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Have you ever faced a brownout (or even a total blackout)? It's no fun, and all those gotta' have 'em appliances like computers, refrigerators, and televisions can go silent when the power outage demon comes to visit.

Luckily, there are small and large UPS (uninterrupted power supply) systems that can keep those power-hungry devices powered on for an hour or two should the power fail. For medical devices in the home that require constant power to operate, a backup generator or UPS is a requirement.

If you don't have a battery on the computer (as in, a desktop system instead of a laptop) and you use it all day long for communicating, working on spreadsheets, composing sales proposals, and so on, a UPS may already be on your short list. In general, a good, small UPS will supply enough juice to allow for at least 10 minutes of backup power for that PC -- enough time to allow you to save important work, notify people that you may be going offline, and then to switch the PC off until that nasty brownout is over.

Instead of that 10-minute off-the-shelf UPS purchase, wouldn't a Super UPS built with off-the-shelf components -- and one that would give you quite a bit more time before battery death -- be nice? With a little ingenuity and patience, you can build your own. Although, try to find the components locally -- shipping heavy lead-acid batteries is bound to be prohibitively expensive.


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