Selecting a UPS / Battery Backup?

TimTim Southwest PA
edited November 2012 in Hardware
I need to get a new UPS / Battery Backup / Surge Protector. I have been looking at a variety of choices, but I'm not sure how big to go without spending more than I need to.

They get rated by VA numbers and by watts. Shouldn't the watts rating be at least as much as what a PC draws at full load?

I could probably just take a guess and pick up an APC for $100 or so and be close to what I need, which is to power one gaming PC. My current build plans include a 750 watt PSU, i7 3770K, 16 GB ram, an SSD and 2 1 TB hard drives, a standard DVD burner, and a good GPU (which will probably be a Radeon 7870). Plus a few good case fans.

Are there any guides to use in choosing one? Are there any known quality issues with any particular brand of UPS?


  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Naples, FL
    At max load, a UPS is designed to discharge in 5-10 minutes max. At bigger, the battery will be bigger and last longer. So buy for how long you want power.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited November 2012
    I have to wonder why some APC surge protectors are rated at 300-400 joules while Cyberpowers of the same size are rated for 800-900 joules of surge protection. More must be better, but I prefer APC units, having had the most experience with them.

    I have a better way on the battery size part, though. A case of Tim's "Almost as good and a whole lot cheaper" way of thinking!

    I could get a standard APC unit, and tap into the wires going to the battery. I'd extend those wires a couple feet outside the case to not only include the normal battery, but a car battery or deep cycle marine battery as well! They are both 12 volts, so they will work together. Car batteries have a "reserve capacity" rating, mostly in the 80-150 minute range, and if I remember correctly, that test is done with a 25 amp power draw. And 25 amps X 12 volts = 400 watts, enough to power a normal or mild gaming PC for an hour or 2!

    So if I'm at home and the power goes out, I could pause the game, run out to the car, pull the battery, and connect it to the PC's battery backup!

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA
  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK
    This does not sound like a good idea.
  • ProTip:
    That is incredibly stupid and if you do it you WILL die either of vapor inhalation, explosion, or lethal electrocution.
    Oh and then there's the little fact that it won't work anyway.
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff
    This does not sound like a good idea.
    Tim's favorite way of thinking!
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi
    Just follow Winga's instructions, maybe you won't blow yourself up:
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited November 2012
    So if I'm at home and the power goes out, I could pause the game, run out to the car, pull the battery, and connect it to the PC's battery backup!
    How much more battery life do you expect to get at that point? In other words, how much longer will you be gaming on the car battery when the electricity is out?

    Why not just save your game and wait for the power to come back on? That's what I do when I'm working during a blackout.

  • WingaWinga South Africa
    I know this post is a bit old and who knows what you ended up doing but Tim you can't run a couple of feet of cable from the UPS to the battery. The idea is to keep those cables as short as possible. There's a reason why those cables are thicker than usual. They carry a lot of current and can get very hot.

    Also its not very clever to put two totally different batteries with different amp hour ratings to the same UPS and charge them together. Another thing to consider is the charging capacity of the UPS itself. If its rated for 400 - 600 watts it is not designed to charge car batteries.

    So whatever you did I hope you didn't take the cheap route. If you buy a standard 1000 watt UPS and only run 1 PC on it it will last you over half an hour before you will need to shut down.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited May 2013
    I never did anything with it.

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