Battery Backups - An Inexpensive Way To Protect Files and Cutting Machines

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In the world of computers and electronics, there are two types of people. Those that have lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars due to some sort of electrical event, and those that will. A small investment in a good battery backup will save you lots of time and money and will protect your computer and cutting machine.

I Have A Surge Suppressor, I'm Fine!

Nope, you're not. Your surge suppressor (power strip) will usually handle a power surge, but they offer no protection from sudden drops in power. If your hard drive is in the process of writing data (this can be something like downloading and saving a file) and power drops, you'll end up with corrupted (damaged or incomplete) data. This sort of damage can impact something as simple as SVG files that you're downloading, your own files that you're creating, your cherished family photos or something as substantial as your operating system which can result in the computer not being able to start up. While this sort of issue does not indicate that your hard drive is fried, you're still looking at a lot of time and money to get it corrected. If you've ever taken your computer in for repair, you know how much it can potentially cost you. This also holds true for your cutting machine. One good jolt of lighting can damage the electronics and make it unusable.

Average Cost Of Hardware Repair

According to Geek Squad (I picked this since it's the most popular and most accessible to people in the USA), you're looking at $129.99 just to schedule the appointment. This doesn't include the cost of any hardware that you'll need to replace.

Average Cost Of Data Recovery

If you're hard drive crashes and you need your data recovered, here is what you can expect to pay (prices from Geek Squad)

$49.99 just to schedule the appointment and anywhere from $249.99 to $1600.00 depending on your specific situation. Yikes!

I Plug My Computer and Cutting Machine Directly Into The Wall!

Oh boy. Big no-no! If you don't want to spend the $50 on a Battery Back Up, at least get yourself a power strip. While the power strip won't protect you from sudden drops or fluctuations in voltage, it will protect your precious equipment from surges (lighting strikes etc).

How A Battery Back Up Works

battery-backupA UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or Battery Backup, is simply a special power strip that has a battery inside of it. As soon as the UPS unit detects any fluctuation in voltage, it will cut itself off from your home's power supply and uses the battery to run any electronics you have connected to it. This includes voltage spikes, loss of voltage and if there is any weird voltage noise.

In the case of a power outage, a UPS will give you anywhere from 15-45 minutes of backup power. The length of time depends on the model you purchase and how much you have plugged into it. No, this thing won't run forever and that's not really it's job, nor should you continue to use your computer and cutting machine on backup power. The main objective of the UPS is to give you enough time to properly shut down and turn off your computer and cutting machine until power is restored. The UPS will actually beep every few seconds to let you know that the power is out and that you should turn off your equipment.

Which Battery Back Up Should I Get?

I've been using battery back ups from APC for over 10 years and have never had one fail me. I do have to replace the batteries every 3-4 years, but they're very affordable! Here are some models I recommend. Note: The UPS models below contain anywhere from 8 - 10 outlets for your electronics, but only a few of them run on battery backup power so make sure you plug your computer and cutting machine into the battery backup portion. You don't need to plug your lamps into a battery backup, they are more resilient to surges and dips in voltage.

Wrapping Things Up

Leo Kowal

I've been involved in some form of IT work for half my life and I've experience data loss firsthand as I'm sure some of you have too. While a UPS won't guarantee that your hard drive and computer will last forever (all hard drives crash at some point which is why you should backup your data....this will be another article), it will help prolong the life of anything you have connected to it and protect it from electrical issues. Every computer should have one. We have one connected to every computer in our house and in our studios. $50 bucks isn't very much considering how much money you can potentially save. And don't get me started with how much stress it'll save you. LOL


15 Responses to “Battery Backups - An Inexpensive Way To Protect Files and Cutting Machines”

  1. Susan White August 15, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Thanks so much Leo!! I had never heard of these battery backups before and I will be purchasing one very soon!!

  2. Shelley August 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks Leo. Never heard of these. A little confused tho….do you keep your computer and cutting plugged into this all the time and just shut off your stuff when it beeps? Does the battery have to be replaced at that time?. Looking forward to the data backup info, too. Appreciate the fact that you guys know what customer service is, but actually you go WAY ABOVE AND BEYOND!!!!!!

    • SVGCuts August 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

      You keep all your electronics plugged in at all times and turn the electronics on and off as you normally do. If you lose power while your electronics are on, the battery back up will keep them on until you turn them off safely. And no, the battery does not need to be replaced if you lose power. It recharges! The battery needs to be replaced after a few years of use, just like any rechargeable battery.

  3. Judy Murdoch August 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    I’ve been on computers since the 1980’s and I still have something to learn every day. Thanks so much Leo!!!!

  4. Diane August 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi I saw those at Costco but never really look into it wil do next time I am there
    One thing I do now is my computer and cutting machine is on power
    Bar and I turn it off when not using, so if power failure at least it
    Is off tune grid. Am I wright in that way of thinking

    • SVGCuts August 16, 2014 at 6:36 am #

      The only way to be sure they’re off the grid is to completely unplug it. I can’t say for sure if that switch takes it off the grid completely.

  5. Maria Calderone August 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    We are in the market to buy “hard wired” backup generators for our home this coming winter, we live in the mountains in PA and our power is always going out. Just curious, this might be a silly question but, would you still recommend buying a battery backup?

    • SVGCuts August 16, 2014 at 6:35 am #

      I don’t know much about hardwired backup generators. I guess the questions is, how soon does it switch over to backup power? Does the power fluctuate? If it doesn’t, you probably don’t need a battery backup.

  6. Linda from Arizona August 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I live off the grid and once in a while, our solar power goes out due to not enough sun to charge the batteries. The battery in my computer takes over but I keep my Cameo turned off when I’m not using it. Luckily, this happens at night or first thing in the morning before I start computing. This is a great feature Leo! There’s so much we don’t know about all the background stuff having to do with our computers.

  7. Gina Piazza August 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Thanks Leo! And I’m really happy that you will keep doing these articles. They are really helpful and informative.

  8. Karen W August 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Thanks Leo, never heard of these! I lost all my files and now use Carbonite which thankly backs up and I never have to think about it. It has saved my life a few times. But I never thought of the power surge or drop in power during computer use. Thanks again for the great info!!!!

  9. PJ August 16, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Just a small side remark – your surge protectors lose their quality each time you have a ‘surge’. They do NOT last forever. IF the surge protector is turned off it will NOT protect your equipment. Every surge protector advises the amount of protection it will give you – a cheap one provides very little.

  10. Alice l August 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    All our lines, tele, electrical, etc,are underground,do i have any problems?

    • SVGCuts August 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      Above or underground. Everything I wrote still applies.

  11. Annette September 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    My husband ordered 4 of these about 2 years ago and it was one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We have outages all the time out in the country and it’s saved thousands on our electronics.