Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

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Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby 1530jesup » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:47 pm

Need to replace my current UPS and trying to decide among the dozens of options available between $60 and $125 or whether it pays to go higher up the scale. My need is just my desktop computer.
My Belkin is 10+ years old and I have changed the battery twice. Living in the lightning capital of the world I need to have that 15 minutes of pause time when Florida Power blinks out during a storm.
As usual I use the Amazon link at the top of our page; thanks for any suggestions, Rich
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby BrandonBogle » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:06 pm

I've always been a fan of APC Pro units. But if you are not partial to any particular brand, find a model that does line conditioning in additional to blackouts and surges. My mom's house in South Florida would have problems like you mention and often times her router would go on the fritz. I suspected a brownout and putting an APC Pro with line conditioning in front of the router solved her problem. Many electronics will generally behave better with clean power, so I have one my TV and and two on my computers.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby jebmke » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:13 pm

I also use APC. I put one in front of the router and the cable modem. I rarely have to bounce the modem now. Plus, we can stay online for an hour or so during power outages.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Lacrocious » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:00 pm

I agree with BrandonBogle - I like APC, but there are other brands that would work. I always look for the conditioning models. It is worth a little more to get nice, clean power.

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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby BolderBoy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:48 pm

If you are a Costco member, Costco regularly carries UPSes.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby telemark » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:32 pm

If you live in an area where there are brownouts, then a conditioning model is good because it can maintain the correct voltage during the brownout. If all you see are blackouts (say, a tree falls into a power line and the power goes out completely until it's restored) than a plain UPS is all you need.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Rob5TCP » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:47 pm

I always go with APC SmartUPS - it has sign wave and does deliver good protection. I buy reconditioned models
that have new batteries and a 2 year warranty (which they have honored).

They are usually 45-65% below the new price - they did replace the battery 18 months after I bought it (at no charge).


http://www.upsprotection.com/products/t ... v-sua1500/
http://www.upsprotection.com/products/t ... v-sua1000/
http://www.upsprotection.com/products/t ... sua1000xl/
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Gindacu » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:32 am

I purchased the CyberPower CP850PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 850VA 510W PFC Compatible Mini-Tower from amazon last year and have been very happy. Retails for $115. Has 5 or so outlets that are UPS protected and 5 or so outlets that are only surge protected. Front has a nice and simple LCD display and most importantly the "power is down" beep can be turned off! Key for us as we have one in our living room and don't want to wake the baby.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby core5 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:06 pm

$60 and $125 or whether it pays to go higher up the scale. My need is just my desktop computer.


If you're not running mission critical applications, then Cyberpower is probably your best bet in that price range.

If you want a pure-sinewave output, meaning it uses the electricity from the wall for it's own power and generates a decoupled pure 60Hz sine wave for your devices, then you're looking at $500+. That's overkill for normal home users though.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby eengstro » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:25 pm

For computer use, look for a UPS that puts out a pure sine wave when on battery power. Modern computer power supplies (i.e. active PFC) hate square waves, which is what cheaper UPS units put out. (They hate square waves so much that they might cut out when the UPS is on battery power, thus defeating the entire point of having a UPS.)

I'm a big fan of the CyberPower PFC Sinewave units, which provide sine wave output for much less money than comparable APS units.

A note on advertising: when a UPS is advertised as "approximating" a sine wave, that means it puts out square waves. It's kind of like saying that a square approximates a circle. :annoyed
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby BrandonBogle » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:41 pm

I use APS Pro XS 1500s that I got on a Black Friday 2011 deal for $99 each. LOVE the thing and it not only provides a long running backup and multiple ports, the LCD display will tell you how much longer it is estimated to remain based on the current load.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby telemark » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:09 pm

eengstro wrote:For computer use, look for a UPS that puts out a pure sine wave when on battery power. Modern computer power supplies (i.e. active PFC) hate square waves, which is what cheaper UPS units put out. (They hate square waves so much that they might cut out when the UPS is on battery power, thus defeating the entire point of having a UPS.)


For what it's worth, we have somewhere between 100 and 200 computers at work on APC UPSs, and they get tested once a week when we test the emergency generator. I've never heard of there being any problems, except when a battery wears out.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:39 pm

Gindacu wrote:I purchased the CyberPower CP850PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 850VA 510W PFC Compatible Mini-Tower from amazon last year and have been very happy. Retails for $115. Has 5 or so outlets that are UPS protected and 5 or so outlets that are only surge protected. Front has a nice and simple LCD display and most importantly the "power is down" beep can be turned off! Key for us as we have one in our living room and don't want to wake the baby.

Just an FYI, that model is actually a sine wave approximation, not a true sine wave. What this means is instead of having large square waves, it uses tiny step waves to approximate a sine wave. If you look at it with an oscilloscope, the waves will more closely resemble a ziggurat than a smooth wave.

Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing. If your power supply is fine with the approximated sine wave, then there's not too much cause for buying a more expensive true sine wave unit for home computers. And this approximated sine wave is much better than a square wave unit. But it's something to keep in mind if you have a sensitive power supply that won't accept anything short of a true sine wave.

