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Last post Author Topic: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?  (Read 16697 times)

Carol Haynes

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Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« on: December 26, 2008, 04:53:47 PM »
Nice Xmas Day present - strong sulfurous odours permeating the house.

At first I thought it was something the cats had eaten but eventually tracked it down to a Belkin UPS.

The UPS was EXTREMELY HOT - so hot I couldn't touch parts of the case and having waited for it to cool down I found the lead acid batteries inside had deformed plastic cases (though luckily I caught it before the ruptured).

This was extremely worrying as I often leave the device switched on for days at a time (even when I am not at home).

Anyone experienced this before? Anyone got any suggestions for a good alternative (it has to be UK compatible)?

I did a quick websearch and there are numerous references to this problem with Belkin UPS. It isn't an issue I have come across beofre and I am now on my 5th device (having had free replacements in the past under warranty when the batteries stopped charging fully and bought more than one device).

Other people seem to be recommending APC UPS devices (which have the advantage of user replacement batteries - without even having to switch off and a 2 year warranty).

I am looking at:

APC BACK-UPS RS 800VA USB/SER

or

APC SMART-UPS SC 620VA

Anyone any experience with wither of these or can suggest an alternative for under £150 (UKP) ?

Also can anyone see why the second device is lower power rated and more expensive? I find the APC website quite confusing as they have UPS devices for all countries listed together and appearing in the results of searches together!

mouser

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 04:58:24 PM »
I have a small APC and i've been really happy with it.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 05:03:47 PM »
Thanks - yes I have seen some of the small ones and am thinking of getting one for hi-fi/tv etc. equipment.

yksyks

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2008, 11:47:09 AM »
I'm using three APC BACK-UPS CS 500 for more than three years (so it's time to replace batteries...), and I'm quite happy with them. Recently I replaced one of them with the APC BACK-UPS RS 800 model and I'm absolutely satisfied with it, too. It's a bit overkill for my needs, but it was the only model with sufficient capacity at that time.

40hz

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2008, 12:13:30 PM »
I've used Belkin, APC and TrippLite, UPS products. From my experience:

        :down: Belkin

        :up: Triplite

 :up: :up: :up: APC

These days all I use or install for my clients is APC.

IMHO: they're still the best. Never had a single problem with an APC product, whether it was a small home Smart-UPS, or a server room multi-module Symmetra.

Mark0

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 01:02:18 PM »
I have used an APC BK500 at home for 7-8 years, and it was still able to power the PC for some minutes when the light went out. At worked we used & installed a lot of them and never had any issues.

Bye!

Shades

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2008, 01:14:38 PM »
Here in Paraguay there is an US embassy. Annually they sell all kind of things as their old(er) computer gear, home stuff from personnel that moved to another country etc. etc.

At one of those sales I saw a box with old diverse computer gear, books etc. Made an offer and became the owner. To my surprise there were four APC UPS's below the gear and books, so that was 50 US dollars well spent!  :up:

But then reality sets in, because the US embassy uses 110 volt gear while everything here is 220 volt. So now I have nice US APC UPS's that I cannot use at all. It is kinda silly to first use a transformer (220 to 110) to connect the UPS to the grid and use a transformer (110 to 220) for each output to hook up my gear :(

There is also a RadioShack here that only sells gear running on 110 volt. Not only is it an expensive place by default, you also need to buy a transformer as well.

Why oh why do they (still !!!) use 110 volt?

40hz

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 02:16:43 PM »
Why oh why do they (still !!!) use 110 volt?

Gerald Weinberg said it the best:

"Things are the way they are because they got to be that way."

Put another way: The US uses 110-volts because that's what it uses.

Way back in the early days of electrical power, the US was one of the first places to wire itself up. And at the time, for various reasons, a 110-115 volt standard was considered the best way to go.

Years later, after better information was available, most other countries saw the advantages of going with a 220-volt standard. Unfortunately, by then the USA was sitting on a huge infrastructure of generators, wiring, and electrical devices running on the older voltage - and it was just too expensive to change. And with each passing year it became even more so.

