Imagine you’re working in your office, and you are about to make the trade of your life. Suddenly, the power goes off and your computer shuts down. It’s a nightmare situation.
Fortunately, this situation can be avoided by installing an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). However, many traders neglect to set up this basic safeguard.
What is a UPS?
A UPS is a device that supplies backup battery to your computer. It provides consistent power when the power goes out or voltage levels drop.
While it’s not designed to let you continue your work day, it does give you enough time to save your work or complete a trade in progress. After that, you should shut down your trading computer until the power comes back on.
The length of time you’ll have to shut down your computer smoothly depends on the size of the UPS.
Types of UPS
UPS functionalities can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, the general types are as follows:
Standby UPS’s are the most commonly used type. The to-be-protected devices are plugged into the UPS outlets, and the UPS is connected to the wall outlet.
During normal conditions, the UPS works like a surge protector. When there is a power outage, the power from the DC battery is converted to AC current to serve the connected devices.
Continuous UPS’s are built for more sophisticated operations. The unit is always online. The devices connected to the unit draw power from the battery, while the battery gets charged from the power outlet.
Continuous UPS’s are used for computers more sensitive to power fluctuations or running critical software. For example, if you are running a trading computer that is crunching crucial data continuously, you might want to use a Continuous UPS. This type of UPS is more expensive.
Things to Consider When Choosing a UPS
Here are some of the considerations for finding the right UPS.
Number of Outlets
Consider how many devices you are going to connect to the UPS. Make sure you have enough outlets to accommodate your needs. Remember, the number of devices can increase as you buy new computers or add monitors.
Also, look at the specifications to determine how many ports have both surge protection and backup battery connections. Usually, some of the outlet ports will offer surge protection only.
Decide how many of your devices will need battery backup. In addition to your computer, you may decide you only need power for one or two of your monitors in order to shut down smoothly. You’ll also want to have backup for your modem and router.
Generally, the unit will clearly show on the top which outlets have both battery backup and surge protection.
To find the optimal UPS size for your needs, figure out the power requirements for all the devices to be on backup. The UPS should be able to handle the total sum. Ideally, you want the UPS to have more capability than your devices require.
UPS power capacity is generally given in units of VA (Volt-Amp). VA is not wattage, but you can use it as a rough estimate. As a rule of thumb, get a UPS that offers 20% more power than the total VA rating needed for your devices.
The purpose of a UPS is to allow you to complete your current task and shut down your devices smoothly without losing work. You shouldn’t expect to continue working using the UPS as your power source.
Depending on the size and your needs, a UPS can provide power for 15 minutes to an hour. Of course, the larger the UPS battery, the more expensive it will be. Consider the trade-offs between backup time and cost (and how often your power goes out) when making your purchasing decision.
UPS manufacturer APC offers a UPS Selector tool to help you figure out which units will work for you, given your equipment’s power needs and the length of time you want to run on battery.
For any trader, a UPS is a must-have. Without one, at the very least, you are risking damage to your expensive trading computer equipment. But if you are unable to complete a trade, the potential loss could be much greater.
Reliable UPS’s are available from brands like CyberPower, APC, and Tripp Lite. If you don’t have one, get yourself a UPS today and keep your trading business safe.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyer’s guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
Remember, we are here to help with all your technology-related questions. If you think of additional questions about computer hardware or other questions, give me a call. My team and I are here to help. We’re happy to answer any of your questions about trading computers via phone: 800-387-5250
Image credit apc.com.