Does APC Make These Like It Used To?
Ever since my old BX1000 went spastic last year, I've wondered if APC still makes ~1000 VA uninterruptible power supplies the way it used to. When I found the BR1000G on sale for $165 CAN ($130 US), including free shipping, I decided to satisfy my curiosity. If you haven’t read my BX1000 tear-down already, consider doing so now; I'll be making multiple references to it.
Of course, I plan to repair the old BX1000 at some point in the future. But without obvious damage, schematics, or a working unit to compare my measurements against, finding the cause of its behavior could take a while.
Many products have separate boxes for in-store and online shopping. The e-tail packaging drops the full-color graphics and extensive marketing coverage on glossy cardboard stock in favor of low printing cost and rugged corrugated cardboard. You do get an overview of key features on the back of the box, though.
In case you missed the orange sticker, this thing is heavy. While not massive in absolute terms, it's clearly in a different weight class from everything else we've taken apart since CyberPower's LX1500, and there are two very simple reasons for that.
APC does not cut corners on padding those corners: the foam around them is 40 mm thick at the top and bottom, and 50 mm thick on the sides, front, and rear. As you can see inside the unit’s protective bag, we also get an automated test report slip.
Unfortunately, that eco-friendly inexpensive ink rubbed off from the box and made a mess of my backdrop.
Stacked on top of each other, the BR1000G and BX1000 look about the same thickness, with the BR being just about as deep as the BX is tall. How does the BR1000G fit mostly the same core features as the BX1000 in a package that is eight centimeters shorter than the BX1000 is deep? Simple: it doesn’t. Not quite. Can you guess what the key space-saving difference is? Here is a hint: the BX1000 weighs 10.2 kg while the BR1000G weighs 10.7. All else being equal, the BR’s extra functionality should have added around 100 grams.
Aside from the test slip included at the end of quality assurance checking, the BR1000G comes with APC’s usual complement of English/Spanish/French manual, safety information/equipment protection policy, and a product registration reminder. Also thrown in the mix are an addendum sheet stating that not all models are actually EnergyStar-compliant (why put the EnergyStar logo on the box then?) and an APC PowerChute installation disc. How many people use included install discs instead of going online to download the newest version? Personally, I use USB’s UPS-class HID, which enables standard battery management in the OS and adds basic UPS monitoring to the system management bus.
Raise your hand if you are mildly annoyed with how APC continues to use a proprietary USB-to-RJ45 cable for its higher-end models instead of the standard A-to-B cable it uses in its $50-120 ones. I cannot be the only one.
This time around, APC’s RG59 cable may have one of the most proper terminations of any bundled cable that I have seen so far, though it's still not perfect: the isolation is cut slightly short from flush with the connector face, and the cut looks a little rough. With cord-cutting and IP-based multi-room systems becoming increasingly popular, the added value of coax surge protection is fading. I would gladly take a seven-foot CAT 5e patch cable instead.
Plug And Cord
APC’s traditional rounded plug makes another appearance here. In a normal right-hand grip, there is plenty of space between the live pin (left) and any finger. In a left-handed grip, not so much; that puts the thumb within four millimeters of going live. There are orange marks on the front of the neutral prong (not visible in the picture) and in between (orange on black is not particularly visible; it is the darker stain between the live and ground pins).
In the cord department, we get the typical 3x1.31mm (#16) affair.
What connectivity do we find behind this unit? On the surge-only side, there are two always-on surge-only outlets and two master-controlled outlets, while on the battery backup side we have the master outlet, one master-controlled outlet, and two regular battery backup ones. The bottom outlet on each side has wider spacing to accommodate larger adapters. In the top-left, we have the network surge suppression, coax surge suppression, RJ45 jack for the USB interface, and a ground fault indicator LED. There is also a grounding screw terminal to accommodate equipment with optional ground, something I haven’t seen since the BX1000. Finally, roughly in the middle, we have the usual pop breaker.
Both side panels look identical: there's an APC logo in the middle and vertical ventilation slots at the bottom. Part of the ventilation slots on one side are on the battery door instead of the side panel itself, and the seam between pieces blends in with the slotted pattern.
More ventilation slots occupy the top of the unit, and more fake seams conceal the real seams behind a symmetric pattern. From any sort of distance, it is difficult to tell if the top part is molded in the left or right panel, or as a separate piece altogether. It gets noticeably warm while the battery is charging or when the UPS is running on battery power for a minute. On standby and with a full battery, the amount of waste heat is barely noticeable.
As usual, the bottom is dominated by a battery door that takes up about two-thirds of the product's length. At the end of the door, next to the label area, you can see how the seam blends together with the side panel vents. A large sticker covers part of the left end of the door and contains battery connection instructions.