power conditioner or battery back-up?

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When it comes to protecting major electronics like tee-vees, stereos or home theater systems, and personal computers, what are the benefits and drawbacks of using a power conditioner versus a battery back-up unit?
I mean, beside the obvious, that a battery back-up allows you to shut things down properly rather than having the power cut-off suddenly. I know that's not good to do to a PC, but how bad is that for other household electronics?
And what about a major appliance like a refrigerator? Should that have some sort of protection on it, or can its motor handle the sort of spikes and drops electric providers seem to send down the line with some regularity?
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Kyle wrote:

First question is where do you live? Second is do you have power problems now?
Lou
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If he doesn't now, he will have. You can count on it.
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wrote:

Motors are pretty forgiving. A UPS on TVs and other electronics is a good idea because things like cable boxes etc have to reset themselves after any minor power failure. The UPS hides the power failure from the device.
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On Feb 10, 12:46 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I would say you need neither. What you should have is good surge protection, ideally located at the main panel and supplemented by point of use protection that runs both the AC power as well as any cable, phone, etc inputs through it. Personally, I don;t consider my cable box or TV to be mission critical hardware and all I have to do after a power outage is turn it back on.
A UPS is typically used for PC's in order to provide time to save work in progress that has not been saved yet and to insure an orderly shutdown. Again, if you have some mission critical stuff that needs that level of protection, then get it. But for typical household use, while it's nice, it's not essential. I've never used one an the occasional power loss has never caused any problems for me. Since XP, it doesn't even seem to need to scan the disk following power loss much anymore.
I'm sure we'll be hearing from W Tom shortly.
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"power conditioner versus a battery back-up "
You don't have to choose, but they don't come cheap. Stil if you want pure power, signifigantly cleaner than the power company provides: http://www.tripplite.com/EN/products/product-series.cfm?txtSeriesID=661&EID=13820
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Are storms the issue. For me storms - lightning is an issue. Proper grounding, surge protectors at the device and main panel and lightning arrestor are needed. Its not going to stop a direct strike but helps reduce risk. I would want a PC to have battery backup. Lightning comes in everywhere, Electric, Phone line, cable, antenna, etc. Power usualy goes out in storms for me. Often I shut off and unplug before the storm, having been hit several times loosing 30 things once. Try to protect the house as a system.
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Don't connect a refrigerator to a typical UPS. Constant spikes and other problems from UPS power (in battery backup mode) may be harmful to the refrigerator and some other appliances. But that same power is not harmful to computers. All appliances contain internal protection. Some appliances are more resilient than others. Regular power irregularities are made irrelevant by how an appliance is designed. trader and others have listed one 'whole house' protector for rare events that might otherwise overwhelm protection in appliances. Events that may occur once every seven years.
Cutting off power suddenly to a PC does no hardware damage. Sudden power loss may cause data loss. But to hardware, power off is always sudden. Hardware gets no warning that power will be removed. For example, the first time a disk drive learns about power off is when voltage drops. Computer hardware is designed to be powered off at any time.
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On Tue, 10 Feb 2009 11:47:48 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You are correct - HOWEVER, when the power comes back on, there are sometimes wild excursions roughly centered around "normal" - and often just before the power goes right"out" the same happens. Overhead wires, thrown by the wind, short out, causing nasty surges that get through to your equipment JUST before the power goes out. Someone hits a hydro transformer, thowing 600 volts plus through the line into your house for a split second before the protection fuse on the transformer lets go.
A GOOD UPS protects your more sensitive equipment while a cheap one does nothing for you in this case.
With TV sets costing over $2000 and computers only $300-$400, and being able to fix my own computer while paying to have the TV fixed, protecting the TV might make sense????? And the HighDef box costrs as much as the computer. If you have a PVR, even more. You don't need half an hour of run-time, but you need some kind of protection - my choice is a dual conversion, or at least a real good line interactive, UPS.
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On Feb 10, 4:27 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That power-on is a popular myth. A need to power everything simultaneously means voltage rises slowly. A power-on surge is not a voltage surge. The power on surge is a current surge - equivalent to restoring water to all houses simultaneously. What is at most risk if voltage rises slowly? Motorized appliances. Therefore better air conditioners and other motorized appliances will delay before drawing electricity - to wait for that voltage to sufficiently rise. But again, the solution is best part of that design. Voltage spikes on power-on are (mostly) a popular urban myth.
Definition of that GOOD UPS is a building wide system often found in facilities where failure is not acceptable. Plug-in UPSes (in battery backup mode) actually output some of the 'dirtiest' electricity to a TV or computer. Your recommendation is something different; a UPS that typically costs $500. That UPS provides the same protection already found in computer power supplies. If the computer power supply cannot withstand that rare spike, then the same power supply in that dual conversion UPS also does not.
UPS manufacturers caution to not use motorized appliances or power strip protectors on a computer grade UPS because that output is typically so 'dirty'. No problem for computers that must be so robust - have the same protection also found in a dual conversion UPS.
OP is really asking about two completely different events. 1) Damage created by sudden power-off or power-on is made irrelevant by how all appliances are designed. 2) Other types of power problems may even be created by a UPS in battery backup mode. Electrical problems made irrelevant by properly designed electronics. Protection from rare and destructive electrical events (maybe once every seven years) means one solution for everything in the building. A solution to this third event is so effective, if properly installed, that homeowners do not even know that event existed.
Some purchase series mode power conditioners to reduce noise. Many manufacturers hype such claims. But the devices that actually address noise problems are more robust. See Surgex, Zerosurge, and Brickwall for examples including size and cost.
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On Tue, 10 Feb 2009 16:22:37 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The spike will NOT get through the dual conversion UPS to the equipment, and the UPS is less expensive than damage to the protected device. Your $300 computer, if it goes down and is mission critical (business use) can cost you a LOT more than the cost of the computer by the time you get it back up and running. The UPS costs the price of the UPS - and no more. And generally they are pretty darn robust.

