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Uninterrupted Power Supply UPS


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#51 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:06 PM

Virtually all consumer UPS devices pass through the AC mains, and only provide inverter power from the batteries upon power failure. The switchover is relatively fast (milliseconds), so your device that is running on the UPS typically won't see the power interruption.

 

To get a continuous power UPS, you have to spend big bucks (tens of thousands typically), and they normally have much larger batteries (which are 24 or 48 volt, not 12 volt). Consumer grade UPS devices are not designed or built to run continuously. If you run them at about 25% of rated load, you can probably run them longer (using a large external battery), but they won't survive extended continuous use at or near rated output.

 

You can buy a consumer online UPS for a few hundred dollars. APC's "SmartUPS" line is an online UPS, for instance, which is what I use. I've never investigated the ratings to see if they're rated for 24x7x365 use and at what load, but I've used the same one at home since probably 1999 and aside from needing to replace the battery every 3-4 years it has never failed.

 

If you want something that never goes down, even for battery replacement, then yeah you need to go beyond consumer products and look at something like APC's Symmetra, but such a need for online battery swap is way beyond a typical consumer requirement. And of course your bigger expense will be the diesel generator that backs it up since you wouldn't typically plan to run on batteries for longer than it takes to start up the generator.


Edited by slice1900, 14 April 2014 - 09:07 PM.

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#52 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 10:36 PM

Okay, online UPS and double conversion UPS are pretty much functionally equivalent terms, and checking I do see APC models ranging from about $250 to $750 depending on rated output. A 1000 va (600 watt) model is $257 on Amazon (and at rated capacity has a run time of 6 minutes). So I guess the online versions are working their way into the consumer market.  Been a few years since I looked seriously at that capability, and the last "big" UPS I dealt with was a multi-KW model designed to run an entire server room, and had about 24 hours of battery on it (no generator was available at that location at that time).

 

My personal opinion is that a UPS should have at least 20 minutes of battery run-time (which typically means you have to get a unit rated somewhat higher than your actual power draw), as it will take that long to either do a graceful shutdown of everything running on UPS, or switch it all over to generator.  In a consumer/home environment, that typically means going around to more than one location (item running on UPS) to do the shutdown or switch over, and 20 minutes is pushing it (unless you have a whole-home auto start generator).



#53 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 12:34 AM

Okay, online UPS and double conversion UPS are pretty much functionally equivalent terms, and checking I do see APC models ranging from about $250 to $750 depending on rated output. A 1000 va (600 watt) model is $257 on Amazon (and at rated capacity has a run time of 6 minutes). So I guess the online versions are working their way into the consumer market.  Been a few years since I looked seriously at that capability, and the last "big" UPS I dealt with was a multi-KW model designed to run an entire server room, and had about 24 hours of battery on it (no generator was available at that location at that time).

 

My personal opinion is that a UPS should have at least 20 minutes of battery run-time (which typically means you have to get a unit rated somewhat higher than your actual power draw), as it will take that long to either do a graceful shutdown of everything running on UPS, or switch it all over to generator.  In a consumer/home environment, that typically means going around to more than one location (item running on UPS) to do the shutdown or switch over, and 20 minutes is pushing it (unless you have a whole-home auto start generator).

 

The one I've had since '99 or so is 1000 VA, and while I don't remember its exact cost, it was probably at or less than that $257 mark then (I certainly wouldn't have been willing to spend a whole lot more than that amount) so they've been in the consumer market for a while, depending on how you define "consumer market". I think back then the SmartUPS line was intended for workgroup servers moreso than homes (maybe that's still true)

 

The rated 6 minute runtime isn't a problem unless you really pull 600 watts. Today my PC, modem, switch, wireless router and 27" monitor total just over 100 watts, so I've got a pretty decent runtime. Back when I bought it I think I sized it for 2x my normal draw, wanting to get 10-15 minutes out of it. PCs have become much more power efficient, and the 20" LCD I bought back then (for $1200...yikes!) drew about 60 watts by itself IIRC.

 

Since I don't have a generator, the UPS is just for convenience to avoid a momentary power blip from causing data loss. My PC will automatically shut itself down if the power goes out and the battery gets low, so I don't need to do it manually. I have a smaller UPS for my Tivo, but I don't bother to shut it down. It handles power loss just fine, the only thing I'd care about there is not losing a recording but the power goes out for my entire neighborhood my cable will go with it anyway so a longer runtime for the Tivo doesn't help much.


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#54 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:29 AM

You can buy a consumer online UPS for a few hundred dollars. APC's "SmartUPS" line is an online UPS, for instance, which is what I use.

APC's SmartUPS series is line interactive (like BackUPS Pro with larger batteries). The SmartUPS Online series and Symmetra series are the double-conversion models.

In the grand scheme, the line-interactive models are probably better for home use and cost half the money or less.

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#55 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:39 AM

I don't think that is correct, at least not for the APC units I have. You can look at the output waveform of the connected devices and the only time you see the stair-step waveform is when the AC is not provided to the UPS. The only time the equipment is being run from batteries is when the MAINS AC is missing. You can clearly hear the switching supply running when the battery is supplying the power. You can also hear the relay switch-over. The switching time is very fast, less than 13 ms. as I recall, and that is not enough for the attached equipment's power supply to detect a drop in line voltage.

 

You're right, Hasan.  I can't begin to imagine how anyone could think that the batteries of a UPS could constantly supply the power to the devices without losing their charges quickly.  That stair-step waveform is called "chopped DC", I think.  I've had my APC and Tripplite UPS devices for years and the batteries are still good.  The first beep I hear from them, I shut them down after shutting down all the devices on them.  I don't know how long the batteries will last, but they've already lasted far longer than I expected. Chopped DC is not something you want to run any AC device on for any long period.  

 

I finally got my whole house generator installation finished.  It's set to trip a couple seconds after a power failure, so I won't have to shut anything down anymore.  When we tested it, I couldn't get back into the house quickly enough to hear the UPS beeps.  

 

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#56 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:49 AM

Virtually all consumer UPS devices pass through the AC mains, and only provide inverter power from the batteries upon power failure. The switchover is relatively fast (milliseconds), so your device that is running on the UPS typically won't see the power interruption.

 

To get a continuous power UPS, you have to spend big bucks (tens of thousands typically), and they normally have much larger batteries (which are 24 or 48 volt, not 12 volt). Consumer grade UPS devices are not designed or built to run continuously. If you run them at about 25% of rated load, you can probably run them longer (using a large external battery), but they won't survive extended continuous use at or near rated output.

 

I've worked on and maintained those big UPS devices and they all had 120VDC supplied to them by large banks of 6VDC batteries. I don't know why the 6 volt batteries were used (perhaps cheaper?), but I really hated going into the spaces where the batteries were kept.  We used diesel engines for powering the generators.  I have no idea how much they cost, but you're right about the big bucks for a decent sine wave.  

 

Rich 



#57 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 12:26 PM

APC's SmartUPS series is line interactive (like BackUPS Pro with larger batteries). The SmartUPS Online series and Symmetra series are the double-conversion models.

In the grand scheme, the line-interactive models are probably better for home use and cost half the money or less.

 

Yeah, looks like they've split SmartUPS into three lines, and the online models are all high end high capacity/expandable models that probably start north of $1000.

 

A quick look at Google shows several vendors with online models, but you're looking at around $400 to start.


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#58 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:52 PM

I'm wondering if TS is buried our very detailed dive into UPS sphere ? :) Seems to me he is not posting anymore...



#59 OFFLINE   Delroy E Walleye

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:02 PM

Curious if it would be ok to use a modern inverter-generator in front of a lower-end apc UPS.  The UPS has been operating successfully for a number of years on two HRs (recommended after an HDD upgrade).

 

I've been thinking about purchasing one of these generators to keep up the power beyond the UPS (typically lasts about 30-40mins during extended failures running the HRs and SWim PI.

 

I figured I'd probably still have enough wattage to watch TV and run a few lights in case of an extended outage, but not sure if the inverter-generator's power would be "clean" enough to plug the UPS into and run the plasma screen.  (No TVs are on the UPS.)  Ads for some models claim they're supposed to be OK for sensitive electronics.

 

(As a side-note I once plugged a laptop power suppy/charger into a cheap cigar lighter plug-in iverter in the car and the power supply did make a lot of buzzing noise.  I didn't notice the noise so much when I tried it on the UPS.)



