Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
Hi Folks,

So after another power outage during a storm, I'm pulling the trigger on a UPS, but I'm having trouble getting clear answers on a couple of things (especially from the supplier's "technical support" who seem to be limited to reading scripts).

A few people here have recommended APC over the years, so looking at their range (we have a slightly different set of products form the US market here) the model I suspect will be best suited is the SMT1500IC - it's not cheap, but it is within budget.

According to the power measurement device plugged inline, my minimum system is drawing about 540watts at idle (40-ish when asleep), and ~2.4amps.

The plan was to have everything plugged into power boards at the desk (non-surge-protecting would seem to be the sort required), then a single power cable back to the UPS (the desk is ~6m as the cable runs from the wall outlet).

The software side of things - you can connect it via USB, does that cause the UPS options to appear in the Energy Saver syspref, or does it require an APC software install? Is there a method to get the system to save the current state (unsaved documents etc) to disk when doing a UPS-triggered shutdown?

Any other recommendations appreciated.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,225
2,342
Every single Mac that I've had UPS connected via USB - it shows up under energy saver preferences, under a UPS tab. Basically treated the same way a MBP has battery and power adapter.

There are shutdown options like this by default without any software installs required for the UPS's I've used: Screen Shot 2020-11-02 at 11.08.53 AM.png
 

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
Every single Mac that I've had UPS connected via USB - it shows up under energy saver preferences, under a UPS tab. Basically treated the same way a MBP has battery and power adapter.

There are shutdown options like this by default without any software installs required for the UPS's I've used: View attachment 977617
Thanks, none of the instructions mention the detail of what causes the UPS tab to appear, it’s not like it’s there with a “no UPS connected” message otherwise.

I’ve seen those power off options, I was more thinking if there’s a way to automate things so that if the machine is asleep, it can wake up and save state, then shut down, if the UPS crosses certain thresholds.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,225
2,342
APFS might offer something of a benefit for sleep state, but it’s not what you’re looking for.

In the past it has required application specific settings, which rarely did more than hit save on everything open and either automate shutdown or go into sleep state.

Usually is more beneficial for short-term power outage while in use, vs. something prolonged or unattended. If I’m leaving a machine rendering, and the render fails due to power, the project and everything is already saved so I’m only “losing” the processing. Different use for different people.

This is APC’s documentation:
 

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
APFS might offer something of a benefit for sleep state, but it’s not what you’re looking for.

In the past it has required application specific settings, which rarely did more than hit save on everything open and either automate shutdown or go into sleep state.

Usually is more beneficial for short-term power outage while in use, vs. something prolonged or unattended. If I’m leaving a machine rendering, and the render fails due to power, the project and everything is already saved so I’m only “losing” the processing. Different use for different people.

This is APC’s documentation:
Yeah, I went through those, thanks.

Do you happen to know what occurs when a UPS triggered shudown encounters an app with unsaved documents? On a normal shutdown (iirc), that'll halt the process (or does it go to a countdown?) with an alert in that app. Does the system treat a UPS shutdown differently?
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,225
2,342
The few times I've had a UPS triggered shutdown, believe the apps saved on quit. This was before APFS system drive. The saved state for sleep mode might help out here slightly. Power management overrides, goes to shutdown - like what would happen when an MBP battery dies and you don't plug it in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mattspace

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
So, APC SmartUPS 1500IC is now installed and set up, and there was one fun issue - there's only one opportunity to set the battery install date in the setup wizard, and after that is set, that's it.

Thanks to no instruction for the fact the month can't be set separately to the date, you just have to scroll through the dates until the month ticks over, a call to their tech support, who hadn't been into the labs for months so were working from home, we figured out I had to pull the battery, disconnect the lead, reconnect and then rerun the setup wizard.

So, aside from a carpet burn on top of my toe, gained while laying on the floor with my head in the back of the cupboard checking the connections, it all seems to be running ok.
 
  • Like
Reactions: w1z

w1z

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2013
657
462
I have had the same UPS since late 2018 and it has been running great with zero issues. Battery performance is surprisingly still over 92%

I also bought the warranty extension / battery replacement service pack (total 5 years I think) including the NMC II module. I got the module brand new at a third of its retail price from eBay ~ approx $140. Should you chose to upgrade, make sure to get one from a recent batch.

The NMC allows you to use the Powerchute software to control/interact with multiple computers/servers. It also gives you advanced easy-view access to all front panel options, detailed reporting of power consumption / costs etc. and much more.

Also, make sure to check the manual on setting up periodic conditioning as it helps maintain battery life / reporting accurate readings.
 

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
So a weird thing, the ups, despite showing a 99% charge on the unit's LCD, is now reporting as 0% in the energy prefpane, and menubar.

This worked perfectly from when i first plugged it in via USB, and the UPS settings go away when I unplug the cable, so it's registering the connection.

Anyone ever had this happen or is it a known issue? It would seem ioupsd is the process launched when the UPS is connected, and goes away when it's disconnected.
 

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
Machine sleep between?
Shutdown and restart reset?
yeah, it was evident after the machine had been slept (which it does every night, and multiple times during the day), i've rebooted, plugged and unplugged the usb on the mac's end, problem persists.

next step it so unpug usb on the ups' end, and maybe power-cycle the ups. Just have to figure out if that will cut power to the things plugged in to it, or if it does power passthrough when it's switched off.
 

mattspace

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 5, 2013
1,965
1,557
Australia
unplugged and replugged the usb from the UPS and it worked again.

Wondering if it's because i'm using Mac -> long photo-tethering USB with a big female repeater plug on one end -> short male to male USB -> UPS.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,225
2,342
Have had sleep issues with usb extension repeaters in past with printers. They’re likely not “active” which means communication probably halts at sleep.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.