Sunday, February 8, 2009

Increase the life of your DSL modem, router and computer by using an UPS

Using a UPS  can quadruple the life of your computer and network equipment. It will save you from loosing work and keep your computers registry (XP/Vista) and preferences (Mac OS X) from becoming corrupt.  Print out this check list as a reminder for what you should do when the power goes out and your USP kicks into action:

Black out/Power Failure Procedure:

1. Immediately unplug the APC Smart-UPS from the wall. This will keep the UPS from being damaged when power from the utility returns (do not turn off the UPS because we want it to continue providing power to the computer if it's on.)

2. Begin saving documents and closing applications so that the computer can shut down normally.  Alternatively, you can keep working even without power! Go into the XP control panel and set the shut down timer to something like 20 minutes.  Your DSL will continue to work if the DSL modem is plugged into the UPS too!  Keep an eye on the control panel because, if you've connected your UPS via serial cable, it can tell you how much battery uptime is left.  You may even want to use this opportunity to visit the electrical company that serves your area and see if the outage is listed on their site:

3. If power is not restored and your battery only has 4 minutes left then you should begin the graceful shutdown procedure.  You can customize the shutdown timer under XP or Vista control panels to do this automatically.

If power comes back on before the computer shuts down you can simply plug the Smart-UPS back into the wall.  The primary goal is to keep the computer from shutting down abruptly. Fluctuations in power will prematurely wear out your power supply and hard drive. 

Most UPS devices have batteries inside that need to be replaced every year.  The Smart-UPS above has four Panasonic batteries. It's a good idea to set a yearly calendar reminder to remind yourself to replace the battery. L A Bridge can help you find batteries.