Tech Tips

Tech Tip: Buy a UPS – a Battery Backup

Sunday got me motivated to get an Uninterruptable Power Supply set up for our projector and computer in the auditorium at church.

We had a brief power outage Sunday morning. The projector, projector computer, audio recording computer, sound board, amplifier, and microphones all cycled out. The outage was less than ten seconds, but it was enough of a distraction to throw me off for a few minutes.

We hadn’t installed a UPS on the system in the past. We had talked about it, but hadn’t gotten around to it. We’ve got plans in place to get one in ASAP.

Interested in getting one? Here’s what you might need to know.

First, figure out how much power you need.

Calculate the wattage of your equipment and you’ll be able to figure out exactly what you need. Almost anything electrical will have a wattage rating somewhere on it. For us…

  • Projector Computer: 300 watts max
  • Projector: 350 watts max
  • Sound board: 20 watts
  • Amplifier: 200 watts

Our total is 870 watts with everything at max power. For what it’s worth, very seldom does this equipment draw anywhere close to max power. There’s a great little device called a “Kill a Watt” that you can get online or at places like Harbor Freight. Plug it into the wall, plug your equipment into it, and it will tell you exactly how much energy it uses in watts. This is a great way to check your math. ¬†Don’t forget, though, that some equipment uses significantly more power when first turned on than during normal use, so you want to watch those numbers carefully.

Only include what you need to keep up and running during a brief outage. Is it okay with me if the monitors go out for a few seconds? Sure. They’ll be back on in less than 10 seconds when the power comes up.

My main concerns were the computers, projector, and sound system.

The projector takes a minute or two to cool down and a minute or two to come back up. The computer might take 5 minutes to come back up if it needs to “scan and repair” as they sometimes do after an improper shutdown. Don’t forget to count the time it takes to open your PowerPoint, find the right spot in the file, etc.

Select a UPS unit based on watt rating

I did a quick search on Amazon. For $150, shipped, there is a 900 watt UPS. That would cover everything I need with some wiggle room. I could get two smaller units and divide out the equipment if that worked better based on my wiring, too. They have a 1,200 watt unit for $198 that would cover my audio recording computer and the LCD monitors, too.


It’s easy. Plug in the UPS to the wall. Plug your equipment into the UPS. Turn it on.

Really, that’s it!

Final thoughts

Seriously, it’s easy. There’s no good reason for you not to do it.


As an added bonus, many (most?) of the units out there include some sort of insurance. If your equipment is damaged by an electrical surge when properly installed and plugged in to the unit, they may even pay for replacement. Many of us work at churches with very high deductibles on the insurance policy, so this can be a big help.

When the power flickered, because I could see the sound guys running around trying to fix things, I was probably distracted for a couple of minutes. We had 122 at worship that morning. Every minute I speak takes two hours of the collective group’s life.

I don’t want to waste two minutes (4 hours!) because of a 2 second power blip.

This stuff won’t keep your equipment on indefinitely, but it’s likely to get you through most of the quick outages we face.

Hope this saves you some headache! Go buy a UPS!


Tech Tips

Tool to Compare Two Countries

I just stumbled on a neat tool for doing something that I want to do fairly often at church.

Want to help people understand the size of the Bible lands? Want to help make a history lesson make a little bit more sense? Once you get past about 100 miles, I lose sense of scale and it gets tough for me. lets you overlay one country/province/region over another to show the size comparison. Here’s Tennessee and modern Israel:

Tennessee and Israel
(Click to enlarge)

One more tool that’s more useful for modern studies or keeping up with your missionaries. will compare any two nations. It will show a land-mass overlay, compare income, life expectancy, environmental data, and more. Pretty neat tool.

Disappointed in the Olympic results? Try seeing how you’d like living in Russia. Here are some of the “highlights.”

If I lived in Russia, I would…

  • Be 83% more likely to have AIDS
  • Have a 68% higher chance of dy ing in infancy
  • Make 67% less money
  • Spend 90% less on ¬†health care

There is good news though — I’d have 4.3% higher chance at having a job!

Comment and let me know how you’ve used these sites, or any others you’ve found.