#60 OFFLINE   longrider

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:27 PM

Curious if it would be ok to use a modern inverter-generator in front of a lower-end apc UPS.  The UPS has been operating successfully for a number of years on two HRs (recommended after an HDD upgrade).

 

I've been thinking about purchasing one of these generators to keep up the power beyond the UPS (typically lasts about 30-40mins during extended failures running the HRs and SWim PI.

 

I figured I'd probably still have enough wattage to watch TV and run a few lights in case of an extended outage, but not sure if the inverter-generator's power would be "clean" enough to plug the UPS into and run the plasma screen.  (No TVs are on the UPS.)  Ads for some models claim they're supposed to be OK for sensitive electronics.

 

(As a side-note I once plugged a laptop power suppy/charger into a cheap cigar lighter plug-in iverter in the car and the power supply did make a lot of buzzing noise.  I didn't notice the noise so much when I tried it on the UPS.)

I can tell you from personal experience that the Honda inverter series work just fine. I would be careful with some of the cheap stuff such as what Harbor Freight sells


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#61 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:39 PM

My UPC if you remove the batteries it does not work

Of course not, it has circuitry to detect if a battery is present. That doesn't at all mean that the batteries are supplying the power to the connected device.

Look at the output of the UPS while connected to the mains (with a scope). It will be a a perfect sine wave. (because the power is coming from the line, not the switching supply/battery combo). Pull the UPS AC supply and look again.

 

That tells you what is really happening.


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#62 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:21 AM

I can tell you from personal experience that the Honda inverter series work just fine. I would be careful with some of the cheap stuff such as what Harbor Freight sells

 

Don't forget the crap that Costco sells.  I just swapped my Costco generator for some plumbing work.  When I bought the generator I had to call the manufacturer to get the rest of the parts.  Damn thing never worked right.  Two years old and it still looked new.  I think the carb was shot.  

 

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#63 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:24 AM

Of course not, it has circuitry to detect if a battery is present. That doesn't at all mean that the batteries are supplying the power to the connected device.

Look at the output of the UPS while connected to the mains (with a scope). It will be a a perfect sine wave. (because the power is coming from the line, not the switching supply/battery combo). Pull the UPS AC supply and look again.

 

That tells you what is really happening.

 

Kinda hard to win an argument with him, no?

 

Rich



#64 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 03:20 PM

Kinda hard to win an argument with him, no?

 

Rich

I'm not worried about winning/losing, just providing accurate information. There is so much good help provided on this forum, and peds has done a lot of it, but none of us has a stranglehold on perfection. We all make mistakes. It's much better if we just learn from them and move on, otherwise our credibility disappears. 

 

I would also note that I have not had a problem with any of my APC units (all of which are non-sine wave) powering any of my devices, which include, but are not limited to:

 

HR20 series DVRs

HR21 series DVRs

H21 receiver only

HR24 series DVRs

HR44 series DVR

 

Samsung 60 LED/LCD

Assorted Video Recorders

Onkyo SR-605 HT Amp/Rx

Assorted BluRay Players

 

I don't seem to possess any electronics that can't handle the sine wave approximation that the assorted consumer grade UPSs  put out...at least the ones I have, which are mostly APC. I have 3 of them in my 7 foot rack for the Media room, and another 4 in the basement for the computer/ham radio setup. There are 3 more throughout the house for other things I want to protect. If something could benefit from a surge protector, I give it a UPS, which has surge protection built in to it, and auto-switches away from the line, should it become "dirty" or non-existent.

 

I also have a fairly extensive single point ground system which all the stuff is connected to, including a few thousand feet of buried radial wire. 

 

All that, done the right way, and there is still no certainty that a direct or near direct hit won't fry things. Been there, done that, $13,000 later, redid it all, as the hit came in the telephone line/network connection and fried every network connected device in the house, plus all phone stuff. Obviously, I had not sufficiently protected the phone/network lines. Nothing was damaged from the AC side of things, not one item. If it had a wired connection to my network, it was gone. Wireless stuff was fine.

 

Grounding for lightning mitigation is a very complex and demanding issue. Dish grounding discussions on these forums are more often than not, simplistic and error ridden. (when it comes to lightning mitigation which is an RF problem, not a DC/Safety ground issue). I digress....yet again...sorry. :angel:


Edited by hasan, 16 April 2014 - 03:20 PM.

