UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) Questions

Discussion in 'hardware' started by TheKid7, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I just ordered a UPS for my wife's computer. The model that I ordered was a mid price range model which is stated to have 'Pure Sine Wave' power output.

    My Firewall Router, Un-managed Switches and Cable Modem are all together in a different room. I am considering ordering a UPS just for these devices. It is obvious that the UPS would not have to be a big one due to the low power requirements. Would a less expensive UPS, which does not have 'Pure Sine Wave' power output, be OK for these devices? In other words would these device work OK during a power outage with a cheap UPS supplying the power? Also, how would these devices behave during a power outage if the power outage is long enough for the UPS batteries to discharge?

    Thanks in Advance.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Understand that "affordable" pure sine wave UPS have only recently become available and for decades, our computers and network gear ran just fine with UPS that used "step approximated" sine waves (or whatever the marketing team for that brand calls it). Pure sine wave UPS have only recently come down in price, in part due to their popularity with home theater audio systems to avoid any "noise" in the audio. Sensitive medical monitoring equipment required pure sine wave UPS too - but not computing equipment.

    The problems others have had in the past are typical when using budget, generic power supplies in their computers. A quality PSU is unbothered with stepped approximated power and neither are DC power blocks as used on just about all home network equipment.

    So yes, you can certainly put a less expensive model on your network equipment - something I recommend all the time, especially if users get their phone access via the Internet. The big advantage to keeping power to your network devices, besides the obvious, is your IP address assignments will remain. I would not get the cheapest you can find, but no need to bust the budget either.

    Same as they would if not on a UPS - they would act like you pulled their power plugs - that is, they would simply power off and reset when power returns. The good news is these devices draw very little power (compared to your computer) so, depending on the size of your UPS, may keep running for hours during an extended power outage.

    FTR - I live in Tornado Alley and I have all my computers, my network gear, my phone, big screen TV and home theater audio, and my garage door opener on UPSs - and none are pure sine wave and it all works just fine. I have one APC UPS that is nearly 30 years old and it keeps working perfectly (of course, I have replaced the batteries several times over the years, however). Should it die, then I will look for a pure sine wave but I am not going to ditch these UPS just to get a pure sine wave UPS. There's no need.
     
  3. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I have a bit of a different slant. Years ago 15 or so UPS that said they'd power a monitor & tower for 15-20 minutes were around $80. And the true time was more like 8 minutes.

    I lived in the top place for thunder in the US. I pretty much never left my pc on unattended unless I felt like gambling. But when I was there the UPS gave me enough time to safely shutdown. And a lot of times even though I had pretty good Tripp Lite surge protectors as well I'd unplug from the wall anyways.
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I don't see you "different slant". It seems normal to me.

    As for you 15 - 20 minutes, $80, and 8 minutes, that really means nothing without knowing what demands the hardware was putting on the UPS, what the user was doing, the size of the UPS, and the condition of the batteries. Way too many variables for your example to be of much value. But considering the purpose for the battery backup side of an UPS, 8 minutes is more than enough time to finish your paragraph, save your open documents, exit your programs, then "gracefully" shutdown Windows and the computer.

    FTR, I have an APC Back-UPS XS-1500 and I have it supporting this i7, 16Gb, R7 250X computer, router, modem, 4-port switch, phone, plus "TWO" 22 inch CCFL widescreen monitors and it will provide approximately 35 minutes of runtime should I lose power. If I power off one of the monitors, that jumps to 46 minutes. With both monitors off, it jumps to 1 hour - but then I cannot use my computer.

    But 15 years ago, computer hardware was much less efficient. CRT monitors where still pretty common, CPUs consumed lots of power as did everything else.

    That said, it should be noted that battery power during a power outage is really just the icing on the cake. The real value of a UPS is the AVR (automatic voltage regulation) it provides. Surge and spike protectors are little more than fancy and expensive extension cords as they do absolutely nothing for abnormal low voltage events like dips (opposite of spikes) and sags (opposite of surges), or long duration sags (brownouts) - any of which can cause your electronics to suddenly stop, resulting in possible corruption.

    Also note that every UPS I have seen from many different makers says clearly in their user manuals to "DO NOT use with a surge and spike protector!" This is because if used on the input side of the UPS, the UPS AVR circuits may see the voltage waveform out of the surge and spike protector as too "dirty" resulting in the UPS kicking over to batteries more than needed. And when the surge and spike protector is used on the output side of a UPS, the UPS may see the load as erratic and kill power. So don't use surge and spike protectors with a UPS.
     
  5. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Key terms to look for are "full online" and "double conversion". That will let you run the UPS from dirty generator power.
     
  6. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    You may need pure sine wave if your PC PSU has Active Power Factor Correction; otherwise, stepped is fine and is far cheaper. I would get facts and confirmation from the PSU OEM. For your other devices, stepped sine wave is fine.

