Today’s Victim: APC BN650M1-CA
When I found out that APC refreshed its line-up as I wrote my BGE90M tear-down, I made a mental note to snag one of the updated models if I spotted it on sale. Back-to-school season rolled in, allowing me to score one for $60 much sooner than expected. How much changed and how much didn’t?
Unless you keenly remember the BGE, your first impression may be that it looks exactly the same, except black. The BGE didn’t have holes for ground pins though, and the BN650’s single USB port is relocated compared to the BGE’s two. Lastly, the new model's footprint is more elongated.
Although their outward appearance is very similar, some substantial shuffling may have occurred within...
Unlike most consumer packaging, which tries to summarize every feature up front, the BN650M’s box leaves some details for the other sides: the top includes a run-time chart and suggests three other models, while the back contains the full feature list and specs. The left side tells you that this is a UPS with surge protection, while the right end iterates APC’s new motto: “Press on. You’re still connected. Life is on.”
Instead of the full-length cradling seen around the BGE90M, APC's BN650M only wears protection on its corners with slightly thinner top and bottom padding. The BN650M also sees its power plug tucked into a foam cut-out to secure it through shipping. Inside the bag, you can see the ATE/QA result slip taped to the UPS’ side.
Old vs. New Size Comparison
Both units have almost exactly the same general shape, except that the 274×105×139-millimeter BN650M is seven millimeters taller and five centimeters longer. The need for extra length is evident from the two extra battery-backup and two extra surge-only outlets. As far as the additional height is concerned, I have no idea. Weight-wise, the 3.4 kg BN650M adds 400 grams, which I suspect is split between a slightly bigger battery and bigger heat sinks.
The Fifth Dimension
Length, width, height, and weight are fine, but what about outlet spacing? The BGE90M barely accommodated the most over-sized adapters I could find. To cram four extra outlets across a five-centimeter-longer area, outlet spacing had to get tighter. On the BN650M1, this measurement shrinks from 58 to 46 mm. That could be a tight fit even for a modern electronic adapter complement.
Here, my N66U and SPA112 adapters on its left are wedged against each other, while my cordless phone adapter to the right fits with one millimeter to spare. In the first outlet to the left, my modem’s adapter blocks off the second outlet. I wanted to plug both of my cordless phones in there. That isn’t going to happen without a multi-outlet adapter.
There is a full complement of paper documentation in the box: an equipment protection guarantee in six languages, safety information and a user manual in three languages, a product registration reminder sheet, and the test slip.
What looks like a decent-quality USB A-to-B cable is also included, but I won’t bore you with a typical-looking cable today.
According to the test slip, my unit breezed through QA on April 14th. Over a dozen more and less critical electrical checks were performed, the model and serial numbers were programmed, and the functionality of a few key parameters (like transfer voltage settings) were tested.
The printout is marginally readable in person, so I had to convert the picture to black and white before enhancing the heck out of it to get something usable.
Now this is something different: a square-top angled plug. I haven’t seen one of these before. At first, I thought the grip might be awkward, but it turned out more secure and comfortable than I expected. The finger’s width height between the plug face and the ridge provides plenty of space to grip the plug while maintaining a safe distance from all prongs.
Can you see that tiny blue squiggle on the ground prong? The only possible explanation I can come up with is that it indicates the cord and plug assembly passed ground continuity testing.
There's more common fare here: the cost-cutting 3x#16 cord makes another appearance. Will we see it paired with a 10, 13, or 15 A breaker this time? So far, APC’s track record is 15 A on everything we've seen above 125 VA, so 15 A is a safe bet.
Unlike the BGE90M, which only had a breaker and ventilation slots that went one-third of the way up, the BN650M also has a USB-B port for PC monitoring, a site wiring fault indicator, and ventilation slots that go all the way to the top.
Aside from a tiny EnergyStar logo in the bottom-right corner of the front and wall-mounting slots in the back, the sides are solid black.