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Tripp-Lite SMART1000LCD Tear-Down

Dim And Dimmer

If bright status LEDs and backlit LCDs bother you, the SMART’s display has an intensity slider that lets you dim it all the way down to off. With transmissive LCDs, no backlight renders the display unreadable. But this is a transflexive panel. It can work with both backlight and ambient illumination, much like LCD watch and calculator displays. Here, the only ambient light I had was daylight through my window blinds hitting the LCD almost perpendicularly. Despite those intentionally poor lighting conditions, the unlit LCD remained readable.

Party Trick

If the LCD’s orientation clashes with your application, the display and control module can be snapped out by prying them from the top, rotating them 90° and snapping them back in. Standing or lying down on one side, there is enough slack to put the display just about anywhere you want.

You do not see manufacturers allowing their customers to expose internal wiring – however little that is – very often these days.

Naughty Bits

Flip the module over after pulling it out and you are treated to the sight of its PCB, protected by a sheet of transparent insulation. The design of this sub-module is apparently contracted out to Winstar.

Left And Right Sides

The two sides are practically identical with a large Tripp-Lite logo and four screw wells. The only difference is that one set of screw wells actually has screws, while the other side is screwed into from the other side. Cutting the shaft length in two like this makes the unit look symmetrical and also improves structural integrity: half the length between the panel and screw means half the leverage against the cover. With only four screws holding the whole unit together, mechanical failure is not an option.

Rear View

Instead of listing everything on the back, which you can already see for yourself, I will focus on what is not present: a breaker. If I thought that CyberPower not putting the correct breaker rating for its unit’s cord was a little disappointing, Tripp-Lite knocks my sentiment up a notch by omitting the component altogether. In many countries, this is a violation of electric code for good reason. Distribution panel breakers can take several minutes to react to mild overloads, and if you plug a #16 cord rated for 13A in a circuit with a 20A breaker, the cord could be overloaded to over 25A for a long time before power gets cut off. I’ll let you imagine how that story can end.

My apartment has 20A breakers throughout, which makes the SMART1000 potentially unsafe to use unless I add my own breaker in-between.

Bottom View

The battery door occupies almost all of the bottom surface and slides inside tracks molded into the side panels. One screw prevents it from accidentally sliding out, while some vents near the front keep a bit of airflow going through the battery compartment to prevent hydrogen accumulation. The rest of the door is covered by the product label. There is also a small sticker between the screw and vents reminding us of that 18W figure on the packaging.

Label Commentary

Instead of molding generic info directly into the body, Tripp-Lite has unit-specific labels, complete with serial number. From the NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana) NYCE mark, this model is intended for sale in Mexico.

Aside from the usual “no user-serviceable parts inside,” which I merrily disregard in a moment, we also get a warning against unplugging the unit while turned on, non-sinusoidal output and a mention of your responsibility for evaluating the device’s appropriateness for any given application.

Can Tripp-Lite's customers resist the temptation of pulling the plug on their new UPS to test it? For many, that’s how they'll determine whether this UPS gets the job done without waiting for a power outage.

Battery Compartment

With the stopper screw removed and the door out of the way, we gain access to the UPS’ single battery and its terminals. The battery effortlessly slides out by a few centimeters while the wires are still attached for better access to its spade terminals. This makes plugging and unplugging a little easier, especially for those first few times where the connectors fit very tightly.

The Battery

If you didn't guess already, the main reason behind this unit’s diminutive footprint and light weight is its use of a single YUASA NPX-35 VRLA battery instead of the pair of 6-9Ah 12V batteries used in many other 1000VA and up competitors. As a result, the power source has to work more than twice as hard (provide over twice as much current) to drive a given load. That translates into reduced usable capacity.

To power 1000VA from this battery, the inverter needs to draw over 80A.

Battery Specs

While the battery’s markings already do a good job of explaining what the NPX-35 model stands for (15-minute discharge down to 1.67V, while providing 35W per cell or 210W for a six-cell battery), a comparison helps put things into perspective. Conveniently enough, the CSB GP1272 that I have been using as my UPS battery reference has the same physical dimensions.

The NXP offers substantially better performance with 35% lower internal resistance (15mΩ vs. 23mΩ) and 19% higher output (177W vs 210W) on the 15-minute constant power discharge spec. It looks like I may have a new brand to consider the next time I need VRLA batteries and can get them for a reasonable price.

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Daniel Sauvageau is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He’s known for his feature tear-downs of components and peripherals.