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UPS for keyboard: too much?

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UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:43 pm

Hi there,

I am considering the purchase of an online true sinewave UPS for my keyboard, to be used as backup for power losses and as voltage stabilizer.

My main two reasons for using such a thing would be to protect the internal power supply of the keyboard from voltage oscillations, and prevent the keyboard flash memories from damage due to sudden power losses.

Now, prices for this kind of UPS starts at around $ 300-350. Are the two abovementioned scenarios real concerns or am I worrying too much for nothing? :crazy:
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:08 pm

I don't know the state and stability of your mains power supplies... but I'd say you're worrying too much.

If it's a switched mode (universal) power supply -- and most modern keyboards are -- it will be able to cope with pretty wide mains voltage variations quite happily.

And the memories are very unlikely to be damaged due to power loss. You might, possibly, lose data if you happened to be writing a preset to memory when the power went out, but it's pretty unlikely... and you'd have a backup saved on your computer anyway wouldn't you? :-)

Uninterruptible Power Supplies are great. I have one looking after my computer, network and NAS storage, and it's there purely so I have some time to save work and shut things down sensibly, as well as maintain the wi-fi connection for as long as possible if there's a power outage. I wouldn't be without it as it's more than paid for itself over the years...

But a decent sine-wave UPS is expensive -- as you've discovered -- and there's the ongoing cost of replacing the batteries every 5-8 years.

I might want one on the keyboard if I was doing a festival gig outdoors, but not at home.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:51 pm

Thanks again Hugh, I see you are the same guy from the other thread. ;)

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I don't know the state and stability of your mains power supplies... but I'd say you're worrying too much.

Power losses, we have not so many, in fact I'd say rare, and the ones we do have been often caused by overload by our own side. What 'worries' me more are voltage fluctuations. It's not rare at all to see the house lights visibly dimming down and then brightening back up, and this happens quite often...

I have tested the voltage it over a few months, occasionally, using a multimeter, and the average is 220 V (I am based in Italy, where the nominal voltage is 230 V). Occasionally I have seen peaks of 240+ but also down peaks of 190 V. But I am not sure what I would see if I kept an eye constantly to the multimeter. The problem is that we only have 3,5 KW, so it takes very little to cause fluctuations. If you simply turn the kettle on, you'll see a voltage drop. You switch on the kettle, the dishwasher, the laundry machine and the oven all together, and pretty sure you have a blackout, as I said earlier. Well this part at least is avoidable.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If it's a switched mode (universal) power supply -- and most modern keyboards are -- it will be able to cope with pretty wide mains voltage variations quite happily.

The only keyboard for which I'd invest money for such a thing is a newly acquired Nord Stage 3 of mine, very expensive and so worth the paranoia. :D I am not sure which kind of power supply it uses to be honest, as electricity in general isn't really my area of expertise.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And the memories are very unlikely to be damaged due to power loss. You might, possibly, lose data if you happened to be writing a preset to memory when the power went out, but it's pretty unlikely... and you'd have a backup saved on your computer anyway wouldn't you? :-)

Yes, as far as data backup itself is concerned, I don't worry at all. My concern was rather upsetting the flash drive itself. I too was convinced the worst thing that could happen is mere data loss, but then I found this paper (the only one I could find on the topic):

https://wiki.phytec.com/download/attach ... s%20intact.

I am not sure how to map this onto standard flash drives (the ones we find in PCs and in this case keyboards)... They make it sound more serious that I thought.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Uninterruptible Power Supplies are great. I have one looking after my computer, network and NAS storage, and it's there purely so I have some time to save work and shut things down sensibly, as well as maintain the wi-fi connection for as long as possible if there's a power outage. I wouldn't be without it as it's more than paid for itself over the years...

But a decent sine-wave UPS is expensive -- as you've discovered -- and there's the ongoing cost of replacing the batteries every 5-8 years.

I might want one on the keyboard if I was doing a festival gig outdoors, but not at home.

