Seeing as Electricity Blackouts are a real possibility, would it be a worthwhile investment to buy a UPS for my desktop computer and NAS box to give me a chance to power them down?
As I've never used a UPS or seen one, I would really appreciate any advice including, do I even need one?
> As I've never used a UPS or seen one, I would really appreciate any advice including, do I even need one?
They do what you describe: provide power for a while so that your machines can power down tidily (on command from the UPS.) Whether or not you 'need one', only you can say.
How would I calculate the size of UPS I'd need?
Are there any website that could calculate the average wattage my desktop uses please?
Just checked and a site recommends PSU of 750w to 850w. So is that a good starting point to power a Desktop and 32 inch monitor?
> I am using a 360W UPS (also says 600VA) for two desktops and various bits and bobs, but not the monitors.
May I ask what spec the desktop computers are?
And how long you get to shut those computers down, or is it done automatically for you?
Just so I get a feel for what I need. I don't want to buy something that is not powerful enough and then I don't want to buy something that could power the whole street.
My computer has a Ryzen 3900x processor and a Nvidia 3090 graphics card which is used, possibly once or twice a month for video editing. I put my spec into the website and it churned out the numbers for a UPS 1200VA PSU 650W
It sounds like the UPS has been specified to run your PC and graphics card at full tilt for a reasonable time. This is probably over the top for your requirements, assuming you just need it to keep the PC running for long enough to save your work and shut down?
Interested in this, I've been looking at one with enough capacity to keep our router running. All computing done on laptops and I work from home, so as long as internet connection stays up then I would be able to carry on much as normal. This obviously assumes all the BT infrastructure in the middle still has power.
The Lemmings question as to whether this is tin-hattery or prudent is also interesting, for me power cuts seem reasonably foreseeable so this isn't tin-hattery, it's just the question about how long they'll last and whether I really need to stay internet connected that I need to answer.
You want to find a unit that has a USB or network (less likely) connection to your PC, with a software package that initiates PC shutdown after a preset time.
At work I've always installed APC brand units as reliability is very important, but I suspect these will be a bit too expensive and over the top for you. I'm not familiar with other brands. Do bear in mind that the batteries will degrade and will need replacing after a few years. This was always a PITA with our remote systems at work, but probably not such a big deal if it's on your desk.
For a router, any UPS will do. It's a tiny amount of power compared to a PC, and there's no need for graceful shutdown. Just don't buy some dubious junk from Amazon with a battery that dies after a year.
> Interested in this, I've been looking at one with enough capacity to keep our router running.
The router won't be using much power; so no problem also powering it via the UPS.
> All computing done on laptops and I work from home, so as long as internet connection stays up then I would be able to carry on much as normal.
> Not at all, there's loads of uses for a UPS like that. they're not just for PCs you know. And for desktop use, there's usually a user who can do the shutdown anyway.
I've specified these things professionally so I know the score.
Me too. So I know there are loads of units out there that don't communicate with the PC and tell it to shut down. All the bottom end of the APC range for instance, which has a vast range of different options and so always takes me ages to select the correct one.
To the OP - you can ignore this petty argument, but you should take it from me, not all UPSs will shut down your PC for you automatically, so you need to check before purchase.
I just checked and your NVIDIA 3090 is a 500W graphics card. So you probably do need around a 1kVA UPS, just for the unlikely event that the power goes off while the graphics card is running at full power. 99.9% of the time you will be fine with a 500VA unit, so you need to make a call on whether it's worth paying the extra to protect yourself for that 0.1%. How critical is your work at those points?
> I just checked and your NVIDIA 3090 is a 500W graphics card. So you probably do need around a 1kVA UPS, just for the unlikely event that the power goes off while the graphics card is running at full power. 99.9% of the time you will be fine with a 500VA unit, so you need to make a call on whether it's worth paying the extra to protect yourself for that 0.1%. How critical is your work at those points?
After a bit of research I'm going to go with APC products. And I'd like my computer to shut down if I'm not around just in case I'm doing other stuff or the computer is running over night.
How critical is my work?
Not really, I don't do anything on my computer that involves earning a living.
However I would also like to protect my Synology NAS that is supposed to draw 23w and have that shut down safely as well, if this is possible.
I don't worry. Mostly the power comes back on in a few minutes, my disks are not damaged and I'm still in my cad program without losing anything. Don't want my machines shut down. I turn my computers off when not in use, so an hour back up is more than enough. I have bought the cheapest UPS units available (probably paid about £30). None of them have ever let me down. The batteries last forever (20 years).
