Uninterrupted power supply - how long can you work once it kicks in?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Soundhound, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Soundhound, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    Soundhound macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    We've had a few power outages in my area recently, seems to be happening more frequently. I was in the middle of working today when the power went out and I lost the afternoon.

    The uninterrupted powers supply solutions I've seen mentioned here and other places seem like they are meant to protect your system and then power down until power is restored.

    I'm wondering if anyone has or knows of any that would allow you to continue working through the power outage, say for a few hours? My system is on the heavier side for wattage: two iMacs, powered speakers, external drives etc. Maybe 500 to 1000 watts? Not really sure, maybe not nearly that much.

  2. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    You'd need a UPS with a generator backup if you want to power that much load for hours. The UPS would carry you through until the generator comes online
  3. dictoresno macrumors 601


    Apr 30, 2012
    at idle load during a power outage the LCD screen on my UPS states i have about 40 mins of power supply remaining @ i think around 100 watts. obviously with use, under load, that will drop dramatically. if you need to use the computer for hours, you will need more than one type of back up like a generator. the UPS is used to prevent sudden shut down until it can be shut down properly.

    I have mine set up to shut the computer off after running 5 mins on battery backup. the UPS also came in handy to recharge my cell phone during hurricane Sandy.

  4. foobarbazqux, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    foobarbazqux macrumors regular

    Apr 17, 2014
    Exactly. Thy're only meant to keep you running through minor outages and shutdown gracefully if necessary.

    http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=165. That's for the type of UPS I have. Get a Kill-a-Watt, or something similar, and measure how much power your drawing when you're working and compare that against the estimators UPS manufacturers have on their web sites to give you a feel for how long you'd last. Even with the larger/expensive models, you're only looking at 15 to 30 minutes at those loads. You need a generator if you really want to be able to work for extended periods of time during a power failure.
  5. Soundhound, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    Soundhound thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Thanks all! I guess you could get a generator of some kind and use that in conjunction with a UPS? In the meantime I think I'll get a couple UPSs for my music setup, they seem like a very good idea! I might get one for my modem and router as well, that way I could have internet during a power outage, and that draws very little current, might last a little while longer. And having a charger for iPhones etc. during that time is a great idea, love that!

    Anything I should look out for in choosing one? The Cyberpower ones seem to be popular.

    Is there any setup or software to deal with with these kinds of things, or are they pretty much plug and play?
  6. ColdCase, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    The only software is to chose if you want to install their control panel. The UPS can be connected to a USB port and it signals the control panel app with power status.. that way the computer shuts down gracefully at a point you set and you have a chance to save work in progress.You also get a warning, but typically UPS have a beeper... that beeper can get annoying.

    CyberPower makes good units, I have three, one of which is over 8 years old. One UPS is on my main computer, one for my media center and server, and one for my time capsule and routing equipment. These are 1500 KVA units with so called pure sine wave (except for the old one). I will get 30 -45 minutes, enough time to find the generator, plug it in and get it started. If I have the old MacPro and monitor running, I get maybe 15 minutes on that UPS. If nothing is turned on, they can go many hours.

    As mentioned, the work well for short term power loss, voltage surges, or brownouts, but if you routinely go hours without power, you need a generator and cut over switches.
  7. Soundhound thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    That sounds very good. I'm thinking of getting two for my work system, one for each mac, and a few peripherals on each as well, a few drives etc. The 1500KVAs were the ones I was looking at, good to hear.

    What kind of power generator do you have, if I could ask? And how many hours work time you get from it? I was hoping for one that was battery powered, but they mostly seem to be gasoline or propane? Any issues with how clean the power is from these kinds of generators?

    At first glance it seems like I wouldn't want the UPS software, when I'm working I'll be aware of what's going on, and would just turn everything off (or fire up the generator). But I realize that my stuff has gone off when there's a brown out or power outage while I'm away... Would the software be able to turn everything off safely in a case like that?

  8. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I'm not sure about where you are but I know in my area if the power goes out so does internet. I have my modem and router on a UPS with my mini but I lose my uplink to the head end when the power drops.
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    My cable internet headend is just down the street from me and has battery backup with about a 6 hours run time. My modem and router are on a ups and give me about the same run time.


    If you only want to run your computers during the outage a 1-2 kW unit will be plenty. They use less than a quart of gas per hour. If you have frequent outages the best solution is a fixed unit with auto start and an automatic transfer switch. If you have natural gas to the house that makes the best fuel since you don't have to worry about fuel storage and stability.

    If you don't have a transfer switch then you have to run extension cords from the generator to the loads. A qualified electrician is needed to install it.
  10. Soundhound thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    I wondered if the internet would go down when the power goes. I guess I can just hook up a UPS and see what happens next time?

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