In most flight simulator forums, Discord communities etc. you’ll often see questions from fellow simulation enthusiasts inquiring on what is the best CPU or GPU to install into their PC. Others might ponder on which flight yoke, sidestick/joystick or rudder pedals to spend their hard earned money on. Still others might inquire about which headset/microphone combination will work best for VATSIM. While all these are extremely important questions to ask, especially when you are relatively new to the hobby of flight simulation, there is often one very key item left out which can be an absolute life saver. In my opinion, the most overlooked simulator hardware item is…..
The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Yes, a UPS is often completely overlooked when designing a home flight sim hardware setup. Oh sure, many people will realize this after they’ve experienced power failures which ruin a multi-hour flight. While there are many options for auto-saving a flights progress….these do nothing to prevent or protect your flight progress during an intermittent or longer power failure.
I personally live in a nice neighborhood in Denver where all our power lines are buried underground. So we typically don’t experience the sort of power outages that some neighborhoods/communities would experience due to downed power lines from storm, ice or the occasional car crashing into a nearby power pole. However, we do occasionally experience the brief interruption of power that is enough to certainly cause the PC to switch off and this has even happened when I’m enjoying (or trying to enjoy) a flight in the sim.
Several years ago when I designed my home office/man cave I wanted to ensure that not only my gaming PC, but other PC’s and also my internet router would be protected from any short-term power outage we might experience and I purchased the APC 1500VA Smart UPS from Amazon. This UPS is powerful enough to operate my gaming PC, multiple monitors along with my internet router for more than an hour. This particular unit is probably overkill for most sim setups and there are certainly less expensive options that will work just as well.
When choosing a UPS, I recommend a name brand such as APC or Tripp Lite. I’d personally stay away from any of the knockoff brands. If you are just running a single PC, monitor etc. most likely a 600VA unit will do the job. Most quality units will include both the power backup feature, but also just as importantly, protection against electrical surges. Something like this from APC can be purchased on Amazon for less than $80. While I think a user replaceable battery pack is standard on most units sold today, I would make sure you can replace the battery yourself. Most of these SLA or sealed lead acid battery packs will need to be replaced every 3-5 years.
While a UPS isn’t as sexy as a brand new yoke or a set of rudder pedals, I certainly believe it serves a very important role in any home simulator or gaming setup. It’s probably not too late to ask Santa for one of these.
Until next time….