> I don't worry. Mostly the power comes back on in a few minutes, my disks are not damaged and I'm still in my cad program without losing anything.
I'm more concerned about power shortages. They don't happen often but can and did last several hours. Its not very often but has been roughly <5 in the last 10 years. I've also had the occasional power loss when the RCD tripped on my mains fuses, mostly through user stupidity.
As for disks, only my NAS has traditional mechanical spinning disks. My computer has a mixture of SSD and M.2 SSD.
I just want to ensure that my OS isn't buggered from a power cut, or that I lose data on my NAS if its shuts down unexpectedly.
>As for disks, only my NAS has traditional mechanical spinning disks. My computer has a mixture of SSD and M.2 SSD.
Depending on RAID level, there will be some resilience built in. If it can deal with a dead disk, it can deal with a power fail. Also, the disks may be set to automatically spin down when not in use.
>I'm more concerned about power shortages.
Brownouts happen, but there are strict rules in place regarding supply and frequency. More likely to get a blackout in the UK.
Chances are that you'll be using the machine when the lights go out, unless you leave it on over night to batch render stuff (I know you flirt with video, so this may be the case.) You'll have the option to do a graceful shutdown. If not, you'll need to connect the serial port or usb from the UPS to your machine. Then have a routine that will power off both the NAS and the PC.
If you wanted to do it properly... You use the UPS link to start the backup generator. Then you can keep topping up with fuel, until the lights go back on.
If you're worried about power cuts, it might be worth having another one or two UPS's in the house, in Standby Off mode. Stick up fairy lights, which are low load. When the power goes out, the fairy lights will come on an cheer you up, as you slowly freeze
(Probably also worth getting a shotgun, to deal with looters. (Or to assist with your own looting spree.))
> Chances are that you'll be using the machine when the lights go out, unless you leave it on over night to batch render stuff (I know you flirt with video, so this may be the case.) You'll have the option to do a graceful shutdown.
This is most likely what will happen, I'm working on my puter and the lights go out.
What UPS would I need and roughly how much time would I need to shut the computer down safely?
I'm guessing 10 minutes is plenty of time to leap into action. Having the UPS shut my computer down while I'm away from it, either sleeping or away from home, would be an excellent feature.
Its harder to spot a power cut in daylight at home.
> As for disks, only my NAS has traditional mechanical spinning disks. My computer has a mixture of SSD and M.2 SSD.
Not really relevant in this context - it's logical corruption you are mostly guarding against.
(Obviously you should also have full backups, should the worst happen.)
>What UPS would I need and roughly how much time would I need to shut the computer down safely?
The idea of automation, is to remove the human.
I suspect your machine and NAS could power off in 30s. Unless you're using windows, in which case, sods law says there will be a critical update that needs to be installed before the power off cycle completes. So 10-20 mins should cover it. But, I'd go with the serial connection or USB. Then a small script that does a ssh or https connection to the NAS and issues a shutdown. (Remember to put the router on the UPS, or you wont be able to talk to the NAS.)
And test it. Yank the power cable out, and see that it all works as intended. Don't test it in live! (As we say to web developers.)
> >What UPS would I need and roughly how much time would I need to shut the computer down safely?
> The idea of automation, is to remove the human.
> I suspect your machine and NAS could power off in 30s. Unless you're using windows, in which case, sods law says there will be a critical update.
Does this all suggest I require a UPS with 1200AV
All to cover the possibility that my GPU is working its socks off rendering at 100% ?
Good call, APC would be my choice. That's what I buy when it's not my money, but my problem if it goes wrong.
At 23W your NAS won't make any noticeable difference to the UPS load. In my experience with NAS devices they have all been designed to deal with power failure gracefully and shouldn't lose data if you just pull the plug. I don't know if they are all like that though. If you want the NAS to shut down on power failure, then this can be done but would involve a bit of setting up. You need to be able to shut down the NAS with a command from the PC. Do you know if this is possible? If so, then you write a script on your PC to shut down the NAS, and you call that script when the UPS detects a power fail.
>Does this all suggest I require a UPS with 1200AV
I couldn't say. If you say 'shutdown', then it should stop the gpu, pretty quickly. Test it and time it.
The computers I use have multiple power supplies. The racks they live in are fed from separate A & B power feeds, each with its own power protection. UPS's are 3 phase, and inline, always on, (acting as a power conditioner as well), and the size of a room. The gennies are the size of a small truck. Failure of any component, doesn't cause the systems to go down. Might be overkill for home though...
