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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Plug a power strip into a UPS?

    It seems that any equipment you buy today has a big fat plug that covers up plugs on either side of the one it is plugged into. On my APC UPS, what that means is that I don't have access to all the plugs on the unit.

    Is it "OK" to plug a power strip into the UPS so that then I have access to more space so that the plugs will all fit?

    I get that I shouldn't end up have 20 items plugged in through the UPS when the physical plugs available are, say, only four. But what if I plug four devices into a strip and then plug the strip into a unit that has four plugs?

    The last time we had an outage, yes my computer kept running, but the mouse and keyboard were both dead since they weren't plugged into the UPS. It is specifically the keyboard/mouse that I am concerned with, so that at least I can shut down the system properly.

    When I looked on the net, I saw no clear determination for this at all.

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    Chuck Billow
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    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    5 Star Lounger
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    Cool

    It all depends on the load you will putting on the one UPS plug. If overloaded it may just turn off as thinks there is a problem with your power.
    Plus I find that most keyboards and mice are powered by the computer's USB ports so if the computer was still working they should have also been working. Unless you have a strange arrangement.

    You could see if you can get extension leads for the UPS plugs with smaller plugs at the UPS end so they fit side by side so you can plug things in a little further away from the UPS.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2013-03-23 at 16:12.
    Clive

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    The last time we had an outage, yes my computer kept running, but the mouse and keyboard were both dead since they weren't plugged into the UPS. It is specifically the keyboard/mouse that I am concerned with, so that at least I can shut down the system properly.
    That doesn't make any sense whatsoever[??] Doesn't your keyboard and mouse plug directly into your computer?
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  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    Conventional wisdom is one should not plug a surge strip into a UPS. Surge filtering meant to filter spikes and surges from a standard AC power line could interfere with UPS operation. You'll find more here (scroll down to the section on "Surge protection and filtering").

    If the power strip is not a surge-protection type then it should be safe to use, provided you're careful not to overload the UPS by plugging in too many devices.

    If you only have one or two socket-hogging plugs, try something like a "Power Strip Liberator" or "Power Strip Liberator Plus".

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  6. #5
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Clint, yes, the USB "dongle" can plug into my machine. But it seems that the signal then to my mouse and keyboard aren't always even or strong enough, making the mouse jerky. So I set it over on the right side of my desk [being right-handed], plugging it into a USB powered hub. Now, the mouse works great -- except when the power goes down./ So "all" I want to plug into the strip [or even a grounded extension cord] would be the mouse hub.

    Chuck
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    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    THAT could maybe work. Thanks!

    Chuck
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    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

  8. #7
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Clive, as the mouse and keyboard both were/are plugged into a hub, they lost power when the power went off. What I think I'll try first is a utility extension cord and plug the hub into that and then to the UPS. That way there won't be any surge protection to contend with and I can still hook the USB hub to the UPS.

    Chuck
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    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

  9. #8
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    In our 'server room' we have a large UPS, and by necessity we need four 13A sockets to take the transformer power supply units for two cable modems and two routers. These transformer units have 13A plugs on them and are large, so we use two 4-gang 13A power extensions, each directly connected to the UPS, plugged as
    [blank] [transformer] [blank] [transformer]
    In total they will draw less than an amp from the UPS.

    Summarising, I would reckon the only critical factor is how much power you are drawing from the UPS socket, and the maximum value will be in the manual!

    Over here we have 8- or 10-socket extension socket units available (although these are rare) and I would try to find one or two of these rather than daisy-chaining extension socket units.
    BATcher

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  10. #9
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    Conventional wisdom is one should not plug a surge strip into a UPS. Surge filtering meant to filter spikes and surges from a standard AC power line could interfere with UPS operation.
    This is more likely an old wives tale. There is nothing in a surge protector that will interfere with a correctly designed UPS - a damaged surge protector should not be used anywhere.

