Tandy Power Switching System
Cat. no. 26-203
Reviewed by Pamela Rice Hahn
I bought my ST for a variety of reasons.
While I have never regretted the investment, I did become temporarily frustrated by being required to reach behind disk drives, under and around the monitor and behind the computer itself to turn everything on. A computer is supposed to automate your life, right? There had to be an easier way.
For me, Tandy's Power Switching System (PSS) was the answer. Now I have push-button efficiency whenever I'm ready to power up. Granted, there are less expensive alternatives; however, they don't have the features I found in this unit.
Setup is simple. The computer and appropriate peripherals are plugged into the back of the PSS; the PSS cord is then plugged into your three-wire grounded AC outlet. The outlets at the back of the PSS are labeled according to the corresponding (and equally labeled) controlling switch on the front of the unit. The manual suggests you either leave all unit switches in the on mode and control power to all components when you toggle the master switch, or turn on the master switch and then toggle each unit switch in the appropriate order. I prefer the latter, since acting on the first suggestion could defeat the voltage spike-protection purpose of the PSS. Spike protection is provided to prevent power surges, such as those that can result when a major appliance kicks on.
A red LED indicator lights up when the master switch is on; the green spike protector indicator light remains on as long as the protection circuitry is functioning properly. The unswitched outlet remains on at all times so it can be used for your desk lamp or any other electrical device you keep at your computer-desk area that doesn't require the surge protection.
The PSS has three independently filtered sections that prevent power-supply interaction between the computer and peripherals connected in each section. Of the six outlets provided, the printer and aux2 are in one section, the aux1 and monitor are in the next section and the computer outlet is in the final section. A sixth non-filtered but transient-protected outlet is also provided. (It should also be noted that the outlet spacing is sufficient to accommodate AC adapters.)
While it can't protect the contents of your computer's memory against power failures or brownouts, the PSS does minimize transients and noise generated by other electrical devices. A 15-amp circuit breaker protects against overcurrent catastrophes.
While this option isn't used too often, the Power Switching System unit itself provides a swivel base for my monitor, which sits on top of the unit, allowing me to adjust the viewing angle when I want to demonstrate a program for someone seated at my side.
If you're having to reach around and between various pieces of equipment in order to power up your system, you might find that the Tandy Power Switching System is an invaluable companion for your ST.
Pamela Rice Hahn has been an Atari enthusiast for five years. An active member of MVACE and the former editor of The TCAUC Newsletter, she continues to dispatch at a small-town police department to help support her family's computer habit, all the while dreaming of someday fulfilling her desire to become a full-time freelance writer.