In August of 2003 a massive power blackout hit Canada and the US, plunging 50 million
people into darkness for nearly two days. During the first few seconds of
that blackout, countless computers went silent, causing untold data loss. For most people, the
power failure simply resulted in a 'data integrity check' by the operating system the next time
their PC booted up. For others, the blackout may have caused the loss of an unsaved document,
or in the worst case, total file corruption.
While an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) is an often overlooked
computer accessory, having one at that moment would have protected a PC from loss
of power, and potentially given a user 20-40 minutes to save their work and
shut down the programs and desktop computer safely.
While power failures are a rare occurrence in the city, it is not the only thing that
can go wrong with the electricity supply from the utility. Utility power travels great
distances and goes through many transformers before finally arriving at the socket in
your wall; solar flares, sun spots, fallen trees, lightening and equipment failures can all
contribute in one way or another to every thing from brownouts, spikes in voltage,
unstable frequencies and just generally 'bad' power quality.
In the PCstats labs we tend to see the utility power fluctuate during
the course of the working day, from 120V through to 127V at the end of the day. In
the past we've even experienced the building's transformer blow up... Suffice to say, there was plenty of acrid
black smoke after the lights went out that time.
Now I'm sure you can
imagine that after a power failure thoughts instantly turn to the topic of UPS backups for
more than just key systems. While this used to be an expensive proposition, UPS' have dropped
down in price, and are now very affordable.
|| Powerware 5125
AC adaptor, audio cables, antenna,
power adaptor, controll card, data cable., instructions.
where the Powerware 5125 1000VA UPS kicks in, running for about $280USD ($370CDN) through online retailers. Powerware are a Raleigh North
Carolina based company that specializes in consumer to professional level
uninterruptable power supplies, and they support the 5125 UPS with a two-year
Limited Warranty and $25,000 computer load protection guarantee. While there are
many vendors selling UPS solutions, Powerware tend to differentiate themselves
by offering features like network management consoles, replaceable batteries,
and scalable power storage options that should payout in the longrun.
Powerware 5125 is a Line-Interactive 1000VA UPS, and with additional Electronic
Battery Modules (EBMs) can increase its overall power capacity to 2200VA or
thereabouts should your future requirements increase. The UPS features
Powerware's own advanced battery management console, "buck and double boost"
regulation to deliver constant voltage, hot swapable batteries, the ability to
power up the UPS without utility power, sequential shut down and load
management, network transient protector (surge protection), and the very handy
X-slot communications port.
The X-slot is essentially a communications
bay that comes standard with a serial cable port to allow you to manage the
UPS. That serial cable port can be swapped out for a variety of other
devices, including an SNMP/WEB adaptor which we'll get to momentarily.