UPSes To The Rescue

Belkin Battery Backup F6C1000ei

Belkin's UPS unit is called F6C1000ei and its form factor is similar to APC's Smart-UPS. However, the Belkin UPS cannot be mounted into a rackmount server, but it can be operated horizontally and vertically, making it look almost like a slim-line desktop PC. The product is meant as a desktop or workstation backup unit, as it offers one filtered RJ11 input and two outputs, so you can attach both a phone and a fax. It also filters a network port.

The devices is rated at 1,000 VA and delivers a maximum effective power of 615 W - this is 15 W more than APC's product and 55 W less than the maximum output of Eaton's Powerware UPS. We found that the battery runtime was the shortest of all three products, which can be explained by the smallest battery capacity of 2x 5 Ah. The competition offers twin 7-Ah and 9-Ah battery packs, which provide much longer battery backup for our test system, which consumed 142 W when running idle. The UPS unit's own power consumption is 20 W, which is almost as much as the 21 W of the APC Smart-UPS. Powerware consumes the least energy while providing uninterruptible power supply.

It is possible to exchange the battery on the fly, without shutting down any of the host devices. There are as many as six battery buffered power plugs to hook up multiple devices directly to the UPS. In addition, the unit has two more power plugs, which are surge protected and filtered, but not routed through the battery buffer circuit. We found the lack of active cooling beneficial for desktop/workstation use.

This was the only product that reached us in a box suitable for retail channels. APC and Eaton use large, business-style cartons, which would not look very nice at Best Buy or Circuit City. But the Belkin device also offers the least weight at only 9 kg. We did not find a paper manual in the box, but instructions are on a CD, which only comprise two pages. We found all the information to get started, but the technical data is kept too short. There wasn't even a detailed data sheet on the Belkin Website, nor does the company offer any assistance for selecting a properly-dimensioned UPS. Belkin's software displays the battery status and the load level of the UPS, and it offers configuration notifications, alarm and logging. It's yours to define when you want the client system to shutdown or to hibernate in case of a power failure.

Belkin provides two client power cables and a system power cord.

Belkin packages its product in a nice retail box, but the advertised 80 hours maximum backup time would probably only work if you used it to buffer your cell phone charger... we got a 17 minutes runtime on our 142 W test system.
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