UPS Question

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Rico, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    This is true. I do it all the time. As long as you ensure the batteries are the same voltage, use the same F1 or F2 terminal, and have the same physical dimensions so they fit inside the battery compartment, you can replace the batteries with higher Amp-hour capacity cells. The result is indeed longer battery run times. If the connected devices ran off DC, those higher Ah cells could deliver more power too. But that is limited by the UPS circuitry to prevent excessive current situations - a good thing.

    And while possible, it is not a good idea to use less capable cells. That is, if your UPS typically uses 12 9Ah, it would not be wise to use 12V 7Ah cells as that will decrease the VA capability significantly. Depending on the load, it could result in the UPS shutting down prematurely, or fail to cut over to battery at all.

    I run all my network gear through my UPS too. If there is an outage, and if I am quick to shutdown my computer and monitors, my 1500VA UPS will keep my network alive for at least 6 hours. This is great since that means I still have Internet access and communication to the outside world with my other portable devices (laptop, cell phone, ect.) - at least until their batteries run down.

    You don't have to go with deep cycle batteries. Standard SLA batteries work just fine. Deep cycle batteries are typically found in scenarios where running the batteries down to discharge (or near discharge) is a common, almost daily occurrence. For example, when used in wheel chairs, or outdoor lighting that come on at night and off at dawn, then charge with solar power during the day.

    In most UPS scenarios, they typically go many days, even weeks or perhaps months before kicking over to batteries. And the typical scenario then is they only run for a few minutes before power is restored, or the user shuts everything down.

    Just looking at my APC PowerChute logs for the UPS on this computer, in the last 24 weeks, my unit switched to full battery backup just 3 times, with a total time of 45 minutes, 11 seconds on battery. If I remember correctly, one of those outages lasted about 30 minutes and the other two I don't remember, but clearly, only about 5 minutes each on average.

    Now there is a note that says, "Power problems of a very short duration are not recorded here." My documentation does not say what "very short duration" means but I believe it is 1 minute or less. So even though I live in Tornado Alley and my utilities drop from poles instead of being buried, you can see where "deep cycle" batteries are not necessary - at least not for me.

    Note too that does not mean my power grid is stable. On the contrary, little "flickers", surges, spikes, dips and sags are common. That's where the AVR kicks in. :)
     
  2. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    Do you leave the default settings for AVR? I see on a CyberPower it is set to intervene below 100 volts or above 139 (U.S.).
     
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Mine is set to 88V and 136V. BTW, here's another good reason to have all our sensitive electronics on a good UPS with AVR. This is a true story.

    Back in May 2017, I came home at about 9PM to hear all my UPSs beeping (I have a UPS on each computer, my home theater/TV system, even my garage door opener). Yet the house lights were still on! o_O

    A quick check on the LCD status display panel of my UPS for this computer showed the incoming line voltage was 143VAC!!!! It should have been ~120VAC. Another quick check with my multimeter confirmed, 142.8VAC and the 220VAC outlet in the garage was showing 285.6VAC. :eek: Not good - especially for things like air conditioning, freezer and refrigerator compressors.

    I called the power company, told them I was a technician and what I had found, then told them if they didn't want to pay to replace all the air conditioners and refrigerators in this neighborhood, they needed to send someone out right away. And [happily], they did - like in 15 minutes! The electrician checked the power entering my meter and confirmed exactly what I had reported. This also established the problem was not on my end, but with theirs - thus affecting at least every home supplied by the common transformer.

    They expedited a bucket truck out to check the transformer on the pole. They determined the transformer "tap" was faulty. They had to kill power to the whole neighborhood and move the tap temporarily until they could replace the 30 year old transformer.

    They moved to a functional tap and the setting was still a little too "hot" at 258VAC (129VAC single phase). But at least that was a safe level and all the UPS (and I) were happy - for now.

