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Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Interrupting Power

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Dr_J, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. azarby

    azarby Hall Of Fame

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    During the last year I replaced two 4 year old Belkin UPS units. Similar thing, alarm in the middle of the night. In both cases the UPS units were hot to the touch and batteries were bulging. 1500VA APC units are now holding down the fort.
     
  2. FarmerBob

    FarmerBob Godfather

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    I have an APC XS1500 (will never buy this brand again) and it did the same thing. Although the battery is just fine. And APC is no help unless you can be more persistent than they can be ignorant. APC units have power switch codes. Although there is what I listed below, I accidentally stumbled on holding in the power button until the unit does, as a DVR would, a "power or soft" reset. It straightened my XS1500 right out. Since I have only purchased Tripp and Cyberpower UPS' and never have any of the strangeness as I have with APC. APC is passé. There are far better brands with great features out there now.

    Wrenched from APC Support:

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. tinmanohio

    tinmanohio Cool Member

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    Great thread! Just what I was looking for. Many of my question have been answered but now I would like to go one step farther. Generators have been mentioned and most general purpose generators do not provide a clean power source. It has been mentioned that a good UPS will clean up voltage but what about the sine wave? Is there a unit that will take a 110-120 volt input from a generator and put out a pure sine wave as well as steady voltage?

    When we have a power outage I refuse to connect my more expensive devices to our generator because it is not an inverter promising pure power. Others do and appear to get away with it, at least short term.

    Any help on this topic would be appreciated.

    Just read page 2 sorry
     
  4. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    You can get them, they're just more expensive.

    I've been tempted to pick up a "silly scope" somewhere and see just how bad the AC output of my generator is. They have to be putting out a sine wave, there's no DC in the equation at all. I've always wondered why a generator would put out dirty voltage.

    Rich
     
  5. John Williams

    John Williams Legend

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    Oct 5, 2011
    Over on a professionals forum board, this was actually discussed in the last few days. One of the dealers posted pics from his oscilloscope, that he had taken from (what was suppose to be) a high quality generator. It was unbeliveable how bad the power was from that generator. The oscilloscope's frequency calculator was actually assigning a value of about 120Hz to the signal, the 2nd order harmonics were so bad.
    Anyway, what started the discussion was several dealers had customer's homes running on generators recently from the power outages. They were called in because many systems had stopped working. They found surge protectors, UPS, etc... were damaged from the generators. Being all these were of sacrificial design (MOV based mostly), they had done just that.

    I discussed this at length either in this thread or another one not long ago, how if you read the instructions on a power inverter (12VDC to 110VAC), it out right tells you NOT to use with sensitive electronic devices. The sine wave is very square and can cause damage to such devices.
    Generators are even worse than inverters when it comes to power quality. Although I don't know if the instructions for those warn of using sensitive electronic equipment on them, it should!
     
  6. tinmanohio

    tinmanohio Cool Member

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    Feb 7, 2010

    Thats what I had in mind but my power would have to be out for more than a couple days at a time for me to spend that much. Actually Generac has a 2000 watt generator/inverter promissing clean power for sensitive electronics for $650. For less money I could increase my overall generating capacity by adding the generac just for my home theater.

    Sorry if I have hijacked this thread. I know it was about UPS units and we are going in a different direction now.

    Rich, I have often wondered how far off the frequency could be myself and how far over or under is too far.
     
  7. John Williams

    John Williams Legend

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    Oct 5, 2011
    And if you believe that, I have some beach front property in Mexico I'll sell you cheap.
    Seriously, there are not to many products on the market these days, that doesn't have lies or stretches of truths to the marketing. Even the link I supplied above: although great product, some of their claims are a bit exaggerated.
     
  8. tinmanohio

    tinmanohio Cool Member

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    This is exactly the information I have heard about and the reason I resist plugging in my home theater. I think until I am certain I have a clean power source I will just chance my cheap bedroom TV when on generator power. That said, what doesn't have sensitive electronics in it today? There are three separate circuit boards in my refrigerator. I think our washing machine has more computing power than my first Tandy desk top!:lol:
     
  9. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    That bad, huh? Can't help but wonder why a generator can't be made to put out a near perfect voltage sine wave, but I wonder about a lot of things that are not as I think they should be. Generators have been around for a long time and I'd think making them run with a near perfect voltage would be easy. Oh well, another assumption demolished. I've never tried a cheap generator on any electronics, always been a bit leery of the things because of what I've read about them.