You definitely have a point and I myself don't know what to think. For one thing, I'd think such an expensive keyboard is worth its protection means; for another thing, spending that much for a device that needs its own care (and money), and for which it is debatable whether its function really acts as "protection" capability in respect to an electronic keyboard... well, hence my doubts.

Also, spending almost the same price every time I have to replace its battery, again not so tempting (you say 5-8 years... the reviews I have read say 2-3 years on average... even less tempting).
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:50 pm

Steven11 wrote:I have tested the voltage it over a few months, occasionally, using a multimeter, and the average is 220 V (I am based in Italy, where the nominal voltage is 230 V). Occasionally I have seen peaks of 240+ but also down peaks of 190 V. But I am not sure what I would see if I kept an eye constantly to the multimeter. The problem is that we only have 3,5 KW, so it takes very little to cause fluctuations.

Ah... Okay, then. That's not a very stable at all supply, is it?

And I think the Stage 3 mains input range is fixed voltage, not universal. So taking those things together, it does makes more sense to use an 'online' or regenerating (double conversion) UPS -- one that provides full-time active voltage regulation, which is the most expensive type!

I'd think such an expensive keyboard is worth its protection

Yes, if your mains supply really is that poor, and with that specific keyboard, I think you have a valid case.

Also, spending almost the same price every time I have to replace its battery, again not so tempting (you say 5-8 years... the reviews I have read say 2-3 years on average... even less tempting).

I use an APC smart-ups and my battery is currently 7.5 years old and still getting 100% rating, so eight or more years is certainly possible... But it depends how hard a life the battery gets.

My UPS only cuts in if the mains voltage goes outside the permitted range of something like 216V and 252V, so It actually only kicks in on full blackouts or serious brownouts -- and that wont help you, so it sounds like you'd need one of the continuous ups regeneration types that provides a stable voltage at all times.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:08 pm

This is something I have thought about several times, I use a basic/budget offline UPS to protect my digital mixers on live gigs, one has just failed after about three years of being on 24/7 for seven and a half months each year.

Correct me if I'm wrong but a UPS needs three elements. A battery, a charging circuit, and an inverter to provide 230VAC from the battery*. Apart from the convenience of a single box what does it do that makes it better than a battery with a separate charger and Pure Sine Wave inverter? I feel I'm missing something obvious and as soon as I ask the question it will come to me..... :headbang:

* I am, for the moment, disregarding any surge or spike protection it may have, my cheapo UPS' don't have any of that.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:23 pm

APC define three basic forms of UPS.Standby UPS System

1. Standby UPS system -- commonly used for home personal computers. It is the most basic UPS system and is cheaper than other types of UPS systems. Often referred to as an offline UPS. Comprises a battery, switch, low pass filter, and an AC/DC and DC/AC inverter. This system would automatically shift to battery power once the main power source is interrupted. The cheapest generate a stepped/staircase mains output which can upset some gear and cause interference, while the better ones generate a sine-wave.

2. Line Interactive UPS mainly used for small businesses, data centers and servers. The battery and inverter of these systems are continuously connected to its output. These systems feature a voltage regulator that automatically adjusts the voltage of the main power source in low voltage conditions. This is important since UPS systems normally switch to battery mode during low voltage conditions. The Line Interactive UPS system is considered as the most efficient UPS system in the market today.

3. Double Conversion Online UPS systems are normally used whenever higher voltage is required. While the design of these systems is similar to a Standby UPS system, the primary power source passes through the inverter before it goes into the devices connected to the system. In this design, there would be no power interruption in case the main power source goes out since it only serves as a backup source. But, it should be noted that since the whole power load is converted by both the inverter and the battery charger, efficiency may be reduced and more heat may be generated.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby innerchord » Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:14 pm

Hugh has provided all the technical knowledge. I would simply add that the variations in your power supply would certainly scare me into purchasing some protection for the Nord, and anything that might suffer from a voltage dip or spike.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:14 am

I think I'll pretty much go for it. I have embraced the fact that I have to go for the most expensive type of UPS to address this issue. :cry: At least what Hugh says about battery life is promising.

