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Murray P
09-07-2004, 11:07 PM
Some help from you power genius's would be appreciated.

Looking at UPS units to take 1 PC (275W PSU, AMD 1800+, 3 x HDD, CDRW, 1 x 90mm fan, 1 x 80mm fan), inkjet printer, scanner, adsl router, 4 port switch and soon a P111 500 or thereabouts (2 x HDD, CD, floppy). Usage is work by day (mostly) and PF1, etc, by night.

I've put an order for this APC UPS ES 500 (http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm) uninterruptable power supply. It has 6 standard 3 pin outlets which is handy for being able to plug my bits and pieces straight in and for The order doesn't go through until Monday and now due to looking at too many UPS units without having the knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff, I'm having second thoughts. The terms I'm getting tangled up with are: Line filtering (is this generic), Power conditioning and AVR (automatic voltage regulation). Are these terms separate or have they been mushed up and spat back out by the marketing droids?

There is this one APC UPS CS 500 USB-Serial (http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=BK500EI) has "filtering" but only 4 320 C13 outlets. The outlets are a pain I could get around, but 4 outlets, could I/should I piggy back say, the switch and router (being non data and minimal draw) or is this a complete no no? It costs a little less the 500 ES I ordered but will have to get new leads/adaptors.

APC UPS RS 800 (http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm), this little baby has 4 320 C13 outlets and 2 IEC jumpers, what are IEC jumpers that they need battery backup, could not see anything about them on its PDF data sheet. It has filtering and the wonderful AVR, what's the advantage. Its a cool $730- that's more than 2 1/2 times the cost of the one I ordered with some add ins for leads plus the 4 x outlet issue again.

Do I need the fancy extra's, are they, in fact, that fancy and considering the 500 ES will save my app's when it shuts down, hmm, around I go again??

Just a little info on the power supply here. Although I don't think I've had any major power issues, too much different to the rest of the country anyway, I have had the odd inexplicable reboot. This phenomenon happens a bit more to the family PC, a few room and a different circuit away. There are some decidedly dodgey lighting circuits in this place, some of the bulbs dont last more than a few weeks or months at most (these tend to be in the area where the family PC is). There is a hodge podge of TPS, metal conduit with VIR, and Pyrotenax circuits in this place. Thankfully, I think, my gear is run off TPS extended from one of those metal wall mounted double outlets that is fed in turn by another outlet which is fed by 9mm (3/8) Pyrotenax.

So, what do you think, should I stop worrying and keep the Warehouse/DSE power strip with the pop out surge protector, does the unit look to be ok for my equipment or should I bite the bullet a bit more?

Cheers Murray P

PS. I have looked at other UPS brands like the Belkin & Sola but decided on the APC.

Billy T
09-07-2004, 11:25 PM
If that is a 500W UPS Murray it will be overloaded with two PC's on it. It will be ok for one PC but don't expect it to run for any length of time. I have APC 420 and although it will hold up for about 10 minutes, I usually shut everything down just as fast as I can if the power goes off. Old Faithful is on a separate APC 250.

I doubt that you would get much more thsn 4-5 minutes from a 500W UPS with two modern heavily specced PCs and monitors on it, and you need the monitors to be able to shut down properly.

I'd go for two 500s or one of about 1200W capacity for reliable protection, remembering that battery capacity slowly reduces over time and you don't want to get caught short.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Jester
09-07-2004, 11:32 PM
Interesting, and timely. Our power here has been somewhat unpredictable in bad weather, quite a few quick small powercuts, enough to make the PC reboot, and longer cuts of about 10m mins. I am also looking for an APC, to provide a steady flow of voltage, protect from surges and have the ability to provide enough 240V to carry out a controlled shut down if needed.

Will watch the thread with interest :)

Murray P
09-07-2004, 11:42 PM
Cripes, I should have made clear, the second PC wont have a monitor attached, just the box, I'll browse to it from this one. It will be used as data file server (not apps) and firewall/router when I eventually get cable broadband. It could be a P200 I guess but I have the chance at a Dell P111 or Celeron 600 for not much. The one I'm looking at according to the website I'm ordering from has auto save of data when shutdown is imminent, can't sse that with the others but, the spec's seem to use different jargon which perhaps means much the same thing but I can't figure out the tech stuff enough to weed it out, if you get my meaning.

But for a saftey margin you would suggest up spec'ing the wattage (VA). Or perhaps shifting the non data devices on pure power protection device without the battery backup.

