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Xator
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject: I need a UPS recommendation Reply with quote Back to top

I'm only interested in keeping the cable modem and the RTP300 router on backup so I don't loose my phone during a power outage. Any recommendations on a reliable brand and about how long it will stay running for me?
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I've always been a big APC fan, but a UPS is largely a UPS as long as the brand is a decent one.

Currently, I'm running an APC Back-UPS ES 500. At 50 watts (probably enough to run a Vonage adapter or router and your average cable modem), it has a rated runtime of about an hour.

http://www.apc.com/products/runtime_for_extendedruntime.cfm?upsfamily=21

_________________
Comcast Cable (3m down / 256k up) -> Linksys BEFCMU10 v2 (DOCSIS 1.0) -> WRT54G v4 ("Tomato" firmware) -> the rest of my network including a WRTP54G (Firmware: 5.01.04)
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

While you're plugging in your Vonage adapter & cable modem, don't forget to plug in the phones! Without the phone connected, you're going to be up the creek in a power outage. I also like to take a small lamp and put a compact fluorescent bulb (those screw-in replacements for table lamps) in it and have that connected as well if the UPS is large enough to support it.

APC or Tripp-Lite.... don't even bother getting a different brand. You're dealing with a device which is designed to produce dangerous voltages. Spend the money and get a quality (APC or Tripp-Lite) unit which won't fry your equipment, or possibly you. The off-brands have very poor voltage & frequency control, which can damage your equipment.

As far as a UPS being a UPS, I totally disagree with this statement. The main difference between UPS from Tripp-Lite or APC (I'm an APC fan too) is the output type. Incoming power from the power co is synchronous sine-wave, generated by mechanical generators. This is what your equipment was designed to run on. The batteries which store the electricity you use when the utility fails run on straight DC, which doesn't oscillate. Cheaper UPS (including those from APC & Tripp-Lite) put out square wave, not sine-wave power. Sure, the manufacturers have flowery marketing names for it, like "modified sine wave" or "stepped approximation to sine wave (APC)" or Tripp-Lite's even more ambiguous "PWN sine wave", but that's just putting lipstick on a pig -- the inverters in those heaps are putting out square wave power.

Many electronics don't suffer any adverse effects from running on square wave power for short periods, but there are side effects. Timing circuitry often has trouble syncing up with the square wave output and most DC power supplies will run hotter on square wave as well. Additionally, many DC power supplies will put out higher-than-normal voltages when running on a square wave supply. AC motors will also run slower and hotter. Then the fun stuff comes up -- magic smoke. Yes, there are some devices which will overheat into oblivion and release that magic smoke* when on square-wave. When you're using a lesser UPS, switch to battery, and hear your electronics making buzzing or other different noises than they do when on mains current, you're hearing the side effects of running on such terrible power.

The APC Back-UPS ES 500 is a great unit for the price (just under $50), but it does put out square wave power, not sine wave, and offers no real power filtering when on utility power. It also uses a float charger (rather than intelligent charger), so it's always charging the batteries whether they need them or not, reducing the battery's lifespan. It also means that it'll take at least a day for this UPS to recharge, but hey, for $50, you could do A LOT worse, and I wouldn't expect anything else for this little money. Probably 85% of the equipment out there will survive, but not thrive, on this type of UPS. All of APC's Back-UPS series & Smart-UPS SC series put out this type of power. Most of Tripp-Lite's UPS put this out as well.

If you're backing up anything fun, like a video projector, really nice A/V equipment, or even a battery charger, go for a true sine-wave UPS. Your equipment will thank you for it. You'll get nice & clean power when on-battery, but also will get clean power when on mains, as pure sine-wave output is usually only found on the higher-end UPS. These tend to be on-line (on-battery 24/7) or line-interactive (on-inverter 24/7), so all of the power used gets filtered & processed all the time. At this level, 3-stage temperature-compensated chargers are the norm. You'll also find some great metering & management capabilities, which aren't essential to keeping your gear going, but makes for a great diagnostic tool in keeping your power going. I've had more than a few times when the UPS monitoring logs were the first sign of power problems within a building or the building's supply. The APC Smart-UPS series, Symmetra series, and Matrix series all put out pure sine wave power. Some of Tripp-Lite's Smart series has a pure sine-wave output, but only the models with a -SLT suffix. All of Tripp-Lite's SmartOnline series are sine-wave.

