How well your AV receiver performs depends on the electrical power it’s being supplied with, besides a host of other things. And if the receiver’s power supply is cut off cold turkey, the device would stop functioning, but it may also break or develop other issues in the process. So, do AV receivers need a UPS?
AV receivers do not “need” a UPS, similarly to other components like your TV, media player, and other devices. If your area sees regular outages, or you just want to have a safe backup anyway, it is a fantastic idea to get a UPS. A UPS will at least lend you time to properly power down your receiver during power cuts.
If you think a device like an AV receiver needs a UPS, keep reading to learn more about a UPS and how it works, its various types, hooking up a receiver with a UPS, and lots more.
What Is an AV Receiver?
An AV receiver is a device that takes in digital signals from an input device (DVD player, Blu-ray player, gaming console, etc.) and transmits it to output devices (televisions, loudspeakers, projectors, etc.).
The device splits the signals as audio and video and outputs them via the right devices that it has been hooked to. In other words, the audio signals are correctly discerned and directed to the speakers and not the projector.
Multiple input and output devices can be connected to the receiver simultaneously. Based on the model and feature set, the number and types of devices and the connection methodologies could vary. Most importantly, connections could be switched seamlessly, or an appliance could be plugged into or out of a receiver on the fly.
Besides serving as the junction point, an AV receiver also has an amplifier built-in, powering your loudspeakers through audio signal amplification. The receiver can also be used as a DAC (digital-to-analog converter), an HDMI switch, an audio processor, and more.
If you want to listen to the radio, the built-in radio tuner on the receiver could facilitate that as well. However, not all receivers have an integrated radio tuner because not everyone needs one.
To know everything there is to an AV receiver, how it works, and what different purposes it serves, its connectivity options, etc., watch this video:
What Is a UPS?
A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is an electrical device that supplies emergency power when mains electricity fails. A UPS is not a standby generator or an emergency power setup since it almost instantaneously provides a safety net during power interruptions.
A UPS has its energy stored in supercapacitors, batteries, or flywheels. A UPS’ runtime is relatively short, usually not more than a few minutes. However, the few instantaneous minutes of power delivery are good enough to properly power a standby source or shut down protected devices. Also, the actual running time could significantly vary with the inverter’s power ratings or capacity and the number of devices connected to it.
A UPS is generally used to safeguard data centers, computers, and other telecommunication or electrical equipment. Any electrical equipment that could experience functional difficulties, cause fatalities or injuries, lead to significant data loss or business disruption, etc., would require a UPS.
Besides offering short-term power, a UPS can also correct:
- Sustained overvoltage or voltage spike
- Sustained or momentary decrease in input voltage
- Mains frequency instability
- Harmonic distortion
If you have a host of connected equipment in your place, you need a UPS or two to avoid device breakage, data loss, and related issues.
The topology of a UPS denotes its central or core design. Based on a UPS’ structure and size, the quality of power supply and longevity are determined.
Various UPS topologies offer specific power protection levels. The topologies are primarily categorized as:
When the incoming utility power surges above or drops below safe voltage readings, the UPS shifts to DC (direct current) power and later inverts the battery power to AC (alternating current) power to run linked equipment.
A standby UPS is primarily designed for entry-level computers, consumer electronics, security systems, POS (point of sale) systems, and other similar electronic equipment.
Line-interactive UPS models incorporate technologies that let you rectify minor power fluctuations (over-voltages and under-voltages) without turning to the battery for help. The UPS model comes with an autotransformer to regulate low voltages and over-voltages, commonly referred to as brownouts and swells, respectively.
A line-interactive model is typically used for PCs, consumer electronics, network equipment, home theater electronics, basic-to-mid-range servers, etc. They work as an alternative power source during a blackout, voltage surge, voltage sag, over-voltage, etc.
A double-conversion UPS offers clean, consistent, and almost ideal power irrespective of the incoming power’s status. The UPS converts AC to DC and then goes back to AC. The UPS uses isolated DC power and has a zero-transfer period as the need to switch between energy currents doesn’t arise.
A double-conversion UPS helps safeguard mission-critical equipment, high-end servers, data center installations, large storage applications and telecom installations, advanced network equipment, etc., from damage due to a voltage sag, power blackout, overvoltage, voltage surge, frequency noise, voltage spike, harmonic distortion, etc.
