House Hacking Project: UPS Backup
UPS. Not the shipping company, but uninterruptible power supply. What is it? A battery powered backup device, that provides a continuous source of power in brown out or black out situations. They also serve as a surge protector. Depending on your needs and budget, you can get a small unit in the $50 range to a system large enough to power a city. We will focus in the $50-$200 range for residential use. They are not just for business or enterprise anymore.
What would you need one for at home? Any electronic device that has a “standby” mode usually hard resets when disconnected from power. Our entertainment center comes to top of mind, especially the PS3 and Xbox360.
This little guy is behind said entertainment center, keeping our TV, PS3, Xbox360, and Airport Express online in a power outage. The “uptime” is related to battery size, and this is a small inexpensive unit. Knowing the limitations, I am content that it can keep all devices in standby for hours. This UPS would only last a few minutes if everything was turned on with no grid power.
Our home office is another story completely. We have utilized not one but two larger units that power our computers, screens, and all of our network: cable modem, gigabit switch, and wireless access point. With an available 30+ minutes at full use, we can complete work related tasks and shut down the equipment without being in a hurry. Software can communicate directly with the UPS from your computer, in the event you aren’t around it will safely turn off the device.
Another benefit of a UPS at home is on shared circuits, where loads approach the breaker limit. The circuit in the office is shared with another room, which is not ideal. If a high amperage device in the other room is used, the voltage can drop enough to trigger the UPS into action. Saving our equipment from frequent voltage drops.