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Can a power outage damage my pc?

Last response: in Components
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June 20, 2012 7:19:51 PM

Power outages are very common in my country, 99.9 % of them are not provoked by storms, so there are no spikes or surges when the electricity comes back. The electricity usually comes after 2, 5, or 20 minutes later, it can take even hours. Sometimes it doesn't take a second for coming back.

My problem is that every time there is a power outage , my pc restarts itself when Im playing BF3 or crisis 2, my pc is plugged to a 300w ups but it seems like my ups is not enough for my PC consumption . When there is a power outage and I'm just surfing on the internet or watching movies my PC doesn't restart.

My PC:
Core 2 quad q83002.5 ghz
MSI gtx 550 ti OC edition
4 gb ram ddr2 800
ecs g31tm7
PSU: OCZ Fatal1ty 550 w

So, Can a power outage damage my pc?

Im planning on buying this ups in two months :
APC Power Saving Back-UPS 750

http://www.apc.com/products/resource...otal_watts=200

Is this a good ups for my pc?.

6 months ago, my pc was:
Dual core e5800 (now I have a core 2 quad q8300)
HD 5670 (now I have a gtx 550 ti oc editon)
4 GB DDR2
ECS G31tm7
Generic PSU 525W (Now I have an OCZ Fatal1ty 550w)

Every time I was playing BF3 and there was an outage, my pc restarts itself, but when I got my actual setup, my pc didnt restart itself again, probably because of the higher efficiency of the ocz 550w , it uses less energy.

I dont know why but, my pc began to restart itself again 3 months ago every time there is an outage.

PD: My pc has restarted itself about 10 to 20 times in this year, does this means that it has received a lot of damaged and it could stop working at any time ?, now is running fine but that concerns me.

Thank you in advance :D 

More about : power outage damage

a b ) Power supply
June 20, 2012 8:51:11 PM

Your ups should have a setting to force a pc shutdown when the battery gets too low to keep it running. If this is what your seeing then its fine. If your pc is really just shuttig off like someone pulled the plug and plugged it back in then this is bad. You HDD's can crash and the incoming rush of electricity can damage components (be thankful you have a quality PSU and a UPS)
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a b ) Power supply
June 20, 2012 8:56:01 PM

By the way, if you're running a game, the backups 750 is only going to give you about 3-4 minutes of runtime, if you're lucky.
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Related resources
June 20, 2012 9:22:58 PM

popatim said:
Your ups should have a setting to force a pc shutdown when the battery gets too low to keep it running. If this is what your seeing then its fine. If your pc is really just shuttig off like someone pulled the plug and plugged it back in then this is bad. You HDD's can crash and the incoming rush of electricity can damage components (be thankful you have a quality PSU and a UPS)


As I said before, my pc just restart when Im playing heavy videogames like crysis 2 or battlefield 3, when Im just surfing on the internet, it doesnt restart.

"By the way, if you're running a game, the backups 750 is only going to give you about 3-4 minutes of runtime, if you're lucky".

Well, I want a good ups for turning off my pc properly, and not for keep playing until the electricity comes back, but....3-4 minutes.. that's a very short time.

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a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 20, 2012 9:55:38 PM

The OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series 550W is made by Sirtec.

The problem of the UPS shutting down when it switches over to battery backup operation is to be expected with power supplies made by Sirtec (a.k.a. High Power or Sirfa). The design of their SMPS' Active PFC circuit is the cause of the instability. Every Sirtec made power supply, that I've seen reviewed by X-bit Labs, has behaved in this manner during their UPS compatibility test with a simulated sinewave UPS.

Your only solution is purchasing a pure sinewave UPS or an SMPS that is capable of running with a simulated sinewave UPS.

A new power supply unit is cheaper than a new pure sinewave UPS.
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June 20, 2012 11:08:34 PM

ko888 said:
The OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series 550W is made by Sirtec.

