Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

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Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:51 pm

Hey guys. I have a tower-type UPS battery backup (CyberPower CP1350PFCLCD), and I was wondering......is it safe to run a tower-type unit on it's side? Somehow, somewhere I got it stuck in my head that it's a bad idea. I don't remember why.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:25 pm

The batteries are sealed, so the main concern is probably cooling. Many UPSes are designed to be convection cooled, so laying it on its side may block vents and/or alter the airflow enough to cause internal components to overheat. If it has an internal fan laying it down is probably OK provided you don't block any vents.

Edit: The positioning of the vents on that unit leads me to believe that they are relying on convection to draw air in the lower vent in the side and exhaust through the upper one. I would be leery of running it on its side.

Edit 2: Nice looking UPS. I have an older APC I've been wanting to replace, and was considering a sinewave model since more PSUs have active PFC these days. Have you been happy with this one so far?
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:55 pm

This UPS unit uses fan for cooling during charging/discharging... Though I am not sure if it's temperature-controlled. I'd try doing it anyway - just charge it fully, put it on its side and let it discharge using your PC or whatever, then let it charge again. At worst you'll hear fan getting more loud or unit shutting off due to overheating before complete discharge. I doubt that there will ever be a permanent damage to any of its components.

If you have some free time and not afraid of using a screwdriver - you can try and remove its cover and see where the fan is located and how airflow goes around power inverter.
Last edited by JohnC on Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:57 pm

Are there vents in both sides, or just the right side? If there are vents in both sides you will need to prop it up on something to keep the vents from being obstructed.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:07 pm

There are vents on both sides of this unit.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:36 pm

I was expecting to find something in the 'manual' (which is really only two pages) or the setup guide but I didn't find anything regarding orientation. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer...while it might work fine if not vertical, I'd really go with whatever the manufacturer says. A UPS is a sort of insurance for electronics, so why mess with operating it in a way you're not sure it's supposed to be operated?
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:28 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:I was expecting to find something in the 'manual' (which is really only two pages) or the setup guide but I didn't find anything regarding orientation. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer...while it might work fine if not vertical, I'd really go with whatever the manufacturer says. A UPS is a sort of insurance for electronics, so why mess with operating it in a way you're not sure it's supposed to be operated?

My guess is that most UPS mfgs never thought that anyone would use them in an orientation other than that on the box, so they never wrote about it in the "manual".
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:12 am

MadManOriginal wrote:I was expecting to find something in the 'manual' (which is really only two pages) or the setup guide but I didn't find anything regarding orientation. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer...while it might work fine if not vertical, I'd really go with whatever the manufacturer says. A UPS is a sort of insurance for electronics, so why mess with operating it in a way you're not sure it's supposed to be operated?

I was equally surprised (I checked before posting), because I could've sworn I read about it in there. It's possible that I'm remembering the manual from one of my previous UPS models. Now I feel old.

just brew it! wrote:The batteries are sealed, so the main concern is probably cooling. Many UPSes are designed to be convection cooled, so laying it on its side may block vents and/or alter the airflow enough to cause internal components to overheat. If it has an internal fan laying it down is probably OK provided you don't block any vents.

Edit: The positioning of the vents on that unit leads me to believe that they are relying on convection to draw air in the lower vent in the side and exhaust through the upper one. I would be leery of running it on its side.

There is indeed a fan somewhere inside, but it only runs when the unit is, or has recently been on battery power. So I'm sure you're correct that it is relying on convection the rest of the time. I'm hesitant, and agree with yours and MadMan's sentiments. This unit wasn't terribly cheap, so I wouldn't want to do anything to shorten its lifespan.

just brew it! wrote:Edit 2: Nice looking UPS. I have an older APC I've been wanting to replace, and was considering a sinewave model since more PSUs have active PFC these days. Have you been happy with this one so far?
I've had it a little over 2 years now, and I have zero complaints. Of course, I've also been fortunate to not have many power issues during that time period, so it hasn't been in my thoughts very much. I bought the sinewave unit because of the possible benefits to newer PSUs, and also because I sometimes mess around with audio recording equipment. I also like the fact that Cyberpower appears to use mostly standard size replacement batteries (though sometimes piggybacked in a non-standard way), while APC uses proprietary batteries which often command a premium and stand the risk of being discontinued.