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#65 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:46 PM

Switching power supplies, like most electronic devices use these days, are almost universally fine with square wave power, so in a discussion of hooking up Directv equipment and DVRs it doesn't matter what kind of UPS you use. The classes of devices that have problems with it (power tool chargers, tube amps, for example) are few and generally not the sort of thing people will try to power off a UPS anyway - though they can be a problem if they use a whole house generator that outputs square wave or sine wave approximation.

 

For a computer, if you're really picky about errors (meaning you have a PC that uses ECC RAM, if you don't know what that is, then by definition you aren't picky) an online UPS is desirable because double conversion removes the noise that power filters in lower end UPSes/power conditioners can't remove. You wouldn't think that can cause errors, but it does - I've tracked down ECC errors on servers to poor quality power, which was fixed when I had the server guys replace the cheap UPS with an online model.


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#66 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:20 PM

Switching power supplies, like most electronic devices use these days, are almost universally fine with square wave power, so in a discussion of hooking up Directv equipment and DVRs it doesn't matter what kind of UPS you use. The classes of devices that have problems with it (power tool chargers, tube amps, for example) are few and generally not the sort of thing people will try to power off a UPS anyway - though they can be a problem if they use a whole house generator that outputs square wave or sine wave approximation.

 

For a computer, if you're really picky about errors (meaning you have a PC that uses ECC RAM, if you don't know what that is, then by definition you aren't picky) an online UPS is desirable because double conversion removes the noise that power filters in lower end UPSes/power conditioners can't remove. You wouldn't think that can cause errors, but it does - I've tracked down ECC errors on servers to poor quality power, which was fixed when I had the server guys replace the cheap UPS with an online model.

Interesting observation. Switching supplies are inherently noisy and attempts to save money by not filtering adequately can cause all sorts of problems (especially RF). It doesn't help that the devices plugged into the UPSs take a few design liberties when it comes to input filtering themselves. Over the years it has become more and more problematic.


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#67 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

Thank goodness for UPSs. We had a small storm pass thru with some cloud to cloud lightning. Then one struck the ground.

Power was out for about 4 seconds but the UPS kept things running smoothly. A few minutes later the power flicked for about 4 seconds again. Now the sun is out and the power has went out 2 more times for about 4 seconds each time. I suspect that they are working on it somewhere after that one ground strike.

Really glad I installed one on each of my 3 TV systems in the house.

I tried to get my son to let me hook up his 4 computers and the modem and router to one but he said no. I do not have a clue why he resists things like this sometimes. Each time the power went out it reset the modem and router and I had to wait for it all to reboot before working on the web again.

I use the APG 550G models.


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#68 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:52 AM

Interesting observation. Switching supplies are inherently noisy and attempts to save money by not filtering adequately can cause all sorts of problems (especially RF). It doesn't help that the devices plugged into the UPSs take a few design liberties when it comes to input filtering themselves. Over the years it has become more and more problematic.

 

If I remember correctly, the early surge protectors that we could buy for our own use were useless after they got hit with a surge.  Is that right?  And if it is, how does the surge protector on the UPS devices work?  Do they somehow reset themselves or do you have to buy a whole new unit?

 

Rich



#69 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:57 AM

perhaps bigger capacity MOV used, they will just dissipate the joules ... or will fry if you got direct hit


Edited by P Smith, 17 April 2014 - 01:33 PM.


#70 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:12 PM

If I remember correctly, the early surge protectors that we could buy for our own use were useless after they got hit with a surge.  Is that right?  And if it is, how does the surge protector on the UPS devices work?  Do they somehow reset themselves or do you have to buy a whole new unit?

 

Rich

P. Smith has it right (larger MOVs), not gas discharge based. No need to replace them unless they are out and out fried.


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#71 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:01 AM

Thank you, gentleman.

 

Rich



#72 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 11:34 PM

If I remember correctly, the early surge protectors that we could buy for our own use were useless after they got hit with a surge.

Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) were mostly sacrificial.

Do they somehow reset themselves or do you have to buy a whole new unit?

In theory, they just go to battery. There are some other crowbar devices that can take more than one hit as well as the much better gas discharge tubes that can go again and again.

Wikipedia has an awesome article on the various TVSS technologies:

http://en.wikipedia....Surge_protector

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