    For brands, I only use APC; any other brands, in my experience (Tripp-Lite, Cyberpower, Belkin, over the past 30 years), can't compare. This goes for blackouts, brownouts, hurricanes, and lightning striking my tree (no kidding...all my neighbours' PCs and consumer electronics were destroyed whilst mine all remained intact). What you don't want is your UPS to shut off because it wasn't built to keep running during high/low voltages or spikes, which the lesser brands tend to do, making for one expensive and bulky surge protector. Their batteries seem to be lasting a lot longer these past several years.
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I would not limit that to lessor brands, but cheaper models - or entry level models even in the better brands. If you buy a $40 UPS, not only will the run time be less, but the AVR (automatic voltage regulation) will be less sensitive and capable, and the "cut-over" times longer. This is why I said above the real value of a good UPS is the AVR it provides. A budget model may be fine for some electronics, but not for sensitive high-speed digital electronics, like computers.

    As far as PFC (active or passive), again, I have not seen a problem using a stepped approximation UPS with any decent quality, name brand PSU. If you find a PSU that says don't use a UPS (regardless the type of UPS or PFC), I say find a different PSU because the means the regulation circuits in the PSU itself are not worth their salt, IMO. I note the output waveform of many surge and spike protectors can be pretty ugly too, and PSUs must also compensate for that as well. If the PSU meets or exceeds the ATX standards for hold-up time (17ms minimum) and input voltage and inrush current requirements, it "should" have no problems being protected by any decent UPS with AVR (assuming adequate VA capacity).

    I do agree completely with Rolo about APC. Although I have used Tripp-Lite, Cyberpower, Belkin, and a couple others, I think APC offers a better product. But they know it too as APCs tend to cost more. The only non APC UPS I still have in my house (the others all died) is a "Geek Squad" branded UPS I got on sale after learning this particular model is a re-branded APC.

    That said, I NEVER, as in NEVER EVER buy replacement batteries from the UPS maker. They charge an arm and a leg for the same batteries you can get at several places on-line for much less. I guess that is to compensate for all the labor involved to stick their brand labels on the batteries. :( Just shop around, they go on sale all the time. But don't go just on the price of the battery - some sites charge more but offer free shipping while others charge less but you pay shipping (and batteries are heavy!). So factor in shipping costs to find the better bargain.
     
  8. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    The bulk of the UPS cost has always been the battery; hence, I just replace the entire UPS--especially since the protection components will have wear, depending on how much they've been used, particularly the phone line and coax conditioners. I've had a few fry to protect the connected equipment. The cost is low since these last about 5 years (shortest one was 3 and I have one that's 7 and counting).

    Additionally, a nice extra is the LCD display that tells load, power draw, time remaining, etc. The load (W) combined with stress-testing software is nice to assess the size PSU that is needed for a given system.
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Not me! I typically find replacement batteries for my $200 APC UPS for $50 (or less). Why toss a UPS that can last for 10, 15, 20 years or longer just because the batteries need replacing? You might as well buy a cheap UPS if doing that.

    Sorry, but I disagree with the wear and tear argument. A decent regulation circuit easily compensates for that too. As I noted above, I have a 30 year old APC SmartUPS still working just fine. I do agree wear and tear greatly affects surge and spike protectors, including that side of many UPS. But not the battery side.

    I also agree having a nice LCD display is great for the reasons you noted. It is particularly handy as you can see what is happening without booting your computer to run the UPS monitoring software.
     
  10. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    'cos a $50 battery is not the same as a $200 battery. "Rated mAh" and "tested mAh" aren't the same. cf. http://batteryuniversity.com/
    It may not matter much if you aren't powering a PC (or it's a really low-power device, like a Chromebook) but it matters if I'm drawing 550W off the battery--I would like more than 30 seconds of battery time, which is about all a cheap Chinese knock-off would provide. What brand/source do you use?

    UPS does no good if those components are worn; power will be lost when input is out of tolerance as these components are never bypassed. cf. http://atmega32-avr.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/APC-BACK-UPS-250i_400i_600i-sxems-31.gif

    And APC's is horrible...for the fact that it continuously logs power info each second. Said info is only non-functional gee-whiz calculate your power cost gadgetry with no way to disable it (disable the service, it triggers errors).
     
  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    What? I NEVER EVER said or implied it was! That makes absolutely no sense. I am sorry, but it seems you really don't understand what this topic is about.

    OF COURSE a $50 battery is not the same as a $200 battery. We are talking about UPS here. And the $50 replacement batteries in a $200 UPS (which IS what I said) make up only part of the cost of a UPS. If you peel the labels off your OEM APC batteries, guess what? They are the same Chinese batteries you get from BatteryWholesale.com. If you are only getting 30 seconds of runtime, then the batteries are worn, or you have the wrong size UPS on your system. That is not the fault of the UPS.

