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DS1500B Management Software

Enthusiast Power Protection: Four-Way 900 W UPS Roundup
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The DS1500B’s software CD does not support any modern operating system, but available updates do. Windows 7 users are of course welcome to use the operating system’s native UPS support, which gives desktop PCs the power options previously reserved for notebooks.

Opti-UPS' Opti-Safe software appeals to us in that its simplified interface provides most of the functionality found in competing, complicated solutions. The monitoring and power-failure configuration menus exemplify its ease-of-use.

The scheduling menu and event recording menus are also simplified, reminding us of programs from the Windows for Workgroups era. We were particularly fond of the record viewer, which is as easy to use as the video player apps of the 1990s.

Opti-Safe can even call for help, but only via serial port modems. Modern hardware users will have to make due with email notification. Email notifications on smart phones are an option as well.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    aldaia , November 15, 2010 6:27 AM
    This is a quite inefficient & expensive approach to the problem. We take AC and use a transformer to convert to DC and store in a battery, meanwhile another transformer is also taking AC and converting to DC to feed our components. When there is a blackout, we take DC from the battery, convert to AC and feed the computer PS where we convert back to DC to feed our components. Wouldn't be more cost effective and energy efficient to use the same unit to both feed our components with DC and the battery? Most of the time a PS has a surplus of power that can be used to charge the battery. When there is a blackout we could just take DC from battery and feed our components without the inefficient double DC->AC->DC conversion. I think an integrated UPS/PS would be cheaper (most components are replicated). That would be enough for most enthusiasts, that only need a relatively short battery life to be able to save work. A different matter is in professional environments where a UPS feeds dozens of computers that cannot be stopped. ¿Anyone knows if such a think exists?
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    sudeshc , November 15, 2010 4:55 AM
    Have been using APC for last 2 years now without any issues what so ever.
    Would recommend it although they might be a bit costly but they perform really well.
  • -1 Hide
    hmp_goose , November 15, 2010 4:57 AM
    Soooo you have nothing to say about the TripLite atoll? Dead last? Distant second? Muddled mess? Nice part for not-our-application?
  • -2 Hide
    dEAne , November 15, 2010 5:02 AM
    I have several units of APC and a hundred after-sales issues which remains unanswered, I opted to installed the generator set and a AVR than a UPS.
  • 0 Hide
    Emperus , November 15, 2010 5:21 AM
    Most folks would just be happy to ignore on the need for a backup power source.. Hope this article enlightens them on getting one to protect their precious components and/or be ready if and when the situation arises.. Would be great if Tom's could put up a tier based classification on suitable UPS choices for various PC's (gaming, server, home theatre etc.)..
  • 0 Hide
    super_tycoon , November 15, 2010 6:03 AM
    What about AVR? (Automatic Voltage Regulation) I have a CP1500AVRLCD and I've seen (at least I'm pretty sure) I've seen the AVR feature kick in when one of the local power lines got knocked out and the voltage drooped to ~100. (killed some of my non-dimmable cfl's) I went to CP's website and it claimed the pfc units still have AVR functionality. So here comes the confusion, what's the point of the voltage tolerances? If it has an AVR, why would it matter what voltage it's fed as long as there steps on the transformer? I thought the unit was supposed to take 90-140 without having to engage the battery while still passing ~120v?

    You've also made me want to test my non-pfc ups with my 850hx, but my gaming rig and my workstation are an hour apart....
  • 16 Hide
    aldaia , November 15, 2010 6:27 AM
    This is a quite inefficient & expensive approach to the problem. We take AC and use a transformer to convert to DC and store in a battery, meanwhile another transformer is also taking AC and converting to DC to feed our components. When there is a blackout, we take DC from the battery, convert to AC and feed the computer PS where we convert back to DC to feed our components. Wouldn't be more cost effective and energy efficient to use the same unit to both feed our components with DC and the battery? Most of the time a PS has a surplus of power that can be used to charge the battery. When there is a blackout we could just take DC from battery and feed our components without the inefficient double DC->AC->DC conversion. I think an integrated UPS/PS would be cheaper (most components are replicated). That would be enough for most enthusiasts, that only need a relatively short battery life to be able to save work. A different matter is in professional environments where a UPS feeds dozens of computers that cannot be stopped. ¿Anyone knows if such a think exists?
  • 1 Hide
    wrxchris , November 15, 2010 7:47 AM
    I've been using a CyberPower 1350AVR for the past couple years and it has been great. Gives me approx. 17 mins of runtime at idle / basic tasks (approx. 250 watts between my rig and main LCD). It's good for 810W, and I believe I picked it up on sale for $120.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 15, 2010 8:12 AM
    while i personally use APC XL series, what about eaton powerware??
  • 2 Hide
    g00ey , November 15, 2010 8:14 AM
    I've always been wondering about the possibilities to replace the small batteries in those UPSes with standard car batteries or deep cycle (marine) batteries. Since the batteries in the UPSes are standard 12V lead cells it shouldn't be a problem and this would be a cheap way to keep the computer alive for days without external power.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , November 15, 2010 11:08 AM
    g00eyI've always been wondering about the possibilities to replace the small batteries in those UPSes with standard car batteries or deep cycle (marine) batteries. Since the batteries in the UPSes are standard 12V lead cells it shouldn't be a problem and this would be a cheap way to keep the computer alive for days without external power.

    wrong
  • 0 Hide
    bull2760 , November 15, 2010 12:27 PM
    I have a Tripp Lite power inverter hooked up to 3 90ahr batteries and I have 3 Servers connected into it, a cisco router, and a firewall. Works perfectlty.
  • 3 Hide
    g00ey , November 15, 2010 12:39 PM
    nebunwrong

    No it's not wrong, a small UPS equipped with a bunch of low-cost standard deep cycle SMF/gel-cell batteries is a lot cheaper than a big UPS that comes factory equipped with that capacity. APC's Smart-UPS units come with ~2700 VAh and their price tags start at about $8000. Sure they are also able to provide up to 40 kW power from the batteries but this is far more than needed for home use.

