Battery Backup Power - Here's What You Need to Know - Comments Page 2

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Posted by:

marge201
12 May 2020

Been using APC products forever. I have two so that everything is plugged in. When one bites the dust, I drive over to Staples and get a new one. It's a must-have, especially for desktop users.
APC battery Back-UPS, 9 outlets (6 for battery, 3 for surge) $100
They last three or four years.

Posted by:

Robert A.
13 May 2020

I happen to live in an area that has a retail chain called Batteries+Bulbs, which, I believe, is a franchise operation, and sells exactly what their name implies - batteries and light bulbs. This firm sells all sorts of batteries for cars, trucks, hi-lows down to your basic alkaline AAs, AAAs and 9 volt types. They carry a huge selection of batteries that will fit most UPS boxes.

The store near my home also will remove and install UPS batteries, as they have a tech bench in the back of the store, where the guys there can do a swap-out in about 15 minutes, or so. Since the store is a very specialized retailer, they usually only have a few customers inside at any one time, and can offer service very quickly.

The replacement batteries generally cost between 20 to 50 dollars, each, depending on the quantity, physical size and amperage capability that your box needs. I've had the batteries in my once APC 1000 unit replaced twice, from B+B, and my now APC 1500 works just fine, without any issues, for about half the price of a new tower, including a size upgrade, than those sold at Costco, Sam's Club or Best Buy.

A FYI handy tip is that APC and Cyber Power towers are usually sold in three to four power sizes such as 800, 1000 ,1200 and, maybe 1500 VA ratings. but the several models from the same manufacturer often use the same tower box, with just different labels to indicate the power rating. When replacing the UPS batteries, one can actually "move up" in VA ratings. from, say, a 1000 VA to a 1500 VA, by buying a larger capacity battery/batteries, for, usually, just a few dollars more, which will fit into the UPS tower, perfectly, and will allow a somewhat longer run time than the batteries of a lower VA rating.

Regarding homes that have whole-house generator systems, that switch the power over to the unit when the local power utility feed dies during a severe storm, one would still need to have a UPC unit hooked up to one's computer(s), because, as stated above, by Bobo, it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds for the generator to start up and the transfer switch to kick in and begin feeding the house with juice for the generator.

I have a 35 KW Kohler unit that can pretty much keep my whole hose running - lights, HVAC, refrigeration, etc., but, just to keep my TVs, cable and video recorder boxes running without fail, I have those items plugged into a smaller capacity UPS unit, about 600 VA, to maintain power during the brief switchover.

Even with the lights going out for a few seconds, I am still able to watch TV, albeit, in the dark, until the Kohler unit is up and running.

Posted by:

David Horsfall
13 May 2020

My position in Spain is pretty similar to that of Bob H above. I have four UPS units in constant use and also a diesel generator. However I did find that one UPS was useless when supporting two NAS units. Couldn't understand why....the unit was quite expensive and had a new battery. Every time the power failed momentarily, the NAS units objected and took hours to sort themselves out. We found out that could be solved by have one UPS per NAS which was unfortunate & not mentioned in any manuals. I've found that many people give them up when they find the unit no longer works as expected when the batteries get older. So more time, cost and vigilance is needed to run the darned things.

Posted by:

Mike Nease
13 May 2020

Sarah, Converting your older model house to a three-wire grounded system can be quite expensive as you can imagine as all the wiring inside the walls must be replaced. There is another solution that provides surge protection. There is still some cost involved, but nowhere near the cost of rewiring your whole house. Most utilities can provide you with whole-house surge protection by installing a protection unit at your meter. This has the added advantage of protecting all electronics within the house. You can contact your local utility for cost and availability.

Posted by:

Steve B
14 May 2020

The easiest way I can think of to test the battery in your UPS is to have the computer turned on, but not running any critical apps. Then simply unplug the UPS from the wall. If the battery is in good shape, the computer will remain operating for however long the VA rating of the UPS allows. If the battery is bad or failing then the computer will crash in a very short time. BTW, your monitor is probably the biggest drain on the UPS of all the components in your system. Rate your UPS by how long you want the monitor to stay alive after house power has failed.

Posted by:

Vulcan
14 May 2020

Had two of the big APC 1500 and both started flashing the F04 death message their second year.

I don't spend this kind of money to have to start diagnosing their stuff, making calls, getting replacements and all that hassle. Not at all impressed with their software either. This was on new, maintained, updated and bug free computers.

Going with Cyber Power next time and just deal with the limited powered shutdown time.

Posted by:

Phillip Jeck
15 May 2020

I have a genarac 20 KW natural gas generator for my house. It powers both air conditioners 2 refrigs, a freezer, and everything else in the house. It test it self every Sat. at noon. I have APC UPS on all five tv's amd two computers. None of the electronics ever blink. Been running this way for over 10 years, Have had to replace some of the UPS after 5 - 6 years, could have probably saved some by replacing the Batt's. Just had a APC 1500 AC screen go bad, I had purchased a Square Trade warr. and they had me send it to them at their cost, and sent back it could not be fixed and were sending me a check. I will buy another this week. UPS is the only way to go.

Posted by:

Madinson
18 Mar 2021

Choosing an UPS inverter is a tough and complex task. I used Power Calculator by MSP Web Store and it helped me a lot in selecting correct UPS inverter for my home

Posted by:

Frances
22 Feb 2024

I want to emphasize what a few commenters have said. You can get whole house surge protectors which go on the main electrical panel. I can't remember what ours cost but it wasn't enough to break the bank. Considering that most of us have several electronic devices besides computers that could be damaged by a power surge, it would be money well spent.

And about the two-wire house, my house is a two-wire house. Some years ago, the provincial regulator decided that GFI's could be used in two-wire houses so we had them installed on the most important sockets. Anyone who would like to have GFI's in a two-wire house should consult a licenced electrician to find out what is allowed where you live. (I live in Ontario, Canada.)

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