Surge Protectors

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
Ok, I wasn't sure where to post this, so if this is the wrong section, feel free to move it.

Since it's summer time, (well, close enough) we get quite a bit of thunderstorms, which sometimes knock the power out. Right now, I have a cheap surge protector that I got back in like 2000. I was wondering what would be the best surge protector to buy that would minimize damage to my Mac during a power outage? Thanks in advance. :)
 

superbovine

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
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FadeToBlack said:
Ok, I wasn't sure where to post this, so if this is the wrong section, feel free to move it.

Since it's summer time, (well, close enough) we get quite a bit of thunderstorms, which sometimes knock the power out. Right now, I have a cheap surge protector that I got back in like 2000. I was wondering what would be the best surge protector to buy that would minimize damage to my Mac during a power outage? Thanks in advance. :)
a battery backup is the best. in recent years they come down in price, and are fairly cheap.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
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Andover, MA
What you really want is UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), not a surge protector. A surge protector will merely protect your Mac against violent surges in power, but not against over-voltages, sags (undervoltages), or power failures.

I lost a nice receiver due to excessive voltage being sent to my house by a faulty regulator (power company's fault). My Macs happened to be on UPSs and were fine - when the regulator went out of whack for a few minutes at a time, they compensated. My stereo wasn't so lucky, and the 140V over-voltage fried it over time.

APC is well-known for UPSs. I have some of their products, and they work well. I bought a CyberPower 1500AVR (CyperPower is the maker) and am happy with that as well.

It's not all that important that you buy a UPS that can power your equipment for very long - just long enough for it to be shut down softly in the event of a power failure. It's a nice bonus if you can connect the UPS (likely via USB) to automatically shut down your Mac in the event of an extended power failure.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
jsw said:
What you really want is UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), not a surge protector. A surge protector will merely protect your Mac against violent surges in power, but not against over-voltages, sags (undervoltages), or power failures.

I lost a nice receiver due to excessive voltage being sent to my house by a faulty regulator (power company's fault). My Macs happened to be on UPSs and were fine - when the regulator went out of whack for a few minutes at a time, they compensated. My stereo wasn't so lucky, and the 140V over-voltage fried it over time.

APC is well-known for UPSs. I have some of their products, and they work well. I bought a CyberPower 1500AVR (CyperPower is the maker) and am happy with that as well.

It's not all that important that you buy a UPS that can power your equipment for very long - just long enough for it to be shut down softly in the event of a power failure. It's a nice bonus if you can connect the UPS (likely via USB) to automatically shut down your Mac in the event of an extended power failure.
Thanks for the reply. A UPS is exactly what I need. That was basically what I was looking for when I made this post, but I couldn't think of what they were called. Where would be the best place to get one?
 

ham_man

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2005
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I have an APC with 3 battery backup slots (PowerBook, Printer, and LaCie) and 3 surge protected slots. It has served me very well. Would definately recommend...
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
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Andover, MA
FadeToBlack said:
Thanks for the reply. A UPS is exactly what I need. That was basically what I was looking for when I made this post, but I couldn't think of what they were called. Where would be the best place to get one?
Seems like you can find them almost anywhere now. You can order them online, but they're heavy little buggers and so shipping would probably be rather expensive. Some places that carry them include Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack (in some areas), CompUSA... basically anywhere you could buy a computer except, oddly, Apple Stores.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
ham_man said:
I have an APC with 3 battery backup slots (PowerBook, Printer, and LaCie) and 3 surge protected slots. It has served me very well. Would definately recommend...
What's an APC? What's the difference between that and a UPS?
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
jsw said:
Seems like you can find them almost anywhere now. You can order them online, but they're heavy little buggers and so shipping would probably be rather expensive. Some places that carry them include Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack (in some areas), CompUSA... basically anywhere you could buy a computer except, oddly, Apple Stores.
I live in a very small town, so the only place I can think of that would probably have them is Radio Shack. Does Wal Mart carry them?
 

jsw

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Mar 16, 2004
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Andover, MA
FadeToBlack said:
I live in a very small town, so the only place I can think of that would probably have them is Radio Shack. Does Wal Mart carry them?
Wal Mart carries them online; I suspect most of their stores carry them as well.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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jsw said:
Wal Mart carries them online; I suspect most of their stores carry them as well.
Yeah, I just checked their site out. Do you think this one would be good enough? It says the battery runtime is 22 minutes. CyberPower 425SL

Also, do you know if this software is compatible with Mac OS X?
 

jsw

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Mar 16, 2004
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Andover, MA
FadeToBlack said:
Yeah, I just checked their site out. Do you think this one would be good enough? It says the battery runtime is 22 minutes. CyberPower 425SL

Also, do you know if this software is compatible with Mac OS X?
That UPS should be more than enough for you. BTW, you can always add extension cords or outlet expanders to UPSs - as long as you don't exceed their maximum power rating - so routers, modems, etc. can all be plugged in.

