Ok so this might sound a little weird to say but the other day I finally got hold of some kit I’ve wanted for quite a while BUT really hope I NEVER need to use!
So what is it?
The new piece of kit is called a UPS which stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply and basically is a unit that not only protects your equipment from electrical power surges, potential damage from lightning storms and such like but actually keeps your equipment running when you have a power cut; now I say when because like a hard drive failing, it’s going to happen at some point.
Rather than plugging your computer, external hard drives, monitor and such into the mains via a surge protected plug socket, you actually plug them directly into the UPS and then it’s just one plug from the UPS into the mains (see below).
Then in the likely event of a power cut the UPS keeps everything up and running without interruption using it’s internal battery. Now this isn’t designed so that you can continue working indefinitely whilst the power cut is sorted out but is there so that it gives you plenty of time to save any work and safely shut down your system; with my particular unit and with the peripherals detailed below plugged in it would give me around 11 to 15 minutes.
Another great feature of the UPS is that it provides a consistent power level to your peripherals which is also important because mains power is constantly fluctuating and can potentially damage your equipment.
I ended up getting my unit from SCAN UK because the price was pretty much what I could have got it for off Amazon but because I wasn’t sure exactly which one to get they were able to provide some technical know how and point me in the right direction.
Peace of Mind
As I very rarely turn off my computer and external hard drives, instead letting them run and go into sleep mode as and when (unless I go away for more than a couple of days) then there’s always the worry of what if something happens? What if there’s a power cut? What if there’s a lightning storm and I’m not there to shut down the system and keep it safe?
Well thankfully with this particular unit you can install (as I have) free software that will then shut down your system safely whilst you’re away; if the battery back up kicks in because of a power cut etc the software then jumps into action. Phew!
What I Got
Setting up is just a matter of clicking the fuse into place on the back of the unit, plugging your peripherals into the back and then plugging the UPS into the mains, takes just a matter of minutes (it’s also a great way of tidying up all those cables)
APC 1400Va BACK-UP UPS
With this unit I can plug in a total of 6 peripherals which for me at the moment is my computer, Synology NAS (RAID Hard Drives) and main monitor. I am getting another Hard Drive back up system very soon too and this will also be plugged in but the other monitors I use I didn’t see the point in plugging them into the UPS so have them into the surge protector I’ve had for quite a while.
Oh another thing you can plug is is your router which I guess is to prevent anything bad in an electrical sense coming into the computer / router should the surge or lightning storm occur.
For such peace of mind I think the price of around £120 (depending where you get it from) is extremely good considering what it actually offers i.e. peace of mind especially when I’ve been victim to a power cut at the worst possible time i.e. when the computer was installing an update and the words DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER WHILST THIS UPDATE IS INSTALLING were on screen!
As Photographers, Retouchers, Designers our computers and our files are the most valuable items we have. Backing up your files we kind of get and have our own way of doing things but what about protecting against power surges, lightning strikes and power cuts?
Get one! … but I hope you never have to use it.