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APC BR1000G Tear-Down

Control Panel

The BR1000G, like many modern mid-range UPSes, sports a custom LCD displaying basic status information. Key-hold combinations of the mute, power, and display buttons also grants access to a limited number of internal parameters like transfer voltage limits and "master" detection threshold calibration. The three buttons are back-lit, and their LEDs are quite bright with the cover off. With the cover and rubber/silicon button caps in place, their brightness is drastically reduced.

Mezzanine Board

What does that mezzanine board actually host? The UPS’ single power supply based on a TOP285 monolithic off-line switching regulator right next to a heat sink slug, similar to APC's BE550G. This one has a complete input noise suppression network including the Y-class capacitor at the transformer, filter inductors after the common-mode choke, a 47 µF/400 V Chemi-Con input capacitor, and APC’s signature mix of Jamicon, JiangHai, and Cheng capacitors for the rest. Will this design match the BE550G for standby efficiency?

This board also hosts a relay that closes the neutral connection to the AVR/inverter transformer’s neutral wire.


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Main Board

Starting from the left edge on the top side, we have the control panel connector; three 30 A battery fuses; a tall capacitor wrapped in heat-shrink tubing; the high- and low-side switching FETs; a cluster of support electronics including the UPS’ micro-controller, a pair of current-sensing transformers, and five relays; the input filter; USB port; and wiring fault indicator circuit.

Input-Outputs

Power routing on the board begins in the bottom-right corner with an Epcos S20K230 MOV across live-neutral, a yellow X-capacitor, a chunky common-mode choke, two more S20K230s to ground, and a smaller film capacitor before the mezzanine’s power connector. From there, five relays switch power around as necessary.

What are all of those small metal film capacitors and 510 Ω resistors near every relay for? They are snubbers across relay contact points to mitigate arcing wear.

Battery Connector

The battery connections ride in a slot at the top of the battery compartment, and its springy wings provide what little freedom of movement it requires to align itself with the battery as it gets pushed in.

Below it, you may be able to distinguish a few Cheng and Jamicon capacitors. Illinois makes an appearance as the manufacturer of the brown capacitor, next to an LM317 linear regulator in loose TO-220 format. At a glance, the LM317 appears to be fed by an MC34063 switching regulator (the DIP-8 chip next to the fat Jamicon capacitor near the bottom-right corner).

Something Needs An Alignment

Something in this picture does not look straight. I’m not talking about those electrolytics on long leads being slightly bent over or the LM317 on the right. Either the pick-and-place machine has issues with DPAK components or the vias’ thermal capacity caused solder to reflow on the right side first, yanking the 100 mA/3.3 V linear regulator to the pad’s edge. Don’t stack all of your thermal vias on one side.

Output Bridge

The task of driving the transformer’s low voltage primary is handled by a quartet of STP80NF55 FETs in a full bridge arrangement, which, as you may have guessed from the model number, are rated for 80 A and 55 V. That might sound weak considering the 3x30 A battery fuses, but at 24 V you only need 42 A to deliver 1000 W. It looks to me like APC fused the 1000 VA unit as if it was a 1500 VA one and put one too many on there.

In unrelated news, check out the blue and red squiggles. QA isn't taking chances with heat sinks or screws going AWOL.

CAUTION HEAVY

Remember that 400-gram difference I mentioned earlier? With the BR1000G lacking the BX1000’s many large aluminum plate sinks, HVDC transformer, and Falco choke, the missing weight had to reappear somewhere else. This is where it went: the BR1000G’s transformer core has twice the lamination stack thickness, enabling it to achieve the same inductance using fewer turns, in turn freeing enough room to fit the heavy-gauge low-voltage winding without increasing the winding area’s cross-section. What does this mean in terms of actual weight? Between the longer iron core and extra copper going through it, we have 1700 grams for the BX1000 versus 2950 grams for the BR1000G, a 74% increase. For non-metric folks, this is a whopping 2.75-pound difference.

Baseline Battery Draw

How about baseline power draw from the batteries? With the inverter running under no-load condition, this iron lump-based design draws less than 500 mA from its 24 V pack. Although that's 50% more than the BX1000’s ~330 mA, it is also only half as much power as CyberPower’s 1000PFCLCD, which drew 2 A from its single 12 V battery. If you want to see when and where I did those other measurements, they can be found in my APC BGE90M-CA tear-down.