Ta for the reply BTW, I was hoping you were still lurking.

Cheers Murray P

andrew93
10-07-2004, 12:03 AM
> Interesting, and timely. Our power here has been
> somewhat unpredictable in bad weather, quite a few
> quick small powercuts, enough to make the PC reboot,
> and longer cuts of about 10m mins. I am also looking
> for an APC, to provide a steady flow of voltage,
> protect from surges and have the ability to provide
> enough 240V to carry out a controlled shut down if
> needed.
>
> Will watch the thread with interest :)

Ditto
Insofar as I can tell, you can't beat APC

R2x1
10-07-2004, 01:07 AM
I have just been delving into the nether regions of my UPS (APC CS 500) It seems to handle most outages with plenty of time for a graceful exit. Due to a fault it developed recently I was contemplating a warranty claim (14 months to go) but the thought of shipping it back to the USA and waiting interminably for it's return didn't appeal. I took it apart and found a 12 v DPDT relay was failing to switch the output neutral leads to normal AC supply. When I pulled it out, I was horrified to find the relay was of appalling quality and had burnt one contact right away. The other side contact set was unmarked (phase), but when I tried to fire 3 amps at 12 v through it , it began to smoke and arc. The "no name" brand was hurled out, and an Omron equivalent (DSE p/no. P 8012) was painlessly installed to effect a cure. $12.95 beats the freight of around $70 one way, and an unknown delay. If anyone has one of these units, it might pay to check for the presence of one of these trash relays, so YOU can pick the time to replace it. I imagine they would not have used these relays very long
A picture of the offending relay, HERE (http://sal.neoburn.net/imagef1/files/Out_and_in_-_UPS.jpg) if you think you may have one. The low grade relay has a white case, the Omron replacement may have either a black or clear case.
The surrounding thunderstorms here strongly influenced my decision not to wait through a "UPS-less" stage.
R2

Murray P
10-07-2004, 01:38 AM
Interesting R2. Do you mind if I have a few minutes of your time to answer a few simple questions. It wont take long and it's for a worthy cause. Good.

That UPS is amongst the ones I was looking at but I decided on the 500 ES due to the 2 additional outlets and that they are standard 3 pin sockets not the computer lead type.

Was there much cost involved in getting your leads set up with the 320 C13 type so that you could plug everything in?

How did you get around the lack of outlets (4 instead of 6) or is that all you require with your set up?

Leading on to, what sort of loading are you putting on it and is the 500 adequate for your needs or do you adapt in some way?

Apart from the dodgey relay, have there been any other issues with the unit?

Did it come with auto backup/document save before shutdown software, is it capable of this feature?

None of my business but, did you purchase it through a parallel import dealer? Just wondering because you should not have to pay freight to get it repaired nor wait an unreasonable time for it to be returned to you. The retailer should handle all warrantee and RTM issues. These things are also supposed to have a comprehensive warrantee and insurance cover against data lose if the unit fails, is that just hype with the reality being somewhat different?

Never believe anyone asking to ask you a few simple questions BTW ;)

Cheers Murray P

tweak\'e
10-07-2004, 09:29 AM
>Looking at UPS units to take 1 PC (275W PSU, AMD 1800+, 3 x HDD, CDRW, 1 x 90mm fan, 1 x 80mm fan), inkjet printer, scanner,

what type of screen? if crt then a 500VA will be to small. you really need a 1000VA or more for everything your planning on connecting to it.

a have 1000VA (equivalent) ruuning a 19" crt 1.4ghz t'bird 2 hd's 1 cdrw and run time on the batterys is only 10 minutes or so.

godfather
10-07-2004, 09:50 AM
I use a Micromaster 400 VA UPS, for my P4 and 2 x LCD screens.

I get around 5 minutes of backup time on test, adequate for an orderly save and power down.

Also the hub and router are powered from it.

The outlet number is a non-issue, I use a power strip fed from it. Just replaced the 3 pin plug with an IEC one on the power strip and plug it in the UPS output socket.

Mine has "buck and boost" AVR and appears to act as a reasonable line filter.

John H
10-07-2004, 10:30 AM
I have an APC Back-UPS RS500. Can't remember why I chose it now, but I did quite a bit of research at the time...

Without scruffling around the back of my desk, I think I have this attached - one desktop, a laptop, adsl router, LCD monitor, Laserjet printer. I may be wrong about the laptop.

The APC utility estimates I have 8 mins of battery power to do the shut down (which it does automatically if the idiot on the other end of the keyboard is out of the office). I think. I hope.

