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Uninterruptible Power Supplies and Generators

December 28, 2009

After our power was out for about 8 hours two days before Christmas I learned that not all uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) work well with gas powered electrical generators. We have a natural gas powered generator that powers 16 circuits in our house, so the failure of power on a cold winter day wasn’t as bad as it might otherwise have been. I had a Belkin uninterruptible power supply to which our servers were connected, but the servers connected to it suffered numerous power related restarts thorughout the outage.

In researching the issue later that night I discovered that many people had experienced similar issues with consumer grade UPS and generator power. Evidently such power is highly variable and needs a higher quality UPS to smooth out such fluctuations and prevent the problems we had. I noted that the SBS Diva recently posted on this same issue.

That had spurred me to upgrade our UPS to a refurbished APC Smart-UPS 1500VA from for about $250. This is pretty expensive, but if this is what it takes to stay online during a power outage, this seems like a small price in comparison to the $11,000 cost of our back generator itself. This will power our Windows 7 Media Center PC as well as our Dell SBS 2008 server.


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