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Review: APC SmartUPS 1000
Hardware
Written by Danrok   
Saturday, 09 October 2004 02:42
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Review: APC SmartUPS 1000
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Things like power supplies and UPS devices tend to get forgotten, they're just not sexy. They just sit there and work without requiring a second thought. It's only when things go wrong do you realise just how important they really are. Danrok takes a look at one of APC's SmartUPS 1000 UPS devices. For those who don't know, a UPS is designed to provide a constant supply of clean mains supply to your computer (or plasma TV). They can ride out gitches and spikes in the power supply, and keep your machine running for a limited time even during a brownout or a blackout!

 

Review: APC SmartUPS 1000


Introduction

The APC Smart-UPS offers uninteruptable electrical power for sensitive equipment such as personal computers. It has two main functions, the first being that it will ensure that the mains power is stable and clean. Secondly, the UPS will continue to provide power from its own battery during a mains power failure. The idea being that the batteries will provide ample power to cover short outages or enough time for the PC to shutdown gracefully during long outages.

The model used in this review is the 230 V / 1000 VA version which was purchased in the UK. Other countries have models designed to operate on the local power supply voltage. This particular model is ideal for running a server, a power hungry workstation or even two standard computers.

 

APC 1000 Smart-UPS
Why bother?

A good UPS is not an inexpensive piece of kit. But, it can and probably will save money and hassle in the long run. After all, how long do you plan to own a PC? At some point your mains supply will be problematic, and a UPS will last for years. A power surge may well kill components in your PC and it will cost money to replace those components, not to mention the downtime whilst waiting on new parts. Power surges and glitches have been known to cause other issues such as lockups and crashes as well.

Main Specifications

Nominal Input Voltage 230 V
Input Frequency 50/60 Hz +/- 3 Hz (auto sensing)
Input Voltage Range for main operations 160 - 286 V
Maximum Output 1000 VA or 670 Watts
Output connections (8) IEC 320 C13
(2) IEC Jumpers
Battery Type Maintenance-free sealed Lead-Acid battery with suspended electrolyte : leakproof
Typical backup time at half load 20.6 minutes (335 Watts)
Typical backup time at full load 6.1 minutes (670 Watts)
Interface connections DB-9 RS-232, SmartSlot, USB

Further specifications can be found here.

What you get

The unit comes with user manuals in paper form and on a CD-ROM. A few cables including the mains power supply lead, two power leads for connecting the UPS to the equipment, a USB lead, a serial lead and a spare IEC plug which could be used to connect some trailing sockets to the UPS. More about sockets later.

Also included is a CD-ROM containing the PowerChute Business Edition Software which gives access to the UPS's smart capabilities.

Hardware Installation

Unpacking and plugging the unit in is a straight forward process which simply involves plugging in the battery isolator followed by the mains supply. The equipment to be protected can then be plugged in to the sockets at the rear of the UPS.

It is a good idea to ensure that you will have enough power leads when ordering your UPS. You may need a standard mains power splitter fitted with an IEC type plug. This will allow protection of equipment which has an external transformer. As I mentioned earlier a spare plug is supplied for this purpose.

The UPS should be positioned in a cool dry place away from dampness or direct sunlight.

The final job here is to hook up the UPS to the PC using the supplied USB or serial cable.

Windows will most likely auto-detect the presence of the UPS. This brings us to the next step, the software.

Software Installation

The PowerChute software provided with my unit supports Windows NT/2000/XP, NetWare, Linux, Solaris, SCO Unixware 7.x. I will be using the Windows version on a single workstation.


The install menu

There are three software components, the Agent, Server and Console.

 


It is not essential to install the software, the UPS will carry out its physical function regardless of any software. This means that it could be used to protect an expensive TV screen with no computers involved, or a telephone system for example.

It's fairly obvious from the picture that there are actually three items of software that APC ship with their UPS. Let's break down their purpose quickly, as it may not be so obvious from a quick glance.

The Agent is the piece of software that can shut down machines, so needs to be installed on all machines that are supplied with power from the UPS. The Agent listens for messages from the Server software, which tells the Agents what is happening with the UPS.

The Server software is installed on the machine that is actually connected to the UPS. Effectively, the Server software acts as a communications hub passing out messages and events. This is obviously more important when you have many machines on a UPS, as there's only one Serial/USB port on the UPS itself! The server software can also be set up to send administrative alerts out via email.

The Console software allows the administrator (IE, you!) to configure various settings on the UPS, as well as scheduling various events. It also allows you to view the UPS's view of the mains supply. If you have than one UPS, then the console allows you to manage multiple UPS devices.



 
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