Question Power surge fried PC connected to UPS

Sep 12, 2022
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So yesterday morning, we had some sort of power surge (no lightning nearby, AFAIK) that my 6-year-old UPS (a CyberPower CP850AVRLCD) apparently was not able to handle. My Dell XPS won't turn on anymore -- the power supply needs to be replaced, at the very least. Everything else attached seems to be fine, though obviously the UPS didn't work as intended and didn't keep anything else alive (the router rebooted, etc.). Strangely, and fortunately, no other appliances in my house got fried.

I'm confused about what happened, and how to prevent this type of problem in the future. Is it possible that a UPS doesn't provide adequate surge suppression for my area (it's Florida and there are frequent power events) and that I should instead put the PC on a surge protector with a high joule rating? Or should I stick with the UPS and just replace it? Although I don't love the idea, maybe the best option is to put a surge protector in between the outlet and the UPS? Or perhaps I would benefit from having a whole house surge suppressor installed? Or should I just call this a one-in-a-million event and not bother doing anything?

Thank you in advance for any insight and advice you can provide. :)

-thegarv
 

punkncat

Splendid
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Since nothing else in the house was damaged how are you sure this was a power surge and not just a PSU failure?
With the unit being six years old, have you replaced the batteries at least once?

In a super simple sense, a battery backup is monitoring incoming power for conditions that cause it to swap to the batteries, which happens instantaneously. A failure in that system is typically rare when in good order.

Most reputable manufacturers will offer equipment protection for some time. It appears that on your unit (which they still sell) the warranty for it was 3 years. It states they will repair or replace properly connected equipment damaged by a surge. It does not specify a time frame for that, assumably the same 3 years.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Surge protection is rated in Joules. However rating is cumulative,

So a surge protector rated at 1,000 Joules can take a 1,000 Joule hit. And likely to be ineffective thereafter.

Or perhaps two 500 Joule hits. Or four 250 Joule hits. Maybe ten 100 Joule hits.

And being in Florida your CyberPower UPS likely took multiple small hits over its' 6 years of use.

FYI:

https://www.rockwallelectric.com/post/what-are-surge-protector-joules-and-what-joule-rating-do-you-need

https://austere.com/blogs/life-style/not-all-power-is-created-equal

You can easily find other similar links.
 
Sep 12, 2022
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Many thanks for your replies. I really appreciate it.

Punkncat, I did change out the battery several months ago, but yes, I admit that I can't be completely sure that this was a power event. If there was no surge, are you saying that it's possible that the UPS spontaneously failed and took my PC down with it?

Ralston, I'm grateful for your explanation. Prior to posting, I read quite a bit about surge protectors and MOVs, but I wasn't able to figure out if this applied to UPS devices as well. Now I know that it does.

Based on this new information, I'm leaning towards simply replacing the UPS, but I'll wait to hear if anyone else chimes in.

-thegarv
 

punkncat

Splendid
Ambassador
My take is that if you had a surge or a power fail event you should have seen other electronics and appliances in the house go down at the same time. If there was a quick power loss/restore a properly working UPS should have taken it in stride. Since you replaced the batts and assuming that the unit still operates and passes self-test (if equipped, most are) that the failure may have been strictly on the PC side such as a failed power supply. That would depend on whether the UPS is operational currently or if it has also been down since the event.
 
Most reputable manufacturers will offer equipment protection for some time. It appears that on your unit (which they still sell) the warranty for it was 3 years. It states they will repair or replace properly connected equipment damaged by a surge. It does not specify a time frame for that, assumably the same 3 years.
It's questionable what the odds of getting a company to pay out on something like that would be though. It's unrealistic to think that a surge protector/UPS manufacturer would ever pay for thousands of dollars worth of hardware damaged by a faulty unit. And once the unit is shipped back to them for inspection, you are unlikely to be able to disprove any claim that their hardware wasn't at fault. One might get the UPS itself replaced (after paying for return shipping), but I wouldn't expect much beyond that.
 
Sep 12, 2022
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The UPS, at least the battery backup part of it, is still working. I unplugged it just now and the two remaining devices, the router and the monitor, didn't lose power.

But when the power event (or whatever it was that took place) happened, the router rebooted and the monitor went off and back on. It can't just be the PC then, right? But then how is it possible that the UPS is still operational if my PC is not? I've read a number of anecdotes about UPS devices "taking one for the team." If mine has indeed run out of joules, would it not have busted along with the PC?
 

geofelt

Titan
In Florida, I had a similar incident.
A power event stopped my system and after diagnosis, I found that it killed an sound system amplifier and a TV connected to the graphics card.
But, nothing else.
I had a second monitor and a spare set of speakers so I could continue.
Talking with the tech who would repair the amplifier, he suggested a good surge unit be placed between the wall and the UPS.

It was expensive, but unlike most urge suppressors, it does not self destruct from a surge.
Look up SURGEX Flatpack:
https://www.amazon.com/SurgeX-SA-82-Flatpak-Surge-Eliminator/dp/B00DWPMRBA
Since installation, there have been several electrical events with no issues other than resetting the surge suppressor.
 

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