View Full Version : UPS and power conditioning.....

01-13-2001, 03:01 AM
Hey Guru's...........

What kind of UPS system do you guys like and why (other than the obvious reasons)?

01-13-2001, 10:19 AM
If I might chime in here....APC SmartUPS all the way. I had brief experiences with a couple other makes before APC, but I got burned. Maybe the 2 I had were flukes, but both had problems sustaining powere nearly as long as they claimed. TrippLite systems were the ones I ditched. Now, I know that those claims are very subjective, but the same VA rated machines from APC delivered without compromise. So I stuck with them. The feature-sets are very similar nowadays. Most companies struggle to keep up with each other. That's a good thing usually. But the APC units always felt to me to be a lot more sturdy and well-built. So my computers are backed up by 2 SmartUPS 1400's and a SmartUPS 700. Their software development is a little (OK, a lot) under par. But I am satisfied I got it working under OS 9.0.4.

I believe Hardware Heaven is protected by a bunch of SmartUPS....not sure. Magician?

[This message has been edited by Dogstarman (edited 13 January 2001).]

01-13-2001, 10:27 AM
Thank DSM.

Anyone else?

01-13-2001, 12:07 PM
APC is the industry leader. Their support is top notch as is their ups. Just "traded up" (APC's term for upgrading your older unit from any vendor and they give you a good discount). Sent a Tripp-Lite 750 back with another 750 and they let you buy up to double the amperage. Got two APC 1400s for about $350 each. Suckers are huge and have 6 plugs on the backplane!

Would be great if they released a good Mac compatible upgrade on their older PowerChute software.


[This message has been edited by jorge (edited 13 January 2001).]

01-13-2001, 03:01 PM
Well, the limited features of the current PowerChute work under OS9.0.4 with my machines. Can't even imagine that OSX will be readily supported via serial connections on my vintage machines, though. I would LOVE to have all the features our Windows friends have on their PowerChute, though.

01-13-2001, 07:44 PM
I have a Belkin 1000VA Net -whatever model. It is ok. It seems fairly rugged and its already kicked in a few times where low voltage has occured. Belkin's support sucks, but I got this for $511 (tax included) and do not have actually pay for another 2 months! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The main reason I got the belkin was that its is the highest rated UPS my MICROCENTER carries. The APC units were only the 500VA USB models.

01-15-2001, 01:35 AM
Gee... wish I'd thought to ask this question a few months ago. I got a Belkin as well, although it hasn't had occasion to kick in yet. I'm also not bothering to run any software with it- I always leave my computer in a state ready to go down when I'm away from my computer.

01-15-2001, 03:23 AM
we're using APC SmartUPS and BackUPS Pro here, 1000va and up.

never regretted it. We don't worry about software. We just shut all the machines down if the buzzers go off. It happens about once a year.

01-15-2001, 04:07 AM
Thanks guys.

Mag, how big a UPS would I need for a PTP with 6 SCSI devices, xlr8 g3/400, a couple of monitors, and 4 fans runnin in the box?

Guestimate of course, unless you can wrench that slide rule outa your pocket protector.


01-15-2001, 08:02 AM
Crazey, just to butt in - I would get a 1000VA min. I'm running a PTPRO with 8 internal drives, 5 PCI cards, 256MB RAM (all 8 DIMM slots populated), 2 external firewire drives (CD-r/w & Backup-HD) and two monitors - 17" & 19". Its about a 40% load on the system. This gives me plenty of time to backup. Also in sleep mode its about a 10% load, so if I'm away for a few hours and they system is asleep - there is often time for me to get back - or the power to come back.

I just found out that my landord's microwave, tv & vcr are connected to my dinky 10AMP breaker. He tripped it about 4 times before he gave up on the microwave and went to the oven. The UPS kicked in every time. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

01-15-2001, 12:21 PM
Hi PD 18,

Yeah, but what does 1000VA cost?

10 amp breaker? That's harsh man.


