APC BN650M1-CA UPS Tear-Down

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Daniel Sauvageau

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

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  • firefyte
    I'm not sure if you found this spec sheet for the battery:
    http://www.csb-battery.com/upfiles/dow01320199159.pdf

    I must comment, however, that I thoroughly enjoy these teardowns, as I had no idea that they can be THAT bad (or good).
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    434782 said:
    I'm not sure if you found this spec sheet for the battery: http://www.csb-battery.com/upfiles/dow01320199159.pdf I must comment, however, that I thoroughly enjoy these teardowns, as I had no idea that they can be THAT bad (or good).

    Yes, I did find that battery. Despite the model number differing by only one character, the HC-1228 is a much bigger battery (2.5kg vs 2.06kg, that's over 20% heavier) and if you look at the top, the terminal locations are completely different as well. Not comparable at all.

    Glad you liked it.
  • nukemaster
    Glad you did this since you mentioned this unit in the comments on the other tear-down.

    Looks like the 75 watt unit(when on sale) is the better buy(as long as you do not need the ground and are power low light loads anyway).
  • BobsKnob
    What's the point of these teardowns?
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    35532 said:
    Looks like the 75 watt unit(when on sale) is the better buy(as long as you do not need the ground and are power low light loads anyway).

    Yes, for small loads, the BGE90M is a pretty nice catch and I'm glad I picked two of them up at a ridiculously low price. I'll be swapping out my mother's BE550 with one of them the next time I drive there.

    2289259 said:
    What's the point of these teardowns?

    When you buy a $100+ black box, aren't you at least the least bit curious about what's inside, what you are actually getting for your money? If you aren't, nobody is forcing you to read my tear-downs. Feel free to skip.
  • nukemaster
    2289259 said:
    What's the point of these teardowns?

    Some people just like to take things apart and look inside. For others these types of articles are much safer.

    I am always interested in seeing inside of this type of stuff(any electronics for that matter.).
  • BobsKnob
    But it seems like they only teardown apc's. Why only them?
  • nukemaster
    2289259 said:
    But it seems like they only teardown apc's. Why only them?

    It is just just APC.
    Here are some Cyber Power units
    http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/700-cyberpower-lx1500gu-fc-ups-tear-down.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/731-cyberpower-ec350g-ups-tear-down.html#xtor=RSS-100
    http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/721-cyberpower-cp1000pfclcd-ups-tear-down.html

    I think it is limited to what the reviewer can buy(maybe locally as well) as well.
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    2289259 said:
    But it seems like they only teardown apc's. Why only them?

    Best Buy Canada stocks mostly CyberPower. Staples Canada stocks mainly APC. There are the odd Tripp-Lite units here and there, but after the SMART1000, I'm not going to try my luck with Tripp-Lite again unless I find heavily discounted units or receive a review sample.
    www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/708-tripp-lite-smart1000lcd-tear-down.html

    On Amazon.ca, the SMART1000LCD is currently listed at $215 and there are some clearly superior UPS available around $160. I try to avoid buying UPS from Amazon due to their no-return/exchange/refund policy on UPS.
  • nukemaster
    I did not know Amazon had a no return/refund/exchange policy on UPS. That sucks.
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    35532 said:
    I did not know Amazon had a no return/refund/exchange policy on UPS. That sucks.

    The reason is due to the hazards associated with the battery during shipping, which is ironic when Amazon sees nothing wrong with shipping UPS to people. Part of that could be because UPS ship with some sort of safeguard to prevent accidental turn-on during shipping which people might not do when returning them. I can imagine how the postal service might be less than thrilled with stuffing live UPS in trucks or how Amazon may not want to have to deal with the resulting dead batteries.
  • nukemaster
    I could see not return/refund, but no exchange is pretty harsh.

    And they have the 75 watt ones for 35 and change right now too.
  • grimfox
    In just about every one of these reviews you've called out solder or mixed components. I understand you have a background in QA, but it's just nit picking.

    In my experience mixed component manufacturers are very common. I frequently see brand new designs with 2-3 manu's for standard resistors and more of the same for caps. We frequently see companies that will use an obscure brand for something that can easily be found cheaper and easier from a more well known company. A lot of that has to do with availability at time of construction.

    Relating to solder I've seen maybe one error you've called out in all your teardowns that wouldn't pass for a consumer grade electronic. Of course the goal is always to strive for perfection in every aspect, but its extreme to demand that for standard consumer grade electronics. Now if we were pulling apart a medical or aero grade device and maybe even a price point more suited to a middle sized business, absolutely these are errors and should be called out. But to call out these types of things at bargain price points is just excessive.

    This is of course my personal POV, having worked in this field for the time that I have.
  • finwizard
    As always, an interesting review. It would be helpful to have a section set up allow the various UPS supplies to be reviewed against each other - such as is done for memory, CPUs, motherboards, etc.
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    250841 said:
    In my experience mixed component manufacturers are very common.

    I don't have a problem with mixed component manufacturers. What I have issues with is using poor quality components in critical circuit locations, such as on the outputs of a flyback power supply. Those are close to 100% guaranteed to fail before anything else except possibly the battery. You can use ChengX, Su'scon, Jamicon or whatever else you want for local bypass around opamps or linear regulators but flyback power supplies will eat those as entrees.

    What conversion topology is typically used for standby/5VSB and most other sub-50W power supplies? Flyback. As I have written a few times in the past, flyback converters are particularly harsh on their output caps: they receive a sharp current spike when the primary side opens and that spike contains all the energy the capacitor needs to feed the load through the remainder of the cycle plus the capacitor's ESR losses. A capacitor's life in a proper design does not get much worse than this. If you read my AR300 and SL300 PSU repairs, the first capacitor after the output diode on the 5VSB output in both were completely dead, as were all other caps powered from the 5VSB transformer's outputs.

    Destroying capacitors is the flyback topology's specialty. Why is it so popular? Because flyback converters have very few parts, are very simple, very small and very cheap to make. They can even be efficient. To get a good lifespan out of them though, you need a mix of output capacitors that can take the beating.
  • Vorador2
    1736083 said:
    35532 said:
    I did not know Amazon had a no return/refund/exchange policy on UPS. That sucks.
    The reason is due to the hazards associated with the battery during shipping, which is ironic when Amazon sees nothing wrong with shipping UPS to people. Part of that could be because UPS ship with some sort of safeguard to prevent accidental turn-on during shipping which people might not do when returning them. I can imagine how the postal service might be less than thrilled with stuffing live UPS in trucks or how Amazon may not want to have to deal with the resulting dead batteries.


    I guess it's because all UPS are shipped from factory with the battery unplugged and 30% charged, and marked as hazardous materials so risks are minimal. But a customer can happily send a malfunctioning live UPS with a battery fully charged and think nothing of it. That, combined with less than careful handlers and you get a potentially explosive cocktail.

    Amazon and/or shipping companies likely decided it wasn't worth the risk.
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    128698 said:
    I guess it's because all UPS are shipped from factory with the battery unplugged and 30% charged

    CyberPower ships its UPS with the batteries connected but they have a first-time power-up lock-out which requires that the UPS be plugged in before it can turn on for the first time. And no, UPS ship with fully charged batteries (minus whatever they lost while sitting on shelves, 1-2%/month) because low charge drastically reduces lead-acid batteries' shelf life and UPS can spend several months in warehouses before shipping. Phones, tablets and anything using rechargeable lithium batteries typically ship with 30-50% charge because that's optimal for lithium batteries' shelf life. Even a 30% full 3Ah lithium cell still holds over 11kJ of energy and is more than enough to start a fire or explode.