Last week, I mentioned that you should get a battery backup for your computer. Many people have surge protectors, which are good at protecting your computer from power surges, but don't protect you from brown outs.
Brown outs are what occur before many power surges. Turning on a blow dryer in your house creates a mini brown out event in your home's power lines. As more power is diverted to the dryer, the rest of the house gets less. This is even more noticeable if the brownout is caused by an external event like a tree branch shorting a power line. As the power in the line is directed through the branch and into the ground, less power is available for people's homes and the lights will dim.
In most cases, this isn't a big problem, but for a computer, it can spell disaster. You computer's power supply is designed to give a constant power supply, no matter what. Motherboards and RAM don't like even a tiny fluctuation in voltage. If the voltage to your house is decreased, the power supply in your computer compensates by trying to draw more power to keep the internal voltage constant. This increase in amperage can be very bad for the components in your computer's power supply, and during a bad bad brown out, or after many smaller ones, it will eventually fail.
Good battery backups will hold the power to your computer better than just plugging it into a power bar or the wall.
Thanks for reading!
Until next week, I'm Computer Dave
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