Belkin 800VA Universal UPS

Belkin UPS reviewed in The Technofile by MC Rebbe The Rapping RabbiDirty can be good and dirty can be bad. When it comes to women, it’s generally very good but when it comes to electricity it’s always very bad. You see electricity supplies are supposed to deliver a constant voltage (110V in The US and 220/230/240 Volts in Europe) but they rarely do. Instead they tend to fluctuate because of spikes, surges, brownouts and even disruption by lighting strikes, all of which can play havoc with your equipment. So if your electricity…like your woman, is bad, you’re best off with protection.

This is exactly what an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) offers you; protection…from bad electricity, not bad women. Of course everyone knows that surges & spikes and lightening strikes (I’m a poet) are bad because too much voltage can blow your delicate circuitry (I’m not even going there). That’s why there are fuses in plugs. In the event of a sudden surge in voltage, the fuse will blow, breaking the circuit and protecting your equipment. Well that’s the theory anyway. However, in practice, fuses are often far too slow to react and by the time they’ve actually blown, the damage is often already done. So it’s lucky that these events are not that common (unlike most bad girls).

What aren’t so rare are brownouts – situations where the voltage drops to below what it should be. In fact, this can happen quite often and contrary to what you might expect, when it does, it can be far more damaging than surges and spikes, as, not only can under voltage cause damage to your hardware, but also, it can result in data being lost and computers freezing and crashing (if you find your computer freezing and crashing a lot inexplicably, it might be worth checking your electricity supply….or buying a Mac).

Belkin’s UPS sits between your power supply and your computer. It uses ‘Automatic Voltage Regulation’ (AVR) technology to monitor incoming voltage, ensuring a ‘clean’ power source by increasing or decreasing the power supply to your computer (and whatever else you have connected to the UPS). In the event of a power cut, it switches to battery back up, keeping your computer running for long enough to allow you to save whatever you are working on and then shut it down. Or, you can install the auto shutdown software (PC only) that it comes bundled with, which will save and shutdown everything for you.

And that’s about it really, no mess, no fuss, does what it says on the tin (or in the case the rather sleek grey box, which for a UPS is unusually sexy). You get four 3 pin outlets on the back (two providing full protection, two providing surge protection only); a set of telephone/fax/modem sockets (providing surge protection only) and a USB & RS232 port for connection to your computer (for auto shutdown). Plug everything in and you’re away. Once mine was connected, I practically forgot it was there….until I had three separate power cuts and became very grateful that it was. I also noticed an almost complete lack of system crashes and data loss on a PC with which I had previously had some fairly major and inexplicable problems. Add to this the fact that dirty electricity and audio do not mix well and a UPS becomes mandatory. 5 bagels! Buy one!!

The Technofile awards Belkin 5 bagels for its UPS

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