    About 2 weeks later they replaced the old transformer with a brand new one and now we are sitting at 120VAC. :)

    Had I not had an UPS on my computer, I would have had no clue anything was wrong with our power. I probably would have fired up the computer and with the voltage being that hot, might have put too much strain on the PSU regulator circuits. This could have resulted in several unexplained failures of the electronics in my house (and all the neighbors' houses) too. The LCD panel made troubleshooting a snap. It also allowed me to easily explain to the power company trouble desk, in a convincing, believable manner, the urgency of the situation so they would send someone out so quickly.
     
  4. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    @Bill_Bright That's quite a story. Good they got it fixed.
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Yeah, the first guy that came out and verified the problem said it was a good thing I was a tech and knew what to look for. The rest of my neighbors are totally unawares - except that the power went out twice. Oh well.
     
  6. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    I just ordered a second APC 600VA UPS from Amazon. It will replace a unit that is over eight years old.
     
  7. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    They're cheaper than I paid for mine! Even the bigger ones are cheaper.

    I've been generously given an Amazon gift card... now what to buy? Just thinking out loud. ;)
     
  8. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    Yeah, I know. I didn't realise I had bought deep cycle batteries until I got home and Googled them. Might as well hang on to them, as I mentioned, I can still watch TV after my power goes off and it won't matter if it completely drains my batteries doing so.
     
  9. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    When I look at the price of a UPS compared to the price of a replacement battery, it begins to look a lot like the strategy of the cheap printer to entrap the consumer in the expensive toner/ink cartridge buying loop.
    You're probably referencing what type of UPS to buy, but in case this is a wide-open question, I'll suggest a cordless leaf blower or chain saw! Be sure to pick up a couple extra 4.0Ah batteries, though... and be ready to spend, as they are pricey little things.
     
  10. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Anyone have an opinion on the PowerChute Personal Edition software that comes with an APC UPS? I have never been inclined to install it, viewing it as yet another way for a company to ingrain itself into our lives. All such skepticism aside, I'd like to hear what others may think? Put it another way, what am I missing by NOT installing this software?
     
  11. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    Nar, just a rhetorical question. I don't need another UPS and a leaf blower?! No. I just can't see the sense of those. I see people blowing grass and leaves off concrete or paths only see the wind blow them straight back again. I just don't get it.

    ... Anyway, that's probably going OT now.
     
  12. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    :thumb:
     
  13. digmor crusher

    digmor crusher Registered Member

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    Correct, I don't get blowing leafs either, however, they are great for blowing snow off my deck.
     
  14. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    Good to know. I've only seen snow twice in my life, so...
     
  15. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    I have used it on the servers at work. Well worth installing in that situation as it notifies me of issues. For home use, I'm not sure I'd bother. At home you'll already know when you're having an issue.

    Also on the replacement batteries, we did that once at work and they cost almost as much as a new UPS and only worked for a couple of weeks before they failed. Never again. That said that applies to a workstation UPS. The rackmount server UPS units have had battery replacements directly from APC and they were fine and much cheaper than a new rackmount UPS.
     
  16. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Okay, I see a response is necessary... :D I live under a canopy of conifers, and find that if I want the rain gutters and downspouts to function properly, I have to get up on the roof periodically to blow the leaves off. Raking doesn't work so well up there, and a powerful blower will clean out gutters jammed with leaves. Thank you. Please resume on topic discourse. ;)
     
  17. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    I am not overly impressed by APC's 3-year UPS warranty. Customer must send the defective unit back to Schneider (APC). Customer pays shipping. After receiving the defective unit, Schneider will send a reconditioned unit back to customer, and Schneider will pay that shipping. Essentially, this warranty gives the customer even more reasons to just buy a new unit when something goes wrong.

    Interestingly, for the unit I purchased, Amazon provides a PDF link
    to access product warranty info. This PDF says the warranty is "for the lifetime of the original purchaser". A bit contradictory with the User Manual warranty info that came with the unit, which states 3 years.