1530jesup wrote:Need to replace my current UPS and trying to decide among the dozens of options available between $60 and $125 or whether it pays to go higher up the scale. My need is just my desktop computer.
My Belkin is 10+ years old and I have changed the battery twice. Living in the lightning capital of the world I need to have that 15 minutes of pause time when Florida Power blinks out during a storm.
As usual I use the Amazon link at the top of our page; thanks for any suggestions, Rich

My personal UPS requirements are:
1) A fan in the unit to keep everything cool (you'd be surprised how many cheap UPSes skip the fan, but you need good airflow for optimal battery and electronic life).
2) Approximate or true sine wave.
3) Can use open source control software like apcupsd or NUT (Network UPS Tool) to control the unit.
4) Preferred a unit with automatic voltage regulation (AVR) that will correct for small under-voltage (brownout) or over-voltage (surge) incidents without going on battery (helps optimize battery life).

Requirement 3 eliminates most units APC has produced in the last several years, as they have moved to a proprietary control system that is not fully supported by either apcupsd or NUT (although both projects can control some features through the USB interface, neither can use the serial interface or the full feature set of the USB interface).

TrippLite and CyberPower both meet requirements 2 and 3. It was very difficult to find out about the ventilation design of CyberPower, so I chose TrippLite for my last UPS purchase due to requirement 1. I narrowed my search down to two TrippLite models: BC600SINE (approximated sine, vents but no active fan, ~$120 price) and SMART750SLT (true sine, active fan, AVR, ~$275). I went with the more expensive model since it more closely matched my requirements, and also has a longer runtime for comparable loads.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:46 pm

eengstro wrote:I'm a big fan of the CyberPower PFC Sinewave units, which provide sine wave output for much less money than comparable APS units.

A note on advertising: when a UPS is advertised as "approximating" a sine wave, that means it puts out square waves. It's kind of like saying that a square approximates a circle. :annoyed

And my personal pet peeve is when they use an approximated sine wave method like I just described above, but advertise themselves as a true sine wave. Really they are still a stepped sine wave, just with much smaller steps than the old square wave units. It is much closer to a true sine wave, but it's still a stepped wave.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby mike143 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:57 pm

UPSes that have failed me: Belkin and CyberPower.

UPSes that have left me happy and healthy: APC, Tripp Lite, Eaton.

Recently I have been buying Eaton open box deals on eBay.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby rustymutt » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:39 pm

Our local Sam's Clubs handle ACP in two different sizes. I've used these on business systems for the past 8 years, and found them to be a great little UPS for $160. They work. And I always passed this cost on to the customer.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Jack » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:08 am

eengstro wrote:For computer use, look for a UPS that puts out a pure sine wave when on battery power. Modern computer power supplies (i.e. active PFC) hate square waves, which is what cheaper UPS units put out. (They hate square waves so much that they might cut out when the UPS is on battery power, thus defeating the entire point of having a UPS.)

I'm a big fan of the CyberPower PFC Sinewave units, which provide sine wave output for much less money than comparable APS units.

A note on advertising: when a UPS is advertised as "approximating" a sine wave, that means it puts out square waves. It's kind of like saying that a square approximates a circle. :annoyed

Most computer power supplies today work just fine on a modified sine wave, even with active power factor correction. On the less expensive UPS, the output is not a "square wave", it is a modified sine wave which has three steps. This is quite different from a square wave and drastically reduces the high frequency content of the output. Computers handle this modified sine wave just fine.

Mudpuppy wrote:And my personal pet peeve is when they use an approximated sine wave method like I just described above, but advertise themselves as a true sine wave. Really they are still a stepped sine wave, just with much smaller steps than the old square wave units. It is much closer to a true sine wave, but it's still a stepped wave.

All outputs from a battery backup UPS are approximated sine waves because they are produced by pulses using switches. Even a so-called "pure sine wave" output will have about 3 to 5 volts of ripple superimposed on the sine wave at about 20 KHz.

A modified sine wave UPS will be much more efficient than a pure sine wave UPS because the former switches only 4 times per cycle while the latter must switch more than 600 times per cycle. The switches generate a lot of wasted heat and in the pure sine wave UPS will require very large heat sinks to dissipate that heat. A lot of your backup battery power goes into heating your room instead of powering your computer.

The modified sine wave UPS will save you a lot of money and work just fine for most computer backup systems. There are a few devices that don't perform well on a modified power supply, for example AC electric clocks, some variable speed motors, some cheap wall wart power supplies, but most computers are okay.

For a whole house power inverter for example a solar system, you may want a pure sine wave output because of the wide range of devices you want to power in the home, but for a computer backup, a modified sine wave is sufficient.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Professor Emeritus » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:54 am

FWIW we have a household network that uses 6 routers to support up to 7 computers printers, network disks etc. Every single thing on the network is on one of 5 APC units. another older unit is used for the only TV we have. We do not have buried power and it is not outages but Spikes that drive us crazy.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby DaleMaley » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:12 am

We have a lot of power outages in Central Illinois.