So once again, in most cases, "good-enough" trumps "better" if "better" comes with a price tag. ;D

cranioscopical

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 02:24:31 PM »
Why oh why do they (still !!!) use 110 volt?
That's because, currently, the powers that be meet resistance when trying to move ohm.

cranioscopical

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2008, 02:28:56 PM »
At first I thought it was something the cats had eaten but eventually tracked it down to a Belkin UPS.
Tsk!  You should never run the Orangutang railway line from one of those!


40hz

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2008, 02:45:02 PM »

That's because, currently, the powers that be meet resistance when trying to move ohm.


Nevertheless, they still show great potential on the circuit. ;D


Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2008, 03:05:04 PM »
At first I thought it was something the cats had eaten but eventually tracked it down to a Belkin UPS.
Tsk!  You should never run the Orangutang railway line from one of those!

I told hime - and he appreciated your concern ;)

Thanks everyone for the thumbs up re. APC UPS devices. Seems to a concensus in web searches too.

I'll get an APC unit - if you don't hear from me again you'll know it was a bad choice ;)(look out for the mushroom cloud)

f0dder

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2008, 05:48:52 PM »
Fwiw: my old school (back in 1998-2001) used APC UPS devices, and they ran 24/7 and did power a decent amount of gear - and I never heard about problems while I attended that school. It did have a reaaaally nasty beeping sound to notify about power failure (or was it battery defect?), but that's probably a good thing, really :)
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2008, 05:58:11 PM »
I have ordered an APC BACK-UPS RS 800VA USB/SER mainly because it has the option of USB and serial interfaces and has a higher power rating than the more expensive one. I don't really need remote access to control it so it is probably the better device for me to use.

One thing that really bugs me is why do most of these devices have stupid plug sockets? The male 'kettle' plug is bugger to get hold of (you have to go to specialist retailers - most electrical shops just look at you blankly) and why do I need to either make bulky patch cables or cut off the existing standard mains plus for devices. Looking at APC devices for other countries they don't seem to use these stupid sockets - it just seems to be in the UK !!

Most of these devices seem to do this - except the Belkin model that just gave up the ghost - that sensibly had standard UK 13 Amp sockets on the back.

f0dder

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2008, 06:02:10 PM »
"Plug" sockets? "Kettle" plug? Image? :)
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2008, 07:05:59 PM »
Most UPS devices seem to expect you to plug things in with this type of plug (the one on the right)


All UK appliances and devices that connect to the mains are legally obliged to come with pre-fitted moulded plugs for this type of socket:



Therefore you either have to make a patch cable so that you can convert a standard UK mains plug to a Euro-plug (aka kettle plug) or you have to cut off the UK standard plug and replace it with a Euro-plug. If you then need to plug in the device somewhere else you then need to use a standard kettle lead (like the ones that plug into ATX PSUs).

It is a pain - not insurmountable, just extremely irritating.

The Belking device I have been using has four standard UK power sockets on the back:



The majority of others manufacturers (including other Belkin models) seem to rely on the Euro-socket:



I presume it is so that they can produce a European wide model instead of country specific but it is very irritating when the law actually specifies the type of plug and appliance should use in the UK.

UPDATE - just discovered why:

http://www.pcwb.com/...alogue/item/A0387551

They want to flog the cables at £20 a throw (and given there are six sockets on the back of the UPS that would mean the APC converters for a full house would cost more than the UPS!!!!).

The cheapest I have found is £10.

Simple solution is to buy one Euro C14 male plug and put it onto a 4 gang extension cable. So long as the whole strip doesn't exceed 10Amps it will be fine.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 07:34:57 PM by Carol Haynes »

yksyks

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2008, 02:20:08 AM »
That's why the CyberFort series is so popular, at least here in Czech Republic. It seems APC doesn't produce any equvalent with UK sockets, though.

apc-cyberfort-ii-550va.jpg

However, here you can easily get the extension cords for a fraction of your price: some £1.55.

4wd

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2008, 04:24:05 AM »
The cheapest I have found is £10.

Simple solution is to buy one Euro C14 male plug and put it onto a 4 gang extension cable. So long as the whole strip doesn't exceed 10Amps it will be fine.

