Using a Computer UPS vs line conditioner?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Mike_Reznik, Aug 30, 2003.

  1. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    A friend of mine recently told me that he uses an APC UPS in his home theater instead of a monster surge protector or line conditioner. The UPS works like a battery pack for your HT. The system works from the battery and the direct current so you always get a steady consisten power stream. And if there is a power surge... there is no interuption in power.

    I live in an area where we get constant power outages and surges. I bought a Monster HST2500 but that doesn't help with the equiptment turning on and off multiple times within a five minute period when the power keeps fluctuating and it doesn't help with the "brown-outs" when the power doesn't go completely out, just dips and spikes.

    Have any of you used this in your setup? What voltage UPS would you recommend?
     
  2. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    I have never used one so I guess my input might not be what you are looking for!

    I have, however, been looking for a good Smart UPS used for some time. The APC Smart UPS units are supposed to have true sine wave output that is regulated. It absorbs all of the power surges and regulates during brown outs. I have read of these features being available only on the APC Smart models.

    To me this makes these units a great bet for all of your audio power needs. I am looking for a 1400VA model.

    Just my opinion.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    No I don't use one however the o/h uses one for vcr backup...lord help us if the favorite shows aren't recorded.

    The first thing I'd do is address my concerns with the local utility supplying your power to find out how long this condition is going to last and what they're doing to rectify it. I'd also speak with some neighbors to see if this is a localized situation.

    If you own your own home, as the first, and best, line of defence I'd strongly urge you to consider getting a whole-house surge protection unit installed. This way you can protect all the electronic devices in your home. It is the most cost effective way to achieve protection on a per appliance basis. These are discussions you can have with your electrician/electrical supply house.

    If you're going to go the UPS route, you'll want to confine your search to those that provide a legitimate sine wave. Sizing the unit is fairly simple. You'll need to know the power draw of all the attached components. That should be listed in your manual. It'll say something like 'this unit draws X watts of power' or 'this unit draws Y VA of power. You'll need to total them all up and then you can go to a variety of websites such as this one from APC:
    http://www.apcc.com/template/size/ex...emp_country=US
    and answer some basic questions. That'll then present you with a choice of products for your consideration. Likely you'll find that other companies such as Liebert, Triplite, Best, Sutton Designs, and a host of others have a similar calculator. Then you might want to avail yourself of calling a few of the manufacturers up to discuss your needs and see if one of their power specialists concurs with your selection or feels that another product might better serve your needs. Understand though, that their primary purpose is to provide adequate power so that people can go through an orderly shutdown of stuff like computer equipment. If you want them to provide power for something like an hour, you'll be looking at units that are a bit more expensive.

    As far as relying on a UPS to provide primary surge protection, all I can say secondary yes...primary, not on your life. They're just not nearly as effective as a whole house unit. Never.
     
  4. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    I agree with Chu, I have a whole house surge protector in my main electrical box at the point of entry. The Smart UPS is to protect sensitive equipment mainly during brownouts. I believe that is what you originally asked for anyways.
     
  5. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies! I do own my house. I live in an area where there is a lot of new construction... that is the reason for the constant power outages. They are always puting in new power lines, or running new cable to an area and cut the power line.

    The local power company recognizes that it is a problem and sends us letters appologizing, but does nothing about it.

    The whole house surge protector sounds like a good idea and I'll look into it, but surges aren't my biggest concern since I do have the Monster HST2500. I still think that having the UPS on my HT to protect from the brown-outs and constant on-off-on-off would be a good idea. Especially considering the cost compared to the rest of my equiptment.

    That was a good suggestion to call APC direclty and talk to one of their tech support guys. I think I'll do that.

    Thanks again for the great replies!
     
  6. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    For surge protection that is not whole house, try Brickwall - makes your typical surge protectors look like wimps.
     
  7. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    For the APC units, you need a SmartUPS of 700VA or above to get sine wave output (which is what you want for electronics). The lower power/models used a stepped wave.
     
  8. Thomas Smailus

    Thomas Smailus Stunt Coordinator

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    For what its worth, I have been using a low-power UPS for probably 6 years to power my VCR's (a hi8 and VHS) so that the frequent poweroutages did not 1)reset clocks, 2) clear my recording settigns and schedule and 3) interrupt the recording with a simple short dropout of a minute or so. The units are still running just fine. I have not run the reciever or TV units off of it, so I cannot speak to that.

    Yes, sine wave is prefered, but many equipment can live just fine with the stepped wave, particularly those things with a good power supply that converts it all to DC anyway. Now stuff that uses the A/C signal, at any voltage, I'd avoid powering in this stepped fashion.

    Also, the thing kicks in when the power goes out - so of those 6 years of use, the time the vcr's spent on the UPS' provided power is probably less than 6 hours I expect.
     

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