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UPS Systems Augusta GA

You don't have to live in California to worry about electrical power. All over the United States, power authorities are straining against high consumer demand. Brownout conditions or unannounced outages may become more frequent in many locales. Why are computers so susceptible to sudden power loss? Most of the components in a computer are solid-state and unaffected by power dropouts in Augusta.

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(706) 303-3404
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Augusta, GA
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Circuits & Wiring, Commercial Electrical Services, Electric Safety & Protection, Electrical Inspections, Electricians, Lighting Design & Installation, Residential Electrical Services, Voltage Conversion

Odd Jobs Building & Remodeling
(803) 575-0923
1050 Combine Ct.
Aiken, SC
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Fleming Construction Inc
(706) 729-0625
1903 Barton Chapel Road
Augusta, GA
 
Byrd's Electric & Plumbing Inc
(706) 722-6702
2001 Old Savannah Road
Augusta, GA
 
K E Electric Co
(706) 733-0023
Augusta, GA
 
Mister Sparky Augusta
(706) 303-3752
4074 Washington Rd
Martinez, GA
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Hours
Monday 24 Hours
Tuesday 24 Hours
Wednesday 24 Hours
Thursday 24 Hours
Friday 24 Hours
Saturday 24 Hours
Sunday 24 Hours
Services
Circuits & Wiring, Commercial Electrical Services, Electric Safety & Protection, Electrical Inspections, Electricians, Lighting Design & Installation, Residential Electrical Services, Voltage Conversion

B & B Electrical Contractors
(706) 738-9595
2280 Walden Drive
Augusta, GA
 
Bryant Electrical Contractors
(706) 729-1223
3125 Damascus Road
Augusta, GA
 
Jones Electrical Service
(706) 793-1995
Augusta, GA
 
P & T Electric Inc
(706) 793-0174
Augusta, GA
 

UPS Systems

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You don't have to live in California to worry about electrical power. All over the United States, power authorities are straining against high consumer demand. Brownout conditions or unannounced outages may become more frequent in many locales. Why are computers so susceptible to sudden power loss? Most of the components in a computer are solid-state and unaffected by power dropouts. But the hard-disk drive is the Achilles heel of your computer system. Any work that you have not saved to the hard disk (for example, a document in progress) would be lost instantly in a power failure, but the damage can be more severe. In the worst case, your computer may be caught in the middle of writing data to the hard disk when the power fails, causing loss of creative work or damage to the operating system. Restoration from backups or re-installation of the operating system can cost precious hours when you're in the middle of an important project. You can insulate your computer from the damaging effects of electricity dropouts with an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS.

A UPS consists of a battery and an AC inverter that work together to provide clean AC power during an outage. There are two main types of UPS: The standby UPS allows AC power to pass through and provides battery backup only in the event of a power dropout. The time required for battery power to activate is called the cut-over time or transfer time. An on-line UPS remains active at all times, constantly charging the batteries and feeding power to the computer. On-line UPS systems have no cut-over time, since the battery is constantly feeding the system. On-line systems are more expensive, waste more energy, are tough on batteries and require frequent maintenance. For these reasons, the standby UPS is the popular choice for home use.

Choosing a UPS

There are two key considerations in choosing a UPS: the rated power and the backup time. The rated power determines the maximum power of the devices that you attach to the UPS. If you use a UPS with an inadequate power rating, the UPS will fail immediately in the switch to battery power, leaving you with no backup power and a dead UPS. The backup time determines how much time you have before the batteries run down. The backup time must be long enough that you can safely restore power or save your work and shut down your computer. Let's look at these two considerations in detail.

Power Rating: The power rating for a UPS is measured in VA, or voltage multiplied by current (measured in amps). You could also measure UPS-rated power in watts, but the VA number will always be higher, so VA makes for a more appealing number for marketing purposes. Some vendors provide a watt rating in the fine print on the box or the spec sheets on their websites. To determine the required VA rating for your prospective UPS, multiply the voltage by the current for each device you plan to attach to the UPS, then add up all the VA values. You can usually find rated power consumption on a sticker on the back of the device, near the power cord. For example, your computer may be rated at 110V and 2A, for a power rating of 220VA. Your computer display may be rated at 110V and 1.5A, for a power rating of 165VA. Add up the VA rating for all devices to get the minimum VA rating for your UPS. In this example, 220VA + 165VA = 385VA, so we'll need a UPS with a power rating of at least 385VA. In theory, this power calculation is accurate.