The output is not technically DIRTY - it is simply square wave instead of sine wave. (or "quasi sine" in the case of intermediate models.) Power supplies in computers are simply switch mode power supplies and spikes can (and do) pass right through them. A couple of transorbs don't do much. SOME high end power supplies have better protection, but not the crap supplied in "consumer grade" systems.

Correct - but also Danged expensive.

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On Feb 10, 11:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You are ignoring what a destructive surge is. Current first flows through everything in that circuit path, OR no surge exists. Even a $300 computer that meets ATX standards must withstand 1000 volts. That UPS power supply has the same numbers. If a surge can get through a computer's power supply, then the same current will also pass through the UPS. Surge voltage will increase as necessary to maintain that current flow. If EE trained, you know that as a constant current.
Those without electrical training assume a damaged item in a circuit stops or absorbs surges. Nonsense. First a surge current flows through everything in that circuit - simultaneously. Later something in that path fails. If current flows thorugh the computer's supply, the current flows through the UPS supply. Surges must be diverted; not stopped and absorbed by a UPS.
If it provides the protection you claim, then where is the manufacture spec that lists each type of surge and protection from that surge? No such spec numbers exist. No such protection is claimed by the manufacturer.
Technically 'dirty' electricity does not exist. If you don't like the word, then choose another one. But the typical 120 volt UPS in battery backup mode may output two 200 volts square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts between those square waves. That spike and numerous harmonic sine waves are potentially harmful to small electric motors and power strip protectors. Another quoted a letter from APC discussing this problem for other appliances. But 'dirty' electricity is made irrelevant by how electronics are designed - especially computers. What a $500 double conversion UPS would protect from is not a problem for more robust appliances such as computers.
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On Wed, 11 Feb 2009 10:16:36 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do you know what a "separately derived" power source is? Do you know what a dual conversion power supply is? Hint - a dual conversion power supply qualifies as a "separately derived" power source. Voltage and current surges do NOT get through.
Specification for surge protection is "per EN 50082-1, Meets IEC 801 – 4, IEEE 587" That means 1kv AC and 5KV DC transient /burst line to ground .

"dirty power" is power with harmonics, spikes, and "noise"

A "GOOD" UPS does not. A "good" dual conversion UPS like the old "Powerware prestige" produces a clean sine wave output.