Right now I spotted this particular UPS I find interesting:

https://www.amazon.it/Continuit%C3%A0-C ... ics&sr=1-2

It's a 80 yo Italian manufacturer, well known and respected down here, and the price looks 'reasonable' for what it is. 900 W is probably way beyond what I need, but this is already their smallest -- well, it'll have enough capacity to plug other keyboards and maybe a PC into it.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Ah... Okay, then. That's not a very stable at all supply, is it?

I'm guessing not, at this point... :( But here's the thing: the national electricity provider here in Italy guarantees 230 V +/- 10%... so they can supply you with 207 to 253 V, and anything comprised between this value is 'legal' and you can't really tell them anything (of course what our devices like the most is a different story).

The problem is that those 230 V +/- 10% are what they guarantee to provide you with at the source (that little station outside everyone's house... I don't know what it is called, I am not native in English). And I don't dispute that they may well manage to stay within their stated range (in general, they don't have a bad reputation in this sense, so I am pretty sure that I would find readings close to 230 V); but then, since my home contract it's only for 3,5 kW, the voltage drop that I experience when I turn appliances on and off, it's none of their business or responsibility (and of course I can't blame them).

Be as it may, if you add the two things together, the final voltage gaps that you experience can be pretty dramatic. As I said I don't know what numbers I'd see if I kept the multimeter plugged in all the time -- at this point I'm not sure I want to know. :D

I guess another solution would be to upgrade my contract to something way higher than 3,5 kW, but this would probably cost more, in the long run, that those € 350 that I'd spend for the UPS. Plus, all the other benefits that I'd get with it.

So yes, I have pretty much made my mind...
Thank you guys for your help!
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:39 pm

Steven11 wrote:The problem is that those 230 V +/- 10% are what they guarantee to provide you with at the source (that little station outside everyone's house... I don't know what it is called, I am not native in English). And I don't dispute that they may well manage to stay within their stated range (in general, they don't have a bad reputation in this sense, so I am pretty sure that I would find readings close to 230 V); but then, since my home contract it's only for 3,5 kW, the voltage drop that I experience when I turn appliances on and off, it's none of their business or responsibility (and of course I can't blame them).

That 230V +/- 10% is standard throughout Europe. It is effectively a compromise that allows the power companies in different countries to supply the same voltage that they have always supplied (which in the UK is 240V) while telling people that there is a unified standard. The good thing is that anything with a CE mark should be able to handle the full voltage range with no problems.

I would have to say that 3.5kW seems very low - in the UK 14kW (60A) is probably the lowest household supply you would normally encounter and they are often 24kW (100A).
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:49 pm

As you say, the potential voltage range isn't a major problem in itself if the voltage remained reasonably stable. The concern for the OP is that the actual voltage changes dramatically when other household loads are switched on or off... Which would give me sleepless nights! It's nt the kind of high quality utility mains supply I associate with western Europe!
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:28 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:As you say, the potential voltage range isn't a major problem in itself if the voltage remained reasonably stable. The concern for the OP is that the actual voltage changes dramatically when other household loads are switched on or off... Which would give me sleepless nights! It's nt the kind of high quality utility mains supply I associate with western Europe!

Well, as I said I am not an expert in electronics, but is going from 230 to 220 and then back to 230 a 'dramatic' oscillation? This usually happens when I switch the kettle on and nothing else. If then the dishwasher, the laundry machine and the oven were on, I think I'd see 205-ish. So if they would be switched off simoultaneously, I guess we'd see a spike such as 205 to 230.

I ask because, perhaps naively, I also would have thought that modern appliances should be able to deal with any voltage within that range and 'jumps' thereof, as James says.

At this point I ask: what is a good ballpark figure to determine what constitutes a 'sudden' voltage variation, in terms of voltage values and in terms of seconds needed to get from A to B? Is from 210 to 230 in 5 seconds 'sudden'?