Choosing the Right UPS for Your Requirements
The right UPS for you will vary with your requirements. For starters, it must be big enough to support the multiple devices connected to it, including your AV receiver. Here are the major attributes to look for in a receiver:
To ensure the correct match, ascertain your multiple devices’ total power load and the right UPS capacity to manage that load. “Load” is the total power all of your devices use or need put together. Measured in watts, “capacity” is the amount of energy a UPS setup could offer.
To ascertain your “load”:
- Create a list of equipment you use, noting down the total power (in watts) each device needs for proper functioning.
- Include all equipment your UPS will have to support. If you’re unsure of the number of watts your AV receiver or any equipment needs, refer to the product’s user manual and look for power supply specifications.
- If that doesn’t help, contact the manufacturer or head to the product website.
Number of Outlets
Once the load has been calculated, take stock of the power cords you’d want to plug into the UPS. If it’s just your AV receiver, PC, and a wireless router, you need not look into this aspect diligently as most UPS models will have enough connections to accommodate three to four power cables at once.
Another major aspect to consider is how long you want the UPS to power your connected devices once the mains electricity becomes unavailable.
Different things may have to be considered. You may opt for a UPS that can safely shut down your multiple connected devices when a power issue arises. Or you may just want to keep your television and AV receiver running on battery power.
Once the objective has been determined, focus on “runtime”. Runtime is essentially the total period a UPS system could effectively back up connected devices during a mains power failure. The inverter’s minimum runtime helps ascertain the amount of time you have to shut down all your equipment correctly.
If runtime is crucial, focus on the number of batteries the UPS packs in and each battery’s capacity. The total number of equipment supported, and the power drawn by each device will affect runtime. The smaller the load, the greater the longevity of the batteries will be.
To put it plainly in numbers, you will at least need a 1000W UPS if you have a 100W refrigerator, 800W well pump, a 50W laptop, and five 10W lights. Make sure the UPS system is capable of handling surges when motors turn on. In other words, if your water well pump and fridge turn on simultaneously, the power surge created could be two to four times the standard wattage ratings.
Devices That Should Not Be Connected to a UPS
A UPS is reliable power backup equipment so you may be tempted to connect more devices to it. However, there are instances or devices that shouldn’t be hooked on to a UPS or cannot efficiently operate on UPS power alone, which include:
- Laser printers
- Space heaters
- Vacuum cleaners
- Paper shredders
- Curling irons, etc.
Any device that exceeds the watt or VA rating of a UPS shouldn’t be plugged into the device. Medical devices, aquatic equipment, and other high-drain machines not just fail to work on UPS power, but they could even break your UPS or void its warranty.
AV Receivers and a UPS
As mentioned before, a receiver doesn’t require a UPS, but hooking it with one or adding a UPS to your home theater setup will never hurt. Before you go ahead and hook up your AV receiver with a UPS, however, here are a few things you should know about UPS systems:
Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave
Based on their output waveform, UPS battery backups can be classified as a) pure sine wave types and b) modified/simulated sine wave kinds. The modified version is also called PWM (pulse-width modulated) sine wave.
So, what is a pure sine wave UPS? Pure sine wave essentially is the kind of power local utility companies produce. All AC (alternating current) equipment and appliances are made to function off of pure sine waves.
When a UPS setup receives frequency and power from the AC connection that falls in an acceptable range, the inverter won’t do anything to rectify it. But if the UPS detects a disturbance in power in the form of under-voltage or over-voltage conditions, a blackout, or a change in frequency, it will employ its battery to correct the state and reinstate clean power.
How is a pure sine wave UPS different from the modified type? The primary difference between pure/clean sine wave and modified sine wave UPS setups is that the former is certain to generate a cleaner or purer output for any connected equipment. That could be a desktop computer, data center server, or lab equipment.
On the other hand, a modified sine wave generates a waveform that can be roughly equated to a pure sine wave. The simulation’s output, as a result, is choppier and less stable. Devices such as TVs, fans, lights, radios, etc., will get powered by modified sine wave-based UPS setups, but they won’t perform optimally or may buzz, thanks to the heat generated by the connected equipment.
Simply put, power from pure sine wave inverters flows in arching, even waves. The energy that is of the modified or simulated type flows to equipment in squarish, chunky waves. The squarish waves either power your device or do nothing.