Consumer APC UPS units are some of the worst out there. Again, I said a "good" UPS.

Well, even line interactive UPS units have reduced computer failures at one of my clients from an average of 7 or 8 failures a year to less than one. The power at the office is all over the map - there is a large Weston's Bakery a block away, and when they come online, the power gets nasty. Before putting in the UPS units I was replacing hard drives and mother-boards as well as power supplies. I still see the odd failures when computers get to be 6 or 7 years old, but none under 2 years any more - and only the odd power supply from 3 - 5 years. ATX power supplies don't last as long as the older AT style (partly because they are "on" all the time - even with the power switch turned off.
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On Feb 11, 11:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That redefinition of 'good' eliminates confusion. That 'good' UPS costs about $500. Most plug-in UPSes are $100
Computers are so robust as to make even 'dirty' electricity from an APC UPS irrelevant. Computer's supply must make irrelevant same transients that are thousands of volts. Then install protection so that those voltages do not enter a building.
Any surge that conducts through an ATX compliant computer supply will blow through a 'good' UPS. Both meet the same voltage numbers according to what you have posted. And then the other problem. A safety ground wire bypasses computer's supply to conduct surge current directly into electronics. Same wire also bypasses the $500 UPS. Second reason why a UPS does not provide protection.
Third, where are protection specs? EN50082-1 says UPS controller protects itself. Says nothing about protecting anything else. That UPS can divert surges destructively into the adjacent computer and do exactly what EN50082-1 says.
IEEE 587 also does not even make protection claims. IEEE 587 defines an electrical wave. If an IEEE 587 electrical wave does not damage electronics inside the UPS, well, it says nothing about protecting anything else. Where is a spec that claims a UPS protects a computer? Specification does not exist. UPS only protects itself.
Kyle is asking about protection for everything. Would you have him install a $500 UPS on each and every appliance? One each for his refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, bathroom GFCIs, smoke detectors, dimmer switches, clock radios, and electronics timer switch? Of course not. To have no damage - and effective protection means no damage to anything - then you recommend how many $500 UPSes?
An effective solution means everything is protected. 'Everything' means a surge need not not even enter the building. A surge that does not enter the building (a protector that costs about $1 per protected appliance) is how high reliability facilities have no damage AND do not use $500 plug-in UPSes. Protection of everything for hundreds of times less money is the standard solution.
OP asked about protecting a refrigerator, TV, stereo, computers, etc. Should he spend $500 per UPS for each?
Meanwhile, others say APC makes 'GOOD' UPSes. A different definition for 'GOOD' has been clarified.
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 17:46:08 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It's not the BIG stuff that kills ATX power supplies. It's the high frequency harmonics that apparently shorten power supply life by stressing filter capacitors.

Except a hole house filter does nothing for internally generated harmonics - which a dual conversion UPS eliminates.

You don't protect motors.