01-15-2001, 12:55 PM
yeah, harsh is that the 10A is not even all mine http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

My 1000VA cost about $511 at the local microCENTER tax included. The http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/cool.gif cool thing is that I dont have to actually pay until March!

I can also add 'network' cards to the box, but Belkin seems to have ZERO support for this - or even tech pages on it. Typical - offer a service you can not deliver. Maybe they will get up to speed soon.... So far the unti has worked great in its primitive form.

01-15-2001, 04:08 PM
1000VA should be fine. I have a similar setup to PD18 and I run off a SmartUPS 1400, which right now is at...lemme see.....about 40% load as well. I have run the whole shabang for at least 15 mintues when the power went off without even dipping into the low battery warning. Bought this particualr unit refurbed on eBay last summer for undr $350. Batteries were replaced immediately prior to me getting it. Check it out on eBay....you might find a good deal like I did. But this is one area I would NOT deal with an individual. Make sure it's some kind of computer store/reseller. They almost always come with at least 30 days warranty. mine came with 90.

01-15-2001, 05:02 PM
a 1000va is pretty much what we consider minimal for a Guru workstation--which looks a lot like what you describe. We typically run three displays, an array, and a variety of peripherals inside and out. We don't pay attention so much to battery run-time, as we just walk around to each machine, shut-down, then toggle the UPS itself off to stop it from screaming. We do this with all the machines here, and it takes about five to ten minutes for one guy, as all the Macs are always on here. Once that's done, we light candles and start trying to scare each other. Not a lot to do here without massive juice.

our last outage lasted a couple of hours. It was about three months ago. I think we were back up and running around 1PM or so. No big deal. I doubt anyone even really noticed.


01-15-2001, 05:54 PM
Thanks Mag, and thanks everyone else. Very informative thread.

Another question....do these devices do anything to condition power?....or are they passive until a utility co "power flux event"?

Thanks again for the great feedback guys!!!!


01-15-2001, 06:11 PM
I know the Belkin I got is supposed to condition the power line. Again, I've never experienced anything to indicate to me that I needed it or that it wasn't working if I had it. I would be very surprised if the APC units do not provide the same service.

Big Al
01-15-2001, 08:35 PM
Most of the UPS systems for home use do some conditioning of the power. However, they may have less surge protection than a separate unit. Look at the ratings of these devices versus a good surge protector. The APC Back-UPS 650 has a surge rating of 320 joules while their $29.99 network surge protector is rated at 480 joules. Their various surge protectors are listed at 240 for personal, 320 for network and 480 for network surge protectors. Other models of their UPS line like the Smart-UPS 700 RM 2U (rack mount) have 480 Joules of surge protection. Therefore, besides looking at the VA (volt amps) check out their surge rating.

01-15-2001, 09:11 PM
Ok, here's the deal with APC's stuff

мя Back-UPS units are bacsically a surge protector with a battery
мя Back-UPS Pro units are are just like above, except they add power conditioning
мям?Smart-UPS units are like Back-UPS Pro except they offer more control.

On a Mac you're likely not going to have the software to make it worthwhile to go with a Smart-UPS unless you want to buy a Smart-Slot card (only works on Smart-UPS units) which will allow management. So, in most cases you'll want to end up with something like a Back-UPS Pro 1000 unit. One thing, some of the new Back-UPS units offer USB connections and APC's Shutdown Utility (I think that's the name), which is much better than PowerChute.

If you have a normal UPS (or surge protector) and you want power conditioning, I'd recommend APC's Line-R power conditioners, they come in 600 and 1250VA versions. I had one for a few years and liked it a lot. You can see the URL at: http://www.apc.com/products/line-r/index.cfm

One final note, I suggest going with APC all the way, even though their mac support is awful. They will work with you over the phone or via email if you would like support, no matter the age of your product. And if you have any real problems, the CEO's email address is rdowdell@apcc.com

AOL IM: JSchalliol
Computer Equipment: http://www.schalliol.com/computer.html
AV Equipment: http://www.schalliol.com/av.html
Founderof the #1 Audio Yahoo! Club

01-15-2001, 09:15 PM
Well, acording to APC, their SmartUPS units offer full-time multi-pole noise filtering, 0.3% IEEE surge let-through and zero clamping response time. Belkin really doesn't say too much about their products online...maybe PD18 can offer some specs from his manual.

