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What is an Uninterruptible Power Supply?

Quite simply, it is a backup power supply that is designed to provide power to whatever devices are plugged into it in the event of a power outtage.  Additionally, it can provide protection in the event of a power spike or surge.  

The uninterruptible power supply sits between the utility power (power from the wall outlet) and the parts of the computer. In other words, the computer and accessories plug into the UPS and the UPS plugs into the wall.

UPS devices come in many shapes and sizes but are most commonly rectangular and free standing, intended to sit on the floor near the computer. All uninterruptible power supplies are very heavy due to the batteries located inside the device.

One or more batteries inside the UPS provide power to the devices plugged into it when power from the wall outlet is no longer available. The batteries are rechargeable and often replaceable, providing a long term solution to keeping your computer system running.

The front of the UPS will usually have a power switch to turn the device on and off and will also sometimes have one or more additional buttons that perform various functions. Higher-end battery backup units will also often feature LCD screens that show information about how charged the batteries are, how much power is being used, etc.

The rear of the UPS will feature one or more outlets that provide battery backup. In addition, many UPS devices will also feature surge protection on additional outlets and sometimes even protection for phone and cable lines.

UPS devices are manufactured with varying degrees of backup ability. To determine how powerful of a UPS you need, first use the Journey Systems Power Supply Calculator to calculate your computer's wattage requirements. Take this number and add it to the wattage requirements for other devices you would plug into the UPS. Take this totaled number and check with the UPS manufacturer to find your estimated battery runtime when you lose power from the wall.

While it is not required to have a UPS, it is highly recommended, especially if you are located in an area that experiences frequent power disruptions or outtages.