What size UPS should I get?

FluxCapacitor

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Aug 23, 2000
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Ok, I've got a 425W power supply on my computer and a 19" Sony Trinitron monitor that I'm considering buying an UPS for due to frequent lightning storms knocking the power out in my apartment for a split second or so.... sometimes a couple times in a row.

I never really paid much attention to UPSs before (even at work) and now I realize I don't really know what VA rating I need for my setup. Like I said though, I only need it to hold the power for a few seconds, but I don't want the UPS to meltdown trying to supply power to my system when it switches over to battery power.

Anyone have some good knowledge on this subject?
 

DarkManX

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Feb 1, 2000
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19 inch monitor sure will drain it, but you said if it only lasts about a second then keep ur monitor in the surge and just get a 500VA UPS for ur computer.
 

Derango

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Jan 1, 2002
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By the way, its not a good idea to have a computer pluged in during a lightning storm, surge protector or no surge protector. You don't want that system getting fried.

but yea, APC has a calculator on their website.
 

FluxCapacitor

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Aug 23, 2000
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I know it isn't a good idea to run during lightning storms, the only problem is it goes from sunny to stormy here very quick in the afternoon. And even after the storm has passed I can still lose power.

Good ol APC says:

"The APC UPS Selector was unable to find a UPS meeting all of your requirements. Please review any comments below and resubmit your request. If you are unable to obtain a solution, contact our support team for assistance."

Gee, thanks a lot APC :( I take that to mean they want me to buy one of their insanely expensive solutions.

BTW, I'm not willing to pay much over $200.


 

Apex

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Oct 11, 1999
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www.gotapex.com
A few things to consider with UPS's:

VA is not wattage. Different manufacturers and models will have different wattage, even at the same VA. For instance, the APC SmartUPS1400 has 1400VA and 950 watts:


APC SmartUPS 1400 Specs

The Powmax LU-1400VA has 1400VA but only 840 watts:

Powmax LU-1400VA Specs

Another thing to keep an eye out for is the output. For most computers, if you have a good power supply, an approximated (or stepped) sine output is good enough. However, a UPS that puts out a true sine wave will offer greater stability thanks to the cleaner energy. It's a good way on cutting down on random crashes and things. Also, most electronics cannot handle stepped sine wave output very well, and can be damaged by them.

For APC products, only SmartUPS above 700VA have true sine wave output. The BackUPS, BackUPS Pro, BackUPS Office, and SmartUPS under 700VA all output approximated sine waves.

This being said, I've found one of the best things to do is buy a big APC SmartUPS from ebay with dead batteries. You can replace the batteries relatively inexpensively. A $600-700 UPS like the SmartUPS1400 can cost as little as $50 on ebay without batteries. Replacement batteries (2 total) cost $52 shipped. The $250-300 SmartUPS 700 can be found for as little as $25 without batteries and batteries for them cost about $36 (for 2 batteries) shipped.
 

MWink

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Oct 9, 1999
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This being said, I've found one of the best things to do is buy a big APC SmartUPS from ebay with dead batteries. You can replace the batteries relatively inexpensively. A $600-700 UPS like the SmartUPS1400 can cost as little as $50 on ebay without batteries. Replacement batteries (2 total) cost $52 shipped. The $250-300 SmartUPS 700 can be found for as little as $25 without batteries and batteries for them cost about $36 (for 2 batteries) shipped.

That is an idea however be aware that APC WILL NOT give you a warranty or Equipment Protection Policy if you buy a used unit. Also cheap replacement batteries can be a huge problem. I used a cheap battery in a back-UPS Pro 650 and ended up with a useless brick (the battery did not SOUND right after charging).

I recommend you buy a Back-UPS Pro 420, 500, or 650. Any of those should be more than enough for your system.
 

Ime

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May 3, 2001
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BTW, I'm not willing to pay much over $200.

Then I would highly recommend you goto E-bay. You buy a used UPS for less than $200 easy. I've bought three of them off EBay myself. One was a 1400VA APC, two others were 700VA APC's. I spent a little over $200 for the batch. The batteries in each are over 3 years old, but they still hold enough charge to keep my computers running for 15-20 minutes. I figure I'll replace the batteries next year.

This goes without saying, but if you do buy off EBay... use a Credit Card!
 