Their software worked OK with Panther - not great, not perfectly, but OK. I haven't really messed with it under Tiger yet. However, my 1500AVR might or might not use the same software as the 425SL (don't know).
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
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FadeToBlack said:
What's an APC? What's the difference between that and a UPS?
APC is a company that makes UPS's. A UPS is what the device is called. It's an acronym for Uninterruptible Power Supply.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
jsw said:
That UPS should be more than enough for you. BTW, you can always add extension cords or outlet expanders to UPSs - as long as you don't exceed their maximum power rating - so routers, modems, etc. can all be plugged in.

Their software worked OK with Panther - not great, not perfectly, but OK. I haven't really messed with it under Tiger yet. However, my 1500AVR might or might not use the same software as the 425SL (don't know).
Awesome. I'll go check at my Wal Mart and see if they have it and if they don't, I'll just order it online.

Since I have an eMac, I only have 3 things plugged in. My Mac, cable modem, and speakers, so this will be fine without an extension cord, etc. Thanks a lot for the help. :)
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
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If the area you are in also suffers from brownouts (low power conditions that dims the lights) or overvoltages think about moving up to a line-conditioning UPS.

UPS's work great if the power is usually on/off/spikes, but they tend to fail to clamp quick enough when the power dips a little low or is slightly high.

The line-conditioning UPSs are not that much more, but they tend to protect you from a wider range of bad power situations.

Edit: You will see Automatic Voltage Regulation, Line Conditioning, etc.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
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Andover, MA
Sun Baked said:
If the area you are in also suffers from brownouts (low power conditions that dims the lights) or overvoltages think about moving up to a line-conditioning UPS.

UPS's work great if the power is usually on/off/spikes, but they tend to fail to clamp quick enough when the power dips a little low or is a slightly high.

The line-conditioning UPSs are not that much more, but they tend to protect you from a wider range of bad power situations.
Agreed.

The 1500AVR I have has selectable tolerances for when it switches to battery power, and I'm pretty sure it's saved my PM a few times.

Edit: now I know what the AVR stands for... never really paid much attention to the model number before.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
Well, I went and bought the only one that Wal Mart had. It's an APC Battery Backup/Surge Protector. It was only $30. It doesn't really say a model number or anything like that on the box, but here's a pic of it. You probably can't tell much about it from the pic, but I can give you the specs on the back of the box if you need them. I just want to know if it's good enough. All I have plugged in the battery backup plugs are my eMac and cable modem.
 

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sw1tcher

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
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FadeToBlack said:
Well, I went and bought the only one that Wal Mart had. It's an APC Battery Backup/Surge Protector. It was only $30. It doesn't really say a model number or anything like that on the box, but here's a pic of it. You probably can't tell much about it from the pic, but I can give you the specs on the back of the box if you need them. I just want to know if it's good enough. All I have plugged in the battery backup plugs are my eMac and cable modem.
For the eMac and modem... Yes, it's good enough
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
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FadeToBlack said:
Ok, good. Thanks for the quick reply. :cool:
Unless you have bad power, battery backups are generally enough.

So far I've only run across one member here complaining that the APC UPS sucked and his computer kept getting shut off during power outages.

But he wasn't losing power, just going low voltage.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
Sun Baked said:
Unless you have bad power, battery backups are generally enough.

So far I've only run across one member here complaining that the APC UPS sucked and his computer kept getting shut off during power outages.

But he wasn't losing power, just going low voltage.
That's good. Only one member out of quite a few that have them, I hope?

Oh yeah, I've noticed that it's getting a bit warm. Is that normal?
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
FadeToBlack said:
That's good. Only one member out of quite a few that have them, I hope?

Oh yeah, I've noticed that it's getting a bit warm. Is that normal?
They warm up when the battery gets charged.

Once it's topped up it should cool down.
 

finalcoolman

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2005
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Ya APC makes the best power supply stuff, for a good price too. I got a Surge protector on my home theatre, a surge brotector on the sek where my ibook sits and a 650VA UPS on my main desktop PC setup and network gear. They make awsome, very good quality stuff. I can't recommend them better. Whatever you do don't by those $5 powerbars and DO NOT buy those over-priced and over-marketed Monster power bars you find at places like Best Buy. In fact, steer well away of any Monster crap product you EVER see.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
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Apr 27, 2005
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Sun Baked said:
They warm up when the battery gets charged.

Once it's topped up it should cool down.
It's been plugged in for probably 14 hours now and it's still warm. I'd say that's just normal, though.

Thanks again for the help, everybody.
 

FadeToBlack

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 27, 2005
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Accoville, WV
This is just an update. The power went out earlier during a thunderstorm and the APC worked and I had enough time to shut my Mac down. Thanks again for the help, guys!

Anyone know how long the battery lasts once the power is out?
 

superbovine

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
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FadeToBlack said:
This is just an update. The power went out earlier during a thunderstorm and the APC worked and I had enough time to shut my Mac down. Thanks again for the help, guys!

Anyone know how long the battery lasts once the power is out?
depends how much juice your monitor and computer are using, and what else is plugged into the battery plug. in generally the easiest way to check is to just unplug it and time it.