My 8+ year old Dell XP survived all of these outages. I'm guessing this was at least 80 power outages.

A few months ago, I replaced my Dell XP with a new Dell Windows 7 desk-top. I was afraid that if I waited longer to buy a new PC, I would be forced into Windows 8........and Windows 7 works fine for me at work.

The first power outage we had, knocked out the power supply of the new dell..........while the old XP computer survived it fine.

Dell sent out a local repair guy and replaced the power supply at no charge. The local repair guy said he uses a UPS unit on his home PC and highly recommends it. He said a few years ago they reduced the voltage level on the mother boards, and since then he has seen many more power supply failures.

I followed his advice and orded a $48 UPS from walmart..........Tripp Lite 6-Outlet Low Profile 350VA/180-Watt USB UPS System.

Since I installed this unit, no problems so far.........and we have had some power outages with the new unit installed.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby Sidney » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:29 am

Professor Emeritus wrote:FWIW we have a household network that uses 6 routers to support up to 7 computers printers, network disks etc. Every single thing on the network is on one of 5 APC units. another older unit is used for the only TV we have. We do not have buried power and it is not outages but Spikes that drive us crazy.

Wow, that seems like a lot of routers for the number of devices.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby 1530jesup » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:44 am

mike143 wrote:UPSes that have failed me: Belkin and CyberPower.

UPSes that have left me happy and healthy: APC, Tripp Lite, Eaton.

Recently I have been buying Eaton open box deals on eBay.


I am the OP,
Being a 'keep it simple Boglehead indexer' I thought this would be easier than asset allocation - go know...
Thanks to all for the list of options, the descending order of brand preference and the key functions to look for. Fortunately my needs are relatively simple with the one PC and the router but I did forget that we have tons of surges and momentary brown outs besides the outages. Rich
efficiency is not all its cracked up to be, do you want to live your life in half the time it takes the average person? Rhymes With Orange | Rich
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby telemark » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:48 pm

The UPS takes DC from the battery and converts it to an approximation of AC so that the power supply in the computer can convert it back to DC again. :oops: Kind of amazing that it works at all. This is one reason to prefer laptops with their integrated batteries.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby jebmke » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:54 pm

telemark wrote:The UPS takes DC from the battery and converts it to an approximation of AC so that the power supply in the computer can convert it back to DC again. :oops: Kind of amazing that it works at all. This is one reason to prefer laptops with their integrated batteries.

Once I decommissioned my desktop, I moved my UPS to feed the cable modem and router. That keeps us up and running (including VOIP) for a while if the cable is still active.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby telemark » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:08 pm

jebmke wrote:Once I decommissioned my desktop, I moved my UPS to feed the cable modem and router. That keeps us up and running (including VOIP) for a while if the cable is still active.


Yes, me too. I was amused during the last blackout to see that my wifi network was the only one still active. Normally I can see eight or ten others.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby magellan » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:27 am

jebmke wrote:Once I decommissioned my desktop, I moved my UPS to feed the cable modem and router. That keeps us up and running (including VOIP) for a while if the cable is still active.

Same here. My Comcast Internet usually stays up for 6-8 hours after the power goes out. A good UPS will power low wattage devices like a cable modem and wifi router for hours and hours.

In fact, during a recent multi-day power outage, Comcast installed a portable generator down the street from us to keep some of their critical infrastructure running. As a side effect, our neighborhood had cable and Internet throughout the outage. I only ran our backup generator for 3-4 hours each morning and each night and that was plenty to keep our wifi/Internet alive for the duration.

Jim
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby mike143 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:31 am

1530jesup wrote:
mike143 wrote:UPSes that have failed me: Belkin and CyberPower.

UPSes that have left me happy and healthy: APC, Tripp Lite, Eaton.

Recently I have been buying Eaton open box deals on eBay.


I am the OP,
Being a 'keep it simple Boglehead indexer' I thought this would be easier than asset allocation - go know...
Thanks to all for the list of options, the descending order of brand preference and the key functions to look for. Fortunately my needs are relatively simple with the one PC and the router but I did forget that we have tons of surges and momentary brown outs besides the outages. Rich

I have 35-40+ UPSes in service, APC is my go to for desktop size and Eaton right now for server sized. We have APCs that have been in service for 8+ years. When Belkin was in the desktop UPS market we got a few (10+) and every single one of them failed once some twice, all replaced under warranty until Belkin got out of the UPS market. Belkin since that time still sells a UPS marketed for Internet equipment.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby rotorhead » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:47 pm

I've been using an APC BN4001, combination surge protector / battery backup, for about 10 months now. Less than $100 at Office Depot. Have it hooked to my computer, printer, monitor, and AT&T U-verse Gateway (which has it's own battery as well) There have been at least 3 significant power outages since I installed it; and it's worked as advertised.
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Re: Looking for Uninterrupted Power Source for Computer

Postby umfundi » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:24 am

We have a couple of Cyberpower UPSs bought at our local MicroCenter store.

They have worked flawlessly for more than two years. Our deal is we have monthly power outages for a couple of minutes.

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