    The problems that may arise is that the inverter circuit may be too weak to operate for longer durations which is a problem among low-budget UPSes. It may not be able to run equipment for hours since its intended use to deliver power from batteries lies within a time-span of maximum half an hour. A sign to look for is if the UPS has cooling fans. Those that don't have that are probably not constructed for longer durations.

    Another problem is that many of these UPSes are equipped with circuitry that monitor the health of the batteries. If you swap the original batteries with batteries that have higher capacity they will need more time to recharge and the circuitry may misinterpret this as that the batteries are "dead" since they don't take the charge at the same rate as is expected from smaller batteries.

    The recharge voltage of the recharger circuit may not match the recommended voltage of the standard batteries if you use cheaper open-cell batteries. I've been told that the electrolyte of open-cell batteries tend to evaporate over time if you feed them with a higher than recommended recharge voltage. The solution to this is to make sure that the ventilation is good and keep refilling the cells with distilled water. Sealed gel-cell batteries should have the same recommended recharge voltages as those lead batteries that are used in the UPSes.

    The solution to the last two issues could be to put on an additional (smart) recharger on the batteries that is connected to them 24/7 and let the battery/recharger circuit sit behind a rectifier just to be on the safe-side. This may of course confuse the battery health monitor circuitry of the UPS making it think that something is wrong with the batteries. If I had the budget I would definitely try these things out.
  • 0 Hide
    g00ey , November 15, 2010 1:01 PM
    bull2760I have a Tripp Lite power inverter hooked up to 3 90ahr batteries and I have 3 Servers connected into it, a cisco router, and a firewall. Works perfectlty.

    I looked at them and if you want 120V power, they are good but if you want 230V then there is a problem. The models that provide 230V and are not crazily big (6 kW is far beyond household needs ...) use 12V as input. It's much better to use 48V or at least 24V as these setups with serially connected batteries can use thinner wiring. But this is an interesting option indeed since they come with an automatic utility power pass-through switch and a recharger.
  • 0 Hide
    kureme , November 15, 2010 1:13 PM
    I'd like to see a similar article for a budget/office PC. Sure enthsiasts may have the money to blow for the top end gear, but what's the best bang for the buck on the budget end for an office/workstation PC or is a laptop the way to go?
  • 0 Hide
    mresseguie , November 15, 2010 1:27 PM
    My Tripp Lite model G1000UB died recently after only 2 1/2 months of use. It was my first Tripp Lite and likely my last. I'll get something more reliable (like the APC that backs up my TV system) next time.
  • 0 Hide
    cyclocommuter , November 15, 2010 2:01 PM
    I have an APC Smart-UPS 1500 and a Smart-UPS 700 and these have protected my computers for years. With the 1500, I did not even install the APC software, Windows 7 (and Vista) can interface with it directly via the OS' built in Power Management applet when the UPS is connected to the PC through the USB. They usually have these on sale at online stores for less than half the price from time to time. My smaller unit has been in service for more than 7 years and has undergone two battery changes. This is one advantage for APC Smart-UPS UPSes, replacement batteries are available in many places.
  • 0 Hide
    bouncergriim , November 15, 2010 2:07 PM
    I have a 550W Cyberpower ups, it was very nice during our last black out during a storm. It shut down the computer (no one was using at the time) and then I was able to use it to power a CF light for hours as we waited for our power company to restore the power.
  • 2 Hide
    joebob2000 , November 15, 2010 2:19 PM
    g00eyNo it's not wrong, a small UPS equipped with a bunch of low-cost standard deep cycle SMF/gel-cell batteries is a lot cheaper than a big UPS that comes factory equipped with that capacity.


    In a word, "wrong" was the right answer. Ignoring everything else, for the simple reason that charge management isn't where it needs to be; you will destroy the UPS trying to charge and float anything behind 2x or 3x the normal capacity. There are vendors (apc is one of them at the entry level position in the market) that offer expandable runtime UPS solutions; if you are going to be relying on your backup and not just using it as a hobby project (there is nothing wrong with that) you are going to need a properly engineered solution.
  • -1 Hide
    bpislife , November 15, 2010 2:46 PM
    You can't test back up UPS just how long they last, but you need to see how well they protect it from lightening. I would like to see Tom's test for isolation when hitting the pin with high voltage. I would also like to see a test where they vary the voltage at the input to see what triggered them.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , November 15, 2010 3:04 PM
    Sorry, I'm not buying the Sine Wave vs. Square Wave and zero-power state argument, pure PR BS (I've seen power strips promise this same Sine-Wave miracle technology, wonder what the excuse is there). I would love to see any UPS produce a true square-wave in the first place. Mathematically, it's impossible. In fact, BAD digital devices produce something closer to a sine-wave than a square-wave anyway.

    I'd like to see Tom's test an old square-wave UPS, see if they can actually trigger an Active-PFC PSU shutdown on a swap to battery power. I'm guessing it won't have anything to do with the waveform coming out of the UPS.

    And before you come back at me, I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, I actually have an educated basis for my beliefs.
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