Today I (once again) started looking at UPS devices available on the market and I ran into an interesting bundle deal from APC.
This bundle deal contains a surge protector and a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply — otherwise known as a “battery backup”). Which basically keeps a computer (or anything else that you have plugged into it) running for a short time should the power go out.
Why it Could be Confusing
What makes this bundle confusing to to the average consumer is going to think that these two devices should connect to each other. But APC themselves (the company that makes this bundle) STRONGLY discourages the use of a surge protector (such as the one that is in this bundle) with a UPS. Regardless of it’s position relative to the UPS (weather it’s before or after the UPS in the circuit).
According to APC, connecting a surge protector to a UPS doesn’t allow the UPS to deliver adequate power to all devices connected to it. In addition, it could also lead to the UPS easily getting overloaded because of the abundance of outlets provided by the surge protector (however APC doesn’t mention anything about that). APC recommends that you instead purchase a “PDU” (Power Distribution Unit) and place it behind the UPS in the circuit in order to provide clean and consistent power to all of your devices.
Now it’s certainly possible to use the UPS and surge protector in this bundle on separate systems (ones that do not interact with each other), which is obviously the intent here as it would not infringe on APC’s best use procedures. But the average consumer won’t know that and may very well connect the two devices in this bundle together, unintentionally putting their devices at risk and breaking APC’s best use procedures in the process.
It’s not clear to what improperly connecting devices together in this manner would do to your devices. I’m sure this depends on what all is connected. This may not be as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be. But I still think it’s important the customers know how to properly configure their new UPS.
What You Could Buy Instead
If you wanted to get something different. You can surprisingly get a new APC Smart UPS (which has a true “sign-wave” output) for about the same price as this bundle.
You could also avoid the APC route altogether and get something from Cyber Power Systems (CPS) or Tripp-lite or some other company.