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Is There Any Type of Battery Backup to Use?

Participant ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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Have any of y'all had any luck with a battery-generated backup system? We're in a very rural area and have a lot of power blips and outages. In all fairness, our local electric co-op is lightning-fast on fixing issues, but that doesn't help me recover files that seem to just disappear.

Here is one little tip - name the file ANYTHING when you create a PS document, and it will save you from the dreaded "it has to have a name before auto-save works."

 

Thanks in advance for any help. Yep, our electricity was off for a few hours, and I lost a couple of files. The electric company told me it was not the normal gopher chewed line, but a beaver this time. 

 

Kathy

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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I use a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) with battery backup, it keeps the computer running for about an hour:

UPS.png

 

It was surprisingly easy to find, and not all that expensive (IIRC somewhere under $300). Your favorite webshop for electronic gadgets will probably have one.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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I don't know if you remember a thread here from a few years back from someone wanting to know if he could get his project back after his laptop battery ran out?  He told us that he hadn't saved his work (and it sounded like a significant and important project) because he thought that when the laptop said the battery was down to 1%, there would a safety margin sort of like a vehicle gas/petrol gauge that always had a good 20 miles when the gauge said empty.  I mean all he needed to do was hit Ctrl s now and again!   I have found that PS Auto-recover works a lot better in recent years.  That only comes into effect when Photoshop crashes of course, (I was getting a LOT of crashes with my old system, but only with Photoshop).  When I restarted it would automatically open 'project-name-recovered' and multiple recovered files if they'd been open when the system crashed.

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Community Expert ,
May 28, 2023 May 28, 2023

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quote

he thought that when the laptop said the battery was down to 1%, there would a safety margin sort of like a vehicle gas/petrol gauge that always had a good 20 miles when the gauge said empty.


By @Trevor.Dennis

 

I do remember that. I expect there will be others.

 

< What can I say, some of us like to live on the edge, makes you feel alive 😉 >

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Participant ,
May 28, 2023 May 28, 2023

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Thank you so much! The last time I looked, there weren't as many options as now! Thanks for taking the time to take a pic and share! -Kathy

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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All of my computers, at work and home, have a UPS.  They have saved me many times, as we have frequent power outages, especially in winter.

I even have them for my landline phones and my modems and routers.

 

Make sure you check the power requirements of your devices and get a properly sized one.

And never use a printer on a UPS.  It uses too much power.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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quote

 They have saved me many times, as we have frequent power outages, especially in winter.


By @Peru Bob

 

Where do you live Bob?

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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...and pleeeaaase don't say Peru! 🙂

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Participant ,
May 28, 2023 May 28, 2023

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Thank you so much for your advice. I am making my purchase today and am so appreciative of everyone's kindness. -Kathy

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Community Expert ,
May 29, 2023 May 29, 2023

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LATEST

Here it comes...

 

I do live in Peru:

Peru, NY, USA, in the Champlain Valley of the Adirondack Mountains.

 

We have above ground power poles. Built up ice, wind, and traffic accidents cause outages.  They are, however, upgrading the substation switching hardware so that they are able to connect to another substation remotely to supply power to the affected area.  But that doesn't prevent the initial outage or power surge.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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Yes, a battery backup/UPS is valuable when power is unreliable, and is standard equipment in businesses where losing a few hours of work could mean a missed deadline.

 

I have one more reason to use a UPS, and that is to preserve the life of the equipment. Even if there is not a full power outage, invisible power problems such as over/under voltage (different from a power surge) can shorten the life of electronics. Surge protectors don’t address those problems, but a UPS can, if it also has voltage regulation and line conditioning (e,g, noise filtering) features. So a good UPS not only keeps equipment running during an outage, but also feeds it “clean power” (within safe specs including a consistent voltage level). The UPS I use has those features; mine looks a lot like the one in the picture D Fosse posted, it might even be the same model.

 

Before you buy a UPS, you do want to add up the wattage of everything you plan to plug into it so that you know how much capacity you need. Because that will determine how long the battery lasts during an outage. For example, if your computer, display, network router, etc. add up to 400 watts, and you later add more equipment so it adds up to 800 watts total, the same UPS’s battery will then last half as many minutes during an outage as it did when it only had to provide 400 watts.

 

Depending on how much equipment you have, it might not be affordable to get a UPS that can keep everything running for many hours. Mine says at current usage the battery will last 73 minutes. I only bring that up because instead of having an expectation that a UPS can keep the computer system running during an extended power outage, for many people it is much more realistic to think of a UPS as a way to allow enough time to save each open document and shut down safely, and then you wait out the power outage.

 

You will often hear that you should “never plug a printer into a UPS.” This is not always true. I think that advice was given for laser printers, because those have a heating element that pulls too many watts for most affordable UPSs. But if you have an inkjet printer, I think it’s OK to plug that into a UPS because for example my 17" wide photo inkjet printer draws only 20 to 30 watts when it is printing. The real rule there is, never plug anything into a battery backup outlet that would exceed what the UPS can deliver, including its peak wattage. For example, it’s a very bad idea to plug a microwave oven, full-size refrigerator, or anything with a heating element into a UPS designed to keep electronics running.

