Re: uninterruptible power supply


Jim, There's many APC models on Amazon.  Is there one that you'd recommend?  Would you use the same model for computer, sewing machine, TVs (although that might require the purchase of several).  Your thoughts on regular surge protectors, please.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) are categorized by the amount of power they provide, which basically comes down to the size of the battery. This is measured in VA, or volts times amperes. So a 350VA, which is on the small end, will provide about 15 minutes of backup for a device, or devices, consuming around 3 amps at 110 volts. For a sewing machine that uses 1 amp or less, you might get 45 minutes of power, though it usually is not that predictable. Plug in an iron and you would get maybe a minute, if it didn't blow the internal circuit breaker due to overload.

For our computers I buy the larger models of 1000 VA or higher. I can keep the computer, router, and network gear running for nearly an hour that way. For smaller devices (e.g. TiVo) I use a 550 VA. I don't put the TVs on a UPS, because they typically pull more power and it isn't necessary to keep them going in a power outage. I plug them into the "surge" side of the UPS to protect them, although our bedroom TV did suffer the loss of one input port after a failure, even though it was supposedly protected. My thought is that it doesn't seem logical to spend $200 to protect a $300 TV.

The best rule of thumb is to buy one big enough to give you time to shut down. You might not be sewing in a power failure if the lights are off, so even a small UPS will give you time to finish a design and turn off the machine, or at least get it to a stopping point. All UPS models now come with cables and software that allow them to connect to the USB port on a connected computer. When the battery is nearly exhausted the UPS will signal the computer so it can shut down and turn off.

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