Advice for APC/UPS options

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dburney, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. dburney macrumors member

    dburney

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    #1
    Just some quick background before I get to our current situation. We're a small design studio in a rather old building. From the git-go we've had power issues - tripping breakers, power outages are frequent due to wind/weather - most every piece of hardware that we've had problems with has ultimately been power related - mostly with power supply issues and dead a/c cords with bad transformer boxes.

    We have four Mac Pro workstations - they each have their own APC/Back-UPS 750. We consistently have to replace these (usually under warranty), usually due to some power issue zapping the Back-UPS.

    Currently we have two Back-UPS that have dead outlets - likely due to a power outage/spike over the weekend. We also lost a Cinema Display as a result, also connected to one of the Back-UPS. So I'm looking to replace those compromised units. I can get these replaced through the warranty - but I'm wondering if we need to switch to Back-UPS PROs equipment. I've been trying to discern the primary difference between the two - looks like the PROs offer Automatic Voltage Regulation.

    Does anyone have any experience with these units? Or a similar situation? What do you use for power management/battery backup? Particularly in the case of an old building with fluctuating power issues? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. desmortum macrumors newbie

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    Kyiv, Ukraine
    #2
    Living in Ukraine. New building but still voltage jumps quite a lot. Using 450W APC thing with iMac 27'' (it has about 420W or so maximum consumption). The 750W ones should be fine with Pros in my guess. If you're losing them constantly and if you lost a display, it seems you need to change an electrical equipment or wiring around, not the UPS. Or maybe better to move out of the place.

    ----------

    And yeah, not a single issue in my case.
     
  3. dyt1983, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
     
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #4
    You write a very well stated case for the OP. The only catch (besides costs of these superior units) is that the battery part has to be replaced far more often.

    Perhaps trying a not "all in one" solution is preferable. That is - continue with traditional typical UPS but look for a solution closer to the wall to control spikes then follow it up by a good UPS. Sometimes a one time large expense up front (fuse box or possibly as mentioned some sort of conditioner) is a good investment to keep business running smoothly and avoid a on going costs and time down.
     
  5. dyt1983, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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  6. dburney thread starter macrumors member

    dburney

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    May 24, 2006
    #6
    Well, it sounds like we should at least look into the Back-UPS PRO. When it comes to power side of these things I know just enough to be dangerous. FWIW, we're also getting ready to go through a bit of a remodel - so we will get an electrician in here to see if there are any economical steps we can take from that perspective - a whole re-wire is out though. That is one reason I hate to put a heavy investment in something like the APC Smart-UPS 750VA if the PROS will suffice. Would it be unwise to put two workstations on the Smart-Ups? Then we could by two Smart-UPS instead of four PROS.
     
  7. dyt1983, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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  8. dburney thread starter macrumors member

    dburney

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    #8
    The Back-UPS 750 work fine as far as giving us enough time to save and power down if necessary. My primary interest in the Back-UPS PRO and SMART is the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) - it seems like that might help with some of the crazy issues we have. I've also done a little research into line conditioners, but am a little fuzzy on what those do.

    I'm emailing APC support now to have replacement 750s sent out - I'll see if damaged equipment qualifies for their Trade-UPS program. May just spring for the PROs.
     
  9. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #9
    They won't care what condition the equipment is in really. My BR1500LCD had a leaking battery and I did the trade-UPS to the BR1500G. It's a no questions asked proposition - just tell them what you have, tell them what you want, they apply a discount to the new product and send you a shipping label to return the old one to them for recycling.
     
  10. dyt1983, Feb 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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  11. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #11
    I am using an APC UPS BR-1500 VA for my classic tower Mac Pro http://www.amazon.com/APC-BR1500G-B..._sbs_pc_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=14A7GTGNN313VDKA2VAS

    [​IMG]

    This model has a built in AVR and more important a Surge Protector from electricity spikes and thunderstorms/lightning. A technician told me that lightning may cause damage specially when using the internet that may fry the motherboard.

    The APC customer support once mentioned that they recommend a smart UPS as they have pure sine wave. I am not a techy so I am not sure of the benefits of pure sine waves. Smart UPS are higher in price.

    http://www.amazon.com/APC-SMART-UPS...qid=1423538814&sr=1-6&keywords=apc+ups+1500va
     
  12. dburney thread starter macrumors member

    dburney

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    #12
    Is there an easy way to estimate my power draw/wattage without investing some sort of testing device? APC customer service is setting us up with some new hardware - I originally spec'd the PRO-700, but APC noted that it supports up to 420 watts, which is less than our UPS-750. Any quick rule of thumb methods for gauging if this is adequate? Maybe the PRO-1000 would be a safer bet?
     
  13. dyt1983, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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  14. westom, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015

    westom macrumors regular

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    #14
    Nothing adjacent to a computer provides more protection than what is already inside the computer. In fact, a UPS protection could not be tinier - is near zero. UPS is only temporary and 'dirty' power for blackouts. So 'dirty' as to be potentially harmful to motorized appliances. But since protection already inside electronics is so robust, then 'dirty' UPS power is ideal for electronics.

    If your incoming power is that bad, then you need the protection essential to even protect those APC UPSes. This solution costs tens of times less money per appliance compared to plug-in solutions. And even makes direct lightning strikes irrelevant. The electrician can install this for about $1 per protected appliance. But it only works if the earth ground (what actually does all protection) makes a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to the breaker box and 'whole house' protector.

    Nothing inside the house will avert transient damage. Not any magic box. Not any wiring changes. Either a transients connects to earth BEFORE it can enter the building. Or that transient finds earth ground destructive via appliances and UPSes. Your choice. The 'whole house' solution is the only solution always found in any facility that cannot have damage. And is your best and least expensive solution.

    BTW, this is the output from my pure sine wave UPS. 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts. They did not lie. Square waves and spikes are only a sum of pure sine waves. Any recommendation not supported by specific and hard numbers should be ignore as a likely scam. Even that voltage regulation accomplishes nothing. A UPS has only one useful function. Temporary and 'dirty' power during a blackout. Nothing more - as even its specification numbers demonstrate.

    Protection already in a Mac is and must be more robust because some of the 'dirtiest' power comes from a UPS. Your concern is a transient that might overwhelm that superior internal protection. That can only be accomplished at the service entrance (ie breaker box) with the all so critical low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth.
     

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