Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 90 / NOVEMBER 1987 / PAGE 10

Safe From Surges

Is it safe to turn on the computer, disk drive, monitor, and printer all at once with the switch on a power strip?

Charles Wilkinson

With your computer and peripherals connected to a power strip, it is tempting to leave the switches for your computer and each peripheral turned on so that they all power up when you turn on the power strip. While many people use such an arrangement without incident, we do not recommend this procedure because it carries a slight risk of damage to your computer.

Turning on all your equipment at once can create a brief power surge. The more equipment connected to the power strip, the bigger the potential surge. For most computers, the ideal sequence is to turn each peripheral on individually, then turn the computer on last. When you're through using your system, turn the computer off first, then each peripheral. Turn the power strip off last.

But don't give up on the idea of using a power strip. It can be particularly valuable for computers and peripherals with external power supplies. Even when the device it supplies is turned off, the external power module is usually still on. (Feel it; it will probably be slightly warm.) Many manufacturers recommend that you unplug the external power supply module when the equipment is not being used to turn it off and keep it healthy. Turning the power strip off has the same effect as unplugging the power supply. Power strips with built-in surge protectors also provide valuable protection from power line surges.