Why are High Wattage UPS so unreliable

I have multiple UPS batteries backing up numeraous components in my studio, office and home. ALL of the low watt units (500 - 600w) work flawlessly protecting my home theater system, stereo system and office PCs. But the all of my 1000w and up units are always giving me problems, in that they are the ones who consistently seem to fail on my DAW PC!

I was told that I NEED a UPS with wattage that exceeds the power supply of the media PC. So, I’ve always had 1200w + units plugged into whichever PC is running my Nuendo rigg. But every time there’s a power failure, all of the low level stuff (laptop, audio interface, CD/DVRs) all stay on, while the Nuendo PC shuts down with no oprtunity to power down! :scream:

It doesn’t seem to matter what price or brand I use. I’ve got APC and Cyberpower 550w units that have worked for decades with simple battery changes. But the 12/1300w units will fail within a year of battery replacements. I don’t understand why this is.

I’m really tempted to just get a 600w unit for the Nuendo PC and call it a day. Whatever else may be going on, at least when the power ebbs or shuts off for a few minutes, I’ll have an opportunity to save my work and power down until stability returns.

What do you guys use to back up your systems?

Nothing. I gave up on using UPS units over a decade ago and it has had zero impact on anything beyond the pocketbook & time savings. Of course the ability to do this depends on how solid your electric supply is. Our neighborhood got under-grounded and that made all the difference between frequent power failures and I can’t recall the last one. For me I’d rather accept a small risk of loosing something than jump through a bunch of hoops to avoid a rarely occurring event.

Your voltage may vary.


I’m hearing that a lot from others that I assumed had elaborate backups, as they were commercial facilities. But I guess I missed that memo. So was that power supply thing just a myth as well?

Home UPS batteries are seldom replaced/serviced (i.e. tested under load and replaced if underperforming). Datacenter UPS systems cost a lot of money to maintain regularly, and no home user is going to spend that kind of money on maintenance contracts. Low-wattage UPS batteries are really only designed to allow you enough time to save out your current work and shut the system down gracefully (better still, install the agent software and have it shut down your system automatically).

The other thing to consider is that 20 years ago, with Windows XP (?) on FAT-formatted spinning harddisks, a power outage was highly likely to result in complete loss of the system. Not so any more, as the file systems are more robust; you’ll still lose what you were working on right then, but you can safely expect to be able to reboot the system and get back to the most recent version saved. A small UPS would be fine for that.

I’m lucky to live in an area with a stable electricity supply, and, perhaps because over 40% is now generated by wind, there is contingency built into the grid that wasn’t there decades ago. I can’t remember when we last had a power cut, and, while I know that doesn’t help, I’d be more inclined to suggest multiple small UPSs

If you really want stability, and if it’s an option in your area, you might even consider solar with battery, as that would give you the equivalent of a large UPS, and you might even be able to offset the costs by selling surplus energy generated on sunny days back into the grid.


Funny you should mention solar power. I just got it 2 weeks ago! At the time, I had also considered a Generac generator for the entire house. But decided not to get it because of the carbon monoxide issues. So, now I’m looking into those big Tesla like backup batteries.

Meanwhile, I’ll just pick up another small 600w UPS for the DAW PC. I’m not wasting any more money on those big ones. I still don’t understand why they are jusr as reliable as the little ones. Same principle, as long as I keep fresh batteries in them on the regular life cycle of the battery, they SHOULD work. I don’t understand why they don’t after the first renewal. :thinking: