UPS's and battery Backups mostly a RipOff !!!


D

Dave

10 mo's ago I bought an APC BX1500 UPS/Battery Backup Cost me $169.95 plus
tax
Rated at 110 min backup time (proved to be 45 min). The first one was
defective. Got a replacement. It died after 10 months's !!!
APC didn't return my call for a service request !!!

Only buy a battery backup that will give you about 5 - 10 minutes. You only
want enough power reserve to be able to shut down your computer plus maybe 3
min more to be safe. Once it seems like power is back on and stable, turn
your computer back on. To buy anything that has more backup time than a few
minutes is NOTHING BUT A WASTE OF MONEY !!! A battery backup costing about
$40.00 or $50.00 bucks is about all that makes sense. If you want a UPS that
will keep your system up for several hours or all day, you'll have to pay a
fortune. These half way 60-240 min backups are in fact not even good for
half that time and are nothing BUT A WASTE OF MONEY !!! Companies keep
changing the model numbers so by the time problems happen, likely the UPS
you bought will no longer
be in stores - Your basic shell game !
 
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D

Dave (from the UK)

Dave said:
10 mo's ago I bought an APC BX1500 UPS/Battery Backup Cost me $169.95 plus
tax

That is a cheap UPS
Rated at 110 min backup time (proved to be 45 min). The first one was
defective. Got a replacement. It died after 10 months's !!!

These are low cost items.
APC didn't return my call for a service request !!!

Autonomy (battery operation time) is normally *not* quoted at full load,
but some fraction of it.

I made the point on here only a week ago that low cost UPSs are often
more hassle than they are worth.
Only buy a battery backup that will give you about 5 - 10 minutes. You only
want enough power reserve to be able to shut down your computer plus maybe 3
min more to be safe. Once it seems like power is back on and stable, turn
your computer back on. To buy anything that has more backup time than a few
minutes is NOTHING BUT A WASTE OF MONEY !!!

A battery backup costing about
$40.00 or $50.00 bucks is about all that makes sense.

Except that at that price point, quality will be poor. They are often
less reliable than the mains supply they are supposed to be guarding you
from.

Given the choice of no USP or a $50 UPS I'd settle for no UPS.
If you want a UPS that
will keep your system up for several hours or all day, you'll have to pay a
fortune.

True. In fact diesel generators are really the only practical way for
all day.

I've had 5 hours on my UPS with a low-spec computer on it. But that UPS
cost 20 x what you paid for your unit. It will not run from a standard
13A socket in the UK, but needs to be hardwired in to a 32A outlet.
(since we have twice the voltage, the same current gives us twice the
power, so that would need something like a 63 A connection in the US).
These half way 60-240 min backups are in fact not even good for
half that time and are nothing BUT A WASTE OF MONEY !!! Companies keep
changing the model numbers so by the time problems happen, likely the UPS
you bought will no longer
be in stores - Your basic shell game !


---
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: [email protected] Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.
 
R

Robbie McFerren

I just purchased a UPS from newegg. It just lost it's rebate so it is
now 74.99 USD for 750 VA. It is a Powercom office UPS 750S and it seems
okay, but the most I've had it offline intentionally was for about 50
seconds (can't stand the damn beeping). It is of course a standby UPS,
but it's slowest switching time is still four times as fast as I need
it. The biggest quirks that get me are:
Voltage 108 - 115 (This is within spec though)
Battery level monitor in software (designed to show 100% when charged
with power online)

This UPS connects through a serial port so it does not waste a USB port
(good news for me).
 
D

Dave (from the UK)

Robbie said:
I just purchased a UPS from newegg. It just lost it's rebate so it is
now 74.99 USD for 750 VA. It is a Powercom office UPS 750S and it seems
okay, but the most I've had it offline intentionally was for about 50
seconds (can't stand the damn beeping).

You would be foolish to not test it on load for a while to see if is OK.

You can usually disable the bleepers via software or hardware switches.
It is of course a standby UPS,
but it's slowest switching time is still four times as fast as I need
it. The biggest quirks that get me are:
Voltage 108 - 115 (This is within spec though)
Battery level monitor in software (designed to show 100% when charged
with power online)

This UPS connects through a serial port so it does not waste a USB port
(good news for me).


--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: [email protected] Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.
 
C

Charlie Wilkes

True. In fact diesel generators are really the only practical way for
all day.

That's not quite true. I'm always on "backup power" because I live on
an island, off the grid. I have a Trace DR series inverter and a bank
of six Interstate L-16 deep-cycle batteries, about 750 amp hours @
12vdc, of which only about 250 is really usable unless I want to
shorten my battery life considerably.