    Personally I never bother with "surge protected" power boards because the protection is useless when you really have a surge, like a lightning strike. Backup to removable media is the best surge protection.

    cheers, Paul

  11. #10
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    Surge protection is by a solid state device.

    At certain peak voltage level it latches on, bleeding excess energy away (actually shorts the AC line, temporarily). It is some what like a Zener Diode.
    It has energy rating. Overloading it and it'll burn open (never shorted). Get spike hits, then energy accumulates until it reaches the limit. Most surge protectors list their energy absorption ratings. The other limit is speed, in nanoseconds (ns). Good one is 1ns-2ns or faster. If energy rating is low then speed is moot. A burn-up device is useless.

    The electrical surge pulse is like a right angled triangle wave; super fast rising edge, then slowly falls, comparatively. It actually decays very very fast as well. The total energy is the area of the triangle wave. Because the surge is a very narrow pulse and fast, surge device is able to absorb the excess energy portion. It limits the pulse peak voltage. Peak voltage is the one does the real damage. The device has to be very fast, else it is not effective.

    The voltage limit that triggers the device is from 400V-600V. We are talking peak voltage, not rms. In this sense, surge protector does not affect UPS.

    It is not worth the extra cost to using a surge protector on UPS, before UPS or after UPS. It does no harm either.

  12. #11
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    You could get one of these:

    http://www.pccables.com/cgi-bin/orde...ch=POWER_STRIP

    They simply provide a normal size plug for any adapter, removing the actual adapter a few inches from the UPS.

    They cost $2 each.

  13. #12
    Star Lounger lesle's Avatar
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    Whether it's a power strip (tap) or otherwise, your electrical cord should be at least 14 AWG. 12 would be better. The size is commonly marked on round cords, although you may have to hunt for it. You can find power taps that have 14 AWG cords, although you'll have to hunt for them too. Pay the money, it's worth it.

    AWG is American Wire Gauge; the smaller the number, the bigger the wire. Common household extension cords (zip cord) are 18 or 16 AWG. This applies in the USA, I don't know elsewhere.

    PCCables' "Heavy Duty 16 Awg Wire" is puffery. That's a legal term.

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  15. #13
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Leslie,

    Good post. If I might add just one thing that smaller numbers mean thicker cord, e.g. wire! Thus in this case smaller is better. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  16. #14
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesle View Post
    Whether it's a power strip (tap) or otherwise, your electrical cord should be at least 14 AWG. 12 would be better. The size is commonly marked on round cords, although you may have to hunt for it. You can find power taps that have 14 AWG cords, although you'll have to hunt for them too. Pay the money, it's worth it.

    AWG is American Wire Gauge; the smaller the number, the bigger the wire. Common household extension cords (zip cord) are 18 or 16 AWG. This applies in the USA, I don't know elsewhere.

    PCCables' "Heavy Duty 16 Awg Wire" is puffery. That's a legal term.
    All the ones listed on the PC Cables page are 16 AWG. I've always just looked at the cord, and if it looks thick enough, I use it. Thanks for the very helpful info.

    I suppose you could use a 16 AWG extension cord on a temporary basis (say 1 or 2 hours at a time), but not longer than that. I'm hoping so, because I have an unmarked extension cord in my laptop case which I occasionally use, but never for more than an hour or two at a time.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-05-15 at 16:15.

  17. #15
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    Here is how I rearrange the inconvenient and space wasteful orientation of power adapters on my UPS.

    1) I use several Cube Taps to change the UPS plug orientation 90 degrees
    http://www.homedepot.ca/product/cube...e-white/905898

    2) Next, I put the following triple tap outlet on each cube (for accommodating power adapters)
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-15-Amp...-203716851-_-N

    3) Optionally, I add another triple tap outlet on top of the first triple tap such as the following (for single plugs)
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercia...LT-6/204836969
    Last edited by vopthis; 2015-12-07 at 21:43. Reason: updated URL item #3

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