Computers & Electronics

UPS backup power supply worth it?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 12th, 2017 6:54 pm
Member
Jul 6, 2009
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ChubChub wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 9:27 pm
While brownouts generally simply result in stuff turning off, the other end is the electronics might start working much harder to maintain operation.
You are again rationalizing. If it works harder, then internal parts must be more robust - so that harder does not even come close to damage. I have been designing this stuff for more than 40 years. Suddenly you know otherwise? And never post any numbers to support your feelings? Even your citations say different from what you posted. I know one perfect example. We wrote it. You completely misread it. You even ignore numbers in your citations that contradicted your beliefs.

Junk science - subjective claims - no number. Add to that insufficient knowledge on how lightning and electricity work. Apparently you even believe lightning is a DC current - when your citations say otherwise.
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teleguitar wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 6:24 pm
Where? I think you need to go to where it's being sold.... these things are super expensive to ship? I still plan on ordering a battery but the cheapest I can find is around $80 (for an older APC XS800 model).
This is the unit I am referring to

https://www.amazon.ca/CyberPower-CP600L ... B000OTEZ5I

I've bought them on sale for ~$60
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westom wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 9:32 pm
I have been designing this stuff for more than 40 years.
If you have, I feel very bad for the company that is employing you; your grasp of EXTREMELY elementary knowledge is hilariously lacking, and I VERY much doubt you're capable of designing anything capable of doing something within the scope of this thread. If you believe that, in order to deal with an electrical charge requires you to "block" it (as in, somehow "sink" a charge internally) ... this is an unbelievable misunderstanding of how an electron works (an electron is the base of how electricity works, FYI). I know this essentially means nothing, but I have a masters in electrical engineering (which, to be fair, provided me basically zero knowledge, in the scope of this thread, that a normal person wouldn't have), but even when I was taking gr. 9 electrical basics (as in, learning how to wire a house), the knowledge I'd provided to this thread was very well known to me. Basically ,this is knowledge that anyone that is touching an electrical circuit would have intuitively known.
westom wrote:
Jul 14th, 2017 9:32 pm
Suddenly you know otherwise? And never post any numbers to support your feelings? Even your citations say different from what you posted. I know one perfect example. We wrote it. You completely misread it. You even ignore numbers in your citations that contradicted your beliefs.

Junk science - subjective claims - no number. Add to that insufficient knowledge on how lightning and electricity work. Apparently you even believe lightning is a DC current - when your citations say otherwise.
I linked a lot of reasonably reputable sources to verify my points (i know you're apparently a stickler for links, even though you've demonstrably not actually bothered to click them); maybe you're confusing me with someone else? I don't have any "feelings" towards my opinions on this matter, they're facts. You said wanted links, I provided links. You personally make claims that are contrary to popular science, but zero links (from reputable sources) to support your fringe opinions. My links had numbers; I don't want to be insulting, but numbers look like this (if you need help identifying them): 0123456789. However, if you're looking to those links to prove things that they weren't intended to prove, I don't know what to say; they were just examples, and since you curiously don't seem to care much about science, I tried to provide sources that would provide you with knowledge that you currently don't possess/understand. And the linked knowledge isn't exactly fringe; it's pretty well known, accepted as fact, easily verifiable with math, and common (to most people) knowledge.

And yes, lightning is DC current; none of my citations would have likely contradicted this, unless it's in comments, which (as you are showing), don't necessarily have adherence to any logical thought. I'm not sure how the concept of power dissipation has anything to do with DC or AC current anyways; in general, the applications are the same ... electrons going one way or the other make little difference to an energy sinking device (unless you've got diodes in there, or are dealing with situations where heterodyne / high frequency oscillations in wires make a difference. Maybe you're trying to say someone's misquotation of AC vs DC somehow invalidates hundreds of years of electrical knowledge? If so, that is also very sad.
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Nov 17, 2004
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I know nothing about 120v mains stuff, I work in electronics, we talking 5v output 12v-24v input. I think weston knows what he is talking about but he is hung up on insisting that the total lighting energy has to be absorbed by the surge protector for that surge protector to be considered effective. I do not think that is the case, there would be some energy absorbing component on the surge protector, but the component only has to absorb enough energy to buy enough time for the fuse to blow, or whatever component is equivalent to a fuse. Once the fuse blows, you are telling the rest of the lighting energy to find another path because this path is closed for business.

I am not trying to insult anyone, this not posted with any malice intent. Again, I know nothing about real AC stuff, I am just extrapolating things based on other electrical engineering experiences.
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My motherboard fried because of a brownout. I saw it happen when my lights faded and my PC died simultaneously while I was working on it. I doubt it was a coincidence. One thing I would say though is that I was living in a house that was built in the 50s and the electrical plugs did not have a ground prong.

Logically, it seems to me that a surge protector would protect against surges but it has no way to replace the electricity that goes missing from a brownout. A good UPS, battery, on the other hand, feeds constant power to the device during a brownout even if its feed is uneven.
Phils
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For the OP, just google "computer won't boot after a power outage". The problem is that power interruption at the wrong time can have dire consequences on your data. Not only the data that is in memory and hasn't been written, but also the data already on your disk. There is a reason the screen shows "Don't shut down your computer" whenever you get a Windows Update.