The problem of the UPS shutting down when it switches over to battery backup operation is to be expected with power supplies made by Sirtec (a.k.a. High Power or Sirfa). The design of their SMPS' Active PFC circuit is the cause of the instability. Every Sirtec made power supply, that I've seen reviewed by X-bit Labs, has behaved in this manner during their UPS compatibility test with a simulated sinewave UPS.

Your only solution is purchasing a pure sinewave UPS or an SMPS that is capable of running with a simulated sinewave UPS.

A new power supply unit is cheaper than a new pure sinewave UPS.


But I used to have this problem with a generic psu that didnt have active pfc.
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a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 20, 2012 11:19:47 PM

chapapa07 said:
But I used to have this problem with a generic psu that didnt have active pfc.

What was the make and model of that generic PSU?
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June 20, 2012 11:31:48 PM

ko888 said:
What was the make and model of that generic PSU?


The make was Omega , the same ghost company that made my ups, and the model was.... Omega 525 watts, that's it.

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a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 21, 2012 12:45:16 AM

chapapa07 said:
The make was Omega , the same ghost company that made my ups, and the model was.... Omega 525 watts, that's it.

Omega UPS' produce a square wave when operating on battery power.

Some power supplies, no matter if they have Active PFC or not, can't properly operate with a square wave wave form.

Sometimes the UPS will handle the power interruption properly when the power supply is drawing a low amount of power but will fail to switch over to battery operation or report an overload condition when the power draw reaches a certain level when the power grid is interrupted.

I don't think your idea of getting the APC Power Saving Back-UPS 750 is going to solve your problem since that UPS produces a Stepped approximation to a sine wave when operating on battery power.

You should be looking for a pure sinewave UPS if you're intent on using the OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series 550W PSU. It will guarantee that the switchover to battery operation will happen properly at all power draw levels for that PSU.
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June 21, 2012 1:15:56 AM

ko888 said:
Omega UPS' produce a square wave when operating on battery power.

Some power supplies, no matter if they have Active PFC or not, can't properly operate with a square wave wave form.

Sometimes the UPS will handle the power interruption properly when the power supply is drawing a low amount of power but will fail to switch over to battery operation or report an overload condition when the power draw reaches a certain level when the power grid is interrupted.

I don't think your idea of getting the APC Power Saving Back-UPS 750 is going to solve your problem since that UPS produces a Stepped approximation to a sine wave when operating on battery power.

You should be looking for a pure sinewave UPS if you're intent on using the OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series 550W PSU. It will guarantee that the switchover to battery operation will happen properly at all power draw levels for that PSU.


Are you sure my psu really needs a sinewave ups??
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June 21, 2012 1:55:26 AM

well really if your playing games then your components are going to be running at higher speeds so more electricity is needed, so the 300watt ups you have now will not be able to give enough power to your pc while its playing games, whereas the 700watt one should, and like when your surfing the web its a lot more simple for the computer than playing video games.
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a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 21, 2012 2:19:41 AM

watters1996 said:
well really if your playing games then your components are going to be running at higher speeds so more electricity is needed, so the 300watt ups you have now will not be able to give enough power to your pc while its playing games, whereas the 700watt one should, and like when your surfing the web its a lot more simple for the computer than playing video games.

There's no way that the OP's system is drawing more than 300 Watts. Maybe if the monitor's power draw is included it may.

The MSI GeForce GTX 550 Ti OC edition doesn't draw any more than 96 Watts and that's while it's running GPU stability testing. It only draws 91 Watts during gaming.

If the OP has their monitor connected to the UPS then that will reduce the amount of backup power available to the rest of the system.
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June 21, 2012 2:30:26 AM

ko888 said:
There's no way that the OP's system is drawing more than 300 Watts. Maybe if the monitor's power draw is included it may.

The MSI GeForce GTX 550 Ti OC edition doesn't draw any more than 96 Watts and that's while it's running GPU stability testing. It only draws 91 Watts during gaming.