I have had it for over a year and it has done a graceful shut down once without loss of any data or fried bits. And the keyboard idiot was out of the office at the time.

John

Murray P
10-07-2004, 11:12 AM
Thanks people, good quality info.

Just to clarify something and direct anyone interested to the correct link for the APC UPS ES 500 (http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=BF500%2DAZ), these things do not have battery backup on all the outlets (as thise with them will know). The one I was looking at has 5 outlets not 6 (3 backup, 2 surge, link above) and the battery backup would be handling 2 PC's and one 17" CRTthe rest would be on surge only (VxA=AV?, eg, Monotor 230V x 1.2A = 276 AV/ W??).

So with that in mind if both PC's are flat out (rare) and the monotor on I'm probably getting down to 4 or 5 minutes backup. If I'm out of the office (flat out PC's? must be my neighbourhood crackers borrowing some processing power ;) ) I would be better off getting one with auto save and shutdown and perhaps a bit more grunt although I notice Goddie is comfortable with his setup, LCD screens don't draw anything like CRT though do they, hmm, could I weedle an LCD out of the financial controller ;\ , ouch, these little cog's whirring around are starting to give me a headache.

Now, off to get my eyes tested, can see a few $$ being sucked out of my back pocket for an eyeball upgrade.

Thanks

Murray P

Billy T
10-07-2004, 12:00 PM
A quick rule of thumb for UPS purchases Murray:

Nobody ever went back to the dealer complaining that their UPS gave them too much backup time!

I have my computer, monitor, network switch and ADSL router on the APC 420 UPS, and my print server (Old faithful) is on the 250. I consider my backup time to be marginal, and if I am outside of my office and don't hear the warning beeps then I am in deep doodoo. At some time in the near future when the CFO permits I will upgrade my office to a higher standard and pass these two to my kids as they have no protection at all beyond autosave every 2 minutes on their WP.

Battery changes are important as well. Load test every six months or so, as gel-cells can die without warning.

For a modern computer with average loads, I would look for 1000 to 1250 VA. and the higher value will let me hang my printers off it as well.

BTW, keep an eye on you email later today, I'll be sending you something.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Graham L
10-07-2004, 03:11 PM
A few ideas:

It's a Good Idea to have power down warning to the computer, and software to automatically shut down. (The connection might be a problem these days since it's generally a serial connection).

You never (John ;-) ) put a laser printer on the backed up supply. They pull a lot of power for the heater (often 400W or so), and will seriously reduce your up-time.

Voltage regulation is probably overkill these days of switchmode supplies which work from 90-260 volts.

Billy T
10-07-2004, 03:57 PM
> You never put a laser printer on the backed up supply.
> They pull a lot of power for the heater (often 400W or so),
> and will seriously reduce your up-time.

That's no problem while the printer is on standby Graham, and the reason for having it on the UPS is so that printing can be stopped before the shutdown instead of being aborted through the power failure. Stopping a print run takes only a minute or so to accomplish, so if used in that way the up-time is not compromised. My HP1200 needs 285 watts while printing, but a whole heap less on standby.

I wouldn't add it to the load unless I had a minimum of 1000VA capacity though.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

R2x1
10-07-2004, 05:00 PM
>
> That UPS is amongst the ones I was looking at but I
> decided on the 500 ES due to the 2 additional outlets
> and that they are standard 3 pin sockets not the
> computer lead type.

The "non domestic" outlets I consider an advantage, peole won't be tempted to use it as a distribution board for electric drills, vacuum cleaners or the like.
>
> Was there much cost involved in getting your leads
> set up with the 320 C13 type so that you could plug
> everything in?

The leads were some I had (used to be fairly common between the system unit and the monitor)

> How did you get around the lack of outlets (4 instead
> of 6) or is that all you require with your set up?

One "backed up outlet" supplys the computer, one the monitor, and one is spare :-)
The "Filtered outlet" supplies the printer, scanner, modem (Woosh, own battery) and other perripherals via a powerstrip . Just filtered, not backed up. That is all I require.
The "backed up" sockets are all parallell, so a spike from one faulty bit of protected equpment may zap the rest. It's not just the mains that make spikes.
There are a pair of telephone sockets that give you substantial protection if you use a phone line (I don't)

> Leading on to, what sort of loading are you putting
> on it and is the 500 adequate for your needs or do
> you adapt in some way?