To charge my system, I use a Honda EU1000 generator, which I need to
run for several hours each day when I am using my new computer 12 or
more hours a day, which I have been doing lately. This is a special
generator that works better than normal AC generators for charging
batteries, because it is built with a DC generator and step-up
inverter, which means the battery charger can use more of the AC wave
cycle, instead of just grabbing the peaks. I can put up to 45 amps
into my batteries with this small generator, as opposed to only about
25 with a larger Honda generator that uses a conventional dynamo.

The square-wave ("modified sine wave") nature of the DR inverter is
more efficient for power cubes and other units (such as computer PSUs)
that convert AC to low-voltage DC. Again, it's because the converter
can use more of the wave.

I have yet to fry anything, although there are a few battery chargers
for cordless drills, etc., that won't work on my inverter. Sound
equipment hums, unless it too has an AC-to-DC converter in the
circuitry, which will clean that out. For people who want to power
computers rather than sound equipment, a true sine wave inverter is
not a good technology... less efficient in converting power from DC,
and less efficient in feeding power to the computer's PSU... but "true
sine wave" is a big selling point for UPS's.

UPS's are basically a sealed lead-acid battery and an inverter. I
have had various cheap inverters, and my observation is that they all
fail quickly if they are subjected to any kind of serious duty cycle.
My Trace cost about $800 and is rated for a constant duty cycle.
Trace inverters are the gold standard for serious applications.

The thing about lead-acid batteries is, they can't be drawn down and
allowed to stand without a charge. That will ruin them. Sulphate
sludge forms. It coats the plates and insulates them, so the battery
will no longer take or hold a charge. But with good care, good
batteries will outlast their projected useful life of 5 to 7 years.

If I wanted to make a reliable backup power system for use on the
grid, I would buy the Trace inverter and a single deep-cycle marine
battery for about $75. That would give anyone enough time to shut
down, with a buffer to finish sending a couple of emails etc. BUT,
I'm not sure about the switch between grid power and the
inverter...the Trace will do it automatically, but it can be tricked
by failing power, like a generator running out of gas. I always have
to go out and pull the plug on my generator... if I let it run out of
gas and sputter for awhile, my computer will lose power before the
Trace kicks in.

Charlie
 
J

John Doe

Dave said:
10 mo's ago I bought an APC BX1500 UPS/Battery Backup Cost me
$169.95 plus tax
Rated at 110 min backup time (proved to be 45 min). The first one
was defective. Got a replacement. It died after 10 months's !!!
APC didn't return my call for a service request !!!

I had a Tripp Lite uninterruptible power supply that died.
Only buy a battery backup that will give you about 5 - 10 minutes.
You only want enough power reserve to be able to shut down your
computer plus maybe 3 min more to be safe. Once it seems like
power is back on and stable, turn your computer back on. To buy
anything that has more backup time than a few minutes is NOTHING
BUT A WASTE OF MONEY !!!

The key expression there is "Once it seems like power is back on and
stable. A voltage regulator - line conditioner will make sure that
your computer only turns off once during a brownout, and once it
goes off it stays off. It won't let your computer spontaneously
restart. That's all I need, to protect my hardware from being
thrashed around by household voltage fluctuations. My computer work
isn't important enough to have a minute by minute protection from
blackouts that rarely occur and never occur when I'm doing something
important.

A cheap UPS is a waste. I would think that most programs
professionals use have automatic save anyway. And the important
thing here is protecting my hardware.

A cheap UPS is not designed for frequent handling of brownouts. A
line conditioner is made for handling brownouts. I was just window
shopping for them last night. Unfortunately, I already bought a
cheap APC LE1200 voltage regulator thingy. Apparently it works well,
but I should have paid more for a better unit. And I would prefer
more LEDs that show more information about line voltage status,
maybe the Tripp Lite LC1200.

The problem is probably that most non-technically inclined users
don't understand the benefit of a voltage regulator, but they like
the fun of a battery backup. I think that's why you don't hear much
discussion about voltage regulators or find them readily available
at your local stores.
 
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C

Charlie Wilkes

I had a Tripp Lite uninterruptible power supply that died.


The key expression there is "Once it seems like power is back on and
stable. A voltage regulator - line conditioner will make sure that
your computer only turns off once during a brownout, and once it

Yes. Exactly. That is where my Trace inverters falls down on the
job... when the voltage warbles. A dead reliable backup PSU, for
someone who doesn't want to damage hardware or risk their system
registry getting corrupted, would involve a line conditioner that
would shut the power down at the first warble, a Trace DR inverter,
and a deep-cycle battery. Then you'd be covered. Anything less, and
it's a crap shoot.

Charlie
 

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