> Not if your 500W GPU is maxxed out... but 99.9% of the time it will be fine.
May I ask what you would suggest for that 1% time?
As sure as eggs are eggs, I will be rendering a project, the GPU will be at 90% and the power goes.
Also, is a UPS a nice to have and not a NEED to have if I don't use my computer for a living?
There have been times when I've pulled the wrong plug or had a power cut, yet the sky did not fall down and my computer started up again when the power was restored.
I was thinking about that, but unfortunately the only sensible option is a UPS that can supply the full load of the PC at maximum - so at last 1kVA. If you are running a smaller UPS and the power goes off with the GPU at maximum, then the UPS might stay up for the second or so required, but there's a good chance it would just shut down due to the overload. the only way to be 100% safe is to specify for the maximum possible load.
But like I said, if 99.9% safe is good enough, then a 650VA UPS will be fine.
> But like I said, if 99.9% safe is good enough, then a 650VA UPS will be fine.
So surfing, the web or doing anything that does not require my over-speced GPU to scream into action such as photo editing or watching a movie, then 650VA would be enough to power down safely within 10 minutes or less?
One thing to bear in mind is that there are two factors to consider when specifying a UPS. Maximum power and run time. If you exceed maximum power the UPS will cut out instantly and everything will go off. This is where you are choosing between a 650VA unit that will work most of the time, and a 1000VA that will work all the time. But this is the maximum power it can output, the run time is defined by the size of the battery. Most UPS units are specified to run for about 5 minutes at max power, so 10 minutes at half power. I'd estimate with just regular desktop PC use you'd get 10 minutes out of a decent 650VA UPS.
I have a synology nas and it's connected to an APC UPS. The software on the synology recognises the UPS and its easy to set up automatic shut down for when there is an interruption in the mains supply.
> I have a synology nas and it's connected to an APC UPS. The software on the synology recognises the UPS and its easy to set up automatic shut down for when there is an interruption in the mains supply.
That's good to know. Cheers.
I've got a APC 1kVA model that's nearly 15 years old, it's needed 2 sets of batteries in that time and they just gone again, this time creating a lot of heat 75Deg,C before I removed them.
I got ours when I lost a load of work, due to lightening taking out the power for the area. It's great, but lack the connection to shut down the computer, it has USB but I could never get it to work properly. But I hardly every leave the computer running and go out, so I've got plenty of time to shut it down manually when the power goes off.
A new set of batteries is about £55, by the way.
> I've got a APC 1kVA model that's nearly 15 years old, it's needed 2 sets of batteries in that time and they just gone again, this time creating a lot of heat 75Deg,C before I removed them.
Five years is a reasonable expectation for UPS battery life - so it sounds like you're hitting that average.
One thing that kills batteries is high temperatures.
I seem to be getting closer to a figure and 1kVA (Ish) is roughly what I require. However there are major price differences in products, even though I'm sticking with the company APC.
> Five years is a reasonable expectation for UPS battery life - so it sounds like you're hitting that average.
> One thing that kills batteries is high temperatures.
It wasn't the high temperatures that killed them, they were producing their own high temperatures. This didn't happen with the previous set of batteries.
Remember also that, you'll be powering the device 24/7 so it might be worth working out how much it costs to run. Something I've not done myself, though I might, now I've thought about it.
Prompted by this thread, work have agreed to pay for a power backup so that I can keep working if there's a power cut this winter.
I think I want a dedicated UPS, probably this one. Needs to run the router for a few hours and possibly give a little boost to laptop battery.
Our IT guy is trying to steer me towards battery backup units e.g.
Lots more mAh for the same price and I think the max W output would still be ok, but I'm not sure how well it would cope with being plugged in 24/7, I want constant power, not to have to dig it out if there's a power cut.
Any experience on the two types, or other products I should be looking at?
I like the first link, as it sounds promising, especially the price.
However with the very little knowledge that I have on electronics, with your second link, I don't think that my computer would even turn on with this battery.
> Is there a way that I can calculate how much power my computer is using right now so I can work out roughly what I need?
Plug it in via a power meter (10 quid or so will buy you one) and read the measurement.
Or this one?