    What's the point of the Battery University article? It says NOTHING about rated vs tested. :(

    SLA battery technology is NOT high tech. If a battery is rated at 12V 9aH, that is easy to validate and if a battery fails to meet those specs for the warranty period, you go after the retailer. If the retailer fails to satisfy, go elsewhere. Simple. Not science.

    A circuit diagram? Really? Is that supposed to illustrate your claim? That is just more obfuscation (like the rated vs tested claim) of the issue for no reason. I went to school to learn how to read and follow schematics but I doubt more than a very few on this entire site can read and follow them through. :( OF COURSE if the parts are worn, a UPS does no good. But again, I was talking about the batteries - not phone line and coax conditioners which have nothing to do with the battery side on any UPS!

    But to this, just because the batteries wear out (which SLA batteries do just through time anyway) that IN NO WAY suggests the AVR or cutover circuits are worn out. You said you replace your UPS instead of replacing the batteries. I said, and still say I don't - because there is no need to! At least not if you buy a "good" UPS with AVR. If someone wants to waste their money with a new UPS just because the batteries need replacing, go for it. But don't claim it is needed because that is simply false.

    FTR every UPS I have owned and currently own has battery replacement instructions. And many even have a LED (or some other indicator) to tell users when to replace the batteries. If the UPS needed replacing every time the batteries wore out, surely the UPS makers would rather sell you a new UPS!

    Again, this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Not to mention it is totally wrong and not the primary reason for using the software anyway! If you don't want to run PowerChute, don't install it! NOTHING says you must use UPS monitoring software and NOTHING says you must use the interconnecting data cable either - and that is with any UPS, not just APC. And when you do run PowerChute, it does not keep a continuous log (as in log file) for every second either. It does log performance info for the last week, 4 weeks, 12 weeks and 24 weeks, but that is a running total of events and time on battery, not a second by second accounting.

    And yes it does accurately calculate your power costs IF you accurately entered the rate your power company charges per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and IF your power company does not use different "off-peak" rates.

    But none of that is the point of the monitoring software in the first place! The reason you install the software that comes with your UPS is so it can signal to your OS that power is about to go down. This allows the OS to save any open documents, close any running applications, then "gracefully" shutdown Windows and turn off your computer before it comes crashing down and potentially corrupting your data and OS. And PowerChute does that very well indeed.
     
  12. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    I didn't link an article; I linked the home page. In case you didn't know: some of those words on that page, you can click on them and they will show you even more words that tech stuff! :eek:

    So you link an aftermarket replacement battery that's $200? I can't see your point. It doesn't matter as I'll prove (with links even) about how you're mistaken.

    Well, you linked a an AGM battery which is a little more technical than standard SLA and all of this is moot since low-tech things have variations and degrees of quality. Take automotive batteries, for instance, an Exide is not the same as an Interstate even though they are about as low-tech as you can get besides sticking a couple of probes into a lemon.

    And the retailer doesn't cover warranties; the manufacturer does. Look at all the bad reviews to see people, like you, who had to learn the hard way. Besides, I'd rather not waste my time on junk I know is junk. That's the difference between "frugal" and "cheap".

    I know you did as did I (probably the same school in fact); I was talking to you when I posted it. You and I both know the semiconductors in that schematic do break down with time, use, heat (ahem, see your sig), and stress (which produces heat)--especially if the component's job is to be subjected to extreme stresses on a regular basis (lightning strikes, disconnects, reconnects, brownouts, surges, spikes, sages, etc.)

    I didn't say that it was needed; I said that is what I do and why I did it. I do it because I don't want to buy a new battery for an UPS that has a good chance of needing replacing shortly thereafter, leaving me with an extra battery that will degrade over time whether it is used or not--actually especially if it is not used. I have UPS for reliable operations and keeping old, degraded components isn't the way to ensure reliable operations.

    Wrong again. My APC batteries (RBC124) are made in the Philippines and are rated at 9Ah. https://www.cdw.com/shop/products/A..._kwcid=AL!4223!3!47981653339!!!g!114355071127!
    The cheap replacements are only 7Ah: http://www.atbatt.com/cr-apc-apc-ap...Fl8aA-usDEGc9SJ1PaSwcVGhtIaApOW8P8HAQ#related

    I don't know why you go on the offensive and attack people personally when someone disagrees with you, Bill, so I'm just going to put you on ignore and let you be.
     
  13. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Oops! My mistake! Those are not the right batteries. That was for a different UPS - note those are 18V.
    :( Amstron 12V 9Ah F2 for $7.99 less.

