UPS, more than a shipping company, stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. These handy devices combine the protection of a surge protector with the peace of mind of a built-in battery.

While we all know that a surge protector’s job is to protect electronic devices from being fried in a power outage, what’s the benefit of a back up battery? Well, when was the last time you were in the middle of editing an important document, financial file, video or audio recording on your computer and the power went out? Great, your gear isn’t fried but all the work you just did and didn’t save is now lost.

With a UPS, when the power goes out, the UPS will keep your devices powered long enough to allow you to save the files your working on and then properly shut down the machine. While it doesn’t act as a generator in the sense that it won’t keep you running for hours on end, that extra time to save and shut down properly can save you from the headache of losing data and potentially causing software corruption when the machine shuts down unexpectedly.

Now that we’re in thunderstorm season, using surge protectors and/or UPS units are more important than ever. It’s also important to note that both surge protectors and UPS units are available to do more than just protect the power source of your machines. Did you know that you can purchase both surge protectors and UPS units with Ethernet and telephone jacks on them? They need to be protected too!

Now that most people use surge protectors, it’s rare for me to see a machine come in that has experienced a surge through the power jack of the machine. What we do see are machines that have fried Ethernet and modem jacks. On my desk just this week was a Mac mini that was being used with an external USB modem. The modem had fried in a thunderstorm and the customer purchased a new modem but that wasn’t working either. Upon inspection, it appears that the short not only affected the USB modem, but the logic board of the machine that it was attached to. A logic board repair out of warranty is a serious bill; on a Mac mini it’s actually just about the cost of purchasing a whole new machine. Ouch!

Save yourself money and frustration down the line. Invest in a UPS back up!

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