Another note about UPS units

I have had another nasty surprise.  I have written elsewhere about the need for UPS units.

A large UPS unit that was playing a critical role in my network was done in at some point, I am guessing a recent storm that got a different unit elsewhere in the house.

Alas, this was a large ULTRA 2000 unit.

I noticed a flashing light. I determined after tinkering that it was not charging. I just got off the phone with their customer service.  (There was no online support or manual, etc.)

Bottom line: ULTRA is not going to replace the unit.

My editorial observation.

I have never had any problems getting batteries or units replaced by APC, if you get my meaning.

ULTRA and TIGER DIRECT are sister companies.

I will now buy or wish for only APC UPS units.

I am hoping that the large and rather heavy black paperweight which decorates my floor will still act as a good surge protector.  I can at least move it to equipment which doesn’t absolutely demand uninterrupted power.

Finally, I am deeply grateful to the person who sent me this unit.  I think it must have died doing its job.  It protected equipment.  This unit was protecting my router and large switch, network remote power controller, internet phone base and slingbox: the sort of stuff that gets screwed up when there are power losses. That’s what they are for!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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6 Responses to Another note about UPS units

  1. Jerry says:

    Fr. Z: Is the Ultra UPS unit under warranty? If so, what reason did they give for not replacing/repairing it? Did you speak with a manager or just the phone agent?

    If the warranty has expired, you’re probably out of luck: a factory repair most likely will not be cost effective; I’m not sure about purchasing replacement parts and having a tech friend install them.

    If the warranty has not yet expired I suggest escalating the situation to management if you haven’t already done so. If they persist in refusing to repair/replace the unit, demand a written explanation for their decision. I’d also mention to the manager that you are planning to file complaints with the BBB and the state attorney general.

  2. Jerry: They couldn’t find my registration. And since it was a gift, I don’t have the receipt. That was a mistake. Anyway, I was on the phone for a while with this.

  3. wmeyer says:

    It seems to me that a registration was ruled long ago to be unnecessary for warranty coverage. Has that changed in law?

    Registration or no, they should be able to verify from the serial number when it was manufactured and shipped.

  4. frjim4321 says:

    Here are the guts

    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/367/4/

    of the fried unit.

    I don’t particularly like Ultra and have only purchased APC recently; but I find even APC disappointing . . . the batteries do not last that long and it seems we are always replacing batteries. They are good for maybe a couple years, three if lucky.

    Where we live we have a power outage every month . . . it is very annoying. I should have an UPS on my garage door opener.

    The Power Chute software is nice, but it’s just one more of dozens of processes running in the background – like another crazy uncle living in the basement.

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    The APC UPS units are effective at providing uninterrupted power, but may not always act as a reliable surge suppressor. As is the case with most surge suppressors in UPS units, they rely on self-sacrificing circuit elements called MOVs (metal oxide varistors) which degrade over time as they absorb small surges that you may not even be aware of.

    The best solution is to use a UPS that is plugged into a surge suppressor that does not rely on MOVs:

    http://www.zerosurge.com/truthaboutmovs.cfm?PType=Res

    If you want a UPS that has a longer battery life, look at this unit (which must be sent to California for replacement of its lead-calcium battery, after an estimated life of seven years):

    http://www.idowell.eu/eng/prodotti.html

    If you enjoy this entire subject, take a look at:

    http://www.stoplightning.com/

  6. markomalley says:

    Father,

    One thing, in addition to what the above have said, is that you should look at the type of technology that you are using. This link has a pretty good tutorial written in plain language about UPS technologies.

    The bottom line is that the APC UPS’s that are usually available for home use utilize technology that switches from the line current to the battery when power fails. For home use, this works OK, but for critical loads, there is a momentary interruption. Where this comes into play is if you live in an area with truly flakey power that takes hits all the time. If you are able to find an UPS that uses differential or true online technology, you actually get your servers’ power through the UPS battery at all times…meaning that you never experience any outage, not even in the millisecond time frame. (It also provides the very best surge suppression for the same reason).

    Tripp-Lite makes some pretty good UPS’ along those lines that aren’t any more expensive than the APC ones, but they utilize this true-online technology vice the switching technology of APC.