Electronic Design

UPS: American Power Conversion SmartUPS 1500

It’s not a good idea to scrimp when it comes to a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). A corrupted hard drive from a crashing system will destroy data as effectively as a virus. I have every device plugged into a UPS in my lab except laser printers, and I have been able to continue working when the power goes down for short periods. Even my DSL line continues to chug along.

I asked American Power Conversion for a unit that would keep this system running for at least half an hour. The unit delivers 1440 VA. It recharges in less than 3 hours. The batteries are field replaceable and it supports external battery packs. It is designed for servers and high-end workstations.

It can interface with the PC via a serial port and USB port. There is also a SmartSlot that can accept a range of Smart Modules like an Ethernet-based remote management module or an environmental monitoring module. This tends to be a bit of overkill for a home system, but invaluable in the office.

The PC interface can work with a range of software, including two bundled with the system. PowerChute tends to be the one used by individuals and the one I installed. It provides access to the UPS status and it provides services such as logging and automatic system shutdown. I tend to extend the shutdown delay because of the heft capacity allowing the system to ride out short power outages, such as when the power company drops the line for a few minutes.

The UPS is well worth the investment.

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