*Magic smoke is an essential part found in each electronic component. Without this smoke, the electronics fail to work, hence, letting this smoke out will stop the electronic device from ever functioning again. There are no currently known methods to replace this magic smoke in semiconductors, so the device will either need new components installed or the entire device replaced.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I am also a big fan of APC products. I have a Back-ups ES 350. I chose this model as the largest of the wall mountable APC units so that I could mount it in my communications closet.

While VonageTPA's information is good, it appears that the lowest priced APC Smart-UPS is almost $300. In my mind it would be cheaper to replace the modem and adapter than to purchase this expensive of a back up solution. While it might be appropriate to protect an expensive home theater or small business server with a more expensive unit, the typical home user should be able to make due with a less expensive unit.

I have never disconnected wall power to determine actual run-time, but seeing as these devices draw very little power when compared to the desktop PCs these APC units are designed to run, I expect several hours of run-time. This number is supported by the calculator on APC's site.

To this point the UPS has provided power for the duration of all power outages we have experienced. APC does offer a calculator that allows you to specify your equipment. Unfortunately the power specifications for the cable modems, routers and adapters tend to be max values rather than continuous so the results appear rather pessimistic. You will need to get those power requirements before you go to the APC site, as far as I can tell APC does not yet list these types of products in their selector.

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norriton
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I, too, have been very happy with APC equipment. I have used various models of their units on my computers and comms equipment for about 10 years now. I test them regularly and have had to replace some of the batteries (to be expected after years of operation).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I tend to look at the long-term when planning this stuff out. I've yet to see a UPS be left alone running only the loads that it was originally planned for. Invariably, other plugs creep over to it and find themselves connected to the UPS as well. FWIW, the Smart-UPS series starts at $230 for a 750VA.

For the basic devices (cable modem, Vonage router, cordless phone), the Back-UPS ES 500 would work fine and provide ~3-5 hrs of service. If you go this route, make sure the wall wart power adapters for your devices have plenty of ventillation, as they WILL run hotter than they normally do, likewise for some of the devices. Also try to keep the UPS cool. The ES has no real cooling to speak of and a "dumb" battery charger, so expect the batteries to last about 3-4 years in one of these. The better UPS systems can double this lifespan to 6-8 years, have hot-swappable batteries, etc. It really depends on what level of precision you need. For most home users with average consumer electronics, go cheap (but still get an APC).

_________________
ISP: Varies depending where I'm at.
Vonage: Linksys RTP300
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Total calls since Jul 24, 2005: 4,794 calls
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

As with others in this thread, I too am an APC fan.

As it happens, Office Depot has one with a $10 Rebate at this time, brining the price to only $30.00. Got this deal from one of the shopping deal forums I also frequent.

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?id=281456

It is the APC ES 500

I personally have an ES 725 that I got also at Office Depot for like 20 bucks on a great deal a year or so ago.

On a related topic, some of the cordless phones out there support a base station that takes a battery. In my case (A Motorola MD681) this only lets me use the handset, but this also keeps me from having to plug my phone in to the UPS as well. On this model the battery goes in the base station and is the same battery that the handsets use.

Just wanted to also throw it out there for those thinking about backup setups.

Hope this helps out.

-John

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pdhenry
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

butterman wrote:
As it happens, Office Depot has one with a $10 Rebate at this time, brining the price to only $30.00. Got this deal from one of the shopping deal forums I also frequent.

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?id=281456

It is the APC ES 500.
Shows up at $59.99 from here. Guess I must have missed it...
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addweb
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Not sure if this is stil valid, but i saw it on slickdeals:

CompUSA.com has APC XS Series 800VA/540W Black uninterruptible power supply for $120 - $50 Instant Savings - $20 rebate for the final price of $50. Shipping is free. Lowest on PriceGrabber is $105.

Link
http://slickdeals.net/?pno=7231&lno=1&afsrc=1

Rebate
http://slickdeals.net/?pno=7231&lno=2&afsrc=1
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norriton
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I will start by noting that I said in an earlier post that I have been happy with APC units ... and I still am.

But I saw the post about the BX800 bargain at CompUSA, so I got one. After charging it I put some network equipment on it, drawing all of 92 watts. All was working well, so I pulled the plug to simulate a power outage. Next thing their software said the unit was overloaded (92 watts on a unit rated for 540 watts) and then the SMOKE started coming out of the vent at the top. So, I guess it is a defective unit.

I had a quick online chat and they will be sending a replacement along with pre-paid return labels to send this one back. Very efficient.

Now I just have to air out the house from that awful 'burning electrical' smell.

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Vonage Customer since: Nov 2005
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