Only APC's very best rate good in my book. And you don't buy them at Best Buy or Circuit City.
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On Feb 12, 10:19 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You are simply inventing this stuff when convenient. Electric motors are stressed or harmed by high frequency harmonics; not computers. Appliance damage is created by what you call the 'big stuff'. The 'big stuff' is the event that typically overwhelms protection already inside all appliances. Protection from the 'big stuff' is what the OP seeks.
We protect all household appliances by earthing 'big stuff' completely with one solution in the breaker box. If you knew this stuff, then you also know a "hole house filter" neither exists nor provides recommended protection. Even a $500 UPS needs that one protection device (which is not a filter) located at the breaker box.
Your own international standards say a $500 UPS has the same internal protection also found in all computer power supplies. Nothing more. That UPS must have same protection that a computer needs. UPS makes no claims to protect an attached computer. UPS only claims to protect itself. Your standards say that UPS only contains protection already inside computers - to only protect itself and nothing more.
Protecting each appliance with a $500 UPS is because high frequency harmonics (square waves) cause damage? More nonsense. Absolute nonsense. Did you know all electronic appliances are even required to contain filters to eliminate high frequencies? Just one of so many obvious reasons that make high frequency harmonics irrelevant. When do trivial high frequency harmonics exist? If using a computer grade UPS in battery backup mode. That computer grade UPS only damages computers? Nonsense you have posted.
How to eliminate that mythical threat? Simply don't use a UPS and have no high frequency harmonics.
One event that typically causes appliance damage occurs about once every seven years. The 'big stuff' is made irrelevant by a solution located in the breaker box. For example, every telco everywhere in the world locates complete solutions where all wires enter the building AND connected short to earth ground. Telcos use no plug-in solutions such as that $500 UPS. Telcos need protection; do not waste money on myths.
Spending $500 to protect one appliance is nonsense. To eliminate mythical damage from high frequency harmonics, then do not use a UPS. Meanwhile, manufacturers recommend not putting motorized appliances on a UPS. Why? High frequency harmonics from a UPS are harmful to motors - not to computers.
What stresses capacitors? Myths that fear high frequency harmonics. Myths that forget what provides protection for all appliances. Eliminate the myths. Instead install one effective solution in the breaker box. That same solution is what every high reliability facility does to have complete protection. That one solution means the 'big stuff' need not cause electrical damage. That one solution means a homeowner does not even know the 'big stuff' existed.
Effective protection for everything in the house costs about $1 per protected appliance. The 'big stuff' that never enters a house means no appliance damage. Means protection inside every appliance is not overwhelmed.
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w_tom wrote:

Poor w is delusional.

Repeating from the NIST guide: "Q - Will a surge protector installed at the service entrance be sufficient for the whole house? A - There are two answers to than question: Yes for one-link appliances [electronic equipment], No for two-link appliances [equipment connected to power AND phone or cable or....]. Since most homes today have some kind of two-link appliances, the prudent answer to the question would be NO - but that does not mean that a surge protector installed at the service entrance is useless."
Service panel suppressors do not prevent damage from high voltage between power and signal wires. High voltage between power and signal wires is likely to cause most damage.
But a service panel suppressor is a good idea.
Still never seen - a source that agrees with w that plug-in suppressors are NOT effective.
Still never answered - simple questions: - Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE guide use plug-in suppressors? - Why does the NIST guide says plug-in suppressors are "the easiest solution"? - Why does the NIST guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in suppressor?
For real science read the IEEE and NIST guides. Both say plug-in suppressors (and UPSs with equivalent circuits) are effective.
--
bud--

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On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 17:46:08 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If it isn't worth a buck a watt it's inadequate. If the UPS protecting your server is not worth as much as the barebones server you are cutting corners. It's THAT SIMPLE. On workstations, line interactive is usually OK - and that's half a buck a watt. Anything less is junk and isn't doing you any good.
And if you are buying APC, the acceptable system price goes up about 50%.
Eaton Power (the old Exide/Powerware/Best) is my first choice.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The usual drivel.
Still never seen - a source that agrees with w that plug-in suppressors are NOT effective.
Still never answered - simple questions: - Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE guide use plug-in suppressors? - Why does the NIST guide says plug-in suppressors are "the easiest solution"? - Why does the NIST guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in suppressor?
For real science read the IEEE and NIST guides. Both say plug-in suppressors (and UPSs with equivalent circuits) are effective.
--
bud--

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

w is one of those without electrical training that assumes a UPS works by "stopping" and "absorbing" surges. Nonsense.
With minimal reading and thinking ability w could read in the IEEE guide how plug-in suppressors actually work.

Each type of surge is nonsense. Plug-in suppressors have MOVs from H-N, H-G, N-G. That is all possible combinations and all surge modes. w's favorite SquareD service panel suppressors do not "list each type of surge".

Nonsense. Some manufacturers even have protected equipment warrantees.
For real science read the IEEE and NIST guides. Both say plug-in suppressors (and UPSs with equivalent circuits) are effective.
Never seen - a source that agrees with w that plug-in suppressors are NOT effective.
Never answered - simple questions: - Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE guide use plug-in suppressors? - Why does the NIST guide says plug-in suppressors are "the easiest solution"? - Why does the NIST guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in suppressor?
--
bud--

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