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Need enlightenment on power protection/conditioning/battery backup

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm just looking for some information as to what is best for my setup to optimize performance, protection, and longevity of components.

With a recent storm and power outage I feel as if i need to invest in a battery backup of some sort for my htPc because it has 5 tb worth of DVD and tv rips, it will act as a dvr once my ceton gets here, and it stores all of my music and photos. So data is precious

I have a 42" plasma, xbox 360, and htPc that acts as a media hub/cable box. I also have accessories like xbox controller charging cradle, photo frame, computer speakers, and a air purifier plugged into monster mdp 900 . It's a green power center with "Pc clean power".

I have the future plan of adding a denon receiver with speakers and sub for surround sound... So what im wondering is what is a better fit for this setup, a power conditioner the likes of a Panamax 4300, a battery backup/conditioner like Panamax 5102 (both of which i get a good deal on which makes them worthwhile), do i replace my monster power center with a battery backup or do i run both in tandem?
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post #2 of 7
My experience with power conditioners and battery backups comes from industrial experience, however it should be the same basic thing for home use, so hopefully you'll find this useful.

A line conditioner will "clean up" the power that comes into your outlet. I.E. if the power that comes in tends to vary in voltage from standard (110v in the USA) the line conditioner will lower overvoltage (turn 115 volts down to 110) and boost undervoltage (turn 100v to 110). While I gave numbers in the examples, the actual amount of "cleaning" or "conditioning" of the line depends on the unit used.

My info on a battery backup is dated by about 3 years, so if I'm out of date here please feel free to correct me. A battery backup CAN act like a line conditioner, but only for undervoltage, and it has to be supported in the software that comes with the UPS (Uninturruptable Power Supply), or via some switch or something on the UPS itself.

The most common use I saw (again in industrial use) was a line conditioner going into the UPS, and the computers (or whatever) plugged into the UPS. I'll do some digging on your particular unit, and edit this post with some of my general recommendations for your particular setup.

EDIT - Was saving this comment for when I had more info on your unit - Holy crap that's a lot of stuff plugged into that device! I am curious why a photo frame, computer speakers, an Xbox, and an Xbox controller charger are plugged into this. Personally I would remove those from this unit. If you are concerned with your power being "dirty" (do the lights often go dim or brighter for a few seconds and then back to normal?) then I would get a line conditioner and plug that into the wall, and plug the MDP 900 into the conditioner. But for home use, I feel like that is a bit overkill imo.

For your future setup with the surround sound and receiver, I would personally just put them on a good surge protector and call it a day. The Panamax doesn't actually "clean" or "condition" the line, it just disconnects the power when it gets too "dirty", which is pretty cool, but makes a UPS mandatory, and imo, doesn't make it a true "line conditioner".

TL;DR version -
Put the HTPC, TV, Air Purifier (So when the power goes out the candle smoke won't get you, but if you don't have breathing issues, this can be placed on the surge protector instead), and possibly the Xbox on the MDP 900, and everything else on 1 or 2 really good quality surge protectors and call it a day. The fewer items on the UPS, the longer the power will last in the event of a power failure from the local utility company. And with a 42" TV plugged into that thing, I got a sneaking suspicion that power will be at a premium when the lights go out lol.

EDIT #2 (last one I promise!) I just checked out the Panamax 5102, and it seems that would be the perfect unit for you. Battery backup for some outlets, surge protection and a neat little display showing you your current voltage. Altho I would like to see this a little better
Quote:
Undervoltage Shutoff 90 ± 5V
Overvoltage Shutoff, slow rise 132 ± 5V
Overvoltage Shutoff, fast rise 150 ± 5V

I would like to see the shutoffs a lot closer to 110v, especially for the fast rise overvoltage, and especially for the price of this unit. Personally, I can't believe it allows for a 20v ± tolerance! Still, it seems like a nice little unit.
Edited by Razinhail - 3/4/11 at 3:42am
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post #3 of 7
If it were me, I'd run it all on surge protected strips, as few as possible (which is a lot easier over here, with 13a of 240v.. which would be 26a at your voltage)...
"PC clean power" sounds like it's got some surge protection, yeah. I just looked at their website and it's amazing what they say about one simple componant... darn, according to monster, MOV's are godlike! Back to the real world, where monster cables are stupidly expensive and usually not needed.. It's a surge protector, put that in between your AC outlet and the UPS, run the HTPC off the UPS...

A small UPS is all you need for your HTPC, just get one with a link to connect to your HTPC and software to safely shut down your machine with any power interruption greater than say... half the capacity of the UPS.

