fried by lightning. Both my TV's all of my computers, my stereo system and everything in my entertainment center are all on UPS systems. I have been lucky that i am working with businesses that have lots of UPS's and change them out for new ones instead of replacing the batterys. So i end up getting plenty of used UPS's to use. While i prefer using the 1000 va really even the 300 va units will protect your computer very well. Main thing about a UPS is that your system never loses power so a lightning strike doe not affect it. It also lets you power down your computer normally instead of a abrupt power off of the system. Surge protectors cannot do this as all they do is stop the power surge fro getting thru the line to the computer. Newer UPS's also have built-in surge protection for network cables and phone lines.

I have had lightning hit my house and fry a surge protector so badly that the plastic was melting and i could feel how hot the protector was. That time it did not help much because lightning also came in on the phone line and fried a monitor, 2 video cards, 2 modems, an adjacent network card and fried one of the sound cards. I have learned the hard way to protect everything. You might ask why a refrigerator, and the reason is because lightning did burn a motor out on a relatively new refrigerator, at a cost of $1000 for a replacement when the insurance company claimed they don't cover "acts of god". I also got a new insurance company.

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#3
superstar

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I guess I was lucky enough that the lightning did not ruin my pc. I've heard about these UPS things for quite some time now SRX600. I appreciate your comment, and I really have to say that I want to buy an UPS now instead of a power surge bar. But what UPS should I be going for? I don't know anything about brands, models, or voltages, watts, etc. I just know that I need an UPS that will protect the equipment I listed and possibly more if I ever buy bigger stuff that uses more electricity. All I need is at least 10-20 mins of time for me to shutdown and also very good protection.

Also... Do you leave them plugged in during lightning storms? Or should you still unplug the UPS power cord from the wall like the procedure I use on my first post?
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#4
SRX660

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Because of my getting thrown away UPS's i have used a variety of them. Most are APC units, with some belkin, Liebert, and some other odd brands. All have performed about the same. I was lucky enough to be on a local email list where the subject of dead battery's came up so i found 4 good local sources of replacement battery's for these units. The UPS's that i bought new i have not had to replace the battery's yet( in 3 or so years). The free ones i got from work did need the battery's replaced simply because the UPS's were the wrong kind for the application's they were used for.

You can read up on UPS's here.

http://www.apc.com/p...egory.cfm?id=13

Notice that you can have a bit over 20 minutes up time with the larger units, but this is at a higher cost of the single large units. This is with a normal wattage draw of 200 watts, which is normal for a home computer system. With your system you might want multiple UPS's so they all don't draw down a single UPS quickly. You must remember the UPS's pull 115 volts from those tiny 12 volt sealed battery's so they just can't last a long time pulling that much juice. I can shut down my computers that are running in 5 minutes. Since i have 5 computers hooked to 3 large UPS's i have plenty of time to shut them all down if necessary.

Yes i leave my computers turned on during lightning storms, if i am using them. One computer is a server so i cannot shut it off unless my power goes completely out for a period of time. My play computers i do shut down when in storm conditions, but i do not disconnect anything just because of storms. That is what the UPS's are used for. I should not have to DISCONNECT anything. I will say that since i have installed UPS's i have not had any real close lightning strikes like i used to have all the time. Every year i had one that did some damage but in the last 2 years i can recall only one close strike that had no effect at all except to cause me to shut off my systems because there was no power for about 30 minutes. I did find out that the UPS's beeping( no power warning ) from 8 UPS's can be very annoying after a few minutes. Then is whe i wil turn the UPS's off until the power comes back on.
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#5
superstar

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I'm ready with cash in hand! I need an UPS and now I know to get one with windows integration, AVR, warranty/guarantee for connected equipment, and the fact that the brand APC is the best. All I'm stuck thinking about is which one will be good enough for all of my connected equipment. I actually went to a pc store yesterday and looked at some UPS. I asked a guy there why the boxes say 300watt, 400watt, 500watt, because I thought it meant thats how much you can connect to it, or how much each 3 prong hole can give off in power. He said something about how I'm mistaken and that's just the power/time you have to turn your machines off when the UPS switches to it's own power as opposed to the wall outlet's juice.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is I don't want to buy an UPS and overload it with all of this connected equipment. I want one that can handle everything that is connected. That is not to say that I want an UPS that will give me 60 minutes or some very huge length of time to turn off my equipment. No. What I mean is more of handling the connected equipment. For example if I was looking for a surge bar I would want one that could give the right amount of juice to my equipment, without the bar being overloaded with too much power to give [ie: not meeting the equipments needs]. So this is more about power than time... I need an UPS that can power my stuff and give me at least 5-10 mins to shutdown. I honestly do not know how to do the calculations. I just don't want to overloard the UPS with power needs it cannot handle during normal use [ie: on a normal day using wall power, not during outages or storms where it goes into battery mode]. I talked to a couple of my tech buddies and they said the following:


The "guy" is ignorant and stupid enough to give answers that would create a dangerous fire hazard.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy an under-rated UPS for the job.


