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Alternatives to a UPS

Even if you realize that you can do with out a UPS, you still should invest in a system to filter the power line.
There are couple of devices that are usually bundled with a UPS, but can also be purchased separately----a voltage stabilizer or a constant voltage transformer (CVT) and a surge suppresser/spike buster.

Poor man's UPS

ups2.jpg (20679 bytes)The CVT ensures that (the output voltage that leaves the unit) stays within a specified range and that it does not fluctuate. It also has a surge suppresser along with a spike buster built-in. These devices usually maintain the voltage between three percent of the required output even when the input voltage varies between 170 V to 270 V. You would need such a device in areas where there are regular and high voltage fluctuations, which really means most places in India.

The spike buster is a simple filter that cuts or prevents spikes (See Glossary) from getting through to the system. These are usually available in the form of extension boards and strips and do not cost too much either.

One more thing that one could do to protect the computers to plug the system into a separate power line-one that does not have any other heavy machinery like Acs or motors plugged on the line. Also, kept all devices plugged to the same outlet or line, thus you will minimise the chance of the devices having different voltages and one affecting the others because of the difference.


The motherboard in your computer system has a battery built-in so that the contents of the BIOS (the settings made by the user) are not lost each time the unit is turned off. Using the same concept, manufacturers are working towards implementing UPS technology into your PC, so as to prevent accidental loss of data through a power breakdown.

Do you really need a UPS?

It would appear that there is little reason for an individual to invest in a UPS. In most cases, a spike bluster and a voltage stabilizer may be just fine, as we discusses above .The worst that could happen without a UPS is that you would lose a day's work and/or you would need to reform your hard disk. Nothing more! Power surges, spikes other problems can creep in through any of devices that are connected to your computer. This could happen through the telephone line if you have a modem connected, or through a monitor that is not properly earthed, or the external CD-ROM drive.

So unless you are fully protected, you are really unprotected.

This would have been sound reasoning not to buy a UPS about five years ago, but not anymore. The prices of UPS systems have been plummeting and you can now get an excellent UPS system for your computer for less than Rs 8,000. It may be a good idea to take this chance and buy peace of mind. 


ups1.jpg (18644 bytes) Ampere: is the term to describe the current that flows through the wires. Just like your washing machine at home requires a water pipe of a certain thickness to be fitted, this describes the amount of power that must flow through the wire. Like almost every household appliance, computers are 5 amperes, though there are some devices that work on 15 amps (which also has a large-sized plug).
is what happens to you when someone hits you on the head. You are out cold. And is typically what happens to the computer when suddenly there is no power supply at all.
Brownout: is what happens when you do not blackout completely, but are just dazed. In computer and power parlance, it means a slight dip in the power line, not a complete shut off.

Spike: is something that you would like to drive into the linesman when your computer gets damaged because of bad power lines. It actually describes the sharp peak that one sees on a graph when power supply momentarily peaks far beyond its usual cycle.

Surge: is longer than a spike and is like a gush or a wave of extra power running into the power line that is there one minute and gone the next.

Volts: is a measure by which one can tell the difference between the amount of power that is available in the power line. Of the two lines on the wall socket, one is kept at zero, while the other carries a current. Touching these points could prove to be a shocking experience.

Watts: is the power consumed or required by a system to work. Something like the number of calories that will be burned during the normal operation of the appliance.

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