Or just round up all the old AT PSUs, since they usually came with a cord to power the monitor off of a switched IEC socket on the PSU.

It's where I get them from - or wait until hard-rubbish week and go scrounging :D

mwang

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2008, 07:34:53 AM »
Also can anyone see why the second device is lower power rated and more expensive?

They use different technologies. The BACK-UPS line is for off-line models, while the SMART-UPS line is for line-interactive ones. Just FYI since you've made your decision.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2008, 09:41:05 AM »
Just got my APC BackupUPS and installed it.

Great fun as usual ...

Plugged it in and switched it on and the red "replace battery" warning lit up on the machine and it emitted a series of ear splitting beepings that seemed to go on for ever!

I struggeled on, started my computer and installed the software.

I have left it running for an hour and it now passes the self tests.

Is this normal behaviour?

The unit had a test certificate (in the form of a strip of toilet paper) which says the device was tested January 2008. Presumably it has been in a stock room for nearly a year and not been charged during that time. The APC website warns that even in storage the battery should be charged at least once every 6 months to stop large crystals forming.

Should I send this back for replacement or just assume that some time during the 2 year warranty (or 3 years if you believe their FAQs on the website) I will need to get a free battery replacement ?

cranioscopical

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2008, 12:40:30 PM »
I struggeled on, started my computer and installed the software.

I have left it running for an hour and it now passes the self tests.

Is this normal behaviour?

No. FYI, normal behaviour is swear loudly and then hurl the thing to the bottom of the garden.

If it's a relatively inexpensive unit I'd be inclined to soldier on.
The problem being, where to go in order to be assured of a replacement that's newer.
I've found it less hassle simply to replace cheap(er) APC back-up's than to bother with battery replacement.
New units are almost always on special somewhere.

Hope it works out for you...


Carol Haynes

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2008, 01:01:51 PM »
No it was an expensive unit so I ain't throwing it out.

It seems to have settled down now and I contacted APC customer support who said I should let it charge for 8 hours and if there is a problem get back to them.

It's just a bit disconcerting plugging in a device that is supposed to secure against power problems and for it instantly start howling and flashing red warning lights!

By the way - re. non-UK cables - it actually provided two suitable leads so you can connect a monitor and PC without having to buy anything else. I had a patch cable I made for an old Belkin UPS and so I reused that as a way to plugin a power strip for scanner etc.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2008, 01:03:34 PM by Carol Haynes »

4wd

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2008, 02:54:24 PM »
It seems to have settled down now and I contacted APC customer support who said I should let it charge for 8 hours and if there is a problem get back to them.

That should be the normal thing to do for any UPS, charge before use - I'm surprised that the User Manual doesn't mention it.

phillfri

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2009, 09:27:56 AM »
I bought my girlfriend an APC BACK-UPS RS 800VA (in the US). I have the 900VA unit on one of my computers at home. They both appear to be working fine - no issues. But they are very sensitive to line spikes.

My girfriend's condo was built back in the early sixties and hasn't been rewired since. Depending on circumstances - maybe electric usage in the rest of the building? - the APC unit will switch into battery mode and immediately switch back to the electric line. Some days it doesn't hapen at all. Other days its constantly switching like every 4 or 5 seconds. The unit pops up a message dialog box in the middle of the screen every time a switch takes place. I've found no way to turn this message off. It can get very annoying when you are trying to get work done.

BTW, I've contacted APC tech support about this issue on several occasions. None of the adjustments they have suggested make any difference in the way the APC unit will handle the spikes.

Tinman57

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Re: Bad smells ... UPS recommendations ?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2009, 07:22:55 PM »
  I use APC battery backups on all my computers and my 57 inch HDTV system (HDD/DVD, Surround Sound, DTV, VCR).  Only problem I have is when I lose electricity and my backup generator powers the house back up.  The APC's don't like genny power, probably not a clean enough sine-wave, I would imagine.  This is mentioned somewhere in their faqs.  It will kick to battery power back to landline every 1 second until the battery completely dies.
  I'd like to find some kind of device that would clean up the power before it goes into the APC to prevent this, but have no idea where to look for such an animal.....