XXMB3HQX5XTQ7DMS0&pd_rd_wg=UL6dX&pd_rd_r=2487d65d-e0be-4b84-bf4b-d17fdac1b731&pd_rd_i=B097YBXHTW&psc=1" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow" id="guid-631b0a09bcd47" class="counterlink">https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Tapo-Monitoring-Required-P110/dp/B097YBXHTW/ref=pd_bxgy_img_sccl_1/262-3271792-8693310?pd_rd_w=XAzTs&content-id=amzn1.sym.79b812bf-5c8b-4c0c-851c-784423adaff5&pf_rd_p=79b812bf-5c8b-4c0c-851c-784423adaff5&pf_rd_r=ZXXMB3HQX5XTQ7DMS0&pd_rd_wg=UL6dX&pd_rd_r=2487d65d-e0be-4b84-bf4b-d17fdac1b731&pd_rd_i=B097YBXHTW&psc=1
This is the first review:
TP-Link will collect information about the devices connected to the plugs (Point 2.3). They may collect IP address, location, mobile device information, user name, email address, shipping address, log-in and password details [!!], communications via phone calls, e-mail, social media, … the list is extensive and alarming (Point 4). Not only will TP-Link be allowed to use such information itself, it is also allowed to transfer such information to third parties (Point 5.2). Furthermore, customer information may be transferred to parties that may acquire TP-Link in the future (Point 5.4).
One buys a wifi-enabled plug to connect to one’s devices to power supply remotely. It must be able to manufacture plugs that do just that without requiring an app to set up. More importantly, there is no reason for the plug to collect so much information from its customers. There is even less justification for them to pass our personal information to third parties. Whether or how they may be able to collect such information is secondary. I cannot grant them permission to do so.
Therefore I intend to return the product."
> One like this?
Yes - something like that is perfect. You just want something with its own display from which you can read the real-time current (or power) draw.
I'd buy a proper UPS without a shade of doubt. It's designed for the job you want it to do.
Two issues with the second link:
> Any experience on the two types, or other products I should be looking at?
Canned food and a can opener?
I have a very similar UPS that protects our ADSL hub - we get some brief, thrashing cuts in some winter storms as well as longer ones. For outages longer than half an hour, the UPS gives continuity to the hub whilst I hook alternate power up to the UPS. You could for example do that with a leisure battery (if you have one knocking about) and a small inverter. As the UPS buffers it, it doesn't need to be ultra reliable and it doesn't need to come online instantly. Our experience of storm Arwen was that whilst the telephone remained on throughout the blackout, the ADSL stoped working after 36 hours - presumably it's a much more demanding user of backup power in the exchanges. So, not much point in providing for longer outages for the hub...?
> Our experience of storm Arwen was that whilst the telephone remained on throughout the blackout, the ADSL stoped working after 36 hours
That's interesting, so it looks like they have no plan to keep anything running beyond a brief interruption.
The revolution will not be televised, and you won't be able to stream it either.
Based on that advice, I would question your IT guys ability. That Amazon thing is basically a big powerbank of dubious provenance. I would seriously doubt whether it meets the claimed capacity when new, and I wouldn't take any bets on whether it will still be working when you need it. It's good for a camping trip, not an emergency backup. Your first link is a proper device from a reputable manufacturer. It will work when you need it to, and when the battery dies, it will warn you in advance.
> Prompted by this thread, work have agreed to pay for a power backup so that I can keep working if there's a power cut this winter ...
> Any experience on the two types, or other products I should be looking at?
You want a UPS. But just make sure that you have clarified how you're intending to use it. Specifically, in your case, you want to be sure what you're intending it to power.
If you are using laptops, then it doesn't (necessarily) make any sense to have them powered via the UPS - better might be to ensure that you have bought new laptop batteries to have each laptop capable of running for seven or so hours autonomously.
What you wouldn't want to do is to buy a small UPS in the hope that it would power everything (i.e. all laptops, all networking equipment, etc.) for a full days power cut - that probably (*) won't work.
(* But to be sure of anything you need to do the power calculations.)
We have some basic APC ones for hubs, servers, firewall security device and the like. They last about 30-40 minutes and make a lot of noise (although you can turn the alarms off). They need new batteries every 3 years or so. They deal with all of the small interruptions with ease, but we could not work on them for any decent period, but you can either (using the supplied software) auto power the machines off or manage that process yourself. For home use the ones with three pin plug fittings are easier to use than those with power lead connectors which doesn't work for every device, however the latter and rack devices generally last a lot longer. HTH,
> ... They deal with all of the small interruptions with ease, but we could not work on them for any decent period ...
In general, you can get any run-time ('autonomy' in the jargon) you want, by sizing the batteries appropriately. In practice, there are of course limits and, generators get used as the ultimate backups