Need power protection for a future system

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Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Tue May 22, 2012 6:04 pm

So, I'm going to be building myself a new system, but I need suggestions or advice on power protection. I live in the upper elevations near a small town in Idaho, and there are frequent power outages, lightning storms, power fluctuations, you name it. Basically everything that is detrimental to a computer, it's here. I need power protection for my DSL line as well. I'm using a cheap loaner until I build myself a new PC, but I want to get some hardcore power protection before plugging a new system into the grid. I'm not sure about cost, I'm willing to spend somewhere around $500 dollars just on the power protection alone, since I plan on putting over $2,000 into the new system build. I already have these two products in mind.

http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=PMP1XR%2DB&tab=features

http://www.apc.com/products/family/?id=67
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Tue May 22, 2012 10:42 pm

Get a UPS unit, these power conditioners won't protect against black-outs. And you don't really need to spend $500 on one - even a unit half that price should give enough protection against power fluctuations and provide enough time to gracefully shut down your PC - for example right now my primary PC is powered by inexpensive APC BE750G unit, which works perfectly for my uses (gives enough time to automatically shut my PC down in case of long blackout). Get a Kill-a-Watt meter to approximate the total power consumption of your PC and then get a UPS unit with appropriate capacity. And if you have a long power outages (like more than 15 minutes) very often - invest money into a stand-by natural gas-powered generator (these things can be pretty costly, though).
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 8:57 am

Ditto. Those units you linked will provide protection from surges and voltage variations, but will not provide backup power in the event of an outage, so your system will not be shut down cleanly.

What I'd do in your situation with a $500 budget for power protection is get the dedicated surge suppressor (your first link), plus a UPS like this one.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 11:54 am

I have the 1500VA version of the UPS JBI linked. I've noticed those go on sale at Office Depot pretty regularly.

I'd also figure out how to get it to shutdown the system when it's running low on battery power. There used to be a UPS service in XP, but I'm not sure what happened to it in Vista.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 12:01 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I have the 1500VA version of the UPS JBI linked. I've noticed those go on sale at Office Depot pretty regularly.

I'd also figure out how to get it to shutdown the system when it's running low on battery power. There used to be a UPS service in XP, but I'm not sure what happened to it in Vista.

Even if there isn't native support in the OS, there should be a background monitoring app available from the UPS vendor which will do a controlled shutdown when the battery runs low.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 12:42 pm

http://www.cyberpowersystems.com/produc ... FCLCD.html

I use 3 of the above units, splitting up my 4 systems connected. It will handle coax/DSL/Phone/Ethernet (RJ-45). The nice thing about these units, is that A) you can turn off the alarm (important if you happen to be sitting right next to them, when the power goes out), and B) there's a LCD display that give you a count down when on battery, based on your current load.

You'll obviously need to figure out your system power requirements, in order to determine how long your run time will be, and which model would best suit your needs.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 2:10 pm

If your willing to spend the money I would get a APC Smart UPS system (the business model). They can regularly be found on ebay refurbished with fresh batteries <$200 - $300 depending on the model.

I also highly recommend the company ExcessUps and have bought from them in the past (on ebay but they have a website as well). http://excessups.com/smartups-1500-sua1500-p-38.html

The reason I recommend the Smart UPS system is they have true sine wave outputs as opposed to the modified (stepped) sine wave output. The true sine wave is what you normally get from the wall and some power supplies (the cheaper ones typically) don't necessarily like the stepped sine wave. Additionally the Smart UPS for the same power class has a much bigger battery so it will last long on power outages.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 2:28 pm

Shall we delve into this a bit deeper and discuss the possible need for a pure sine wave UPS to work properly with newer PSUs ??

It's somewhat rare, but certain models of power supplies with Active PFC shut off when encountering a stepped sine wave UPS.

http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3964
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Wed May 23, 2012 10:14 pm

Walkintarget wrote:Shall we delve into this a bit deeper and discuss the possible need for a pure sine wave UPS to work properly with newer PSUs ??

It's somewhat rare, but certain models of power supplies with Active PFC shut off when encountering a stepped sine wave UPS.

http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3964


Yea some do have problem, but a properly designed, good quality PSU should never have such issues. I've personally never seen them happen, and I've used plenty of PSUs with Active PFC. Anyway, to be completely safe it's easy to buy one of the Cyberpower units with "Pure Sine Wave" output, they cost about the same as similar APC units and have the same build quality...
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Thu May 24, 2012 11:57 am

I recently bought a Cyberpower Pure Sine Wave 1350VA. I've used both APC and Cyberpower, and both make decent units. The difference is that APC uses proprietary replacement batteries and charges a bit more for them. Cyberpower on the other hand, uses standardized batteries which you can buy anywhere for much less.

