Scheduled power outages unplanned blackouts, and worse: when power gets “dirty”.
First published in our 14 June 2018 print edition.
We accept and have all learned to live with fluctuations in Australia’s electricity supply, but what is the difference between dirty power and a power outage? And how does “dirty” power affect our most expensive electronic assets?
“Dirty power, often refereed to as a minor brown out, is when the power coming from the socket significantly fluctuates above or below the expected 240 volts without initially going out all together,” Jon Cavell of Warragul Computer explained.
“There are a few simple signs of this phenomenon that we have grown used to: a lightbulb flickering slightly, interference on your radio, and in the worst case appliances actually going “BANG!” with components literally blowing up.
“Dirty power is much worse than no power.”
Uninterruptible Power Supplies, UPS for short, are the way to protect your devices. They might just look like a big battery, but in a telephone interview Glyn Dowding of leading Australian UPS company PowerShield explained they do much, much more.
“The domestic market usually overlooks the uses of UPS’s, whereas businesses accept them as critical,” Glyn said.
“When your mains power goes under or over a safe level, the UPS takes over and feeds your devices clean, regular 240 volts from its battery until your power returns to normal. Often it only has to kick in for a few seconds, but that’s all that’s needed to get you through that damaging change in power.
“Connected to your internet router, a UPS can improve your internet quality with fewer drop-outs.
“Connected to your PC, a UPS will make your system last much longer and help prevent data loss due to unexpected shutdowns and drive failures.
“Connected to your AV equipment the right UPS may even improve the sound quality of your amplifier!”
“Australia has a unique power grid with the longest distances between power generation and power usage of any country in the world.
“PowerShield’s Australian-engineered devices are designed for the ‘dirty power,’ corrosion, dust, and high temperatures of the Australian climate.”
Jon added that “a wave of failed electronic devices often come into the store after a storm or change in power generation events.”
“These are failures that may have been prevented with a quality UPS.
“Upfront costs aside, UPS systems work out cheaper in the long run through more efficient and longer lasting hardware.”
A UPS is likely a new concept to many readers, so heading out to look at what’s available might seem a little daunting. What do you look for? Which are the good brands?
“Starting with a model designed in Australia, such as one from PowerShield, is a great start,” Jon said.
“Having the option to trigger a shutdown protocol on a computer in the event of a power outage is a very useful feature too. This gives your computer the chance to safely shut down after a designated period of time, even if you’re not at home.”
“A UPS can also help keep your surveillance equipment online even if an intruder cuts the power to your house or office,” Jon explained.
“If cameras and recording equipment are connected to a UPS, you can record who steals or damages what. The system can then send the images straight to your phone over the internet, which is still possible if your router is plugged into the UPS!
“It won’t chase the crooks away, but you will have a record of everything that went on.”
Tell me more!
Those with complex power needs can request a one-on-one, obligation-free conversation with Glyn from PowerShield – just ask Jon to set up the meeting!
For all other UPS and tech enquiries, visit Jon at Warragul Computer Repair – 6 Smith Street, Warragul.
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