What’s the Difference Between Surge Protectors, Line Conditioners and UPS Systems?

Your options for protecting home and office electronics from power problems can be a bit confusing. Surge protectors, line conditioners and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS systems) all have outlets for AC equipment, protect against power surges and filter line noise to help prevent EMI/RFI interference. Line conditioners and UPS systems, however, have additional types of protection. Your best choice for power protection depends on your equipment, your application and the quality of your facility’s electricity.

Surge Protectors

Reliable Surge Protection and Line Noise Filtering

Surge protectors are your best defense against AC voltage surges and spikes that can ruin your valuable equipment in a flash or build up damage over time. Look at the joule rating when comparing surge protectors – a higher rating means more protection. Some models even protect phone and data lines. Surge protectors also help prevent EMI/RFI line noise from interfering with equipment performance.

Line Conditioners

Voltage Regulation, Surge Protection and Line Noise Filtering

Line conditioners are your best defense against brownouts, which are low-voltage power sags that can cause your equipment’s internal power supply and circuitry to work harder. Frequent exposure to brownouts can overheat these sensitive components, leading to equipment failure. Line conditioners automatically adjust low and high voltages to provide safe computer-grade power. In addition to voltage regulation, line conditioners offer surge protection and line noise filtering.

UPS Systems

Voltage Regulation (Line-Interactive and On-Line Models), Battery Backup, Surge Protection and Line Noise Filtering

UPS systems are your best defense against downtime, damage and data loss. All UPS systems provide battery backup to keep equipment up and running through short blackouts and brownouts, providing you with enough time to save data and shut down properly during longer outages. A UPS system can also keep equipment powered during transfer to generator power.

There are three types of UPS systems, each with different features:

  • Standby: Provide battery backup, surge protection and line noise filtering.
  • Line-Interactive: Provide voltage regulation, battery backup, surge protection and line noise filtering.
  • On-Line: Provide the highest level of power protection. Constant on-line operation completely isolates sensitive equipment from every power problem on the AC line.

Communication ports are also a useful feature to have on UPS systems. Most Tripp Lite standby UPS systems and all line-interactive and on-line models are compatible with Tripp Lite’s free PowerAlert software, which can automatically and gracefully shut down computers during a prolonged power outage.

Feature Comparison

 
Surge
Protectors
Line
Conditioners
Standby
UPS Systems
Line-Interactive
& On-Line
UPS Systems
Surge Protection
Brownout Protection
EMI/RFI Line Noise Filtering
Voltage Regulation
Battery Backup
Typical Connected Equipment Computers and Peripherals, Home Theater Electronics Computers, Laser Printers, Industrial Equipment, Refrigerators, Air Conditioners Desktop Computers and Peripherals Servers/Network Equipment
  VIEW PRODUCTS VIEW PRODUCTS VIEW PRODUCTS VIEW PRODUCTS

Need help choosing power protection for your equipment?

Contact a Tripp Lite Power Specialist. Our advice is always fact-based and free.

Which Type of UPS System Works Best with a Generator?

Do you have a generator to supply power during a lengthy blackout? You’ll get the most out of it if you connect your generator to a UPS system. But there’s more than one kind of UPS – it’s important to choose the right type of system so it will play nicely with your generator power. [Read more…]

Rolling TV Carts for Education

Use Rolling TV Stands to Help Enhance Learning on a Tight Budget

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Do more with less. This is the challenge facing virtually every school, particularly when it comes to in-classroom technology.

Not everyone learns the same way, but strong visuals enhance learning for most students. That’s why TVs and interactive white boards are common tools for today’s teachers. However, keeping classrooms equipped with the latest technology might quickly break the budget.

Cut Costs with Shared Resources

With a rolling TV cart for flat-screen TVs, a school can keep technology expenditures in check by sharing displays and interactive white boards among a number of classrooms. When the lesson plan calls for A/V resources, the teacher simply wheels a height-adjustable TV stand in front of students to make learning more engaging and exciting. And by using the built-in adjustments such as height and tilt that are found on many rolling TV stands, the teacher can ensure all students have a clear view of the screen. This isn’t possible with conventional projectors.

[Read more…]

Pure Sine Wave vs. Modified Sine Wave

In regard to output waveform, two types of UPS systems exist—the kind that produce a pure sine wave and the kind that produce a stepped approximation of a sine wave, also known as a pulse-width modulated (PWM) sine wave. The main difference between pure sine wave and modified sine wave systems is that a pure sine wave system in battery backup mode is guaranteed to produce a cleaner output for any piece of equipment connected to it, whether it’s a computer at a workstation or a server in a data center. The same cannot be said of a modified system, which produces a step, or PWM, sine wave output. Its output is choppier and provides equipment with a less stable output waveform.
[Read more…]

Power Cable Jacket Types Explained

P010-012

SJT Jacket

If you’ve been looking for a new or replacement detachable power cable, you might have seen an alphabet soup of abbreviations for the cable jacket type. Understanding these abbreviations will help you choose the correct power cable for your application.

Each of these letters designates a usage rating derived from the National Electrical Code. Here is the most common nomenclature used for power cable jackets:

  • S – Service Grade (Extra-Hard Service Grade if not followed by J, V or P); normally rated to 600V
  • J – Junior Grade; a “J” cord is rated for hard service up to 250-300V
  • V – Vacuum Cleaner Cord; light-duty cable
  • P – Parallel Cord; light-duty zip cord
  • T – Thermoplastic; most often polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • E – Elastomer; a copolymer that adds flexibility, especially in sub-freezing conditions
  • O – Oil-Resistant outer jacket
  • W – Outdoor; stands up to moisture and sunlight

[Read more…]