UPS and/or Surge protector?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Johnny Danger, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Johnny Danger

    Johnny Danger Member

    Dec 27, 2016


    Should I be using a surge protector or a UPS(also a surge protector) with the TIVO?

    My understanding is if you don't have a pure sine wave style UPS then the power is artificial sine wave and not clean power.

  2. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    UPS. The artificial sine wave ones work fine with TiVos. The pure sine wave ones are more expensive and unnecessary for TiVos. If you have a Costco membership, they usually have great deals on UPS.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    dlfl and kpeters59 like this.
  3. DigitalDawn

    DigitalDawn Active Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Jupiter, FL
    UPS is highly recommended.
    dlfl likes this.
  4. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2006
    I use a power conditioner on 1 TiVo and surge protector on the rest; it really depends on the source and quality of your electricity.
  5. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH


    If you experience frequent power spikes (e.g., from nearby lightning strikes) at your location, be aware that the usual method used to filter them out is a simple semiconductor device called a Movister. Unfortunately these components wear out if they get hit with a lot of spikes. (So you need to replace whatever device you're using for surge protection periodically).
  6. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    Electronics with wall warts, like TiVo, live happily on modestly priced UPS units and using one is highly recommended.

    This has been discussed at great length here if you search for the threads.
    jrtroo likes this.
  7. JackMcC

    JackMcC Active Member

    Aug 11, 2019
    I would go with a quality surge protector like a Panamax that has brownout protection.

    Cheap UPS bricks that produce square wave differential outputs averaging 110-120 Vrms aren’t something I would use with cheap AC/DC converters used in most electronics. Maybe a pseudo-sine wave would be better.

    I haven’t tried it on my Roamio, but my $3k Sony Bravia will produce a high pitched squeal from a UPS with a square wave output. I would guess those are harmonics of the square wave feeding through and being heard.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. JLV03

    JLV03 Active Member

    Feb 12, 2018
  9. Charles R

    Charles R Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2000
    From my experience a UPS is only worth it when you don't want any downtime (cover short outages). Concerning protection the times I have been "hit" surges have come through antenna and network wiring via close by lightning. If you want actual power surge protection I would go with a Brickwall.
  10. jwillis84

    jwillis84 New Member

    Dec 30, 2018
    I've been super worried about constant high voltage in my area.. apparently it was explained to me "stepping" the voltage down from intermediate to home levels costs the power suppliers money and if they can leave it a little "higher" like 125 or 127 they save money on their bottom line. They are not supposed to do that. Its like an offense or something if someone calls them on it.. but its not often reported.

    But that higher voltage stresses the components in older power supply designs and runs them hot, shortening their lifespan, especially for things like electrolytic capacitors.

    APC makes a power conditioner with a mode switch for Mexico and the US, if you deliberately set it for Mexico it ramps the higher voltage down to a more normal range. So misconfiguring a power conditioner may help to protect and extend the life of your equipment.

    Ametek makes a very complex Power Surge Protector and Monitor solution called the ESP which is normally used to protect things like Copiers and other heavy equipment, its not MOSFET based and doesn't burn out. You can find them a lot of places, but generally they cost more since it protects more expensive equipment. It does log events when there are power spikes and sags and can be programed explicitly to shutoff the power when certain limits are exceeded. It also has a simple serial port cable which can connect the USB port of a computer to the unit so you can monitor it real time or program it. Its a bit more than what a standard UPS will do for you, but you can use it in conjunction with a good UPS.

    UPSes tend to "Catch" voltage surges and sags within a certain interval, but don't really protect from those events.. they really just jump in once they have a chance to detect a surge or sag and make a quick decision.. time enough for damage to occur to some equipment. A true "Online" UPS costs a lot more.. but actually isolates the equipment from the mains all of the time. But it costs a lot more.

    Building a firewall against all the things that can occur on the mains feeding your equipment can cost a lot, but can be built up over time.. monitoring the source is a good first start.. its hard to defend against what you can't see. After that starting with low cost UPS and graduating to a more expensive one (after) you've see the monitoring logs of your source probably helps justify the extra cost.

    I'm not sure about PureSine versus Ramp design UPSes, except that Switching power supplies definitely do not react well to Ramp designs. The feedback can shorten the life of a good Switching supply in a desktop computer.. if it will even boot. I guess it all depends on how large the Snap Capacitor on the Input of the power supply board for the Tivo.. its going to have to absorb all that Ramp and smooth it out if you don't have a PureSine source. But I could be over thinking it.
  11. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    Some utilities leave the voltage high near the substation to keep it within range far from the substation. However, that's not preferred and these days with smartgrid components most are modulating voltage near the lower end to save costs.