    I never attacked you. You are just making stuff up now.

    That would be wonderful! Thank you.
     
  14. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I use the bigger Cyperpower systems UPS, and have been very satisfied with their performance. I have dirty power hear, can even hear the AC react to power drops, and they have also protected the computers. I do use surge protectors ahead of them, but not the cheapies. I use Zerosurge protectors and they have never caused an issue with the UPS. But they aren't cheap.
     
  16. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The CyberPower is BIG! One that size will easily support her computer and monitor(s) and an ink jet printer - though it is not normally recommended to put printers on an UPS (and NEVER laser printers). Note it has user replaceable 12v 7Ah batteries but also note you can replace them with 12V 8Ah or even 12V 9Ah batteries as seen here. The advantage to using the larger Ah batteries is longer run times. As long as the physical dimensions are the same, and the connector type is the same (in your case F2), there is no problem using the larger capacity batteries. This is exactly what I have done with all my UPS when it came time to replace the batteries.

    I suspect the UPS for your network gear will support your network devices well over an hour!

    UPS SLA batteries generally last about 3 years, so start testing them about that time. The CyberPower 1350 you can test via your PC and PowerPanel Personal Edition software.

    For your network UPS, you may just need to pull the plug and see if it holds. Or, if you have a notebook, install the PowerPanel software on it, then connect the USB comm cable to test.

    I have a couple table lamps with 150W lightbulbs I use to test UPSs.

    Oh, and note that Radio Shack used to recycle the batteries but sadly, RS has shut down. Check your local Best Buy as some will take them so they don't end up in land fills.
     
  17. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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  18. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    As I noted in post #4 above,
    Bottom line is they are not needed, but read the UPS manual any way and I suspect it will say don't!
     
  19. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    It's a bad idea, see your manuals; they'll tell you not to plug your UPS into a surge suppressor or a surge suppressor into an UPS and it voids the warranties on both (at least for APC and Tripp-Lite).

    I don't know why you would want to do that anyway; your UPS is already performing this protection function.
     
  20. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    Agreed, I have always heard the same.
     
  21. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I 'fired-up' and configured both UPS's.

    UPS #1: 810 Watt Pure Sine Wave UPS. Attached Devices: Intel Core i5 Windows 7 Home Premium PC (Intel onboard video, 1 - SATA6 SSD Drive, 4 - SATA6 Hard Drives, 1 - DVD Burner, 1 - TV Tuner Card, 1 - 2 Port USB 3.0 HUB), 1 - 19" LCD Monitor, 1 - 2.0 Speakers, 1 - 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet unmanged Switch.

    According to CyberPower Power Panel Software: 97 Watts being used with 45 minutes battery runtime (PC at idle with all hard drives operating).

    UPS #2: 390 Watt Simulated Sine Wave UPS. Attached Devices: Firewall Router, Cable Modem, 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet unmanaged Switch, 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet unmanaged Switch. Older PC is attached via USB in order to configure this UPS. This PC is not on the UPS's battery power connection.

    According to CyberPower Power Panel Software: 35 Watts being used with 86 minutes battery runtime.

    I turned off ALL Alarming and Notifications on both UPS's so the wife will not be bothered. I set the 810 Watt UPS to shut down the PC when 5 minutes of battery power is remaining. I tested both UPS's using the CyberPower PowerPanel USB Management Software.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  22. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Sounds good!
     
  23. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    When I ran the Self Test of the 810 Watt Pure Sine Wave UPS, the 'Remaining battery capacity' dropped from 100% to 95% during the very short Test period. It took a several minutes to get back to 100% Remaining battery capacity.

    When I ran the Self Test of the 390 Watt Simulated Sine Wave UPS, I think that the 'Remaining battery capacity' dropped to 99% before returning to 100% a short time later.
     
  24. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    Suggestions:
    • Don't put speakers on battery; they aren't critical and they will drain the battery quickly, especially with sound playing. Use the surge protection outlet on the UPS instead
    • Have Windows control the shutdown based on battery remaining rather than using an absolute timer; if you're just browsing, you may be able to whether the 10-20 minute power outage without shutting down. If the UPS software didn't disable Windows' Power Management, you may have both running and in conflict
     
  25. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I don't see a question there but note those network devices draw very little power - even when maxed out which is very little most of the time. For example, were all 13 of your 1Gbps Ethernet ports running at max bandwidth? And consequently was your router and modem pushing out maximum bandwidth too? I can safely say no - by a long shot.

    I agree, no speakers or especially budget models. Although modern amplifiers draw next to nothing when idle, they quickly ramp up when reproducing sound. And as mentioned earlier, printers should not be on the battery side of the UPS either.

    I have never seen a conflict with power management settings on a PC. Notebooks are another story because the system is already managing a battery.
     
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