James: here in Italy 3,5 kW is considered to be the 'standard' for normal households (where 'normal' means a 3-4 people family). There are people who choose to go 6 kW, but anything beyond this is considered fancy/for companies, and it's usually expensive and not perceived to be useful in any way.

I don't know what to think... the voltage drops I see must be experienced by lots and lots of Italians with 3,5 kW, considering that we have, in terms of appliances, what is considered to be very average (dishwasher, oven, laundry machine and the like...). I don't know, maybe nobody is measuring their voltage with a voltmeter. :headbang:

Or maybe those voltage drops are considered 'safe' by most... don't know what to think really. :( What I can say is that, despite 3,5 kW, in order for us to have a blackout, we would really have to switch all the appliances on at the same time almost on purpose, so blackouts due to overload happen probably 2 times in a year. We haven't had stuff broken/smoked in 30+ years because of electrical problems...
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:44 pm

Steven11 wrote:I also would have thought that modern appliances should be able to deal with any voltage within that range and 'jumps' thereof, as James says.

Yes, they should be able to cope with any voltage within the spec -- and devices with switch-mode PSUs are extremely capable...

The issue that concerns me a little is just how susceptible your own supply is apparently to local load variations, and the implication that switch-on/off spikes may be present which would be much more of a challenge for sensitive equipment to cope with.

Just for comparison, here are a couple of plots showing the mains voltage variations I experience here in the UK, first for the last 30 minutes, and the second from midnight.

mains 30 min.jpg

mains one day.jpg


The voltage range since midnight for me is 224-236 and for the last 30 minutes is 225-235V. These plots are generated by the APC UPS that protects my computer gear.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:41 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Yes, they should be able to cope with any voltage within the spec -- and devices with switch-mode PSUs are extremely capable...

You said that as far as you know the Stage 3 doesn't have this kind of PSU. How could I check such a thing for sure? The spec only says 230 V, as far as voltage is concerned. Having the CE logo should imply that the range is in theory 195,5 - 264,5 but what does a switching PSU do differently?

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The issue that concerns me a little is just how susceptible your own supply is apparently to local load variations, and the implication that switch-on/off spikes may be present which would be much more of a challenge for sensitive equipment to cope with.

You're right; all I can say is that, thinking back to what the other user said about having 14 kW as a standard in his household, at this point I am not surprised that every single little appliance causes a massive volt drop here where I live.

Your graphs show a variation of 10 V or so during a time span of many hours. In my house, simply turning on the kettle means a drop of 10 V. Clearly not the same game...

At this point I don't even think it's a problem of the local national supplier being poor, but rather of the fact that here in Italy we are 'used' to wrong power standards: 3,5 kW clearly isn't up to all the electric stuff that's present in a modern household. For some reason, though, it has remained the norm...

Can I ask a perhaps naive question? You said the voltage variation could potentially annoy the power supply of a device. But isn't the very action of switching a device on, whenever one does it, equal in practice to give it a sudden spike from 0 to 230 or so? Unless one is giving tension to it in an incremental way...

Anyway thank you so much so far for all the help. Much appreciated. :)
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:01 pm

Steven11 wrote:Can I ask a perhaps naive question? You said the voltage variation could potentially annoy the power supply of a device. But isn't the very action of switching a device on, whenever one does it, equal in practice to give it a sudden spike from 0 to 230 or so? Unless one is giving tension to it in an incremental way...

Yes - switch on is probably one of the most stressful times in the life of a piece of gear. That's why faults often appear at switch on. However, it a condition that is expected and the designer should ensure that it is handled gracefully. Many pieces of gear delay powering up certain parts of the circuit until the power supply has had a chance to sort itself out which is why sometimes the lights might take a second or two to light up.
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Re: UPS for keyboard: too much?

Postby Steven11 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:15 pm

Alright, I got my UPS, tested it and all seems fine.
It's a such big relief to power the Stage 3 knowing it's always 230 V. :)

Thank you so much to all of you for your help. These kind of info, I wouldn't have gotten just asking people around. This is what forums are for and I am grateful to have found such kind responses.

Regards!
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