He taught me a bit about doing calculations in order to get the right UPS for my equipment. But much of it didn't exactly make sense to me. :whistling:

"pure-sinusoidal output UPS => 500W PSU + 75W CRT + 30W FirePod = 605W = 855VA [<<<how did he get 855VA from 605W?]

Non-sinusoidal output UPS => 855VA + 25% standard deviation = 1068VA"



Another friend of my relatives said the following:

With your list you should be looking for a UPS in the 1000 watt to 1200 watt range.
To obtain an off line working time of 20 minutes you will have to pay at least $1500 maybe much more.

Personally I'd put the dosh into a savings account and earn some interest until I had to draw it out to pay for a replacement pc. It might be another 10 years before it happens again and you would have to replace the pc by then anyway!


Okay so I now understand that all of the stuff I'm trying to connect to the UPS is way too much to dish out financially just for my leisure and peace of mind. I actually took a look at all of the equipment, and jotted down the wattage for each.

450 Watt Psu [Pc]
45 Watt [Nintendo Wii]
18 Watt [Vcr]
200 Watt [17" Crt Monitor] Doesn't say wattage, only says "ac 100-240v 50/60hz 1.6a". So I put what my friend said is usually the wattage of a monitor.
19 Watt [Soundcraft Audio Mixer Board]
115 Watt [Tv]
???? Watt [High Speed DSL Modem] Can't reach to see
20 Watt [Audio System]

Well I can tell you this... I'm not paying $1500 for an UPS that's for [bleep] sure. I'm still going to get one but I'm only going to choose the most important stuff I must protect. My Pc, Computer Monitor, Nintendo Wii, Soundcraft Audio Mixer Board, Audio System, & Internet Modem. And a printer I will buy in the future although I heard from you all that a printer doesn't matter since it goes in the seperate unprotected outlet on the UPS. I hope I'm correct...

Would someone be able to do the calculations for that so I can get the right UPS? I only need at least 5/10 minutes of time to shutdown. Don't forget to add a little bit of wattage to the calculation just in case.

Edited by superstar, 01 June 2007 - 12:47 PM.

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#6
SRX660

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Looking further into the UPS website you can find their calculator.

http://www.apcc.com/...FTOKEN=17570612

Heres a good explanation on sizing a UPS.

http://www.pcguide.c...ncSizing-c.html

Personally i would not attempt to run everything on just one UPS. Running more than one UPS does two things. First, it cuts the loading on a single UPS by half giving you more time to shut things down and also not overloading the UPS. Second, It creates a kind of backup so if something does go wrong with one UPS you have another that you can use for critical operations. I also suggest buying the highest rating you can afford. If you buy 1000 watt units then fine but 2 or more 500watt units will do the same job. The best prices seem to be on the 500 and 650 watt UPS's so i would go for them. Local circuit city and bestbuy have sales on these all the time.

Some things need to be said about power supplies, monitors and other equipment. Normal running of a computer is still at 200 watts most of the time.You must remember that while you have a PS of 450 watts most do not run anywhere near that. Most are rated a 80% or less load rating so a 450 watt may only be able to run 360 watts peak. Also if you are running a computer just doing normal things, the computer will not use all its power to run.

Sometimes you can only get the amp reading or voltage on a piece of hardware. Below is the conversion rates for these.

The conversion of Watts to Amps is governed by the equation Amps = Watts/Volts
For example 12 watts/12 volts = 1 amp

The conversion of Amps to Watts is governed by the equation Watts = Amps x Volts
For example 1 amp * 110 volts = 110 watts

The conversion of Watts to Volts is governed by the equation Volts = Watts/Amps
For example 100 watts/10 amps = 10 volts

The conversion of Volts to Watts is governed by the equation Watts = Amps x Volts
For example 1.5 amps * 12 volts = 18 watts

The conversion of Volts to Amps at fixed voltage is governed by the equations Amps = Watts/Volts
For example 120 watts/110 volts = 1.09 amps

The conversion of Amps to Volts at fixed voltage is governed by the equation Volts = Watts/Amps
For Example, 48 watts / 12 Amps = 4 Volts

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#7
superstar

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Hey Srx600,

Good read thanks for the information, I actually think I found a well priced UPS for my needs. Would you be able to check it out and see if it's good enough for my "must protect" needs? I mean like I said before I was trying to protect too much equipment before, but now I've opted to protect only the most essential equipment I have which is:

450 Watt Psu [Pc]
45 Watt [Nintendo Wii]
80 Watt [17" Crt Monitor]
19 Watt [Soundcraft Audio Mixer Board]
???? Watt [High Speed DSL Modem] Can't reach to see
20 Watt [Audio System]


This is the UPS I suppose will work for the equipment I just listed as being "super important stuff I cannot lose".

http://www.canadacom...d...&cid=PS.643
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