Battery Backup Solution to Various Home Office, Small Business Power Woes

My computer runs off electrical power. No great revelation there, I imagine. So, too, does my DSL modem and Belkin router. Ditto on the “Like, Duh!” factor. But what about my Plantronics telephone headset and my Nortel two-line landline phone? Both run off AC power juiced from the nearest wall outlet. So what?

Here in thunderstorm-prone South Florida, one electrical outage, brown-out, black-out or other power disruption and my entire connection to the outside world is lost. With my existing battery backup, the PC was kept running and stable, giving me at least enough time to close my apps and safely power down the CPU. But my Internet connection and phone? Gone.

I’d be on with a client and – Pfft! went the power, my phone connection, my Internet, even the connection of any laptops or tablets running on the wifi connection.

Not good. Then, I got an APC Back-UPS Pro 1300.

The installation of this device didn’t just mean I had more time to power down devices in the event of a blackout (about half an hour for a 200-watt load). It meant I could select more devices to provide power to.

This whole exercise began when my three-year-old battery backup died recently. I had discovered this in the worst possible way. Our house lost power. The backup chirped that it had kicked in. And less than three seconds later, the computer went dark. I lost little data, thanks to Windows auto-recovery mode, which had saved my documents (this was atop the recurring data back up that my Carbonite backup service performs throughout the day).

I could have replaced the battery for $40, or get a new backup. I opted for the latter – and the opportunity it afforded to rethink the way I use power in the home office.

Enter the 1300. This is a feature-rich piece of technology – especially for home officers and small business owners who had no idea that UPSes could be, well, worthy of feature richness. It has 780 Watts / 1300 VA of power on an Input / Output of 120V. It also included APC’s PowerChute software, which allows the desktop to safely power down in the event of an outage.

Among other features, the front panel LCD screen shows the voltage regulation for power coming out of the outlet, and in case of an outage, how much power is left on the battery.

But what’s really cool, it shows the draw on the device caused by those accessories plugged into its battery backup outlets in back. I figured the modem and router (around 15 watts or so), and headset and phone (about the same or less) – all plugged into four of the five available Battery Backup outlets on the back panel – effectively would draw squat. I was pretty much right.

The device also offers five surge-protected outlets; my Logitech PC speakers and a USB hub are plugged into two of those.

Moreover, its narrow form means it slipped onto my desktop right beside my monitor. “It’s bigger than most home offices need,” said someone with Schneider Electric, which makes APC.

There’s a storm brewing outside my home office window as I write this column. Yet today I’m much more confident in my ability to maintain a connection in the always-connected world.

Related posts:

  1. Protect Home Office Tech With Power Tools
  2. ‘Clean Power’ in the Home Office
  3. Battery Back-Ups Protect Home Office, Small Business Data and Equipment
  4. Power to the Home Office: What a Small Business Needs in a Battery Back-Up
  5. More Thoughts About Battery Backup in the Home Office