Solutions for Spikes, Surges, and More

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units (also known as battery backups) and surge protectors guard computers and other sensitive electronics against sudden changes in utility power. They provide a form of insurance for important equipment, preventing component damage and keeping the electric current flowing.

Depending on the location and season, power problems can be both serious and likely. The most common power problems are too much voltage, known as power spikes and surges, and too little voltage, called brownouts and blackouts.

Power Spikes or Surges

A power spike is a burst of high voltage that lasts a few milliseconds. A power surge lasts longer–from 15 milliseconds to several minutes. Surges often happen when large electrical devices switch on and off, or because of faulty wiring or utility problems. Spikes are less frequent, and often result from lightning strikes near connected power lines.

Surge protectors guard against excess voltage. Surge protectors offer data line protection, noise filters for electromagnetic interference/radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI), and impact-resistant casings for long service life. To protect computers and electronics after a major spike or surge, the metal oxide varistor (MOV) in a surge protector will shut off all power to the equipment. This prevents devices from operating without protection.

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Sags, Brownouts, and Blackouts

Sags and brownouts occur when voltage drops below the normal range. In the United States, for example, nominal household current is 120 VAC. A sag can be as short as one cycle (1/60 of a second), while a brownout may last several minutes. A blackout (complete loss of utility power) can result in equipment damage, service interruption, and data loss.

A UPS system will protect against over voltages, like a surge protector, and provide continuous power during a brownout or blackout. Models with automatic voltage regulation (AVR) correct minor variations in input voltage. When utility power drops below acceptable levels, the UPS will supply power from its battery so you can keep working or playing. In case of a blackout, a UPS unit will provide power long enough to safely shut down your equipment and prevent data loss or equipment damage.

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