    Surges are rare. More often any sudden voltage changes are drops, not increases.
  12. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    A UPS generally is not a surge protector. The UPS "switching speed" (in tens of ms) is far slower than the entire duration of a typical surge (tens of microseconds). Consumer-level UPS products tend to have very basic surge protection incorporated inside them to account for that, but it's not great. Note that the Tivo power brick also has some surge protection in it, and that may help. Also note that if you have FIOS, a UPS is pointless since you will lose signal during a power outage anyway.

    It's a trade off. If you can't stand missing a single recording get a UPS that also touts surge protection (it's a good sign if it has outputs that are surge protection only). Otherwise, just get a surge protector. Replace whatever you get every three years to refresh the surge protection built inside it.
  13. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2001
    The Verizon provided FIOS battery backup (if you have one; I've heard they've stopped providing them) does immediately cut TV and internet so it can concerve it's power to keep your FIOS phone service active as long as possible. However if you plug the FIOS ONT into a UPS as well then it won't know you've lost power. I don't think the neighborhood level optical distributers are converting and filtering the content so I don't think they'd strip out TV and internet if they lost power; so keeping your FIOS on a UPS should keep your TV service going until that UPS (or the one on your TiVo) run out of juice.
  14. Charles R

    Charles R Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2000
    As long as you don't use MOV's (which you shouldn't) there is no need to ever replace it.
  15. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Two penny contribution. Last week I had a really bad windstorm with ice. I have a smart grid and I can see (online) my electrical use to four decimal places and hourly use. I had, during the day with virtually everything running, 6 power failures within 15 seconds. Since only my lights are not on a UPS, only the LED displays on my CyberPower UPS units gave me the notice. My power company states they will drop power for an outage over 6 seconds just to check their stuff. They also state any outage over 6 minutes is considered major. I only use UPS units and I use them for all my stuff with the exception of my laser jet and sub-woofer.
    mschnebly likes this.
  16. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

    Feb 18, 2016
    I put UPSes on anything with a hard drive or that takes a while to boot up when the power blinks. TiVos are both.

    Equipment longevity aside, a quick blink of a power outage will still ruin a recording in progress and result in a lengthy reboot if you're actively watching when it happens. With a UPS, you might hear a beep and see the lights flicker, but your TV & recordings are uninterrupted.
    cwerdna likes this.
  17. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    Los Angeles
    I have lately come across the suggestion to put a surge protector in front of the UPS. In my opinion your assertions strengthen this advice.
  18. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    I sold UPS units for decades and EVERY one specifically said NOT to plug it into a surge-spike protector.

    Some UPS units have a "buck & boost" feature that keeps voltage to the protected device with certain parameters. Even the best surge-spike protectors can't do that. If all you want is a surge-spike protector look to Panamax.

    In order to completely protect ant device EVERY wired connection must be protected. You'll get hit down the one line you don't protect.

    I always use a UPS on devices that have hard drives and have NEVER had a hard drive or power supply failure.
  19. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    Oct 17, 2000
    Including ethernet, I once learned the hard way. All my devices had surge protection at the power end, but there was an ethernet cable linking my apartment with my office, and during a lightning strike it acted as an antenna. Fortunately, the ethernet switches in both the office and the apartment sacrificed their lives and there was minimal damage to the rest of the equipment (I think I lost one computer in the office).
  20. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    You definitely don't want to plug a UPS into a surge protector. Since the UPS has its own surge protection, however crappy or magnificent it may be (depending on how much you paid for it), the two will interact with each other and they could cancel each other out. (OK, as an EE that's way oversimplifying it, but you get my meaning). Keep in mind that the UPS needs its own surge protection because it has its own circuitry that needs protecting. If your UPS gets fried during a surge it won't be providing backup power and could even fry your equipment.

    You absolutely don't want to plug a surge protector into a UPS. The surge protector could be kicking in whenever you're on backup power and you won't get a nice sine wave at all.

    The problem is that some are referring to expensive UPS systems, when the average Joe is just going to get the AmazonBasics UPS to protect his Tivo. The latter is the type I've been talking about. Some of those have poor surge protection.

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