When I ordered the BR1000G, I was hoping to find a more efficient implementation of the BX1000’s electronic inverter. On the bright side, 500 mA means that its 7 Ah battery pack should still be able to run under very light loads for roughly 10 hours.

Standby Waveform

In an off state with a charged battery, the BR1000G draws an apparent power of 9.67 VA and a real power of 3.67 W. In no-load standby, those figures increase to 12.14 VA and 6.64 W. Off the top of my head, these are the worst measurements we've seen from an APC UPS over the past year. Additionally, we observe surprisingly sharp peaks, which may explain the faint 120 Hz buzzing I hear while the unit is plugged in. And by faint I mean that my ear is almost touching the UPS by the time I can clearly hear it.

Out of curiosity, I repeated the measurements with the battery removed. While the on-state power remained practically unchanged, the off-state result dropped to 2.17 W, suggesting either a 50 mA float-charge when off or a very long (10+ hours) end-of-charge phase.

  • avatar_raq
    Please do a teardown for the APC SUA1500i Smart UPS.
    Reply
  • VVV850
    I would like to see that too.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Thanks for this.

    BTW, if you setup a kickstarter for funding your reviews, I'll bet you'd get lots of donations. I'd certainly chip in.
    Reply
  • Zaxx420
    Am a regular reader of ur UPS teardowns here at Tom's...having a backround in "EEE", I find them very interesting to say the least. I have an older APC BACK UPS RS-1500 that needs a new battery. B4 I spend on a new batt was wondering if you've reviewed any APC 1500VA 'home' units? Are they decent or should I look at a newer unit instead of a fresh batt?
    Reply
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    18676443 said:
    I have an older APC BACK UPS RS-1500 that needs a new battery. B4 I spend on a new batt was wondering if you've reviewed any APC 1500VA 'home' units? Are they decent or should I look at a newer unit instead of a fresh batt?
    If your RS-1500 is from ~2005, look for my APC BX1000 tear-down. Based on how the BX1000's battery cover says XS1000 and the firmware version says RS1000, I suspect that the RS1500 will be practically the exact same thing except for having that third FET location on the heatsink plates populated and a larger HVDC transformer..
    Reply
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    18676391 said:
    Thanks for this.

    BTW, if you setup a kickstarter for funding your reviews, I'll bet you'd get lots of donations. I'd certainly chip in.
    Glad you liked it.

    For Kickstarter, I do not think a platform where I need to meet a goal to get funds would work too well. Patreon might be more appropriate for my use: contribute monthly, piece-wise or one-off to help me get what I need, when I need it.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18677660 said:
    Patreon might be more appropriate for my use: contribute monthly, piece-wise or one-off to help me get what I need, when I need it.
    Good point. I'm just thinking of some way that people can chip in to buy you equipment to test. Any extra you might use to fund your time + maybe you can ebay some of the re-assembled units, when you're done. Perhaps it can be setup for people to vote on different models with their contributions, if patreon has a way of creating different projects for people to contribute towards.

    Personally, I'm interested in higher-end UPS models and AV powerline filters (like those from Panamax).
    Reply
  • Tim_103
    You're going to get grief for your use of "spastic".
    Reply
  • WFang
    Yes, a Patreon option would certainly be interesting way to get funds for higher end UPS and powerfilters!
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    18676443 said:
    Am a regular reader of ur UPS teardowns here at Tom's...having a backround in "EEE", I find them very interesting to say the least. I have an older APC BACK UPS RS-1500 that needs a new battery. B4 I spend on a new batt was wondering if you've reviewed any APC 1500VA 'home' units? Are they decent or should I look at a newer unit instead of a fresh batt?
    I'd slap a battery in it if I was you. I mean, you're already got the unit. If it had some other failure or you were lacking a UPS but in the market for one, the BR1500G is probably the best in it's price class. I've got one - if you tear it open it's going to look pretty similar to the BR1000G in this tear-down. It does have a fan which it fires up whenever it's on battery. Again, very decent unit for the money, but it's not going to be built quite up to the standards of the older units. In actual use though this thing has been kick-ass - I needed something with enough oomph to sustain my system for a bit if I lose power while gaming. Gives me time to gracefully exit the game and finish anything I needed to do.
    Reply