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How to Protect Your Electronics When You Lose Power

This week, I’m going to talk about what happens when you lose power to your house or business and how it affects your electronics.

By
Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #182

This is what happens with electricity during a brownout: the normally constant supply dips below what is usable for a small period of time. This is what you experience when the lights flicker.

Now, normally brownouts aren’t that big of a deal, but they can cause some of the same issues associated with power outages, and they can often be paired with spikes in power also known as power surges. Power surges are exactly what they sound like, with excess power flowing into your house.

The worst part about power surges is that under most circumstances you can’t see one actually happen. They are often very fast and their effects are not immediately known. Luckily, though, most modern electronics are designed with some resilience to power surges.

Now that I’ve thoroughly scared you from black outs brown outs and power surges. Let’s talk about ways we can mitigate the effects or at least protect your electronics from them.

First of all, buy a surge protector. I could go into the nitty gritty of what to look for, but buy a good brand (I always go with APC), and the higher number of Joules, the better. Generally, a good surge protector will be about $30. Surge protectors will help protect your electronics, are pretty cheap, and give you a ton more outlets to use! So buy one.

So what about brown outs and black outs? Well the answer is a UPS or (Uninterrupted Power Source). Basically, this is just a battery for your electronics. The idea of a UPS though is not to power your electronics for a long time. Rather, it’s to power your electronics for just long enough so that you can do a safe power down.

Depending on the size of your computer, or the amount of electronics you want to have backed up by battery, you’ll need different sizes. I really like APC’s line of UPS’s and they are measured in Volt Amps. The one I would recommend looks like a large surge protector. It will give your average desktop computer about 30 minutes of power, which is way more than enough time to shut it down.

What’s also nice is that if you buy a UPS, you don’t need to buy a surge protector because the battery in the UPS will absorb a lot of the unclean electricity. The same goes for brownouts. When there are small dips in electricity, your hardware won’t even notice because the UPS will power your device from its internal battery.

Has a battery backup ever saved your computer? Do you have a black out computer nightmare? If so, tell me about it so I can help provide tips to avoid these future unforeseen disasters.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.

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