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I will be needing to back up about 8-10 computers, and am considering getting a single high capacity ups for the job.

I am assuming somewhere around 3000VA will be needed for this, but the real question is if its safe to power the whole thing from a single UPS plug?

i would like to have a dedicated circuit installed just for the PCs, and this would ease things a lot.

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4 Answers 4

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Your new 3KVA UPS and dedicated circuit (assuming USA) will likely use a NEMA L5-30 plug on a 25Amp circuit breaker. Make sure you have the breaker box space and the budget for a little electrical work.

Your systems will be safer than on wall power or surge strips. If you purchase and properly configure all your systems to shut down on command, you will be orders of magnitude safer than wall power/surge strips. In my opinion, it is easier to properly configure a bunch of computers against one large networked UPS than a dozen combined USB and networked little UPS's.

Your systems will be less vulnerable to user related circuit breaker trips than if you use multiple small USP systems on existing premise 110V wiring. This is because almost all wall circuits are shared with lamps, other computers, and who knows what, and you only find out what all is shared when the limit is passed.

Having a dedicated circuit is insurance that no one else will be plugging a toaster or hair drier into your circuit and bringing your computers down! Even with shutdown properly configured, you still have to reset the breaker and boot up again, minimum 1/2 hour time lost, usually more.

Having said that, the quality of your UPS is paramount in handling anomolies- such as passing along lightning strikes. Buy a good brand name with a warranty.

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As long as you have the the capacity to run that amount of computers normally, having a UPS that is rated high for many computers should work fine.

UPSs can actually help as well with power capacity issues. I had random power problems here in the days when I ran 9 servers at once (before virtualisation!), and lights would flicker or had to reset fuses often when they blew which was very common e.t.c., however, the UPSs smoothed out the power flow and resulted in not one more problem after I had them installed.

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Standard wall plug won't be enough to power the UPS and computers. The outlet to which you'll connect the UPS must be able to feed the load through the UPS and at the same time recharge the UPS batteries. This can momentarily double the load to the outlet, and you should definitely make sure your fuses and cabling can handle it.

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Many high capacity (multiple server) UPSs require additional input power. Here in the US that's a high amperage receptical that requires an electrician to install a new line from the breaker. (much like the one that powers your laundry dryer) So check the plug before you buy or you may end up with something you can't plug in without an additional cost.

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