It’s a strange thing that the very same thing that allows you to use your computer puts your computer at risk. Not just the risk of losing hardware, but of destroying your data as well. We’ve all heard of a surge, but do you realize the damage it can cause to your system, and how easy it is to protect yourself from one? Further, many don’t realize that a voltage dip (brownout) can be just as dangerous.
It’s important to protect yourself from all forms of power disturbances, the two most important being power surges and voltage dips (brownouts).
So how do I protect myself from a power disturbance?
Two devices that provide the best protection:
- A surge protector
- A Universal Power Supply (more commonly known as a battery backup)
Of these two devices, the most important is a battery backup. Despite a common misconception, this device isn’t meant to keep your computer online through the entirety of a power outage. The purpose of a battery backup is to allow your computer or server to stay online through a brownout (short dip in power) and stay online in a power outage just long enough to safely turn off your computer (and perhaps give you a few minutes extra of work time, depending on your battery backup). When your computer crashes suddenly and doesn’t have a chance to shut down safely you dramatically increase the odds of corrupting important data and critical system files that allow your workstations or servers to boot.
So what type of power protection should I get?
It partially depends on your budget and need. You need an idea of how much power your workstation or server consumes before purchasing the proper power protection. So first things first, determine your budget and up time need. If you can only afford a surge protector, I would highly recommend getting a metal surge protector. Despite being more expensive, they are less of a fire risk. If your workstation is at all business critical, I would recommend investing in a battery backup. ALL SERVERS SHOULD HAVE A BATTERY BACKUP.
To determine the right battery backup for you, check out this tool put out by APC HERE.
I already have a battery backup, how do I know that mine is still working?
The easiest (and safest) way to test if a battery backup is still working is to turn off your PC, unplug it from the battery backup, find a light, plug it in to the battery backup, turn the light on and then unplug the battery backup from the wall. If the light stays on for a few minutes, you can move on to the next test. Try plugging your PC in and doing the same thing. It’s important to note that you should recharge your battery backup before testing your PC.
Should I daisy chain my power protection?
I get this question a lot. The simple answer is no, it generally doesn’t meet fire code and will void the warranty of your device.
Hopefully this answers some of the questions you may have about power protection. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
Michael Curnutt, President
Need help with the above article? Looking for a geek that has turned consultant? Let Expedient Technology be your IT department. Serving the greater Everett area, we are happy to be your partner for all things tech. Contact us.