Questions about voltage regulation/line conditioning AND surge/battery backups


Is a voltage regulator/line conditioner necessary for items such as printer, scanner, modem, router, AV receiver (I do believe the voltage in my location is not steady)?

Do most high end battery backup/surge (for workstations) automatically also regulate voltage?  

What brands are recommended (best for cost) for voltage regulators/line conditioners AND battery backup/surge  and why?

Thank you in advance for any assistance!
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is it necessary ? - NO, but you can have lots of problems, and even have blown parts or devices
<<  Do most high end battery backup/surge (for workstations) automatically also regulate voltage?    <<< sure - but best read their sspecs to be sure; there are lots of different ones around
known best = APC
note that i have no relationship with it

more info :

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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Pretty much all UPSs regulate voltage.

If you have crappy power, I would recommend a UPS for maybe everything apart from the printer, if it is a laser. Laser printers, even small ones have a large heater, which pulls a significant amount of current when heating up in preparation to print.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
When the power quality is less than standard, usually it's overvoltages and not undervoltages that cause the problem.

To some degree a switching power supply can deal with undervoltages, as most modern supplies are designed for automatic 110/220 operation and thus can operate over a range of input voltages.  And a UPS deals with such "brownouts" very effectively.

However, when the line voltage goes significantly over limit, a little component in the switching supply blows up.  It's called a varistor ("MOV") and its function is to absorb the surge when voltage goes high enough to damage the supply.  Under good power conditions this is desirable as overvoltages should not occur.

But under bad power conditions where overvoltages do occur, overvoltages weaken the varistor and eventually it blows at standard voltages.

There's also the issue that when the MOV blows, it may fail shorted which not only blows the circuit breaker, it puts the equipment out of commission until the MOV is replaced.  Worse than that, the MOV may fail open and then you have no idea that the equipment is no longer protected against surges.

The upshot of all this is, if you have variable quality power then a UPS is a good investment.  Mind you, what a UPS also does is push the problem with the MOVs back into the UPS.  The UPS also has one or more MOVs inside which fail as previously noted; so under conditions where the power is bad, periodically you must open the UPS and examine the input side to see if the MOVs are still intact.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
(I do believe the voltage in my location is not steady)?

I agree with the others. What you need here is a proper UPS (APC or other good brand). A battery eliminator dos not provide adequate regulation whereas a good UPS produces steady Sine Wave power ideal for networking gear, computers and non-laser printers. I have a UPS in my basement to keep my network and desktop computer running.

I have an APC Smart UPS XL 750 SUA and that gives me about 1/2 hour when AC power goes out.
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