FluxCapacitor

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Aug 23, 2000
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Thanks for the info so far guys. I'm not so sure I like the idea of buying an UPS off Ebay though, especially if they won't offer a warranty that way. Anyone used anything besides APC? I know they supposedly have good UPS, but I'm not real impressed with their Back-UPS that I've seen so far. Any other brands that are recommended? I've seen Tripp Lite, CyberPower, and Belkin UPS sold locally as well.

I really want to know what VA rating I need (approximately of course). And yes, I know that VA is not equal to wattage. If I can get an idea of how big of an UPS I need I can figure out if I'm willing to spend the money on it or not, and worry about other features later.
 

MWink

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Oct 9, 1999
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Well to give you an idea of what size you need I can tell you that my "Home system" (see sig) runs a Back-UPS Pro 650 at about 55% load. I think you would be fine with 400-500va.

Why are you unimpressed with the Back-UPS? What model Back-UPS are you talking about? I've had some experience with a few other brands. I had a Tripp-Lite unit fail and fry my sound card. Their units (I had 3) are full of bugs. Their support is not very good either. I know plenty of people who have had Belkin surge protectors fail. If you look at Consumer Reports ratings of surge protectors, ALL the Belkin units got a poor rating (they came in dead last). I wouldn't be caught dead with a Belkin surge protector/UPS.

I think you may be able to get an APC Back-UPS Pro 500 for about $100 new. I think it was a hot deal in their email newsletter.
 

FluxCapacitor

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Aug 23, 2000
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Thanks MWink. That's the kind of stuff I'm interested in knowing. If an APC Back-UPS Pro 650 will run my system then that's good info to know.

When you say "fail" what do you mean? Like it didn't stop the surge, battery failed, it shorted out?

I say I'm not too impressed with the APC Back UPS (not the Pro) because we got 6 of them in at work for computer systems and 1 wouldn't power on, and a second one broke after a couple months. I suppose they could have been damaged in route, that's kind of sad and it got me thinking that the qualtiy just isn't that good on their lower end models.
 

ToBeMe

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Jun 21, 2000
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Buy the best you can afford and the most powerfull..................it's about all you can do at this point since systems will undoubtedly require more and more.....................The one I "need" according to APC's website costs about $700.........................
 

MWink

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Oct 9, 1999
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When you say "fail" what do you mean? Like it didn't stop the surge, battery failed, it shorted out?

Well I was hearing poping noises coming from my speakers. (the computer was off) When I turned it on the sound card burnt up. I swaped the sound card with another one. The poping noise continued. Later that day I heard a loud POP come from the speakers and the power light went off. I looked at the UPS and the light for the outlet (each outlet had a power button on that UPS) was off and the button was "on". I plugged the speakers into another outlet and the poping went away. Tripp-Lite denied my claim to get the sound card fixed.

I say I'm not too impressed with the APC Back UPS (not the Pro) because we got 6 of them in at work for computer systems and 1 wouldn't power on, and a second one broke after a couple months.

These weren't Back-UPS Office's were they???
 

zepper00

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Jul 1, 2002
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Another really good brand is Best Power EDIT: (apparently a new company has consolidated the technology from Best Power, Sola, Exide etc. under the Powerware brand: www.powerware.com) -End Edit --not easy to find and slightly more expensive, but worth it (even still made in good old USA I think). Many grocery chains use Best to back up their POS registers and server. If they aren't "mission critical" I don't know what is. Of course they use big diesel generators to back up their coolers and freezers, but I expect something like that isn't in your budget <g>...
.bh.
PS. As another said, never buy cheap replacement batteries for your UPS--get good brands like Panasonic or Yuasa. Also replace any MOVs in your units about every two years--they also wear out.
.bh.

 

John

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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I have had great success with CyberPower. I have the AVR900 running my rig (21" FD Trinitron, 420w psu, loaded system) and it gives roughly 30min uptime when the power goes out. I use the AVR700 on my other rig. Warranty is superb!
 

zepper00

Member
Jul 1, 2002
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And...
A 700-750VA unit should be sufficient. check www.powersupersite.com (in Georgia) for lots of choices. Particularly look under Powerware 5119 (400-1000va) for an excellent unit made by Exide/Deltec which were always highly rated in reviews. Line-interactive w/sine wave output (similar to APC Smart series). The 600VA/400W unit should do you as it is unlikely you will ever be drawing anywhere near the full rating of your PSU.
.bh.