Dop Ganger nslug at fop.ns.ca
Fri Dec 16 22:00:15 AST 2005

On Fri, 16 Dec 2005, Rich wrote:

> Anyone know how to test a UPS?

Unplug it from the mains and time how long it takes for a known simple 
load (eg, a 100W lamp) to drain the battery. From there you can calculate 
the actual capacity, and then compare this against what the UPS is telling 
you to see if the circuitry itself is functioning correctly.

> I have an old APC650, its about 8 years old.

If you haven't changed the batteries, I suspect you have an extremely 
heavy power bar rather than a UPS. If the model you have doesn't support 
changing batteries, get a new UPS.

> Sometimes, when it resets, everything dies.  I only seen that once
> before when I was in the States and during a lightning storm, but that
> was many years ago.  Today was the first time I saw the power off in
> action.  I updated the kernel thinking it was an APM module, since
> others have seen the same issue.  I noticed it seems they fixed the
> computer from becoming totally dead, when it resets.

It sounds like the UPS is due for replacement. I wouldn't run a UPS for 
more than 3 years without replacing at least the battery, and after 5 
years I'd replace the whole thing. My guess is the MOVs are about to 
blow, and at that point it's game over - you'll have to get a new UPS.

> So I have a feeling the batteries in the UPS may be beyond their
> lifespan.  The UPS is supposed to maintain power for 35-40 minutes,
> I don't think it can support that today.

Definitely. Get a new UPS anyway, 650VA isn't all that much these days - 
you won't get 35-40 minutes with a modern PC. Poking around on APC's site, 
the Back-UPS 800VA model will run for 17.6 minutes at 270 watts, which is 
pretty close on what a fairly well specced out modern PC will draw. If you 
want 35-40 minutes for two machines I think you'll be looking at something 
in the 2000VA range. Poking on APC's site, there's a new Smart-UPS 2200VA 
with a list price of $977, which is extraordinarily cheap (and you should 
be able to buy it for less than that, of course). Not rackmount, but 
reading between the lines I don't think that's what you want.

APC have a tradeup program to take your old UPS back and give you a price 
break on your new UPS for it; they also recycle the batteries.

Cheers... Dop.


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