Battery backup surge protectors

Discussion in 'Dell' started by kathe, May 31, 2007.

  1. kathe

    kathe Guest

    I am looking for a battery backup surge protector> I am thinking of an APC
    but am confused by the voltage & watts. I have a dimension 8300 with a 17"
    screen. The printer & scanner don't have to be on backup only surge. Could
    someone advise me what I should get?

    kathe, May 31, 2007
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  2. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    You are seeking a solution to blackouts and brownouts. That is a
    battery backup power supply to protect from data loss is power goes
    out. The APC, et al units don't even claim to protect from surges
    that typically damage computers. That protection is provided

    In most cases, a 250 watt UPS would be more than sufficient. But
    a UPS typically sold in computer stores tends to degrade quickly.
    Batteries need replacement in as little as three years. Therefore
    many may recommend a 600 or 1000 watt UPS.

    If lights dim to less than 40% intensity, then a computer may have
    to shutdown without saving data. That is what a UPS is for - time to
    save that data.

    Effective surge protectors don't stop or block surges. Effective
    protectors connect surges to earth ground. Therefore an effective
    protector is distant from transistors and connects 'less than 10 feet'
    to earth ground. Superior and effective protectors for everything in
    a residence are sold even for less than $50 in Lowes and Home Depot.
    These effective 'whole house' protectors have responsible brand names
    such as Square D, GE, Leviton, Cutler-Hammer, Siemens, Intermatic,
    etc. Not on that list are products from APC, Tripplite, Belkin, etc
    who do not have a superior reputation in that first list.

    Two different problems solved by two completely different products
    located in two different locations. One product for blackouts and
    brownouts. Another for surges. Former to protect data. Latter to
    protect hardware.
    w_tom, Jun 1, 2007
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  3. kathe

    kathe Guest

    Thank you for your input. The APC I looked at Office Depot SAID it was for
    both surge & data. But it may not be true and may not be very good. I
    think I will look into the HomeDepot surge protectors. I really don't need
    the blackout/brownout as that is not a problem.

    kathe, Jun 1, 2007
  4. kathe

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Any old battery backup is better than none. It gets you through
    power-loss screwups by reducing their number enormously.

    Watts is more or less the same as Volt-Amperes as far as sizing.
    Use either one and just buy the next size bigger.

    A larger-still capacity will give you a longer runtime on your
    smaller system, which is what a lot of people go for.

    (Very nice would be a small-wattage battery backup with a huge
    battery, but nobody seems to sell that.)

    I've used Cyberpower, Tripplite and APC, and all work.
    Ron Hardin, Jun 1, 2007
  5. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    Yes, APC does claim to protect from a surge. Which one? A surge
    that typically does not do damage. A surge that is typically made
    irrelevant by protection already inside computers. But since APC does
    not claim to protect from all kinds of surges, then it forgets to list
    each type of surge, then use numbers to list which ones it does and
    does not protect from.

    It is called a 'whole house' protector. Lowes sells GE and Cutler-
    Hammer brands. Home Depot sells Intermatic. More expensive versions
    have longer life expectancy due to more joules. Minimally sufficient
    is 1000 joules and 50,000 amps.

    A protector is only as effective is its earth ground. A protector is
    not protection. A protector simply connects a surge to protection.
    Protection is earth ground. Your building earthing may need to be
    upgraded to meet and exceed post 1990 National Electrical Code
    requirements - to have sufficient protection.

    Each incoming utility must make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to
    that earthing electrode. Telco already installs a 'whole house'
    protector a phone line. That protector also only as effective as the
    earth ground you provided. Cable and satellite dish need no
    protector. These wired directly to that earthing electrode.

    A Lowes 'whole house' protector alone does not provide protection.
    You must inspect and maybe have an electrician upgrade building's
    earthing. That earthing wire must route separated from other wires so
    as to not induce surges on those other wires. It must have no sharp
    bends. If necessary pass through a wire (rather than over it) to make
    the earthing connection as short as possible. These are conditions
    that exceed code requirements but are necessary for surge protection.

    Above is secondary protection so that protection already inside a
    computer is not overwhelmed. Also inspect your primary protection
    'system'. Have the utility correct your primary protection if this
    wire is broken:
    w_tom, Jun 1, 2007
  6. Re: "The APC, et al units don't even claim to protect from surges that
    typically damage computers."