 

One last thing to think about: For many UPSs, not all outlets are backed up by the battery. For example, mine has 10 power outlets, but only 5 outlets are backed up by the battery. The rest are surge-protected but are not kept powered during an outage. So I had to pick and choose which 5 devices get battery backup during an outage.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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Yes, absolutely. The UPS is not there to "tide you over"; it's there to give you time to tuck everything safely away and shut it down gracefully. 15-20 minutes would be fine for me, I don't really need the hour + it gives.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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I would think portable battery generators could keep you going for hours unlike a UPS.

An example would be this model:

https://www.amazon.com/EF-ECOFLOW-RIVER-Max-Generator-dp-B0B97H2XHS/dp/B0B97H2XHS/ref=dp_ob_title_hi...

 

So what differences am I overlooking?

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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So, what differences am I overlooking?

The Uninterruptable part of UPS. The UPS sits permanently across your supply and keeps power output during interruptions and it doesn't take much of a blip to shut down a desktop. A laptop of course has a built in UPS - it's battery:-)

Dave

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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Yes, a very high capacity portable battery might last longer than a UPS, although the same restrictions apply: It has to have high enough battery capacity to run the wattage of the equipment connected to it for the number of hours you want to run them.

 

A good UPS can cost around US$75–150. If you spend the same amount of money on a general purpose portable battery, it isn’t going to give you significantly higher capacity. To run several desktop devices all day requires spending at least $500 (as for the linked product), or more likely $1000+, to have enough battery capacity for all-day runtime.

 

It’s important to note other differences between an UPS designed for electronics, and a home battery backup.

 

Many portable batteries do not support being used as a UPS, as constant standby power with instant failover (that’s the “uninterruptible” part of an Uninterruptible Power Supply). In other words, a battery might not allow both being plugged into the wall and powering connected devices, only one or the other. If there is a power outage with one of those, you still experience a sudden, unexpected power outage that could result in data loss, and then you must unplug everything from the dead wall outlet and re-plug them into your portable battery. This type of portable battery does not protect you from an unexpected shutdown or possible data loss from a power outage; all you get is the opportunity to boot up from the battery so you can try to recover any work that got corrupted or lost.

 

Fortunately, this is changing. A few of the newer portable batteries can be used as a UPS. You can plug the battery into the wall, plug your equipment into the battery, and it will keep itself charged while being ready to instantly cut over to the battery as soon as a power outage is detected, protecting your work. But because this ability to work as a UPS is relatively new and not yet common, you must make sure that the portable battery you buy has that UPS feature.

 

For computer work, you also want a portable battery to have those valuable UPS features such as electronics-friendly waveform, voltage regulation, and power conditioning.

 

Of course, one definite advantage of a portable battery is that it offers a lot more than just the AC outlets that most UPSs have. A good portable battery today will also have USB and 12V DC power outlets, and some have a wireless charging pad.

 

So if you think you might use a portable battery instead of a UPS for power outage protection, keep all of that in mind.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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A UPS is mainly for having enough time to shutdown properly, not run your computer for a period of time. There are (at least) two types of supplies: the cheaper ones feed the computer from the power supply and just kick in when the power cuts out; the better ones that feed your devices from a battery (the power keeps the battery charged and doesn't run the equipment directly). The latter is better because the devices get constant power, not fluctuations that tend to occur when the power blips.

 

Then you have the battery "generators" that can run multiple items at once for a period of time. For example, I have a GoalZero 3000Wh home system. 

 

Generally, I have the UPS to kick in during outages. If it appears as if it going to last, I can switch to the battery generator. 

 

(I also have a gas/propane generator for other household devices in case of long-term outages.)

 

David Creamer: Community Expert (ACI and ACE 1995-2023)

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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It's not a matter of saving work, but keeping the Fiber Optic router going and powering small electronics, perhaps my

13W led desk lamp.

Well I did look at the Ecoflow a bit closer and they  answered my question:

 

Can RIVER 2 Max be used as an uninterruptible power supply(UPS)?

 

When your RIVER 2 Max is plugged into the wall, anything plugged into it gets power from the grid, not its battery. If power from the grid stops, RIVER 2 Max automatically switches to its battery supply mode within 30 milliseconds.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2023 May 27, 2023

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All of my computers and electronics have a dedicated battery backup and surge protection.  The battery gives me a approx half-an-hour of use during power outages to safely save files and properly shut everything down.  I think we paid about $80 for the last one.

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Participant ,
May 28, 2023 May 28, 2023

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Y'all are the BEST! I explored this a few years ago and never did anything about it. Now I am armed with great information, thanks to all y'alls generosity with info and your experiences. I have a couple of different ones in random carts and will decide which it will be today!  Thank you, thank you! 

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