Power Interruptus

The other night we had a bit of a thunder storm and at on point a flash of lightning triggered a brief (less than a second) power hit. I have three separate UPSes (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) in the house — one for each of the two computers in the study and one by the TV, mainly for the TiVo. Well, two of the three completely failed to do their job. There’s actually a fourth UPS, but it’s already been relegated to surge protector status due to previous failures. And there’s probably a fifth (or more) in a closet. I seem to go through these things much faster than I would expect.

I can accept that they have a life expectancy that they could even be meeting it (doubt it), but my real problem is the fact that I receive no advanced warning that they are no longer providing protection. Actually, the fourth one I mentioned did give a warning when it was failing. It began emitting a high-pitched noise under heavy load, and what qualified as heavy kept getting less and less until it wouldn’t even run just the computer without complaining. Neither of the two that just failed are doing any such thing.

Luckily, everything came back up okay.


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  1. #1 by kapgar on February 12, 2009 - 9:35 pm

    I’ve got one of those big, expensive power protectors on the TV and the rest of the A/V gear. It’s from Monster Power. I would never have bought the damn thing considering how much it costs, but it was given to me by the SiL who used to work at Circuit City (pre close) and had a friend at Monster. It’s pretty cool looking, but we’ve never had the opportunity to really test its abilities.


    • #2 by Ren on February 16, 2009 - 4:27 pm

      @Kapgar – The whole thing makes me doubt other things, like my smoke detectors. Just because they can alarm when the test button is pressed doesn’t mean they’ll actually do their job when needed. In fact, I just heard about someone that had a fire in their home and their smoke detectors didn’t go off until the fire deparment had already put out the fire.


  2. #3 by Sybil Law on February 12, 2009 - 11:13 pm

    Our power was out for 4 hours last night. We used to have a UPS, but it completely sucked. Well, actually, it was never really tested. Mighta been nice to test it last night!
    Sorry that my first comment here is sleep deprived. šŸ™‚


    • #4 by Ren on February 16, 2009 - 4:30 pm

      @Sybil Law – Glad you stopped by, even sleep deprived. Heck, most of my posts are probably sleep deprived!


  3. #5 by martymankins on February 14, 2009 - 2:53 pm

    The power grid here in Utah is pretty flaky. I have a few UPS on the computers, the cable modem and my WiFi router. It makes for happy computing when we get those little blips in a rain, wind or snow storm.


    • #6 by Ren on February 16, 2009 - 4:46 pm

      @martymankins – Our power rarely goes out, though slightly more often we get spikes (or something) strong enough to cause computers to reboot. I used to really appreciate the UPSes, but now it seems like there’s always at least one that fails to do it’s job. I’m tired of buying UPSes.


  4. #7 by Sheila (Charm School Reject) on February 16, 2009 - 12:36 am

    I wish I knew what the heck you are talking about. Then I could leave a witty comment.

    Instead I will just say that I am glad that our power rarely goes out and when it does, we own a lot of candles and oil lamps (they’re more for decoration but they get the job done). We also own scrabble, which is hard to play in the dark but, again, it gets the job done.


    • #8 by Ren on February 16, 2009 - 4:50 pm

      @Sheila – Welcome! Basically, a battery to keep the computer (or DVR or whatever) running for a short time during a power outage. We haven’t done the candle thing due to an outage in ages.


  5. #9 by Catherine on February 17, 2009 - 11:40 am

    My only experiences with power outages didn’t last very long, but had me grateful I was in to candles and could be kept fairly happy just reading a book. Wow, come to think of it, that was a loooong time ago now, heh. These days I’d probably cry in a heap on the floor at the loss of internet.


    • #10 by Ren on February 19, 2009 - 1:07 am

      @Catherine – We do have candles, but I’m not sure how well I could find them in the dark. If my wife were home, things would probably go fine — but she’s traveling a lot for business lately. I could at least use my iPhone as a make-shift flashlight to find some real flashlights and then, hopefully, candles.


  6. #11 by whall on February 18, 2009 - 12:41 am

    I’ve found most < $100 UPS’s don’t last longer than 2 years. I have no idea what the UPS claims as lifespan so I don’t know if I should be upset or appalled.

    (upset that they don’t last longer or appalled that I thought they should last longer)


    • #12 by Ren on February 19, 2009 - 1:09 am

      @whall – So shopping based on VAHours/$ isn’t the right strategy?


  7. #13 by whall on February 19, 2009 - 9:11 am

    I guess the only strategy that helps is to test your UPS at
    – 1yr
    – 1.5 year
    – 2yr
    And then every quarter after that. Replace at 3-4yrs

    If you do that, I guess it doesn’t matter what you spend.


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