For instance:
APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 BR1500G
Uses one (1) proprietary APC Battery #124 $70

CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD
Uses two (2) HR1234W Batteries $17-23 each


So the difference here is roughly $30, but I've seen more extreme examples in the past.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Thu May 24, 2012 6:58 pm

Actually a lot of the proprietary UPS batteries are just standard Sealed Lead Acid batteries taped together with connectors on the top. If you have the old battery module you can break it apart, work out the original batteries and transfer the connectors over. I've done this multiple times with my various different UPS including an APC one.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Thu May 24, 2012 7:01 pm

Egglick wrote:APC uses proprietary replacement batteries and charges a bit more for them. ...

I'm pretty sure that APC #124 is just two standard batteries mounted in a proprietary tray.

I have a couple of older APCs at home, and I've never had trouble finding replacement batteries online for about half of what APC charges for them. I typically use zbattery.com, but IIRC someone posted a link a few years back for a place that has even better prices.

Edit: Heh, notfred beat me to it.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Fri May 25, 2012 4:12 am

just brew it! wrote:
Egglick wrote:APC uses proprietary replacement batteries and charges a bit more for them. ...

I'm pretty sure that APC #124 is just two standard batteries mounted in a proprietary tray.

I have a couple of older APCs at home, and I've never had trouble finding replacement batteries online for about half of what APC charges for them. I typically use zbattery.com, but IIRC someone posted a link a few years back for a place that has even better prices.

I used upsforless.com. Their price is reasonable such that I don't really mind buying the whole thing instead of trying to DIY my own replacement.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Sun May 27, 2012 1:12 am

I've heard that some UPS systems always have the power passing through the battery before it exits out to the computer, thus there is no switching when a power outage happens, and protects better from a lightning strike than one that has to switch. If this is true, I would like to know which Battery Backup brands and models do this.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Sun May 27, 2012 6:11 am

moresmarterthanspock wrote:I've heard that some UPS systems always have the power passing through the battery before it exits out to the computer, thus there is no switching when a power outage happens, and protects better from a lightning strike than one that has to switch. If this is true, I would like to know which Battery Backup brands and models do this.

You are looking at the "online" UPS type instead of line-interactive. This property is in the specs. It is more expensive though mind you (Belkin sells some online UPSes for cheap but I am not too sure if I trust them. It is too cheap to be true?)
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Sun May 27, 2012 12:42 pm

Yea, those are online/double-conversion units... Good for an extremely sensitive equipment, but pretty expensive (such units usually start at around $700), a total waste of $$$ for home usage - any good quality PSU can easily tolerate the slower switching times of inexpensive standby UPS units.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Sun May 27, 2012 6:26 pm

In terms of switch time, yes any PSU should tolerate as see the spec e.g http://www.formfactors.org/developer/sp ... ic_br2.pdf page 25 which specifies a 17ms output voltage holdup time at max load. However if there is more general noise on the line that a cheaper PSU may not filter (e.g. you live on the same block as an industrial user of electricity) then an online UPS would help clean things up.
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Mon May 28, 2012 10:29 am

Flying Fox wrote:
moresmarterthanspock wrote:I've heard that some UPS systems always have the power passing through the battery before it exits out to the computer, thus there is no switching when a power outage happens, and protects better from a lightning strike than one that has to switch. If this is true, I would like to know which Battery Backup brands and models do this.

You are looking at the "online" UPS type instead of line-interactive. This property is in the specs. It is more expensive though mind you (Belkin sells some online UPSes for cheap but I am not too sure if I trust them. It is too cheap to be true?)

I was NOT impressed with my Belkin (the more typical standby type, not an "online" one). The charging circuitry must've been horrendously inefficient, because it got really hot even when the inverter wasn't operating. It has been retired (I didn't bother replacing the batteries when they stopped holding a charge).
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Re: Need power protection for a future system

Postposted on Mon May 28, 2012 11:06 am

Belkin stopped making large UPS systems a long time ago... Which is probably a good thing, since I still remember how awful was their power management software which came with these units.
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