Edit: A UPS(aka battery backup unit, same thing) designed for a PC is the best kind to use for the HTPC, since it will usually have a serial or USB link and software to tell the PC when it's running out of battery so it can shut down safely. You can quite happily use the non-PC kind for the rest of your setup if you so desire. One that isolates your equipment entirely from the wall AC is the most expensive and safest. These units always run attached equipment from their own inverters in order to prevent any line noise or spikes getting through.
Edited by allikat - 3/4/11 at 3:14am
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post #4 of 7
I'd look into having a whole home surge protector installed. I've recently done some reading on them because that's my goal for this spring. I happened to be watching Holmes on Holmes on HGTV and noticed they used this one.
http://74.53.140.226/~sycomsur/products/SYC_120_240_T2-4-3.html
Haven't read about it yet, but thought I would share. Pretty cheap so I don't know how good this one actually is.
http://www.fencesupplyinc.com/sycom-syc120240tc-residential-surge-protector-p-5102.html?utm_campaign=google-simple&utm_medium=product_search&utm_source=google-simple

Some other things I've learned is that there is a lot to do with proper grounding of your home depending on where you live and soil conditions, etc. Don't know how involved you want to get. I'm about to ground an Antenna I just mounted on my roof last night.

I've been using an APC J10BLK on my HTPC setup for close to 2 years now I think. Does Surge protection, Conditioning and Battery backup. I like it I guess. Switches to battery for over and under voltages (settings can be adjusted) and shuts down the PC when I want it to (again, few settings to choose from). http://www.apc.com/products/apcav/products/index.cfm?action=detail&base_sku=J10BLK
Edited by craigap - 3/4/11 at 4:38am
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razinhail;12606614 
My experience with power conditioners and battery backups comes from industrial experience, however it should be the same basic thing for home use, so hopefully you'll find this useful.

A line conditioner will "clean up" the power that comes into your outlet. I.E. if the power that comes in tends to vary in voltage from standard (110v in the USA) the line conditioner will lower overvoltage (turn 115 volts down to 110) and boost undervoltage (turn 100v to 110). While I gave numbers in the examples, the actual amount of "cleaning" or "conditioning" of the line depends on the unit used.

My info on a battery backup is dated by about 3 years, so if I'm out of date here please feel free to correct me. A battery backup CAN act like a line conditioner, but only for undervoltage, and it has to be supported in the software that comes with the UPS (Uninturruptable Power Supply), or via some switch or something on the UPS itself.

The most common use I saw (again in industrial use) was a line conditioner going into the UPS, and the computers (or whatever) plugged into the UPS. I'll do some digging on your particular unit, and edit this post with some of my general recommendations for your particular setup.

EDIT - Was saving this comment for when I had more info on your unit - Holy crap that's a lot of stuff plugged into that device! I am curious why a photo frame, computer speakers, an Xbox, and an Xbox controller charger are plugged into this. Personally I would remove those from this unit. If you are concerned with your power being "dirty" (do the lights often go dim or brighter for a few seconds and then back to normal?) then I would get a line conditioner and plug that into the wall, and plug the MDP 900 into the conditioner. But for home use, I feel like that is a bit overkill imo.

For your future setup with the surround sound and receiver, I would personally just put them on a good surge protector and call it a day. The Panamax doesn't actually "clean" or "condition" the line, it just disconnects the power when it gets too "dirty", which is pretty cool, but makes a UPS mandatory, and imo, doesn't make it a true "line conditioner".

TL;DR version -
Put the HTPC, TV, Air Purifier (So when the power goes out the candle smoke won't get you, but if you don't have breathing issues, this can be placed on the surge protector instead), and possibly the Xbox on the MDP 900, and everything else on 1 or 2 really good quality surge protectors and call it a day. The fewer items on the UPS, the longer the power will last in the event of a power failure from the local utility company. And with a 42" TV plugged into that thing, I got a sneaking suspicion that power will be at a premium when the lights go out lol.

EDIT #2 (last one I promise!) I just checked out the Panamax 5102, and it seems that would be the perfect unit for you. Battery backup for some outlets, surge protection and a neat little display showing you your current voltage. Altho I would like to see this a little better



I would like to see the shutoffs a lot closer to 110v, especially for the fast rise overvoltage, and especially for the price of this unit. Personally, I can't believe it allows for a 20v ± tolerance! Still, it seems like a nice little unit.

I ended up buying one today. I bought this one here http://www.bestbuy.com/site/APC+-+1500VA+Battery+Back-Up+System+-+Black/9307831.p?id=1218081367518&skuId=9307831&st=Bx1500&cp=1&lp=1

I had all of this items plugged into there because I have three plugs in the room one by the tv, behind and next to. My bed. One of them gettin no use because of it's poor placement and the other used for phone chargers, laptop charger, iPad charger, ect

Ive gone ahead and unplugged the frame but the speakers are part of the computer/tv and the air purifier isn't located far enough away from any walls to plug into any other outlets
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilwheezy75;12616230 
I ended up buying one today. I bought this one here http://www.bestbuy.com/site/APC+-+1500VA+Battery+Back-Up+System+-+Black/9307831.p?id=1218081367518&skuId=9307831&st=Bx1500&cp=1&lp=1

I had all of this items plugged into there because I have three plugs in the room one by the tv, behind and next to. My bed. One of them gettin no use because of it's poor placement and the other used for phone chargers, laptop charger, iPad charger, ect

Ive gone ahead and unplugged the frame but the speakers are part of the computer/tv and the air purifier isn't located far enough away from any walls to plug into any other outlets

Ahh yes, terrible outlet placement is the bane of all electronics! Looks like the one you got is really nice. Enjoy!
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Big Baby
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The Desk! 
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your wealth of knowledge on this subject
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