If the computer is writing to critical system files and you shut it off (due to a power loss), you may not be able to recover your system easily. At best case, the software may detect that the operation failed and recover itself. If the system was writing to critical sections of your hard disk, you may not be able to boot it afterwards. I've seen too many systems that needed recovery after somebody pulled the plug at the wrong time. Either files were corrupted (losing ALL the data in the file because the file is essentially mangled), or boot sectors corrupted (sometimes fixable, sometimes not using various recovery tools). You want to avoid any chance of your disk being corrupted because the system is in the middle of an operation. Quite often, nothing with happen too, but there was one time in our new work building where the power going up and down a lot due to construction, and there was more than one instance the desktops lost data

Buy a UPS, it's a no brainer. It's not a conspiracy that you should protect your system from dips in power to avoid unintentional shutdowns. Save often, back up often, and use a UPS. It is time saved if a brownout happens at the wrong time.
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Dec 7, 2015
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Gee wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 1:26 am
This is the unit I am referring to

https://www.amazon.ca/CyberPower-CP600L ... B000OTEZ5I
I have that unit. Yesterday, coincidentally, there was a power failure - very brief outage, < 1 sec - and the unit beeped and logged it but didn't switch to backup power quickly enough and everything powered off. Bummer. Worked fine when there was a similar power glitch last week.
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willilumplump wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 10:48 am
I have that unit. Yesterday, coincidentally, there was a power failure - very brief outage, < 1 sec - and the unit beeped and logged it but didn't switch to backup power quickly enough and everything powered off. Bummer. Worked fine when there was a similar power glitch last week.
Check the battery.
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Jul 6, 2009
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toalan wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 3:54 am
I think weston knows what he is talking about but he is hung up on insisting that the total lighting energy has to be absorbed by the surge protector for that surge protector to be considered effective. I do not think that is the case, there would be some energy absorbing component on the surge protector, but the component only has to absorb enough energy to buy enough time for the fuse to blow, or whatever component is equivalent to a fuse. Once the fuse blows, you are telling the rest of the lighting energy to find another path because this path is closed for business.
That is an honest assessment if critical spec numbers are ignored.

First, a protector adjacent to an appliance must either 'block' or 'absorb' a surge. Effective devices - completely different and also called surge protectors - never do that. But again, we are no where near to discussing an effective solution due to so many so manipulated by technical fables - and who post nasty insults to prove their presidential merit.

Second, an effective solution answers this question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. That has not changed on over 100 years.

Third, fuses take milliseconds or seconds to blow. Surges are done in microseconds. No fuse can stop a surge.

Read numbers on that fuse. A fuse may be rated for 250 volts. That means a blown fuse continues conducting current if voltage exceeds that 250 volt number. What does a surge current do is something foolishly tries to block it? Voltage increases as necessary to blow through that blockage. A surge continues flowing through a blown fuse.

Actually a surge current does not continue through that fuse. Surge has done damage and eneded long before the fuse blows. Something completely different and potentially more destructive (a follow-through current) flows. A fuse (or circuit breaker) cannot and never protects from a surge. But numbers must be learned. Also learn what a follow-through current is.

Four, Ben Franklin demonstrated how effective protection works. Lightning seeks earth ground. A 20,000 amp current is via a wooden church steeple destructively to earth. Wood is not a good conductor. So 20,000 amps creates a high voltage. 20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy. Church steeple damaged.

Franklin installed a lightning rod. Now 20,000 amps is via a wire to an earthing electrode. High current creates near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. Structure undamaged.

Lightning seeks earth ground. A lightning strike to utility wires far down the street is a direct strike, incoming to every household appliance, destructively to earth. Appliances are not a good conductor. So lightning creates a high voltage. Lightning current times a high voltage is high energy. Appliances damaged.

For over 100 years, facilities that cannot have damage installed superior earthing connected low impedance (ie less than 10 feet) via a 'whole house' protector to an earthing electrode. Then high current creates near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. Then superior protection inside all appliances is not overwhelmed - no damage.

Franklin demonstrated what does protection over 250 years ago. Facilities that could not have damage, even 100 years ago, implement this well proven and many times less expensive solution. Surges are never averted by magic boxes (plug-in protectors) or disconnected by a fuse. Each layer of protection is always defined by THE item that does protection; that harmlessly absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules - and all lesser surges. This superior solution also costs tens or 100 times less money - about $1 per protected appliance. And is completey unknow to the many educated only by hearsay, advertising, and wild speculation.

Fifth, ineffective protectors have no earth ground. Will not discuss it. Honesty and numbers would only harm sales and profit margins.

Best protection at each appliance is already inside each appliance. Adjacent protectors can even compromise (bypass) that protection. But most here have no idea how protectors work. Or even what is necessary.

