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Quick Tip When Installing a UPS

Here is a quick tip I have learned after installing and replacing many UPSs (aka. Uninterruptable power supply, aka. Battery Backup). Most of the time, a desktop UPS will have two rows or sections of outlets. One for battery backup and one that is just for surge protection, so it works like a power strip too. This is convenient since you can plug in a lamp or printer or something else that doesn’t need backup power without running an extra power strip.

The bad thing about this is that sometimes people will plug things in to the backup side, not knowing the difference and this significantly shortens the time the battery will last during a power outage. I’ve even had people plug in space heaters on the battery side which overloads the circuitry and ends up killing power to their computer and everything else plugged in. So, here is a little trick I’ve started doing to prevent this.

UPS_WarningI’ve been buying the APC BE750G for all the desktop computers, which is a pretty good UPS, over all. One of it’s features is the master / slave outlets so you can have it shut off items plugged in to some ports when you turn your computer off. But, the trick I’m talking about involves the warning sticker they come with covering the backup outlets. The sticker is to warn you to turn it over and connect the battery before you use the backup outlets. Normally you would just connect the battery, then peal the sticker off and throw it away. I just pull back enough to uncover the one or two outlets I need, cut off the excess and leave it in place to cover the other backup outlets. My thinking is that if someone is looking for an outlet they will see the big yellow warning sticker and leave it alone without bothering to read what it actually says. At the very least, it makes it inconvenient to peal it off.

So far, this has kept everyone from plugging things in to the backup outlets, but hasn’t kept them from tripping breakers with the space heaters under their desks. UPS_Warning_Sticker

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