Magazine article Sunset

Power Protection

Magazine article Sunset

Power Protection

Article excerpt

The dicey availability of power in parts of the West this summer means it's more important than ever to protect your expensive computing and consumer electronics equipment from damage or loss of data due to power surges, spikes, and outages. Here's how you do it.

Surge protectors

The most basic kind of power protection is a surge protector, also known as a surge suppressor. Typically, it's a power strip that plugs into a wall outlet to absorb any power surge before it reaches your computer.

Priced at less than $50 at many computer and office supply stores, quality surge protectors are cheap insurance. For example, the APC 7 Outlet Personal SurgeArrest Surge Protector ($44.99 at www.staples.com) protects its seven plug-in outlets from lightning, spikes, and surges, and also safeguards a fax/modem. It includes a $2,500 limited lifetime equipment insurance policy that applies if your equipment gets fried while the protector is on the job.

Remember, surge protectors aren't just for computers. A thunderstorm, outage, or other power event can also damage your home theater, microwave oven, refrigerator, or satellite dish.

Uninterruptible power supplies

What a surge protector won't protect is anything open and unsaved on your screen. A UPS switches from external power to its internal battery in the event of an outage. Depending on the wattage of the equipment you're running, a UPS will run for 15 to 30 minutes, allowing you to save your work and safely power down your equipment.

Advanced Battery Systems (www. …

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