The monitor (Sony G420, 19" CRT)is around 130W, and the Computer(AMD XP2400, Leadtek NCR18D, 1GB ram, 2 x Seagate 80Gb 7200 rpm, cd/dvd combo, Audigy Platinum sound card, Ge4 128Mb, 8x video, tv/fm card, the usual usb gadgets, and far too many fans; this usually runs at 120 watts or so, (more if crunching for NZ Liam's PF1 distributed.net team)
It lasted for 20 minutes without the low battery light coming on, but that was when the battery was new. I don't know how much, if any, less it would be now.

> Apart from the dodgey relay, have there been any
> other issues with the unit?

An urgent early issue was putting some tape over the LOUD warning "beeper". If the power goes off late at night, I would sooner spend my time shutting down, saving data etc. than racing to the toilet in the dark.

> Did it come with auto backup/document save before
> shutdown software, is it capable of this feature?

The software and a USB connecting cable were promised as soon as I registered as owner. They took a little over 6 months to send a serial cable and some software on CD that didn't mention Win XP.
I haven't messed with it much yet due to other problems, but co-incidentally, the fault occured just after this software and cable were installed. It had not trashed any data, so I presume it shut down gracefully. I was away, but when I got back, the electric clock was an hour and a half slow, the computer had shut down, (and didn't require a disk check on restart,) and the UPS was making a rhythmic clicking as it kept trying to power up the stand-by load offered by the monitor and computer. The battery was flat (almost) and the UPS would turn on, initialise, run on battery for a moment, discharge the battery and switch off again. The dead relay would not permit it to run on "straight through" power.

> None of my business but, did you purchase it through
> a parallel import dealer? Just wondering because you
> should not have to pay freight to get it repaired nor
> wait an unreasonable time for it to be returned to
> you. The retailer should handle all warrantee and RTM
> issues. These things are also supposed to have a
> comprehensive warrantee and insurance cover against
> data lose if the unit fails, is that just hype with
> the reality being somewhat different?

I bought the unit as new from trade-me, it had been supplied as a replacement for a called-back unit and never used. The Insurance cover became active as soon as I registered on-line with APC
It has saved my bacon a few times, and has been a completely forgotten sort of box untill the cable and software arrived. I assume the relay was used as fall back during a period when real relays were in short supply at the Singapore factory (I'm guessing) Whoever authorised the fitting of such a low grade component should be publicly and repeatedly dealt with in the appropriate manner .

> Never believe anyone asking to ask you a few simple
> questions BTW ;)

I don't ;)
>
> Cheers Murray P

It was once used as a portable 230 source to do a bit of soldering in a rather remote spot. Worked fine, but I wouldn't reccomend it as a regular occurence; I believe SLA's are not too keen on deep discharges, and respond by dropping capacity. I know they don't like getting too warm. (don't ask)

R2

Murray P
13-07-2004, 11:45 PM
An update for those that expressed an interest in UPS power backups and to the that contributed their valuable knowledge. Thanks.

I ended up purchasing my original choice the APC ES 500VA. I did look at beefier alternatives in the APC, Belkin and Powerware (formerly Sola) range of UPS's + a few stragglers from othe firms. In the end I decided I would get a second unit when the additional computer was added to the mix later in the year. The ES 500VA unit has everything including auto-shutdown and data save features that I need at the moment. Purchasing a second unit later (or now for that matter) gives me greater capacity in every way for less $$ than buying a 700 to 800VA unit now.

It's a pretty neat and tidy unit with options to mount on a wall or under a desk. I've managed to get rid of one multi box and taken the opportunity to tidy up the mess of cable that lurked down there.

One question I have is, would it be ok to plug the dsl splitter on my side of the unit so that I can have the phone and router surge protected or will this move interfere with the dsl signal.

Cheers Murray P

stu120404
17-07-2004, 04:31 PM
Sorry Murray P for off topic your thread, But This is a question I have been waiting to ask for a long time now

How do UPS plug in to your computer?, does it connect to your computer via the power supply?

Billy T
17-07-2004, 05:50 PM
UPS plugs into the wall, then you plug your computer into the UPS stu.

Once up and running with battery fully charged, you can check operation by pulling the power plug to the UPs (or switch off at the wall). The UPS will beep at regular intervals to let you know it is on the job, but the computer should continue as if nothing has happened.

Until the battery runs out that is.......

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Graham L
18-07-2004, 02:48 PM
The UPS protection for the phoneline shouldn't affect the DSL signal. Try it. :D