I just received a notice in the mail from PG&E that reads “A Safer Electric System For You” [sic] and that makes me think about all the fun things that can happen to computers when the power is shut off willy-nilly.
I appreciate the heads up warning that our electrical grid is having upgrades. The warning indicates outages are coming because of this upgrade work. In addition, because of the risk of fires from electrical sources they will have, “Public Safety Power Shutoffs.”
Translated that means your computer power supply will be operating under increased stress. Stress on a computer will cause them to fail.
To avoid expensive, frustrating, and nerve-wracking repairs to your computer when the power gets shut-off — get a battery backup. A battery backup is a simple low cost solution to power failures and interruptions. Also known as, a UPS (uninterrupted power supply), this device will automatically “kick-in” when the power fails or experiences a brownout, or fluctuates.
Plug the UPS into a normal power plug in your home or office, then plug your computer’s power cord, monitor and modem into the receptacles on the UPS chassis. Your battery will charge normally until it senses an outage then automatically activate and keep your computer running for a few minutes. When the battery is in use protecting your computer, it will sound an alarm (beep-beep). Note: Do NOT plug your printer into a UPS.
The battery will sustain power to your devices and allow you time to turn them off normally. If you desire, install software on your computer that will automatically start a shutdown sequence when the UPS senses a power issue. This type of UPS is known as a “smart” UPS (the software makes it smart). A REMOTE connection to your local tech guru can assist with the software installation if needed.
The batteries in the UPS have a physical life of about three years. At the end of the three years, replace the UPS batteries with new ones. It can be as simple as replacing batteries in your flashlight, but if you need help, a computer tech is nearby. Recycle the old batteries, and any other computer components, with ComputersUSA in Clayton at no charge.
Which UPS to purchase? There are several very good choices. Among them is APC, Tripp Lite, and CyberPower to name a few. Get a smart UPS that will shut down your computer normally during a power incident. You will need a rating of 500VA or higher for laptops and 600VA for typical desktops and more for servers and gaming systems. Prices are around $60-100.
Now go do the right thing – upgrade to UPS and save your data from extinction.