    Bullshit, they most certainly do; they even have a "protected equipment
    warranty" that provides "insurance" if a pieces of protected equipment
    is damaged while connected to an APC UPS.
    Barry Watzman, Jun 1, 2007
  7. w_tom is full of it, and his advice/information on this subject is best

    You really should get a UPS (probably the APC devices you were looking
    at) instead of "just" a surge protector. It's both a better and more
    all encompassing solution (it's also nice, in an emergency, to be able
    to run a light, radio, etc. for a while .... forget the computer).

    These are rated in VA (volt-amps), not watts; as a rough average, figure
    watts at 60% of VA (e.g. a 500VA unit is good for about 300 watts), but
    that number is SO highly variable that it is only the roughest of
    guidelines. However, with careful shopping, you can get a 600 to to
    900VA UPS in the $50-$60 range; a larger unit is likely to be $100 to
    $150, and I really don't recommend a smaller unit, except as a backup
    for a laptop. FWIW, my experience has been that you can power quite a
    bit more than the ratings on both the equipment and the UPS would lead
    you to believe.
    Barry Watzman, Jun 1, 2007
  8. Re: "Watts is more or less the same as Volt-Amperes as far as sizing."

    That is not correct; a 500VA unit can only power about a 300 watt pure
    resistive load (such as an incandescent light bulb).
    Barry Watzman, Jun 1, 2007
  9. kathe

    kathe Guest

    Thanks, I will now reconsider the APC unit I was looking at.

    kathe, Jun 1, 2007
  10. kathe

    Journey Guest

    Hi Barry -- thanks for this. I had images of some large conspiracy
    theory on the part of surge protector / UPS makers, but it would be
    absurd to think that those devices are useless without it being common

    I also am considering the APC UPS. The only thing I am confused about
    is why it's not good to plug a surge protector into another surge
    protector (just because the redundant ones would then function simply
    as outlet strips).

    Your point about it also being good for uses other than just the
    computer is a good one.

    Whatever I get I want to have auto-shutdown software in case power
    goes off overnight or when I am not home (my desktop computer is
    almost always on). I wouldn't need to do any work on the computer
    just make sure it shuts down safely.

    Oh, another question for anyone -- if the computer locks up and I
    can't even go into task manager, is a power-of by holding the power
    button for 12 seconds any safer than if the power should suddenly go
    Journey, Jun 1, 2007
  11. kathe

    Journey Guest

    And that software would need to be Vista compatible.
    Journey, Jun 1, 2007
  12. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    If it was bullshit, then you would have posted those numerical
    specifications. You did not because the manufacturer does not list
    each type of surge and numbers for the protection. For that matter,
    Barry posts no facts - only the word "Bullshit". As noted earlier, it
    does protect from one type of surge. A type that typically is not
    destructive; is made irrelevant by protection inside each computer.
    So what is it really protecting from? Barry did not say. He cannot.
    Manufacturer does not list such protection in numerical specs.

    It's not a conspiracy among protector manufacturers. They have
    simply found it so profitable to sell products on myths just like
    Listerene, Geritol, and miracle skin creams from the Pond's Institute
    (as if Pond's has this massive research laboratory on aging). Since
    pluging something in is so much simpler, then many want to believe the
    magic box is better than visual inspection and the 'whole house'
    protector. Its not about conspiracy. Its just that many want to
    believe the easy 'magic' box actually does something useful.

    Again, facilities that need real world surge protection don't use
    ridiculous and grossly overpriced plug-in solutions. They don't use
    ineffective (magic) plug-in solutions such as APC. Therefore
    telephone service is not out for four days while a damaged computer is
    replaced. No earth ground means no effective protection.

    Maybe Barry would identify the earthing wire in that APC unit? It
    does not exist - along with any manufacturer's claims for the
    protection. Barry cannot post those specifications because APC makes
    no such protection claim. So he uses the warranty as proof.

    The warranty? Did Barry bother to read the fine print that is chock
    full of exceptions? Steve Uhrig on 17 Jun 2003 in the newsgroup
    comp.home.automation entitled "UPS for computer and TV"
    Or W D Loughman on 11 May 2001 in comp.os.os2.misc entitled
    "UPS advice"
    As in most industries, a bigger promoted warranty means the product
    is often less reliable. Polyphaser, the industry benchmark, provides
    no warranty. Polyphaser products are installed where failures is
    never acceptable. Polyphaser products require earthing.
    w_tom, Jun 1, 2007
  13. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    Where does Barry post a single technical fact that says the APC does
    anything? Look at APC's numerical specs. They don't list each type
    of surge and numbers for protection because typically destructive
    surges seek earth ground. APC has no earthing; no effective

    Five power problems exist: blackouts, brownouts, surges, noise, and
    harmonics. Does the APC claim to solve all five. No. It does not
    even bother to list all such problems. APC is for the first two
    problems. Other three are solve elsewhere.