01-15-2001, 10:28 PM
There was a very good thread on UPS & power conditioning in general on MacFixit a while back. I do not have the link. I think it may have been posted to a thread here - in the USB forum. There may have been a few threads on XLR8yourmac too.

From what I understand for true conditioning it is best to get a separate condition (voltage regulator). I seem to have misplaced the blasted Bellkin manual.. just had a few days ago. I see the box it came it, but those are harder to loose http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I think the spec is that if the voltage sags below 105 or is greater than 130 the UPS will kick up or down the voltage as appropriate... or maybe it was a percentage of 120V?

The unit has LEDs for load (of my stuff on the it) for AC power and for a spike or a sag - and it seems to work. It went brown once and has kicked in several times when the power went out. I do see the lights flicker on occasion, but either its two quick for the UPS or the UPS is to quick for me or maybe it did not have any affect on that outlet? It seems to provide some conditioning.

I've also heard you can get voltage sags & spikes that are to quick to register by sight or even equipment. Of course a large spike -no matter how quick will be noticed when things start exploding http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif A 'instantaneious' dropout might never be noticed. I'm sure there is much better stuff availabile commercially.

My building, where I work, has a HUGE diseal generator and a myriad of UPS systems for the servers (but not our NT stations... http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif) Its kicked in a few times... it might just supply power for most of the building.

01-15-2001, 10:34 PM
You know, where else on the net can you get so much good feedback to a question, regarding things mac-like than on this forum.

I've been knowing I need to do something about this, and asking a straight question, I just got the experience of a a couple of days research, and, collectively, a few years of experience.

All you guys.....the Gurus and the members....just impress the hell out of me.

In a disgusting allegorical digression......I'd bet a paycheck that dyed-in-the-wool mac users have lower blood pressure, as a group, and in old age, will require a, statistically significant, lower quantity of prune juice than their PC equivalents.

In fact, that IS a compliment.

You are all http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/kickass.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/kickass.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/kickass.gif

01-15-2001, 11:26 PM
I hate prune juice, and I too have lost the manual to my Belkin. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

However, I'm looking on the side of the box and it says it boosts voltage that sags below 110 volts, and decreases voltage that spikes above 120 volts.

It also says it has a surge proection rating of 320 joules. Good thing I've got a separate surge protector, with a rating of 840!. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Unfortunately, I wasn't adding up clearly the day I bought this, as I just realized to my chagrin that this unit is only rated for 350VA! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/mad.gif The box says it'll hold up for 20 minutes- how much do you wanna bet I get about a quarter of that with all the stuff I've got plugged in? I still haven't had the UPS kick in. We've even had a couple of good snows so far this year.

[This message has been edited by Fletcherism (edited 15 January 2001).]

01-15-2001, 11:40 PM
I have to research this, but I recall something about UPS's having lower surge protection ratings because they "detach" themselves from incoming power if the surge is greater than their capacity. Makes sense. It is easier to condition an unsurged signal than it is to control the surge AND provide clean output. Anyone?

01-15-2001, 11:59 PM

01-16-2001, 12:43 AM
not sure about that, but our SmartUPS and BackUPS Pros definitely condition the line.

we did make a major investment when we first moved in here, though, running clean new power to the computer rooms from a huge commercial box we installed in the back of the building. It cost us about five grand, and that was heavily discounted because the electrician we used was also a customer and we bartered heavily.

in retrospect, I regret not rewiring the whole joint. We blow light bulbs at very inconvenient times in the rest of the building, and God help you if someone tries to run a blow drier or something. The computer rooms just rock on. I should have spent another five grand to rewire the rest. How could I know how many huge screen TV's, cameras, and VCR's we would collect?

01-16-2001, 01:23 AM
How long have you guys been in business there in Wilmington?