Protection has always been (even over 250 years ago) has always been about where hundreds of thousands of joules (and lesser surges) are harmlessly absorbed. Effective protectors (unknown to those brainwashed here) do that. Every layer of protection is only defined one item that defines that protection layer and that absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. It has not changed in over 100 years. Demonstrated above are many, instead, educated by junk science, advertising, and other forms of brainwashing. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
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Jul 6, 2009
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Phils wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 8:39 am
My motherboard fried because of a brownout. I saw it happen when my lights faded and my PC died simultaneously while I was working on it. I doubt it was a coincidence.
It was not a coincidence - as I have explained repeatedly. Please go back and read it.

If a brownout destroyed your motherboard, then a power off also destroys it. All power offs means voltages slowly decrease - remain in the brownout region for a long time - until voltage eventually falls to zero.

Second, if a brownout damages a motherboard, then the one part damaged by a brownout is defined. Nobody has ever been able to define that part - ever. Because no such part exists.

For example, let's look at the datasheet that would define a threat. Not destructive voltages are clearly defined on the first page: from -0.5 to +20 volts. Yes even a negative voltage is not destructive:
http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datashe ... 514_DS.pdf

Third, we routinely test electronics on all low voltages. Voltage can drop so low that incandescent bulbs are at 50% intensity. Even a brownout that low is sufficient and safe. Tim McIntyre describes why the fewer are informed:
We operate everything on an isolated variac, which means that I can control the voltage going into the unit I am working on from about 150 volts down to zero. This enables us to verify power regulation for over and under-voltage situations. ...

Switching supplies ... can and will regulate with very low voltages on the AC line in; the best I've seen was a TV which didn't die until I turned the variac down to 37 VAC! A brownout wouldn't have even affected the picture on that set.
Not die as in damage. Die as in power off. Brownouts never damage properly designed electronics. As in never. However if I am wrong, then you can post a datasheet number that says so. Good luck. The challenge never gets an honest reply - only gets nasty insults. Many who know brownouts are destructive use classic junk science reasoning justified by cheapshots and emotion. Same observations also proved life can be created by moldy bread.

Brownout does not damage electronics. Brownouts are a threat to motorized appliances. Even 70 years ago, a utility provided sufficient voltage (to protect motorized appliances) or cuts off power.

What is normal voltage for all electronics? Incandescent bulbs can dim to 50% intensity.
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warpdrive wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 9:00 am
If the computer is writing to critical system files and you shut it off (due to a power loss), you may not be able to recover your system easily. At best case, the software may detect that the operation failed and recover itself.
Cited is a fear eliminated over 20 years ago. That problem observed by many who still kept using FAT filesystems (ie Win 95, Win ME). That technology had been obsoleted before OSes existed. The fewer and informed back then never used those "obsolete when first introduced" OSes. Instead used Windows NT.

If power is lost due to a power outage, then "not obsolete" file systems ignore an incomplete file save and restore a previous file. System recovery is automatic.

Worse are so many technically naive who insist other already saved data can be corrupted by a power off. It is not. It was not corrupted by a power off even when disk drives moved heads with motor oil. Power off does not destroy saved data. Power off is only a threat to unsaved data.

One condition that could corrupt one file during a write was eliminate by technology that was standard over a generation ago. And still that myth lives on.

UPS provides temporary and 'dirty' power so that unsaved data can be saved. And to avert an inconvenient reboot.
Nothing more.
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What you said is false. Modern journaling file systems in current OSs will do a lot ensure filesystem integrity but it doesn't prevent all instances of data corruption. This distinction is important because it's beyond just losing remaining unsaved data. Differing disk caching mechanisms can also affect the integrity of data if there is a power loss.

Personally I have observed perfectly functioning computers on our site fail to easily recover after a power outage. It's far beyond an inconvenient reboot.

I'll take my real world practical experience over your ramblings thank you.
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Dec 7, 2015
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Gee wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 10:56 am
Check the battery.
Unit reports the battery is fine and everything is hunky-dory. It's only a year old, so I wouldn't expect a problem. There have been lots of power hiccups over the year, but only one extended outage and it shut everything down well before the battery was drained - nothing to suggest the battery has been beat to death.

One interesting thing was that the clock in my kitchen, which always goes to a blinking 00:00 state whenever there's a power glitch, ran through this just fine. It was more of a brownout (actually two quick flickers of the lights) than either a normal brownout or a complete shutoff. It may be a condition the UPS just didn't want to handle.
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warpdrive wrote:
Jul 15th, 2017 12:58 pm
Computers running SSDs can be even scarier when power failures occur.
That is a problem with a design of some SSDs. Whereas that would not cause a problem to (most) disk drives in the 1960s and 70s, that same unacceptable fault has been noted in some SSD designs.

Return for a minute back to the 1970s. Some hardware was designed badly. For example, if the eight inch floppy disk was in the drive when power cycled, then that floppy could be erased. This was directly traceable to how 5 and 12 volts were controlled. Yes, some hardware can be that badly designed. But that is not the fault of a power loss or brownout. That is a fault directly traceable to a design (and probably the management) from that company.

Learn about a device called a voltage supervisor. Some shave costs by eliminating this sophisticated circuit or by duplicating it with a circuit that was even piss poor in the 1970s. Its not power loss that causes these problems. Problem is bad product designs.
Last edited by westom on Jul 15th, 2017 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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