    No earth ground means no effective protection - as even Ben Franklin
    demonstrated in 1752 with lightning rods. Protection is based in
    principles that Franklin demonstrated. That same principle is used
    everywhere that lightning strikes and damage cannot result.
    Everywhere. The APC - it makes no claims and gets Barry to promote
    it. Notice that Barry never once provided a single technical fact.
    He just said APC works. Where are the numbers? Barry cannot provide
    them because APC does not list them.

    APC does not claim to provide effective protection. It only claims
    to protect from a surge made irrelevant by protection circuits already
    inside the computer. No dedicated earth ground wire? Then no
    effective protection. Same principle that even Franklin demonstrated
    in 1752. Where are those APC specs that even claim protection? No
    one can provide those numbers?
    w_tom, Jun 1, 2007
  14. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    Ron is essentially correct. A 100 watt computer would consume maybe
    120 V-A. A 100 watt light bulb would consume 100 V-A. The numbers
    are mostly same. That little difference is why the next larger UPS is
    usually selected. A 250 watt or 250 V-A UPS is more than sufficient
    for most computers. But again, those cheap UPSes (APC, etc) tend to
    degrade batteries very quickly. Some solve this degradation problem
    by purchasing a 600 watt UPS.

    How long does your car battery last? Seven years while in extreme
    hot and cold and used multiple times every day? But APC batteries,
    even if the unit rarely goes into battery backup mode, tend to degrade
    within three years. It is a product made as cheap as possible.
    Therefore many get 600 or 1000 watt UPSes where even a 250 watt would
    otherwise work.
    w_tom, Jun 1, 2007
  15. kathe

    wm_walsh Guest

    Please do some research on APC Silcon products.
    Uhm, OK. What is that third pin in many North American electrical
    outlets used for?

    Ever plug any surge protector or UPS into an outlet that wasn't
    properly grounded (or earthed) if you prefer? Did you notice that
    "site wiring fault" lamp coming on? Ever read the manuals that clearly
    state said surge protectors *must* be properly grounded to do much of

    That account regarding the "insurance" is unsurprising. It's also one
    of the few points we might be in agreement on. Anyone depending upon
    it to replace their damaged equipment is being silly. If APC--or any
    other power protection products maker--has *ever* honored one of
    these, I would be surprised to hear it.

    If you really value your equipment, it should be insured by a company
    that is in the insurance business. You should also have an agreement
    with the company as to what will be done in the event of equipment
    damage or destruction.
    That assertion is nonsensical. Why offer a longer warranty when you
    know the unit will fail? A company makes no money that way, some have
    even failed because of a long warranty on an unreliable product.

    Some companies do exactly that, but in many cases the length of a
    product's warranty is a measure of the confidence that a company has
    in their own products.
    Never heard of them, and I've seen a lot of brands of power protection
    equipment over the years.
    You are incorrect:

    Quoting from:

    "LIMITED WARRANTY. PolyPhaser warrants that at the time of shipment
    the goods shall meet or exceed all of PolyPhaser's published
    specifications for such goods and shall be and remain free of defects
    in workmanship and materials for a period of up to ten (10) years
    after the date of shipment of the goods to purchaser."
    Maybe so, but I've *never* seen their products or even heard of the
    company. And I've been in environments where failure is strongly
    discouraged. (I won't say unacceptable. You don't always get a choice
    when failure comes knocking.) Perhaps that isn't surprising, but I
    have seen an awful lot of brands over time, some of which are almost
    household words (APC, Tripp Lite, Square D) and others not so much
    (Perma Power, Sola/GS, Deltec/Fiskars, Best Power, Panamax and I could
    go on...)

    I really do think you mean well and wish to be handing out good
    information, but I don't think you are and it's beginning to get
    rather irritating to those of us who *do* give advice gleaned from
    practical experience with works and what doesn't. I and others are not
    out to mislead anyone, and I don't like the assertion that we are. Not
    that I'm speaking for anyone other than myself...and that's the last
    I'll say about it. I fully anticipate you'll waltz around every point
    I've made in some clever way. :)

    But hey, it's Usenet and you're free to do as you like, I
    have fun. :)

    wm_walsh, Jun 1, 2007
  16. kathe

    Ron Hardin Guest

    I don't think they're in the same business ; polyphaser is more for
    things _likely_ to be directly hit by lightning, like your commercial
    radio tower.

    The trick is to have a rigorously designed single ground point.