    I think what you're seeing in inverters is "chopped DC" that approximates AC voltage. Looks like a series of blocks when viewed on an oscilloscope. The blocks being the + to - reversal seen on AC sine waves.

    Thanx, this gives me a better picture of what I didn't understand about gennies.

    Rich
     
  10. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    My parents have a permanent home generator installed for their home (natural gas unit.) I can't recall the manufacturer currently, but shortly after install I checked the output with an o-scope and it was the equivilent of what a utility would provide.

    With the exception of giving an occasional helping hand with a shipboard generator in the Navy, I can't say I have much in the way of experience with generators in general. In my experience though, there are units that do have quality sine output. It would be a shame for this not to be common among high end generators...
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Years ago, when we first started using PCs, I installed many Sola transformers that would keep voltage at about a steady 117VAC. Expensive, but effective. Your link seemed to be about similar devices. The Solas did work very well, but we found them unnecessary. We had our own substations and we could regulate our voltage from them. Made the Solas redundant, but didn't stop people from buying them.

    Rich
     
  12. John Williams

    John Williams Legend

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    The dealer who sampled that generator, never said what brand it was. I too have not had a lot of expereince with them and found it disturbing the amount of people that were having major issues with generators recently.
    I remember many years ago having a customer have major problems with one and the warnings back then about them (mostly about low voltages that time).

    It shouldn't be that hard to get a generator to produce the proper power. But it does cost money. The raw material in parts needed to produce the clean power are a constant. So when you see a 2000 watt generator for less then $700 and they say it has perfect output, you know for a fact they are full of s#@!
    It would be nice to know what generators on the market do, do it right. And at what price point. I have an oscilloscope myself (older CRT model) but can't see myself going around to every generator dealer, asking for a demo and test.
     
  13. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I was recently working on some power distribution problems involving a septic system and well that were being powered by a generator and, using my old (gotta be ~ 25 years old, it's a monster but still works like it did the day Fluke gave it to me to replace the Fluke that blew up in my hands. Another story for another time) Fluke and no matter how much I tried I could see no fluctuations in voltage, either 120 or 220. I know the Flukes are not meant for that type of application, but I thought with a generator, I would see some fluctuations. I guess the silly scopes are still the only way to do it.

    Rich
     
  14. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    I go back and forth about purchasing a generator, but our power has been extremely reliable and just haven't been able to bring myself to do it currently. Of course, you know what they say, past performance is not an indication of future results :lol: Given what I've heard, I'd have to do some O-scope testing before purchasing/installing a unit.

    I'm guessing there's probably a forum with folks who know/have tested home generators pretty thoroughly. Should anyone have a link (by PM would be fine) I'd certainly appreciate it.
     
  15. tinmanohio

    tinmanohio Cool Member

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    If there were such a thing as "truth in advertising" we wouldn't be having much of this conversation. Here is a page from Honda, take it for what it is worth to you. http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/eu2000i
    Scroll down and see the little picture of the sine wave. Then under "applications" it specifically mentions incandescent lights. Makes me want to ask if CFL's or LED's are a problem and if so what happened to "power just like from the utility"? I would love to take one of these someplace and have it tested.
     
  16. Dr_J

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    That's what I just got, a whole-home, natural gas, standby generator from Generac, not one of those portable ones that you have to pour fuel into. Here's hoping it provides clean power if necessary. After being without power for 48 hours after Hurricane Irene (which was a short length of time compared to some nearby areas), I said I would never go through that again.
     
  17. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    That sine wave picture illustrates a sine wave from an inverter. Enlarge it and you'll see the choppiness of the sine wave. That would give me pause to wonder how it would work with electronics.

    Rich
     
  18. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I've often wondered if folks just pour the gas into the generators while they are running. Not a good thing to do.

    Got a ballpark figure for that natural gas gennie? I've seen them for ~ $5,000 in stores around here. Be nice if the power companies either gave them to anyone who wanted one, or, at least gave you a pretty good break on the price. It is their equipment that's breaking down. A backup system should be offered.

    Rich
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I've had one for a couple years and never used the damn thing. Bought it from Costco, had to call the company that made it for parts that were missing from the box.

    Rich
     

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