Today's Victim: CP1000PFCLCD
In several of my previous power-related tear-downs, many readers commented that they wanted to see what goes on inside one of those “Pure Sinewave” battery backup systems, and I finally got around to picking up a CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD on sale from NCIX for $150 CAN. Will it leave a better impression than Tripp-Lite’s disappointing SMART1000? There is only one way to find out: dig in.
Given a somewhat more business-oriented approach, CyberPower doesn't waste as much money plastering full-color glossy marketing material all over its packaging. Humble black ink on unbleached corrugated cardboard gets the job done.
The printed claims are what we'd expect from a modern mid-range consumer-grade UPS, except for that first point about offering protection specifically for computers equipped with active power factor correction circuitry, which typically implies some form of more sinusoidal output.
Inside the box, the UPS is surrounded by a second layer of corrugated cardboard and Styrofoam blocks up to four centimeters (about 1.5”) thick on the sides, protecting each corner. I do not know about you, but I personally find it funny when more than half of a product box’s internal volume is air and shipping protection. Of course, better safe than sorry.
As usual, my old BX1000 towers over everything else. Compared to the LX1500 in the middle, the 1000PFCLCD is only one centimeter shorter and eight centimeters shallower. Can you guess what component is mostly responsible for the PFCLCD’s smaller size? Let me give you a hint: it is also about three kilos (seven pounds) lighter.
The 1000PFCLCD comes with the usual paper assortment: a single-sheet manual, a quick-start guide and a registration card. Surprisingly enough, the accessories bag also contains a software installation disc. While that's nice, it's also usually futile since the shipped version is rarely current. Most people will simply download the latest version instead.
We have a full complement of cables here: telephone, coax and USB. How often do you see coax cables shipped with plastic caps to protect the central conductor from bending during shipping? In a properly-made coax cable, that conductor should be cut flush with the connector’s opening and not really require any sort of protection other than the connector nut.
No, there's nothing fancy here. For a moment, I thought that the caps may have been to protect higher-quality cable terminations. But the dielectric that should have been cut flush was instead cut one or two millimeters short of providing uninterrupted coverage in the transition from the coaxial cable to the F-connector it plugs into. This transition from coax dielectric to air to F-connector dielectric will cause unnecessary signal reflections and degradation.
With that said, I have seen many coaxial cables that looked worse. Even the cable bundled with Monster’s HT-800G was of questionable build quality.
Starting From The Wall
In my LX1500 tear-down, I commented that the plug would have been better if it had simply been round. Here, it looks like some people at CyberPower came to the same conclusion and picked a stepped round plug design for the CP1000PFCLCD. But the cord is exiting the “wrong way” to maximize the distance between whichever finger you put on the right side of the plug and the live prong. At least the round design yields a better grip from many different angles, and the grip ridge is rather far from the prongs themselves, which should help reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises.
The Copper Standard
After the handful of 1000VA or smaller systems I have seen with #16 gauge power cords, I doubted I would see another 1000VA UPS with a proper #14 gauge cord again. But here it is: 3x2.08mm.
As a side note, all of the information I could find about UL standard 1363 (relocatable power taps) points towards devices with more than three outlets being considered as branch circuit extensions and should have cords with #14 gauge conductors or thicker. Similarly, what I could find on UL 1778 (UPS) only mentions wire gauges thinner than #14 for control circuits, not power conductors. Have the standards been lowered since their 1997-2001 revisions? The proliferation of #16 cords seems to point that way.
The Back End
What is there to see here? Two sets of five tightly spaced outlets that are going to be a nightmare if you want to plug wall warts in, a breaker just above the cord’s entry point, the two coax F-connectors and two RJ45 for what are likely the same sort of surge protection seen in the LX1500, a wiring fault indicator LED, a USB port for computer-based monitoring and configuration, and a good old DB9 serial port mainly for use with legacy equipment that relies on RS-232.
RS-232 may be old, but it is hard to beat the ease of integration: there is no multi-layered hardware and software protocol stack to worry about, unlike USB. This is even more true when the UPS also exposes basic status and control (such as on-battery, low battery and shutdown) over RS-232 status and control lines.
CyberPower is proud of its glossy plastic, covering most of it with clear plastic to prevent scratches during shipping. Both sides feature CyberPower’s logo and a modest number of cooling vents at the top, bottom and rear. On the bottom-left corner of the right panel, you can also see the “Energy-Saving Technology” sticker, although its color-shifting inks swamped my camera’s sensor in this shot.
While I may like the look of black peripherals and PC cases in general, one disadvantage is that most black finishes rarely look clean for very long. You can see a rather clear hand print from one of the times I grabbed the unit to move it across my work bench on the front (left). Dust is also highly visible on glossy black.