    Household power systems are a little too haphazard.
    Ron Hardin, Jun 1, 2007
  17. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    This is where we separate those who learned basic electrical concept
    from those who simply learn hearsay. Electrical outlet safety ground
    is also called equipment ground. It is not earth ground. To
    understand why, concepts taught in first year engineering are

    The numbers. A 50 foot wire from outlet to breaker box may be less
    than 0.2 ohms resistance. That same wire may be 120 ohms impedance.
    If a plug-in protector were earthing a trivial 100 amp surge, then the
    outlet would be something less than 12,000 volts. Will it earth via
    that 12,000 volts wire? Of course not. Therefore adjacent protectors
    will may earth that surge, destructively, through adjacent appliances.

    Having done this for many decades - and then asked why ... an
    example. A surge struck while they were away on vacation. We
    repaired every computer by replacing semiconductors. Not to save
    equipment or save money. To learn how a surge did that damage. Surge
    entered on two computers connected to adjacent surge protectors.
    Remember - a protectors does not stop or absorb surges. It simply
    shunts (connects) a surge on all other wires. Since an outlet safety
    ground wire was too long (and sharp bends, and splices, etc), then the
    surge entered each computer motherboard via green safety ground

    Incoming on computer via safety ground wire because of a plug-in
    protector too close to computer. Through computer's network chips.
    Via network to a third computer via its network card. Out via third
    computer's modem (because telco earths a 'whole house' protector on
    everyone's phone line). Damaged were ICs on those network cards and a
    transistor on that modem. Damage defined by an engineering analysis.

    Surge entered on AC electric. Plug-in protector too far from earth,
    instead, shunted (clamped) that surge into adjacent computers. Damage
    created because outlet's safety ground wire was too far from earth
    ground (and splices, sharp bends, etc). Plug-in protector not earthed
    except where some did not learn these engineering concepts.

    Provided are engineering reasons why an outlet ground wire is not
    earth ground. Provided is an example of what happened when two plug-
    in protectors were too close; damaged adjacent and powered off

    No earth ground meant no effective protection. Worse, the plug-in
    protector even contributed to damage of powered off computers.

    Polyphaser warranty makes no claim about protection. Ineffective
    plug-in protectors claim to replace all damaged household appliances.
    In reality, that plug-in protector warranty is so chock full of
    exemptions that it is never honored. When the product is not
    effective, then hype a big buck warranty and include massive fine
    print exemptions. Early 1960s Fords did that with a 50,000 mile
    warranty when Fords would fail so often. Hyped warranties are more
    often a symptom of bad products.

    In one APC warranty, if you have any other manufacturer's protector
    in the building, then APC warranty is voided. Polyphaser will honor
    any part that was warrantied - and that is not other electronics.
    Therefore Polyphaser products are legendary for protection. Those
    who want best protection know of Polyphaser. Those who only know from
    myths on retail shelves would only know of APC, Tripplite, Belkin,
    Panamax, and other plug-in protectors that don't even claim to

    But again, where is that APC numerical specification that claims
    protection from each type of surge? It does not exist ... which is
    why no one can post those numbers. If it is not obvious, the
    criticism of APC comes from an engineer with decades of experience,
    who has designed this stuff, and who learned by tracing failures by
    even replacing defective parts.

    No earth ground (as in that APC UPS) means no effective protection.
    Hell - no one even dared mention the grossly undersized joules in that
    APC UPS. A grossly undersized part installed to claim protection -
    that is as effective as if a sand castle stops an ocean tide.

    How many more engineering reasons need be posted to expose
    protection half truths in that APC UPS? Those who recommend the APC
    don't even provide the simplest number - joules.

    When it comes to effective surge protection, the responsible names
    include GE, Square D, Cutler Hammer, Intermatic, Leviton, Siemens,
    etc. Names that electricians associate with quality products.
    Ineffective products include APC, Panamax, Tripplite, Belkin, and
    especially Monster Cable (same protector selling for $100+). Name
    promoted mostly by myths and hearsay. Those who know 'why' would
    respect the first list. Those who only know from rumors and myths
    would recommend from that latter list.

    How many joules in that protector? Everyone recommending those
    ineffective (not earthed) protectors does not even list joules. That
    APC UPS - how many joules? Notice how grossly undersized it is. But
    again, one here is citing engineering concepts AND demanding the
    numbers. Those who recommend the APC product have yet to provide a
    single number from its numerical specifications.

    A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Polyphaser
    sells a protector with no earth ground. Why? Polyphaser sells
    superior protectors. Therefore its earth ground is zero feet long.
    It mounts directly on earth ground. Polyphaser products are legendary
    among those who know about surge protection. That shorter connection
    to earth ground means even better protection. Those with engineering
    knowledge know why. One must learns basic engineering concepts - such
    as resistance verse impedance - to understand why outlet safety ground
    is not earth ground.