If the OP has their monitor connected to the UPS then that will reduce the amount of backup power available to the rest of the system.



In fact, my 17 inches monitor Acer model 1716 is connected to my ups, but it doesnt make any difference because my pc restarts itself whether or not my monitor is plugged to my ups.
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a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 21, 2012 3:04:17 AM

chapapa07 said:
Are you sure my psu really needs a sinewave ups??

Your problem description indicates a failure of your UPS switching over to battery operation when you have exceeded a certain power draw level with your UPS. That is exactly the type of problem reported by X-bit Labs when they've tested any Sirtec made power supplies with their APC SmartUPS SC 620.

If you're using a simulated sinewave UPS with a high enough VA & wattage rating it may very well work but is not guaranteed to work.

The APC Power Saving Back-UPS 750 has a capacity of: 450 Watts / 750 VA

Your monitor has a power consumption of 44 Watts.

If your UPS vendor is willing to accept a return without charging a restocking fee on the UPS if it doesn't work with your system then go ahead and try it.

Power supply manufacturers do not guarantee UPS compatibility and will always recommend that the user test the specific power supply with the UPS that is being considered.
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June 23, 2012 1:00:13 AM

I just buy the apc Power Saving Back-UPS 750 and it works great, when a power outage occurs while Im playing battlefield 3, the UPS does not show any strange behavior like in those reviews in xtab labs.

The only problem I have now is the noise of the ups whether or not Im using my pc, even when the ups is off, with nothing connected to it and the ups connected to the wall outlet, the ups sounds always have similar noises like the ups in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw14sS2EntM

At the first hours of using my ups , it almost sounds like the ups of this video (40% less noisy) , but later the noise became more constant (without pauses which is a little better).
Edit: the noise with pauses came back.

Is the ups damage? because my last cheap ups was noisy ONLY when my pc was using its battery or , this noise is normal.

BTW, thanks ko888 !, for all your help.
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a b ) Power supply
June 23, 2012 1:31:55 AM

chapapa07 said:
Power outages are very common in my country, 99.9 % of them are not provoked by storms, so there are no spikes or surges when the electricity comes back.

Unless you have an oscilloscope recording what happens when AC gets restored, I would not be so sure.

Power lines are inductive and when power is restored, very large and irregular currents will be drawn from the grid during the first many cycles where every fridge, freezer, HVAC, SMPS, water pumps, etc. starts/charges up after power is restored and this may cause unstable grid voltage including spikes/surges.
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Best solution

a c 1200 ) Power supply
June 23, 2012 1:37:47 AM

chapapa07 said:
I just buy the apc Power Saving Back-UPS 750 and it works great, when a power outage occurs while Im playing battlefield 3, the UPS does not show any strange behavior like in those reviews in xtab labs.

The only problem I have now is the noise of the ups whether or not Im using my pc, even when the ups is off, with nothing connected to it and the ups connected to the wall outlet, the ups sounds always have similar noises like the ups in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw14sS2EntM

At the first hours of using my ups , it almost sounds like the ups of this video (40% less noisy) , but later the noise became more constant (without pauses which is a little better).
Edit: the noise with pauses came back.

Is the ups damage? because my last cheap ups was noisy ONLY when my pc was using its battery or , this noise is normal.

BTW, thanks ko888 !, for all your help.

Did you allow a full 24 hours to charge the UPS' batteries before you used it?

All I could hear, on that video you linked to, is a a very faint high pitched squeal that I would attribute to the UPS's voltage regulator/battery charging circuit. I would consider that normal.
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June 23, 2012 1:55:10 AM

ko888 said:
Did you allow a full 24 hours to charge the UPS' batteries before you used it?



No I didnt, I bought and started to use this ups 7 hours ago, I didnt know I had to allow full 24 hours to charge the UPS..
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June 23, 2012 3:38:56 PM

Best answer selected by Chapapa07.
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