    Bottom line is, for me anyway, that I have had very good success with APC products over the years, usually getting far more than 3 years of service out of everything I've purchased from them
     
  18. IvoShoen

    IvoShoen Registered Member

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  19. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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  20. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    We buy a mix at work. Some APC and some CyberPower, The rackmount units are all APC. We've replaced the batteries once and they have been fine. More than 3 years old. I think about 5 at this point. Most of the workstation units are CyberPower. Some of them as much as 10 years old. When those die we just replace them. They are both acceptable units but the thing I don't like about the CyberPower is that when the batteries die it just lets out a beep and shuts off, causing the problem we bought them to solve.
     
  21. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    We cannot wear a tin foil hat all the time. To be sure, you do not need PowerChute or any of the equivalent programs from other makers. But if you don't use it, you miss out on several features, including one of the most important - the ability to have the computer automatically save any open files you have, then "gracefully" exit running programs and "gracefully" shutdown Windows, then "properly" turn off your computer BEFORE the batteries run out completely.

    So what are you missing? You are missing the protection from data loss and possible boot drive corruption that are entirely possible whenever power is suddenly yanked from a computer!

    Without the UPS monitoring software running, the AVR will still regulate the power and if necessary, the UPS will still cut-over to battery. But when the batteries run down, if you are not there to "gracefully" shutdown the computer yourself, the UPS will simply shut off, killing the power to all your connected equipment, forcing your computer to "hard crash"! :eek: :( Never good!

    Other features of PowerChute include logging, the ability to manually run and schedule self-tests, configure cut-over voltage thresholds and sensitivity, alarms and notifications. Not to mention you can check the current status of the UPS, the total power draw (very nice) and the line in voltage (super nice!).

    "IF" your UPS has a LCD display panel, you can see some of the current status. But you still don't have any of the graceful shutdown protection features without the monitoring software and your OS communicating with the UPS.

    And are you always home, 24/7/365, year after year? Are you always awake? Have you never heard of a power outage when sitting on the throne or while taking a shower? While outside mowing the lawn or raking up those leaves?

    Well, the concerns are the same now as they were when you ordered the first one. I think that was a mistake then and another mistake now. You should have got a bigger UPS. And not just to support a larger load or to increase battery run times. But also because larger UPSs tend to have more features (like very informative status display panels) and also better specs in other key areas, like regulation, anomaly suppression, and faster transfer times.
    :( Umm, no. It is nothing like the cheap printer/expensive ink scenario. It is much more akin to the auto-parts industry. Printer makers include code in their printers to yell at you if you use aftermarket ink. And some makers have gone so far as to disable the printing device if you use aftermarket ink. UPS makers have done no such devious things.

    Would you buy a replacement car battery from the car maker/dealer? Or would you buy an aftermarket battery from Walmart, or Autozone, or Pep Boys? You certainly could buy from the dealer but you would expect to pay a lot more than if you bought from a aftermarket parts store. And guess what? Car makers don't make their own batteries! So you are buying a 3rd party battery anyway - just like replacement UPS batteries.

    And in case someone is going to complain about PowerChute eating up resources, I just checked mine. It is using 0% CPU resources, and less than 15Mb of RAM - 25 times less than my browser and 30+ times less than my anti-malware solution and less than 1/2 the amount of RAM than the calculator I used to calculate those 25 and 30+ values.
     
  22. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Thankfully you are here to point them out for me.
     
  23. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Most APC users/owners seem to have good things to say about their products. :)
     
  24. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Well again, IMO this is still better than using a surge and spike protector and certainly better than simply plugging directly into the wall.

    And yes, most APC owners have had good service from their APC UPS. I know I have. In fact, my very first APC UPS I got over 25 years ago and it still works. It is on its 4th set of replacement batteries and is currently in my garage supporting my garage door opener. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  25. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    No, but my PC is certainly not on when I am not using it.
     
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