As far as the reason behind my question, I'm trying to create a pseudo-enclosure for my case and UPS using a modified bookshelf, and I want the total height to match my new desk (30"). My case is 17.25", the UPS is 10.5", and I need a top, bottom, and separator panel at roughly 0.5" each. That doesn't leave me much margin for error, and my carpentry skills are pretty poor. Being able to lay the UPS on its side would make my life alot easier, but I think I've soured on the idea.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:42 am

The Egg wrote:I also like the fact that Cyberpower appears to use mostly standard size replacement batteries (though sometimes piggybacked in a non-standard way), while APC uses proprietary batteries which often command a premium and stand the risk of being discontinued.

I've always been able to find third-party batteries for consumer APCs (at roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the APC-branded ones). Most recently I replaced the batteries in an APC XS 900; in this case, the APC "pack" is just a pair of standard 12V gel cells stuck together with double-sided foam tape, and a 3 inch wire to connect them in series. So building the "pack" took all of about 30 seconds. APC is essentially charging an extra $40 for 15 cents worth of tape and wire. :roll:

OTOH, replacing the fan in the XS 900 when it died was another matter... what a PITA! Not only was it a non-standard (24 VDC) fan; I had to disassemble the entire UPS to get at it, and splice the (also non-standard) connector from the old fan onto the new one. :evil:

Their rackmount units are another story. Big, proprietary battery assemblies. When we need to service the big units in the server room at work we just bite the bullet and get the APC battery assemblies. (It is much less painful when you're spending someone else's money...)
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:00 pm

My 1500VA model of your UPS stays reasonably cool, but if I drop papers or something ontop of it then it will get rather warm. Warm enough that I wouldn't put it on it's side. You can try with yours, but check the temperature of the unit after half a day, and if it feels pretty warm then keep it standing up. The hotter the UPS' are the quicker the batteries will wear or begin bulging so you don't want the unit getting very warm.

just brew it! wrote:Edit 2: Nice looking UPS. I have an older APC I've been wanting to replace, and was considering a sinewave model since more PSUs have active PFC these days. Have you been happy with this one so far?


I'm running the 1500VA version of that UPS, I've yet to open it or replace batts so there's that, but so far it's been decent. The display options are awesome and there are more of them than the LCD APC unit I'm also using, I'm not sure there's actually any power stat they forgot to include. Amazon always lists these things during BF sales so you can save at minimum $50 off either VA model if you're not in any hurry.

The only knock I have against it is that the built-in cord is a lot shorter than the APC model's cord, by a full foot at least. So it won't even reach from one side of a desk to the other, it needs to be right at the socket almost. :-? Otherwise I've been happy with mine, doesn't get nearly as loud as the APC when on battery power either.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:07 pm

I don't really care about the display, it'll probably get shoved under the desk and I'll never look at it until the battery needs replacing. Having decent (and scriptable) support for the monitoring features on Linux would be a big selling point for me though; I have a custom set of scripts I use to monitor system health, and being able to easily tie the UPS into that would be nice.
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:32 am

Looks like NUT supports it with USB-HID so it should be scritable .
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:30 am

just brew it! wrote:I've always been able to find third-party batteries for consumer APCs (at roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the APC-branded ones).

Ayup. Been refurbishing a number of UPS devices here at the office, some APC units of various ages and model numbers and a handful of Tripp-Lite cheapies, all rated in the neighborhood of 500 VA. All of them have used some variant of this standard 12V, 8Ah SLA battery. It's also used for alarm system and broadband router backup duty, as well as some electric wheelchairs. You can buy them off-the-shelf at Home Depot and Ace Hardware along with a number of similar 6V and 12V SLA batteries. You can buy them in bulk from a dedicated distributor like Batteries Plus, get them on Amazon, etc...
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Re: Safe To Run Tower UPS On It's Side?

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:40 am

I've got them from Digikey in the past:
http://dkc3.digikey.com/PDF/CA2011/P2573.pdf
http://dkc3.digikey.com/PDF/CA2011/P2574.pdf

FYI Those are links to the Canadian catalogue pages.
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