In reality, there are two complicating factors. The power consumption printed on the back of an electronic device is usually the peak power, not the typical power. So, the VA value that you calculate may be grossly inflated, often by as much as a factor of two. Second, most UPS systems operate much more efficiently if the rated power of the UPS is somewhat larger than the rated power of the devices. These two complicating factors tend to cancel out, so the technique to calculate the power rating is a safe estimate. You will find more accurate methods of calculating UPS power on the websites for many UPS vendors. Sites like American Power Conversion (www.apcc.com), Sutton Designs (www.suttondesigns.com), and Tripp Lite (www.tripplite.com) have online configuration calculators that will help you select the right power rating for your UPS.

Backup Time: The second crucial consideration is the amount of time you will have to save your work and shut down your system in the event of a power failure. Your backup time depends on the rated power of the devices attached to the UPS and the batteries in the UPS. Most manufacturers list backup time in minutes at half maximum load - that is, the amount of time the UPS can provide power if it is loaded to only half its rated power. Some manufacturers also provide a backup time at full power load. In general, the half-load backup time will be more than twice as long as the full-load backup time. Some UPS systems have very limited backup time, so you definitely want to check the specifications for the available UPS systems and find one that matches your needs. In general, you need five to 10 minutes to save your work and perform a clean shutdown. But if you work with large, complicated applications, you may want to plan on more backup time. Other Features Virtually all UPS systems have surge-protection features comparable to an off-the-shelf surge protector.

Many UPS systems offer extra features, like telephone line or Ethernet network surge protection, widely spaced power sockets for AC power adapters, or a computer data connection that works with software to automatically shut down your system in the event of an extended power failure. Some UPS systems offer line conditioning capability, which allows the UPS to compensate for brownout conditions or clamp down an overvoltage without switching to full backup power - a very useful feature if you have a poor electric utility. You should examine the manufacturer's spec sheet carefully to decide which additional features you might want. Pricing UPS system prices vary based on the rated power, backup time and other features.

In general, low-end units suitable for a single, small computer (for example, an iMac or a single desktop system with monitor) and short backup time will cost about $90. More capable consumer units with power for a high-drain computer and longer backup time will cost around $150. High-end consumer units in the 1400VA range - enough power to handle three to four desktop computer systems and the related network or telecom hardware - may cost up to $600. Care and Feeding The AC inverter circuitry and gel-cell chemical batteries in a UPS are fairly sensitive to abuse. For safe and long-lasting operation of your UPS system, you'll need to follow some common-sense guidelines for care and maintenance. With proper care, your UPS should last four to six years and possibly much longer if you replace the batteries when they begin to fail.

Here is a list of ways to keep your UPS healthy:

.DO NOT plug more devices into the UPS than you absolutely need. Unnecessary devices like printers, stereo systems or computer speakers draw power in the event of a power failure, shortening your backup time.

.DO NOT plug laser printers, space heaters, kitchen appliances, power tools or other electrically noisy, high-drain devices into a UPS, even for a short time. These devices will quickly damage the circuitry in the UPS.

.DO NOT plug medical devices or equipment into a standard UPS. Medical devices may be sensitive to the slight differences between regular AC power and backup power provided by an AC inverter. If you need to back up medical equipment, look for a UPS certified for medical use.

.DO follow the manufacturer's recommendations for initial charging of the UPS. Usually, you need to leave the UPS plugged in for eight to 12 hours before plugging in your computer or other devices.

.DO plug the UPS into a properly grounded outlet. Although the UPS can provide backup power without a safety ground, the surge protection features of the UPS require grounded power.

.DO plug telecommunications devices into your UPS, such as DSL/cable modems, network routers or hubs, or cordless phones. Sudden disconnection of your Internet connection or home network can cause delays during computer shutdown, and these devices draw very little power.

.DO check your UPS once a year or so. Shut down and disconnect your computers, then plug a lamp or other simple device into the UPS and turn it on. Disconnect the UPS from AC power and see if the UPS activates as expected. If not, you've got a problem. If you make an informed purchase and follow these basic recommendations, you can depend on your UPS system for years of reliable data protection. Rick Russell maintains About Computer Peripherals (peripherals.about.com), a website devoted to computer components and upgrades.

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