Negatives of Modified Sine Wave UPS Systems
Devices linked to modified-sine UPS will work, but they could run into issues. Besides running less efficiently, connected devices could break down completely. Appliances that aren’t very sensitive to power, such as water pumps or a vacuum, make slightly more noise than usual and consume a bit more wattage.
Devices that require an even energy flow, such as power tools, will either work or not work at all. And if you try to push them hard, it could be at the peril of the equipment itself. How softly or tightly you pull the power drill’s trigger won’t matter at all.
This, however, doesn’t imply a blender with varied settings cannot be used at low or high settings on a modified-sine UPS system. But the blender runs the risk of wearing out sooner due to the less efficient energy it is being supplied with.
This is particularly the case if the machine is continuously being run on modified sine wave power. Such issues won’t crop up if pure sine wave UPS power is employed, even when used continuously.
Are there no benefits to a modified sine wave UPS system then? A simulated sine-wave UPS trails its more superior counterpart in more aspects than one. However, it one-ups the latter in the price department.
A modified-sine UPS will cost you much less compared to a pure-sine inverter. And the price difference would only increase if your power requirements or the UPS’ specifications go up. Modified sine wave inverter models are comparatively inexpensive because they aren’t made of as many parts as a pure sine wave UPS is.
Another positive is they employ DC power a lot more efficiently than pure sine wave systems do, which means a modified sine wave inverter’s battery lasts longer overall. If you plan to use a UPS to back up only your regular light bulbs and shunt or induction motors, a modified-sine setup will be ideal.
Advantages of Pure Sine Wave UPS
As mentioned above, a pure sine wave UPS is made of more components than a modified-sine inverter setup. Though that increases its price, it provides peace of mind in return, which is much needed during a power outage or frequent energy fluctuations.
Modern-day appliances are becoming increasingly complex, which includes most small, unassuming devices too. Pretty much all electronic devices – big or small – feature an advanced microprocessor. And most often than not, a modified sine wave UPS won’t be up to the task, making the more superior pure sine wave inverters a safer bet.
Based on the switching circuitry of a UPS, the signals outputted by an inverter could vary. In other words, harmonics may get introduced into the output if the wave or signals it produces is not of the “pure” kind. Harmonics won’t be an issue for most DVRs, TVs, etc. It, however, is not an ideal situation and also not safe for receivers.
The following are some advantages of running your appliances and equipment on pure sine wave:
- It causes less electrical noise creation in your equipment, which means no sound system humming or lines on your TV.
- Microwave ovens work efficiently.
- Appliances and equipment run cooler and efficiently, increasing their longevity in the process.
- Equipment such as battery-powered devices, laser printers, pellet stoves, etc., could get damaged by modified sine waves. Pure sine wave UPS models are, therefore, ideal for such equipment.
- Telecommunications devices function with little hum and noise.
- Motors run relatively cool and at a good pace.
- Computers will last longer and won’t shut down abruptly or show strange errors.
A pure sine wave inverter can keep up with the devices mentioned earlier’ complex power requirements because it provides a power output that’s almost identical to household power, making it ideal for pretty much any appliance or equipment. Also, pure sine wave inverters have a 40% to 100% surge capacity, which helps manage devices that could momentarily produce abnormal energy loads.
The downside of pure sine wave inverters is, of course, their price, as mentioned above. Quite often, they are two or even three times pricier than regular UPS models. The Renogy 2000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Battery Converter and BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter are examples of the price discrepancy.
However, if you look around, you may be able to grab a pure sine wave unit for a lower price – mainly if your backup power requirements are relatively low. The BESTEK MRZ5011BU 500W and the Kinverch PA1000-1131 1000W are a couple of low-cost pure sine wave inverter options.
Kindly note, you do not need a pure sine wave UPS. If that were the case, modified sine wave inverters wouldn’t be relevant today. A pure sine wave UPS is ideal or recommended because it ensures zero compromises with your power supply unit (PSU), which a modified sine wave inverter doesn’t.
The decision to choose between the two also hinges on how often you use your UPS, the frequency of power outages in your area, and the like. If mains power is an issue in your place or is not as stable as it should be, go with the pure sine wave type.
Pure Sine Wave or Modified Sine Wave for AV Receiver?
However, the pertinent question is “can you link an AV receiver with a modified sine wave UPS, or does the AV equipment need the pure sine wave type?”