01-16-2001, 04:04 PM
all day long.


(I think what, five years now? We started in '95).

01-16-2001, 04:07 PM
Cool. anarch, I've never seen your mug up here before.....

Are you Mag's son.......or just an undercover operative?


01-16-2001, 06:19 PM
Heh heh heh. You know how it is, me-to-know / you-to-find-out, etc. etc.

Actually I'm not one of the Wilmington-types- Mag was answering your question under my moniker as a test. You're speaking to the real Anarch now.

Go ahead and keep the guesses coming for now though, I'll fill you in soon.


[This message has been edited by the_anarch (edited 16 January 2001).]

01-17-2001, 02:04 AM
Yep, I can see you testing your digital video, playing with a joystick control, and planning that trip to see your old Army buddy in Conneticut (sp) right now.........

Of course, you could be the creation of one of Mag's "organic neural net" AI experiments. If you were created female, can cook and clean, have a robust libido, and have any resemblance to Winona Ryder, I want you to pass a message to Mag for me........



01-17-2001, 05:06 AM
actually, when I set up the moderator account for the_anarch, I failed to note that the browser cookie was inserting HIS info automatically in the forum fields as I began rolling thru, replying to posts.

argh. I have since extracted my head from my lower colon and am again posting as myself.



01-17-2001, 09:16 AM
Good morning!!! (Where's my friggin caffeine? http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/mad.gif )

Yeah, somehow I felt certain the AI possibility was a real stretch.

I like the Anarch graphic splash, did you do that?

So, who is Anarch? Was my original guess the right one?

Off to the trenches.................

[This message has been edited by crazyeights (edited 17 January 2001).]

01-17-2001, 11:19 AM
Ummm, sure, I actually suppose that all of your guesses were correct. I'm the undercover operative son of Winona Ryder by one of Mag's organic neural net AI experiments. Mag doesn't let that bad boy out anymore but Mom (I mean Winona) still comes to visit Dad once in a while. I guess that makes Mag my grandpappy... http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

No seriously, as much as I would like to be blood-related to Magician, I'm just another forum moderator and I'm not even in Delaware. Although I did do my sig graphic myself, as I do make my living in the graphic arts. Thanks for the compliment, c8!


I'm sure someone will guess my real name soon...

[This message has been edited by the_anarch (edited 17 January 2001).]

01-17-2001, 12:02 PM
I only wish it were true that I had actually, or even virtually, spawned the_anarch on the loins of Winona Ryder.

speaking of which, is Winona's rack all-natural? Or is she augmented? It is seriously nice on that skinny little body of hers.

who knows? Darin?


01-17-2001, 06:06 PM
No Mag it's live, not memorex....hers is the real deal. Why do you think I have the hots for her........slim, trim, and voluptuos. ( or however the hell you spell it.

Well, if I hadn't smoked so much dope in my early years, I'd be able to see and remember who's posting time(s) have transitioned....but I'm drawing a blank. If you knew me, well anyway, you'd know not to take any offense to that. The only thing I can be sure of, is it's not me. I only know that because because I was in bohinky Kansas today, all day, and your most recent post was during my absense.

One can never tell with me. Last big deal was when I woke up in a very "modern, posh" jail cell, only to dicover I'd been arrested by the secret service, for what, I couldn't remember. Then there was the time on the border down in Belize..........oh....never mind....

Oh.... the other way I know is my mac advice weighs heavier on the bad than the good. I'm grateful I can come here at all. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Gosh, it's been almost 2 decades since I've been thrown out of a place. I just felt a joint stiffen..............


[This message has been edited by crazyeights (edited 17 January 2001).]

01-17-2001, 06:14 PM
Oh, by the way Mag....did you say it was 2x128Mb FPM DIMM sticks, and 2 X15 cheetahs for the person who guesses Anarchs ID, or was that just a single 128Mb stick?

I'd bet money our new Moderator has seen "Fight Club".

