UPS Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Michael73, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #1
    I have an internet consulting business that I run from home. Although all the power lines where I live are buried, occasionally (about once a year) there are outages. I have no idea how "clean" the power is and anything about inline spikes...

    As you can see in my sig, I have MP and 30in ACD along with some old monsoon speakers and a scanner plugged into a 7 outlet multi-plug which I believe provides some surge protection although it's never been tripped. The multi-plug is plugged into a wall outlet.

    I'd like to get a UPS - does anyone have any buying advice? Price isn't a huge deal up to a couple hundred bucks. I guess the longer the battery backup time the better, right? Whatever I get would obviously have to have mac compatible software or work within Mac's own energy saver preferences.

    Also, does anyone know if when these things shut down whether open programs such as excel, word, photoshop are capable of saving open documents? I wouldn't mind using some of the energy saving features in the UPS like auto shutdown at night if I knew that items that were left open and accidentally unsaved were saved during the shutdown process.
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    I have a lot of UPS experience because of the lousy power grid in my area. We have them on all our computers, our cable modem, our time capsule and even our tv (as a power conditioner).

    For the cable modem, router and gigabit switch I use a big heavy expensive (over $100) backup. It gets us through 4-5 hours of power interruption before we lose internet. For the computers, I resort to smaller units so we can turn on the computer if we need to and check something and turn it back off. We have had blown power supplies on a great many things until we started using UPS on everything. The down side is all the damnable beeping during every power failure.

    What to avoid:
    • Units with "push to turn on push to turn off" switches. You want a hard switch you can flip once and walk away rather than a button you have to reset after every power failure.
    • Units that make a lot of noise.
    • Units that don't include power conditioning.
    • Units that turn off surge outlets if you turn off battery backed outlets. This is inherently dumb.

    Put computers, routers, NAS, and LCD monitors on UPS but put printers, TVs and other power hogs on the surge outlets of UPS.

    I like Tripp Lite and APC but I don't like Belkin. I don't like store brands as they are often made by Belkin. If you are able, it is a good idea to switch off UPS during a long blackout because the lead acid batteries usually die and won't hold a charge after a half dozen deep cycles. We get more than that in one year.
     
  3. Michael73 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #3
    One other related question...what's the lifespan of the batteries in the UPS?

    My neighbor who also works out of his house has a UPS which he said he's had about 3 years. He said about 2 months ago the alarm has started to go off about once a week to let him know that the internal battery only has like 75% power. He said he doesn't care...instead of 15 minutes of backup now he has 11 or 12 but the weekly alarm is annoying along with the software pop-up that has a link to like APC and says it's time to buy a new unit.

    Is this the case with all UPS's?
     
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #4
    Yeah blackouts almost aren't as dangerous (minus losing documents open at that moment) as power undervoltage. I agree with the above poster about putting a TV on one. I've been shopping around on Amazon and Newegg for this purpose for awhile now.

    I have a Geek Squad (Best Buy) UPS at my desk now. Battery outlets are my Synology NAS, 20-in iMac, cable modem, and Linksys router. When I moved and replaced the NAS, I did a test by shutting off the circuit breaker. It powered all the devices for about 25 minutes at about 70% load capacity. Only paid about $70 for the unit. I'm pretty sure that the unit is just a rebranded Cyberpower; the front interface is the exact same as THIS unit.

    As far as software, I chose to keep the unit plugged USB into the NAS, which handles power shutdowns itself. It was a hard choice to leave the iMac without the software connection, but I figured that the NAS had the Time Machine backup in case anything happened to the software there as well as all of my media and document storage.
     
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    That depends on the unit itself.

    I've got an old (I reckon about 8 years old) APC BackUPS 650 which I use for peripherals and displays and it still gives me more than 45 minutes uptime, although the displays alone consume about 250W (2 x 20", 1 x 30").

    For the Pro I use a SmartUPS 1400, for my server another 650. As you can see, all APC here. Absolutely recommended from my side. You really can't go wrong with them.
     
  6. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #6
    My APC Backups ES 750G interfaced well with my iMac with no software to install. As soon as I plugged it into my USB port, the UPS profile showed up in the Energy settings.

    I've also been using the APC Backups ES 750G on my D-Link DNS-323 NAS, and after a certain firmware revision (I don't remember which one), the NAS monitored the UPS battery level and functions and automatically shut down when the reserve battery level got too low.

    I've been using APC since college (late '90s-Early 2000's), and they've been working great for me.
     

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