When working with electronics you’ll want to be running them at their most efficient with as little downtime as possible. There are plenty of external factors that can adversely affect your computers and hardware everything from user faults and power surges to lightning strikes.
There’s also your safety to be taken into account. Mains electricity can cause death if allowed to pass through the body. Similarly, badly wired electronics could potentially cause fires, injuries or fatalities. Below we will go through the things to look out for when it comes to protecting yourself, colleagues or family.
1 – Power Surges
A power surge is like a small explosion and if you have no protection the power will travel up the wires to your computer — or any electronic device – and can damage the internal components.
This is one of the things that can kill a computer or burn out a fuse. There are a number of different types of surge protector you can get but even the most basic will protect your computers from a surge of power.
2 – Power Cuts
If a power cut happens while you are working then you could lose any unsaved work. This is a reminder that you should back your work up as often as possible, especially if there’s an oncoming storm or something that might knock your power out.
In fact, if there’s a storm coming you should probably switch off all electronics for a while and go back to pen and paper or a charged laptop.
You could get a surge protector that has an internal battery. Plug into one of these and you get a little bit of backup power when everything else goes off. It gives you enough time to save your work and turn off your computer safely.
3 – Unplug
Even if you have surge protection, it’s a good idea to unplug any unused electronics. Not only will this save you a bit of money on electricity (even machines that are off still draw power if they are plugged in) but you’ll also be protected if there are any unexpected surges of power running through your machines while you are away from home or out of the office.
4 – Backup Power
If there is a power cut and you are on a deadline then the last thing you want to do is miss it, or not let your client know about your difficulties. Have a fully charged laptop and a spare battery on standby should you need to finish some work urgently when there’s no power.
You should also always have a fully charged mobile phone on you. There are very few people who don’t have mobile phones now but if you need to call an electrician and you can’t use a landline then your mobile could be the reason you get back up and running.
With most mobile phones you can also use them as a WiFi hot spot. Tether your laptop to your phone and you’ll still be able to use the internet to get your work done. (Or to find the number of that electrician.)
5 – PAT Testing
If you are using electronics in a business then each one of them will need to be PAT tested by a registered electrician. This is to make sure they are safe to use and also to protect you should something go wrong with them and injure yourself or an employee.
6 – Virus Scanning
If you have a large network at work then you run the risk of every computer getting infected if one machine falls foul of a virus. Make sure you have a good anti-virus designed for multiple PCs in a business environment.
There are a number of free versions that are good for home use such as Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG and Avast but some need paying for if you want to use them in the workplace. Ask your technology supplier what they would recommend as it depends on the number of computers and your network as to what you might need.
This is a guest post from Sean at Newark, a company which specializes in distributing electronic components from suppliers such as Vishay, Fluke, Analog Devices and Kemet.