Surge Protection redux

Hot Flashes


Now that thunderstorm season is here and I have a machine running OS X and thus I leave it on sleep overnight. I'm wondering if I am running a risk here and whether the machine is at risk of being fried when sleeping vs. with the power completely turned off. I was wondering if maybe I should make very sure I have surge protection in the power strip or whether I should get a UPS, which one and whether the surge protection in a UPS is any different or better than a power strip.



Surge strips have a lump that when new can absorb as much energy as rated on the packaging. I like to use the Kesington units rated at about 1500 or so jules. (It varies from year to year as they come out with "new and improved.") You can get these from for $25 to $30 or buy them at CompUSA for $40 or so. The jule rating is cumulative. Which means if a 1500 jule strip absorbs a 300 jule hit, it's now a 1200 jule strip. Measure what's left is expensive. So I take the approach that they turn into power strips after 3 years or a major lighting strike in the area, which ever comes first.

Most UPS systems in the $200 and down price range basically have a surge strip built in, like described above. And they have a noticable turn on time. So if surges are your worry then the UPS doesn't change anything.

There ARE UPS systems that do more then just turn on a switch if the power goes off. They are called Full On-Line or something similar. Basically the wall current is converted to DC then run into the battery. The battery is converted back to AC. So in effect you're always running off the battery. This gives you as about as good of a protection as you can get except for a 1' air gap between the wall outlet and the plug. (It's a joke.)

So either spend $110 at Sam's for a cheap APC 1100VA unit or $700 for a good 700VA continous running unit.

David Ross