Power Back-up, Surge Protection, & Voltage Regulation

People the world over spend a lot of money on computers, software, and periferal equipment, yet the last thing to be considered—if at all—is the need to protect their investment of time and money with proper surge protection and power back-up equipment. Surge protection is just that: your equipment is protected against sudden spikes in electricity. There are products that will automatically switch to a back-up power supply, in the event of a complete power failure, and provide up to an hour of operating time. Your lights, radio, and refrigerator may all go off, but your computer will keep on running. When the battery goes below a certain point, the software will save and close all open documents, quit each open application, and power down the computer. Nothing lost.

An additional feature is AVR technology, or Automatic Voltage Regulation. House current is never 100% steady and can be affected by what is called "dirty power." If you do a lot of scanning, this feature will benefit you the most. I once tried to scan a large image by scanning the top and the bottom halves separately, and then assembling them in Photoshop. With only a minute between the two scans and using identical settings, the top half was signigicantly darker than the lower. The tiniest of power fluctuations can visibly affect the scan. AVR fixed that problem by delivering an absolutely consistent supply of voltage to my scanner. A prime example is William Mortensen's photograph, "Morocco," in the June issue. Use your browser's BACK button to return to this page! The original print measures 13-3/8" x 10-1/4" and you cannot see where the split is.

Below are specs from two companies, Belkin and APC. Depending on needs and budget, each offers a variety of products and prices, however, for the purpose of this article, we feature some of the higher-end units for home computer use. Both companies offer products ranging from $79 to about $219. TheScreamOnline favors neither; judge for yourself.


The Regulator Pro™ Gold Series-USB
The 650VA with AVR technology and USB Interface is the most complete power protection solution available today. AVR technology allows your computer and other connected equipment to receive clean and consistent power at all times, while the USB Interface allows for faster communication, easier installation, and virtually limitless expandability when using the shutdown software feature. Combined with a long back-up time, the Regulator Pro Gold Series 650VA outperforms the competition in features, benefits and reliability.

The Belkin Advantage:

*Data Recovery Warranty because you don’t need any extra worries.
*AVR technology is a line-conditioning feature that ensures clean and consistent power.
*USB interface for faster communication between the PC and UPS.
*$100,000 connected equipment warranty.


*650VA with up to 45 minutes of backup time so you can shut down your computer before the blackout does.
*This unit has 8 surge-protected outlets, four of which also include battery backup.
*Free shutdown software and 6-foot USB device cable included.
*Internet line and 10Base-T Network protection with built in splitter. 6ft. RJ11 cable included.
*Cable management system so your cables are always out of your way.
*BlockSpace™ so you don’t have to sacrifice two outlets to plug in one large AC adapter.
*Exchangeable color faceplates and cable management (not included).
*AC lines, on battery, overload, and replace battery LEDs for easy UPS management.
*User Replaceable Battery
*6ft. power cord.
*Dimensions: 8.6 W x 6.2 D x 8.8 H

APC Back-UPS, 650VA/400W, Input  120V/ Output  120V, Interface Port DB-9 RS-232. General Features: Additional Surge Protected Outlets, Audible Alarms, Ethernet Protection, Hot Swap Batteries, Internet FAX - modem - DSL protection, Lightning and Surge Protection, Site wiring fault indicator, Software, BlockSafe Outlets/Cord Extensions, Easy Overload Recovery, Multipath Protection, Option Switches, User Replaceable batteries. Includes User Manual, Velcro Cord Management Straps, Basic UPS signalling RS-232 cable, CD with software.

APC Back-UPS, 500VA/300W, Input  120V/ Output  120V, Interface Port USB
General Features: Additional Surge Protected Outlets, Audible Alarms, Cord Management, Intelligent Battery Management, Internet FAX - modem - DSL protection, Overload Indicator, Replace Batt Indicator, Site wiring fault indicator, Software, User Replaceable batteries, USB compatible. Includes User Manual, Velcro Cord Management Straps, CD with software, USB cable.


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