01-17-2001, 07:13 PM
Wow, I'm actually enjoying this more than I thought I would. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I'll give you the same hint I gave Dogstarman in another thread .Open up my profile and look under my occupation, location and interests. They're all part of the same clue.

[This message has been edited by the_anarch (edited 17 January 2001).]

01-17-2001, 07:38 PM
Kaye.........darling...........is that you?

If you had just said "imagine an MD80 crashed into the side of a skyscraper, with a lone guy wandering around on the remaining piece of tail section, muttering something about f**king PC's...."...I would have had it instantly. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Okay, do I get the 2 X15's and memory now?

c8 (heh heh)

01-17-2001, 08:01 PM
uh..I might be induced to email a scan of the cover of Maxim with Denise Richards on the cover, but that's it. Anything else here already has Louie's name on it.

I cannot BELIEVE that Winona is unaugmented! What a phenomenal body on that little girl! I just keep getting stuck on that huge vein in her forehead. As long as I keep my concentration focused on her rack, I'm good to go.

01-17-2001, 08:43 PM
Oh yeah, I keep meaning to tell you about that vein. She actually had a plumbing job done to her vascular system, and that vein was one of the resulting affects. She claimed, and I quote "It helps me go, well, harder and....you get the idea"......unquote. I thought she should be shot for even talking like that, without at least having her own contest for a Date/test run.

Haven't gotten a response to the letter I sent to the Fan Club yet. I like your moniker for breasts M. You don't hear that much around the midwest.

I'll have to practice my lines, "Ms. Ryder, I've always appreciated your work. Beautiful, classy and genteel, and what a rack! Can I...............never mind".

Damn! Me thinks I need food. By the by, if you ever have a layover in Kansas City guys, Saigon 39 on 39th St. in Kansas City, MO.

Magician, I'm really impressed that you even remotely thought I was serious about "Anarch door prizes". I was keeeeding man!!!

Time for vietnamese fud,


01-18-2001, 12:55 AM
Oh my God. I'm being reduced to Door Prize Fodder. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Nope, I ain't Kaye. I might've caved by now if it weren't for the fact that c8 is making it so damn entertaining. That, and I can't believe someone hasn't guessed yet.

Okay one more hint: An idea was once proposed in the late 19th century that overchewing your food would promote greater health. (Mag and Dookie are disqualified BTW.)

God this place is so much fun. And the way we talk about women... http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

01-18-2001, 03:17 AM
Well, I'm throwing in the towl. I don't know who you are anarch, but if Mag says you're okay then you must be alright. I will start writing down even more inane questions than I've ever posted here (hard to believe, eh?) for your consumption.

Out of frustration, I have dedicated my homepage to the sacred, and in honor of Magician.

Ta ta archie


[This message has been edited by crazyeights (edited 18 January 2001).]

01-18-2001, 03:59 AM
Okay, the gloves are comin off...... http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/mad.gif .......I'm gonna call you archie!!!

You could also be one of the space monkeys which my operatives determined had Magician up to his eyeballs in covert "monkeyshines" after hours!! (Debarooni has cosmic stool samples stashed in a test-tube off site as "evidence".)

I mean, you could even be Bill Clinton, and it wouldn't even surprise me.

You're probably Fletch, now undercover because of a "stalker".

But, that's my last guess. I throw in the towel. Damn. 3am.



01-18-2001, 12:23 PM
Dag cuz, cold busted! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Give that man a cigar. His very last guess and he gets it right!

I would like to believe that I'm desirable enough to deserve a stalker, but I'm sure my girlfriend (PeeCee Girl) is happy that I don't have one.

Call me Archie, that's fine, Fletch, Anarch, whatever's cool with me.

That last clue I gave (in another thread): The act of overchewing your food, a practice proposed in the late 1800s to promote greater health- that actually is called Fletcherism. The guy who thought of it was a Dr. somebody Fletcher. I don't practice it myself- true Fletcherism is supposed to be like 100 chews per bite of food.

Yeah you gotta watch out for that Space Monkey Mafia. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

01-18-2001, 12:44 PM

I knew it all along......