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APC Surge protector vs Back-UPS


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I currently have the APC Performance SurgeArrest 11 Outlet with Tel2/Splitter, Coax and Ethernet Protection. I am considering replacing it with the APC Back-UPS RS 800VA. The backup power supply is considerably more expensive. I'm trying to get a handle on whether or not it is worth it.


The Performance SurgeArrest has a surge energy rating of 2030 joules, while the backup UPS has a surge energy rating of 320 joules. Does this mean the Performance Surge/Arrest provides more protection against surges? If so, what is the advantage of the backup UPS?


Also, the backup UPS has an output power capacity of 540 watts. Does that mean I shouldn't use it if I get a power supply for my computer in the 550 to 600 watts range?

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The joule rating is a measure of how much energy the clamping/diverting device (usually a metal oxide varistor) can absorb. It doesn't indicate the let through voltage of the entire unit. If you can find that spec, it's more useful.


The surge strip can only protect against overvoltage. A UPS can also deal with noise, brown-outs and outages. So the choice depends on cost vs. what risks you face.


I use an APC Back-UPS ES 500 and it's intervened several times in the last year for the last three categories but never for an overvoltage. A friend of mine uses the RS 1200 and reports much the same (he has two PC's plugged into it).


APC has a selector on their site that let's you estimate power requirements and suggests a model.

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The Back-Up is the way to go. It even has a USB connection that will let Windows monitor your battery. The Power Options in XP's control panel will let you set the computer to do a controlled shut-down when the AC dies and the Back-up kicks in. Since you already have the SurgeArrest, just leave it plugged into the wall and plug the Back-Up into it.

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See APC Knowledge Base article: Using surge strips with APC's Back-UPS and Smart-UPS products








Sorry. Should have mentioned that the Back-up should be the only thing plugged into the surge strip. That way there is nothing that will draw power away from it and cause it to kick in.

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