It’s imperative to assimilate that both pure and modified sine UPS systems create and output real sine waves almost every time. The discrepancies between the two surfaces become prominent only during a power cut or when the inverter generates power from its reserves.
Moreover, pure sine wave inverter systems are typically employed when there is the need to protect networks, critical servers, telecommunications and medical equipment, electronic devices that are quite sensitive to input energy, etc.
A home entertainment system, home theater setup, PCs, media centers, and other large power hungry collections should be fine when backed up by modified sine wave inverters. In other words, the more complicated the equipment, the likelier or greater are its need to be hooked on to a pure sine wave UPS.
A thumb rule is if a device has its 100V to 240V power adapter, a simulated-sine UPS should be fine. Long story short, a simulated sine wave UPS is more than just serviceable for an AV receiver’s power requirements. Just note that the simulated sine wave UPS you pick up can help with substitute power and not just boot the device.
Is Improper Shutdown of AV Receivers Bad?
Improper shutdown of most household products is inconsequential. It is not ideal the more a product has sensitive electronics or data storage. Unlike the more complex electronics you may deal with at home or office, an improper shutdown of your AV receiver, due to a sudden power outage or a friend accidentally turning it off, won’t seriously hurt the equipment.
Most modern AV receivers come with “protection circuits” or specialized hardware bits that are always on the lookout for uncertainties, such as an improper shutdown or dangerously high volume levels. When the hardware bits sense such anomalies, it puts its guards up to ensure no damage is done to the receiver’s innards.
Before resetting things or starting the receiver again after the abrupt shutdown, unplug the machine. Wait for 30 to 60 seconds for the capacitors and various other components within, which may have got hurt by inappropriate closure, to self-restore and be ready for action again.
If no component within the receiver is shorted due to the abrupt shutdown, the receiver should play like usual again. In the rarest of cases, the fuse may have blown. With all this being said, it is best to properly shut down your AV receiver, even though improper shut down is usually not problematic.
Should You Leave an AV Receiver “On” All the Time?
Unlike tube equipment from several years ago, which needed a few hours (at least) or even a day or two to stabilize, modern-day solid-state circuitry can settle down and be up for business within minutes.
Also, dissimilar to the power surge that shortened the life of tube equipment and their cold heater elements, the power surge has little to no life-shortening effects on solid-state equipment that current-gen AV receivers constitute.
Therefore, unless you have a studio that’s rolling 24 hours, it just doesn’t make any practical or “circuitry” sense to leave an AV receiver powered on non-stop.
What About Leaving a UPS Always Plugged In?
Unplugging and turning off the UPS, like switching on your TV, computer, and other equipment, may seem like the right thing to do, but it is not. Unplugging your UPS every day before you go to bed can hurt the UPS batteries’ life expectancy.
When unplugged, your inverter’s batteries self-discharge. When you plug in the UPS again the next day, the depleted batteries have to charge back again, accounting for the self-discharge that took place. And this will also increase the UPS’ gross electricity consumption. Not to mention, this will increase the recharge period of the batteries.
And if a power failure situation happens or there are fluctuations in power during this period, your UPS may not be able to cope with the same since it’s busy replenishing itself or is not ready for action again.
An inverter’s batteries typically last anywhere between three to five years. The tendency to unplug it every night would bring down the life expectancy to two to three years. The bright side of this is the various, non-replaceable components of the UPS will undergo lesser wear since they get to do nothing when the inverter is unplugged.
However, it is still not recommended to unplug a UPS as its “irreplaceable” parts rarely fail or require changing. To strike the right balance between preventing battery depletion and conserving inverter components is keeping the UPS plugged in but with the power button turned off.
To conclude, your AV receiver doesn’t need a UPS, but it can be beneficial if you back up your AVR with an inverter. A UPS will mainly come in handy if you have multiple short-duration outages or brownouts in your area.
There are more benefits to get a UPS than there are any potential cost savings of avoiding one. As always, do your research and find out if it is right for your setup.
Just make sure you buy the right UPS for the job, preferably producing full or pure sine waves and not simulations. The power or watts output should be up for the task too. Go with something around or more than 800 watts so that you get a power factor or VA (volt-ampere) of 1350 to 1500.
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Roy is the leading content creator here at Home Theater Heroes. He is as passionate about planning a home theater setup as building it. He blogs about IT, cybersecurity, business, and more at Davis Tech Media.