is it o.k. to turn off my UPS at night?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by malch, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. malch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #1
    Hi there,
    I have my Mac Pro and various ext. hard drive setups plugged into an APC UPS... I got this particular UPS on the advice of various gurus on this forum, and it seems to work very well.
    But I need to cut my electricity bill. So my question is, can I turn this UPS off at night, when my MP is off? I should say that I don't live in a part of the country where electrical storms are common, especially as we head into winter.
    Thanks for any advice,
    malch
     
  2. DanielCoffey, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012

    DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #2
    What model is it? Many good UPS will have an "Offline" or "Shut Down" button on the front which is easy to access.

    It will be perfectly safe to shut it down overnight but I am not sure exactly what electricity savings you will be able to expect. You might find you saved more by using the computer less.

    Shut down (not sleep) the Mac first then offline the UPS. When you next want to use the Mac, online the UPS, allow it to complete its startup then power on the Mac.

    Just don't expect miracles of economy.

    EDIT : You might be able to make more power savings looking for things like your router, phone chargers and even toothbrush charger to switch off when not in use. Find those OFF switches.
     
  3. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #3
    Hi Daniel,
    Thanks so much for your help with this.
    The UPS is a Smart UPS 1500, and there does indeed seem to be an on/off switch on the front, with some icons below it: one icon features a sine wave (or something), two icons feature batteries, and one is a triangle with an exclamation mark inside.
    I figured with the heat this thing puts out (my office is way too hot in the summer, thanks partly to this thing) it must be using quite a bit of electricity.
    It's also quite noisy.
    And yes, I'll look for 'off' switches for other electronics in the house. Our last electricity bill was $400, which shocked me. That's why I'm looking for savings.
    Regards,
    malch
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    Sounds like you need a Kill-a-Watt.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/7657/

    Just plug in between wall and device to record over time what each device is pulling. For all you know, the fridge has gone bad.
     
  5. sailmac macrumors 6502

    sailmac

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #5
    Yes, exactly this.

    At this very moment I'm monitoring my fridge, next the freezer, and so on as I hunt down which appliances are consuming the most energy. Kill-a-Watt is easy to use and worth the investment.
     
  6. lixuelai, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012

    lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #6
    I have the same UPS and it doesn't draw much if any power by itself. You would save maybe at most a dollar a year.

    edit: I misread the OP. There is nothing wrong with turning it off so it turns off everything else in the chain. Even then HDDs are powered down with inactivity and you wouldn't be saving much money.
     
  7. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #7
    I suspect your other appliances are using much more power than an UPS at night with no load.

    If you own the place, do some research on heaters / AC. That's typically one of the main source of energy source in a home.
     
  8. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #8
    thanks everyone. And yes, I'll get one of those gizmos, and check around my house. It was a hot summer here, and I had ceiling fans going (not as bad as AC, I'm sure, but still...). I also had a water pump in my backyard pond. A likely culprit. Of course, when I bought the pump (as when I bought the ceiling fans) I was told "Oh it just uses the equivalent of a forty watt bulb blah blah blah". I will be much more cynical in the future.
    Regards,
    malch
    P.S. Intuition would have me believe that something that churns out as much heat as my UPS does, also uses quite a bit of electricity. But all of you are saying that's not the case! Well, it's not the first time my intuition has been wrong. I think I'll just leave it on... (particularly since, I have to confess, all my attempts to turn it off this afternoon failed. True, I didn't pull the plug out, but I kept thinking that by holding down the power button long enough, it was turning off. It made all the right noises, but twenty minutes later, I'd find it still on).
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
    Whoa ... something is wrong here ... your UPS should NOT be producing much heat unless it is actually powering your computer due to power failure (and the fan will be running)! In normal operation, this model simply passes line power through to your equipment, while trickle charging the battery to keep it topped off. If it is producing massive amounts of heat in this mode, either your battery is bad, or the charger circuitry in the UPS is defective.

    Please clarify ...


    -howard
     
  10. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #10
    My APC SMT1000I is cool when on mains with the Mac Pro, monitor and router off it. It should only be hot if it is on battery or if it has a fault.

    I would recommend you advise APC that it is running hot and get them to inspect it under warranty. They are excellent units and have LONG warranties. Use it.
     
  11. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #11
    There are some very expensive UPS units which are made to generate output power continuously for applications which can't tolerate even a tiny glitch on a power mains failure. They charge the battery at the same rate as the discharge to produce power, and thus can run continuously while totally isolating the powered equipment from the power lines.

    Computer UPS units are on "standby" most of the time, the power mains is normally simply routed through the unit to the attached equipment. In the event of a power mains failure, they switch on very quickly to supply power, relying on the capacitors in the power supply of the attached equipment to keep everything running during the tiny glitch of the switchover.

    My Smart UPS 1500s are silent and cool during normal operation. They do run a "Self Test" every couple of days where they switch over to battery power for 15 seconds or so and test the battery under load. It is very noticeable when this happens as they do make quite a bit of noise with the fans running at full blast. You can turn it off easily when not in use, however that will only save a small amount of power being used to trickle-charge the battery and is probably not worth the effort.

    If the OPs UPS is running continuously, I think it has a fault, is stuck in "Self Test", or has inadvertently been put in a strange operational mode ( I don't have my manual with me at the moment to check what modes can be selected through the front panel switches).

    In any event ... the described operation doesn't sound normal!


    -howard
     
  12. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #12
    Thanks everyone for all of this info. I've been out of the office, but am back now, and will check the unit out. Regards,
    malch
     
  13. Whaditis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #13
    On a side note, one more thing to consider is making sure you have a "pure sinewave" UPS.

    Most UPS makers should have these. I currently use Cyberpower 1350 and it really does make a difference too as the previous model was the "simulated sinewave" version which caused my Mac Pro power supply to shut off every time there was a black out.

    Plus its better protection for your expensive workstation as it does not damage the Mac Pro PSU over time.
     
  14. a-m-k macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #14
    In regards to MB or MBP talk...

    What is UPS in terms of macbook or macbook pro talk?
     
  15. hfg, Oct 17, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #15
    The OP said he had a "SmartUPS 1500" which is a sine-wave output unit. I use a couple of them, one for my MacPro and one for my home theater system to keep the satellite recorders running for several hours in the event of a power failure (no missed shows! :) ).

    Here is a manual for that UPS which identifies the status symbols and has troubleshooting charts. There are 2 switches ... one to turn it on ... and one to turn it off.
    http://www.apcmedia.com/salestools/ASTE-6Z8LFV_R1_EN.pdf



    UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply, it is a battery powered "generator" to keep the equipment running (for awhile) when the power mains fail. A MB or MBPro has one built-in ... the battery! :D



    -howard
     
  16. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #16
    There is a bit more to it than that, however. A UPS is not JUST a battery...
     
  17. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #17
    My reference to the "battery" was in response to the question about relevance to a laptop computer (MacBook and MacBook Pro) which has a functional form of "UPS" since the internal battery will continue to power the computer if the AC charger becomes disconnected. Of course, the laptop does not have any boost/trim capability or provide surge suppression like the APC SmartUPS does, nor will it supply 115V AC to power other equipment.
     
  18. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #18
    Well, I've been sticking my head under my desk all day so far, and can say that, while the fan is always running (gently, though), the UPS unit doesn't seem to be giving off much heat. It must be my two hard drive enclosures (each one is 5-day) that heat my office up so much. Nothing I can do about that, however.
    I'll do more thorough testing once the testing-gadget arrives.
    Thanks again everyone for all your advice.
    malch
     

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