Anyone have experience with them?
Over 30 years worth.
I have an UPS on each of the 5 computers in the house, another on my home theater equipment, and I even have one on my garage door opener.
Like power supplies, not all UPS are created equal. Get a good one.
And sadly, like many products, the bigger ones have the better and more advanced features. But that's just life.
By better, I mean better regulation, cleaner output and faster response times. The better ones also usually have an informative LCD status display screen that not only tell you what's going on with the UPS, but can tell you, for example, the line in voltage and frequency, as well as the total load all the connected devices are demanding.
APC dominates the home and small office market and for good reason, they make quality stuff. I have a 1500VA APC UPS on this system. But I have also used Cyberpower and like them as well.
Your UPS needs to support at least your computer and one monitor (so you can see what you are doing). My UPS supports my computer the wireless router, a 4-port Gbit Ethernet switch, cable modem, USB hub, and TWO 24" widescreen monitors. And it will provide power in the event of a full outage for about 25 to 30 minutes, 40 to 45 if I immediately turn off one monitor. But because it also supports my network equipment, it will keep my network alive for many hours if I immediately shut down my computer and monitors so I still have network access with my notebook and other wireless devices. Very nice!
It really is all about the AVR (automatic voltage regulation). Surge and spike protectors are little more than fancy and expensive extension cords as they do nothing for low voltage events like dips (opposite of spikes), sags (opposite of surges) or brownouts (long duration sags). And for excessive
surges and spikes, they simply shut off power (if working properly), crashing your computer - never good.
Most of the better UPS also connect to your computer via a USB cable. This allows you to run UPS monitoring software on the computer - a nice extra feature that lets you configure the UPS to automatically save all your open documents, properly exit all your running programs, then "gracefully" shutdown Windows and your computer before
the UPS runs out of battery. Very nice if you have a full power outage and you are not sitting at your computer.
There is a lot of "marketing" hype about "pure" sine wave output UPS. Don't fall for it! That's all it is, marketing hype
by those companies who make pure sine wave UPS trying to take the market share away from APC.
Any 1/2 way decent AC/DC power supply can handle the "stepped sine wave" or "stepped approximation" waveform just fine. They have for the last 30+ years with no problems so there is no reason to believe the much more reliable and robust power supplies of today can't either. They are much more capable at handling power line anomalies than PSUs of yesteryear.
But one thing to remember about this pure sine wave hype too is 99.9% of the time, the UPS is is AVR mode and that always provides a pure sinewave output. It is only when the UPS kicks over to battery backup power where a stepped or simulated sinewave output is produced.
There is one downside to using a UPS. Most use SLA (sealed lead-acid) batteries and they have to be replaced about every 3 – 5 years. The UPS makers would like you to buy their expensive branded replacements, but there are sites that sell suitable replacements that are just as good, and often the exact same as the original, just a different brand label stuck to the side, but cheaper.
I buy my UPS batteries from Apex
, Battery Mart
, or Amazon depending on who has the best price on that day (factoring in shipping, which can be significant, but sometimes free). When buying replacement batteries, ensuring you get the correct voltage (typially 12V) is essential. From there, you can buy higher capacity amperage with no problem. For example, if 7Ah (ampere hour), you can replace with 9Ah and get longer battery run times - a good thing. While typically standard, just verify the dimensions of the batteries match. Also, there are two standard terminal sizes designated F1 and F2. See F1 vs F2 terminal connector size
and make sure to get the correct size when ordering.