Home Theater
Tips on Using a UPS Battery Backup in a Home Theater
How and when to use uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) with projectors, HTPCs, audio and other A/V gear
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Look for products, like the UPS family from Panamax/Furman, that are specifically designed to protect sensitive A/V equipment in a home theater environment.
February 23, 2010 by Garth Powell

Several years ago, UPS battery backup devices were strictly for computers. UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems were designed to be placed under office desks and into server closets to keep computer systems online long enough to ride out a short blackout or shut down gracefully in an extended power outage.

Over the past several years, however, many of our home theater components have made the transition to the digital domain. In today’s world, the threat of data loss or system failure in the event of a blackout is now as prevalent in our living rooms as it has been in office computer systems for years.

That said, a UPS system alone is not enough to protect your entire home theater system.

This is because different home theater components require different power management solutions to perform optimally.

By identifying the various AC management technologies appropriate for your home theater, you can select the right tools in the right places. Below are a few tips to help you determine which solutions are ideally used with a UPS, and which are better served by a power conditioner or voltage regulator.

Do This
Connect digital devices to a UPS. Components with a hard drive are often well suited for battery backup. A UPS will keep the component online when power goes out, avoiding devastating hard drive crashes and allowing time for the system to be shut down gracefully.

Media Servers and Hard Drives - Media servers, home theater PCs (HTPC), and streaming devices are essentially specialized computers designed to provide easy access to an entire library of audio and video content.

Like any hard-drive based system, corruption of data or physical damage to a hard drive is possible when power is abruptly disconnected. As with a computer system, battery backup is essential to ensure protection of the components and data.

Control and Automation Systems - Modern media and home control systems are vulnerable to even a short power outage. When power is lost, their last setting can freeze, or the programmed presets can be temporarily - even permanently - lost.

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Garth Powell is senior product designer for Furman, developers of A/V signal processors and AC power conditioning and distribution products.

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