I recently bought a great piece of equipment that deserves a rave review. But honestly… I don't expect you to buy one for yourself. It would be unnecessary overkill for most people. Still, there must be someone else out there with the same unique requirements I had, who would appreciate knowing that this thing exists.
The equipment in question is the PurePower+ AC Regenerator from PurePower Partners LLC. It acts as a wall power conditioner, distributor, and uninterruptible power supply with battery backup. I couldn't be happier with the way it has been operating and has solved the problems I was having.
To understand why the hardware is both valuable and unique, you need a bit of background…
Supporting client webinars and webcasts means I need uninterrupted power and internet. While impossible to guarantee in practice (I am subject to inevitable breakdowns in services delivered by outside utilities), I do everything I can to reduce the risk of a catastrophic failure. I have multiple computers, two phone lines carried on different circuits, whole-building power surge suppression for spikes on the main, and I have probably bought more Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) units over the years than you would believe. I'm looking around my office as I write this, and I can spot four UPS units and a line conditioner parked against the wall. That's just the latest set I replaced with the PurePower+.
If you aren't aware of the problems that inconsistent power can cause to your electronic devices, it's worth exploring the subject and building up your understanding. Wall power is far less perfect than most people think. It operates within a fairly wide tolerance range and can be affected by interference and feedback from other devices plugged into the same circuit, as well as other outside factors. You can get instantaneous or longer-term voltage changes, as well as variations in the waveform frequency and shape. These can create problems for sensitive electronic equipment.
The first line of defense is a simple surge protector. Those little power strips that sell for $20 at your local office supply store prevent a big surge from traveling into your computer and frying all the circuitry. Usually. If they have a high enough load rating and fast enough response curve. There's a lot of garbage sold at the consumer level, and you don't want to stake your business on it.
The next level up is Line Conditioners and UPS units. A Line Conditioner is designed to smooth out over and under voltages to deliver a smooth and consistent waveform to your equipment. There is no standard for what kind of filtering and protection should be included in a line conditioner, so you need to study the specs carefully to figure out what a given manufacturer includes. They do not have battery backups, so they are no help if your power dies (either short or long term).
An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is designed to keep power flowing to your equipment in the event of a power loss. They typically contain batteries and usually offer surge suppression as well. But they aren't good at smoothing out harmonics or waveform irregularities… The ones that most people buy off Amazon or from office supply stores at the $60-$200 price range are passive units. They just let power flow straight through from the wall unless they notice a big surge or power loss. Higher prices get you faster switchover, more outlets, and bigger batteries to handle higher loads for longer runtimes.
I had a combination of those devices protecting various components, each device was carefully matched to the load ratings of my equipment and the criticality of operation under a power hit. But last year I started getting "glitches." The worst was that my cable modem would throw itself into a reset, cutting all connection to the internet and to one of my phone circuits. That's obviously unacceptable.
I got lots of different people involved… Independent electricians, the power utility company, and the cable company. We replaced the main cable line coming in from the street, swapped out the modem twice, and verified that there were no major wall voltage problems that were out of tolerance. The problems continued.
I finally decided that the modem must be reacting to small, extremely fast transients on the line that would trigger a reset. My research led me to believe that the best solution would be an Online (or Double Conversion) UPS. This type of UPS runs connected devices off its battery at all times. The battery constantly recharges from the wall power. So there is no switching time or threshold tolerance involved in noticing power drops. The device reconstructs a smooth AC waveform from the battery power, which is better than the original waveform coming from the wall.
The big problem with online UPS units is that they run hot. Since the battery is plugged in and charging at all times, they need active cooling, which means fans. And every review I read of the major players in this space commented that the fans were annoyingly loud and intrusive. I can't have that kind of noise in my office while conducting and recording webinars.
Which FINALLY brings me to the PurePower+ unit. They advertise the products for the high end audiophile community as a way to get better sound from amplifiers, preamps, and so on. As such, they are used to supporting heavy electrical power demands with no added room noise. I also liked the fact that they allow you to supplement the primary battery with an add-on external battery for longer runtimes in the event of a power drop.
I spoke to a marketing manager at PurePower (they are based in Canada, in the triangle between Detroit, Toronto, and Niagara Falls). He set me up with a PurePower+ 1500, which is the lowest capacity unit in their lineup. It is rated to deliver 1350 watts continuous power, 1750 watts for 2-minute temporary draws, 2700 watts for 10-second bursts, and an astonishing headroom of 6750 watts on an instantaneous burst!
With the attached external battery, the specs estimate that the unit can run a full 1350 watts continuous load for 30 minutes, and a half load for 110 minutes.
My units showed up securely packaged and well-protected from shipping apes. The main unit and external battery are large and heavy. They look somewhat like audio amplifiers. You can rotate the display on the main unit and stand both boxes on their thin edges, like two tower-format desktop computers standing side by side. Otherwise you plant them horizontally on a big rectangle of floorspace and stack one on top of the other. The external battery connects with a thick, heavy cable that forces the two boxes to be in close contact.
Each box has small perforations in the case near the frontplate and larger grating vents at the rear. I am astonished that these provide enough airflow for cooling, but I haven't heard a fan come on in the entire time I have owned them, and the cases never feel even moderately warm to the touch.
The PurePower+ has 10 outlets for connecting equipment, and the slots seem well-anchored, with a good grip on the plugs. I plugged in two desktop computers, three LCD monitors, audio speakers, a modem, a router, and a desk phone. The rated power consumption of all those devices together is 962 watts, but the load indicator on the PP+ front panel stays under the 50% mark. If I turn off my backup computer and monitor, I'm sure I could get two hours of continuous power for my main system, which would let me finish any scheduled client webinar even in the face of a power loss.
Most importantly, I have not had a single modem reset or operating glitch in my equipment since I installed the new power unit. It runs silent, runs long, runs cool, uses only one wall outlet to power up to 10 devices, and provides a well conditioned, tightly regulated power signal.
With all of that going for it, why did I start this article by saying I don't expect you to buy one for yourself? Because it costs WAYYYY more than typical consumer-grade UPS or line conditioner units. My combination of the main unit and external battery set me back in the neighborhood of $4000. That's many, many times the cost you would pay for a typical home UPS unit. Of course it's apples and oranges in terms of what goals the products are designed to satisfy.
The PurePower+ lets me keep my business running in the event of a complete power failure. It eliminates the demonstrated line quality problems I had. It creates no noise in the room. The additional peace of mind and security I get completely justifies the cost for me. I'm a very satisfied customer. Your situation is likely to be different than mine, and a lower-cost contingency solution will probably work for you. But it's nice to know a higher end solution is available and performs as promised in case you ever need it!