Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) - Do You Need One?
If you have regular power outages and get annoyed at having to reset your clock and timer programs every time the power goes out, you might want to consider adding a UPS to your system.
Without a UPS, you can still increase your power-backup times by entering a "safe" channel # in the Auto Clock > Manual menu
, which can increase your power-backup time from 30-sec to ~2½ min. or 1-hour to ~2½ hours in the 515/53x.
Finding the Right UPS for You
If you'd like to worry less about power and surge, here's an online page
of APC-brand UPS units to start
your research (change Location to your ZIP). On that page, click on any UPS you like and, on the page it brings up for that unit, click the far-right "Base Price" column to sort by price. Above that column is a "Change" link to select your preferred location for local stores. The $31 "APC Back-UPS ES 350G UPS - 200 Watt - Lead acid" unit at Amazon is the same 200W unit that I recently paid ~$49 for at my Walmart store. #1
UPS on Google Product Search is this 550VA 330W unit
, cost ~$50 new from good seller, $60 from my nearby stores, >300 online stores.
Step-Approximated Sine Wave vs Pure Sine Wave
Many UPS selling today output a "flat-topped" sine wave (called Step-approximated) rather than a pure sine wave. As our equipment gets more sophisticated, especially with Energy Star requirements that have Active Power Factor Correction (PFC). Many people, including me, have found that the flat sine wave units run out of power FAST.
If you can afford it, it might be better for you to look for pure sine wave UPS's, like the Cyberpower units linked by this Amazon buyer
who experienced fast loss of power by his APC UPS and got some good advice from the APC rep.
Number of Plug-ins
The cheaper the UPS the lower the number of battery backup plug-ins it has. My cheapo ES350 200W UPS has 3 battery backup plugs and 3 surge-only plugs, perfect for the 3 DVDRs I had
in my main stack but not enough for the 4 I have now. The next models up, ES 450, 550 and 650, have 4 of each, the 750 has 5 of each, etc.
"Power Factor" - Voltage-Amps (VA) vs. Watts (W)
We only need to know the Watts as long as the UPS has a W/VA ratio of 55-75%. That percentage is the UPS's "Power Factor" (PF), as explained in this tech. article.
If you see a PF closer to 1, it's a diff. UPS design and not comparable in runtime, etc. to those discussed here and in this thread.
Deciding on Standby (SB) or Operating (OP) Power
Your first decision: do you want to maintain SB power just to retain settings
or OP power to operate
your equipment during a power outage.
I don't have many full power outages here, so I opted for a small, 200W UPS. My goal is just to provide surge protection, power leveling thru sags and spikes, and power backup for SB for a SHORT power outage (less than 2 hours), just to retain settings and timer programs. Equally important was the fact that it was available from my local Walmart store... yes, I'm one of those low-class people who loves my local Walmart and doesn't hesitate to "step foot in" it and I wouldn't even mind being "caught dead" in it!
If I'm home when a power outage occurs, I'll turn my DVDRs off so they only draw SB power from the UPS battery. My HDTV is plugged into a surge-only plug-in, not a battery backup, but if it was, I'd unplug it.
If I'm not home and a timer rec starts, then power outage occurs, *no one* knows for sure whether our DVDRs will sense the nanosecond power "blip" at the switchover to battery power and stop the timer rec, or if it'll continue recording. If it continues recording, the UPS will only provide OP power until my 200W battery is used up. If power doesn't come back on before that time, I'll lose my settings, etc.... too bad, so sad.
SOME people with deep pockets get LARGE UPS's cuz they want to be able to OPERATE their DVDRs and TVs while the power is out. One person even has power inverters to keep the UPS's and some household appliances running.
Higher Watts = Higher Cost = Longer Runtime
The higher the wattage the more the UPS costs BUT the longer it will maintain SB or OP power in one of our DVDRs. SB power draw is spec'd at ~5.5-5.7W but measured by users at ~4.5-5W. OP power draw is spec'd at ~33W but measured by Ken.F at ~23-27W.
Unfortunately, it's NOT like measuring your household power, which is in kilowatt hours (kWh), or 1,000 watt-hours used as the billing unit of electric utilities. You can't directly correlate ACTUAL runtime of our equipment with the Wattage of a UPS. My 200W UPS will keep my four units in standby, with ~20W total power usage, for <2 hours. See next subject for better way to come close to the runtime you think you'll need.
Actual Estimated Runtimes
UPS specs often have a chart of estimated hours:minutes of Runtime, which is how long they'll supply power at a specified Power Draw in Watts. However, those charts don't go down to the small wattages we're using. You're best with other user experience to guide you. Below are links to some of that experience, plus important CAUTIONS:
Kansas_Tom (280VA & 685VA for his several UPS/equip. combos).
JoeKustra (details on his many UPS's and inverters).
JoeKustra & gale1965 (more details on his stuff mentioned above).
MrNews (550VA for STB, DVDR, TV).
dare2be (650VA for computer, 3576 , TV).
Dartman (2 ea. 1500VA & 1 ea. 750VA, with runtimes & tips on buying).
CAUTION: jam-h with caution not to plug surge suppressor(s) into UPS.
CAUTION: APC info & warning on non-APC surge protectors (could void warranties)
... same as link provided in jam-h post.
CAUTION: jjeff with "grounding" caution if testing runtime.
Keep the Beeps
I learned with my "cheapo" APC UPS NOT to turn it off when it "beeps" during a power outage, I thought I was just turning the beeps off but it turned off SB power to my DVDRs. You have to let some "cheapos' like mine beep during a power outage.... 4 beeps every 30 sec indicates your power is still off and the UPS is providing battery power to the connected devices. There are other beep indications explained in the UPS paperwork. Beeping in some smart UPS's can be modified or turned off in SW or via a button/setting on the UPS, w/o turning off its backup power to the connected units
It might be important for your UPS to be located where you can easily reach the DVDR plug in case you have to use the Soft Reset procedure
. My main UPS sits behind my 47" LCD, which sits on its stand on a small towel on an entertainment-center table. I can easily access the UPS and all its plugs by rotating the LCD on its towel w/o damaging the surface of the table.