    Not discussed are induced surges - also creates by plug-in
    protectors - because the ground wire is bundled with other wires.
    Reason after engineering reasons ... provided by whom?

    Kathe - did you verify your primary protection system? Those
    promoting plug-in protectors typically would not even know this:
    w_tom, Jun 2, 2007
  18. kathe

    w_tom Guest

    Does that light say anything about earthing? It cannot. And it
    should be obvious that the light cannot report an earth ground. For
    current to detect that earthing, then a complete circuit must exist.
    Current goes out breaker box to earth .... then how does current get
    back? No complete circuit. No way to test for earth ground. Basic
    electrical concepts say that light could never detect earth ground.

    Read their spin. That power strip must have a safety ground. Light
    cannot report the safety ground as good. It can only report a
    defective safety ground. Not earth ground. It can only report a
    defective safety ground ... and says nothing about earth ground.

    But again, they have worded it so that other will assume myths.
    Others assume that safety ground light reports a good ground AND
    reports earth ground. It does neither. It can only report a
    defective safety ground AND cannot report all defects in that safety

    Demonstrated again are 'half truths' often used to promote plug-in
    protectors. That ground light says nothing about earthing. And the
    manufacturer avoids all discussion about earthing to promote an
    ineffective protector. No earth ground means no effective protection.
    w_tom, Jun 2, 2007
  19. kathe

    Ron Hardin Guest

    You don't need an earth at all, just that everything goes to the
    same potential at once. You do this by restricting all entry to the
    house to a single source, and prevent those 2 or 3 wires from developing
    excessive relative potentials, and you're done.

    Extra grounds, for example, simply introduce danger, because their
    potential differences can be huge in a lightning strike.

    Experiment for you : drive a couple of ground stakes in the yard
    about 20 feet apart, and measure the AC potential between them.
    You'll get about a quarter volt, just from stray power company grounds
    in the neighborhood. Imagine what lightning produces between two
    Ron Hardin, Jun 2, 2007
  20. kathe

    Bud-- Guest

    w_tom wrote:

    The best information on surges and surge protection I have seen is at: Guide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf
    - the title is "How to protect your house and its contents from
    lightning: IEEE guide for surge protection of equipment connected to AC
    power and communication circuits" published by the IEEE in 2005 (the
    IEEE is the dominant organization of electrical and electronic engineers
    in the US).
    And also:
    - this is the "NIST recommended practice guide: Surges Happen!: how to
    protect the appliances in your home" published by the National
    Institute of Standards and Technology (the US government agency formerly
    called the National Bureau of Standards) in 2001
    “One type of surge” is bullshit. MOVs are connected H-N, H-G, N-G. In
    addition any signal wires should go through any plug-in surge protector
    and there is additional surge protection for each signal wire to ground.
    That is all possible combinations and all possible surge modes.
    w_ has a religious belief (immune from challenge) that surge protection
    must use earthing. Thus in his view plug-in suppressors can not possibly
    work. The IEEE guide explains plug-in suppressors work by CLAMPING the
    voltage on all wires (signal and power) to the common ground at the
    suppressor. Plug-in suppressors do not work primarily by earthing. The
    IEEE guide explains earthing occurs elsewhere. The IEEE and NIST guides
    says plug-in suppressors are effective.

    A UPS may or may not have the same protection that is built into a
    plug-in suppressor. In the US, the UPS should then be listed under the
    relevant UL standard - UL1449. Or a UPS can be plugged into a plug-in

    w_’s views on plug-in suppressors are bullshit.
    What a surprise. A telco switch which is high amp and hard wired with
    thousands of signal wires that would have to go through the suppressor
    doesn’t use a plug-in suppressor.
    The required statement of religious belief in earthing.
    As explained in the IEEE guide, plug-in suppressors work primarily by
    CLAMPING, not earthing.
    w_ has a fetish with high lightning rods - aka tower antennas. If you
    have one, polyphaser is relevant. The rest of us do not expect equipment
    to a direct strike to our houses.

    Reputable technical sources , the IEEE and NIST, both say plug-in
    suppressors are effective. The same protection may or may not be built
    into UPSs.

    w_’s comments on plug-in suppressors are bullshit. He nas never provided
    a link to a source that says plug in suppressors are NOT effective. All
    you have is his opinions based on his religious belief in earthing.
    Bud--, Jun 2, 2007
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