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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac System
I just recently bought a new Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and got inspired to pass along the UPS litany I give my customers to a thread on Apple's Discussion forums. I did a search here on macosxhints and only found one hint related to UPSes -- and it was mostly about using Tiger's Energy Saver preference pane to monitor them. The importance of a UPS might be a given for most of the folks who frequent this site, but a little UPS knowledge for those who don't know might be good to pass along.

I basically recommend that anyone who owns a comuter should get a UPS. No exceptions. Given the potential anywhere for weather or an even minor glitch with your local power provider to cause havoc on your AC line, it really makes sense to protect your investment in your computer. Even fluctuations in power that are too quick for you to even notice (i.e. the lights flicker briefly) can potentially cause directory problems, data corruption or even hardware damage.

[robg adds: The following isn't a traditional OS X hint in many ways, but with the coming of winter and its storms, I felt it was worth a bit of space here to provide some basic UPS info. If you have no interest in such topics, don't bother reading the rest of this hint :). This was also a good reminder for me that it's time to replace my aging UPS; it's well past its useful life...]

Here are a few things to consider:
  1. More load capacity is better. Without actually going into calculating wattage into load, here's a pretty easy guide. If all you have is a slot-loading iMac and an inkjet printer, you can probably get away with a 350VA model. Most G4 desktops will need 400-700VA, depending on the model and configuration. If you have a PowerMac Dual G5 2.7GHz with a large display and a couple of external hard drives, you'll need at least a 1KVA UPS -- bigger if you need more than 10-15 minutes of on-battery runtime. You might also consider getting an extra UPS for your other less-critical peripherals like scanners, inkjet printers, network hardware, etc. If your configuration is in-between, I'd still recommend as high a capacity as you can afford -- just for the extra runtime and load capacity for future growth.

  2. Look for the acronym AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) on the box when UPS shopping. There's a substantial difference between these and regular UPSes. A non-AVR UPS is basically just a battery backup with a good surge-protector built in. This protects against gross spikes in the power and the power going away completely for a predetermined amount of time. But when the power does go down, there's still a sizable gap (in computer time) between when the power goes out and when the UPS decides that it's time to switch over to the battery completely. What AVR does is constantly monitors the line voltage, and it not only suppresses spikes, but supplements even millisecond dips in the voltage (which can be more harmful than the spikes) with battery power to give you a nice smooth sine wave of AC power at the correct level. The upshot is not only does your computer get cleaner power, but if the power goes out the switchover to battery is much faster and smoother.

  3. Most consumer UPSes have two sets of outlets on them. One set is wired for battery backup and surge protection and the other set provides surge protection only. Make sure you're plugging in the important stuff -- computer, monitor, external hard drives -- into the correct outlets.

  4. Do not plug a laser printer into a UPS unless you've bought at least a 2500VA UPS that is dedicated to that printer. Laser printers draw a huge amount of current when they kick in and start printing. If possible, you don't even want to plug a laser printer into the same circuit as your UPS or it might complain about low line voltage every time you print.

  5. Some places in a city's power grid may have chronically low AC voltage -- this usually depends on neighbors or local industry. The acceptable range for AC voltage is generally 104V to 120V. If you plug in a UPS where the voltage frequently dips below 104V, it may beep often and be unable to keep its battery charged up. Likewise in a household, if the UPS is used on a kitchen or workshop circuit where a number of other high-draw devices are used, you'll get the same results. If you know you have constant brownouts, or you buy a UPS and it screams a lot, call an electrician. Keep in mind, though, that there may be situations on a power grid where nothing can be done until the power company upgrades your area. If the power quality is bad enough, a UPS won't do you any good. Most UPSes will also detect wiring faults -- swapped hot-cold, no ground, etc. -- but will usually just tell you that there's a fault, not which type it is. If you want to check this ahead of time, you can buy a little AC wiring checker for a couple bucks at your local hardware store. Pretty much all UPS manufacturers will not honor a UPS's warranty if it's used where there's a wiring fault.

  6. Brand: Here are the three manufacturers that I'm most familiar with...

    • APC is, of course, the market leader. Pros: They make a wide variety of models, all are excellent quality, and they put a good effort into their monitoring software for the Mac. Cons: They tend to be pricier than most, and in my experience, their batteries don't generally last more than a couple years.

    • Belkin also offers a good selection, good software for the Mac, and their batteries generally have a good life -- at least three years or more. They can be pricey, but you can also find some good deals occasionally. Bad news is that I've seen quite a few of them (one of mine included) simply die -- not due to dead batteries, but simply because their little brains just gave up the ghost.

    • The only bad thing I can say about Tripp-Lite (my old one has been a rock and it's at least four years old) is that they don't make any software for the Mac. However, PowerAlert is Java-based, and they do have a Linux version of the latest release, as well as the Linux source of an older version. One of these may be workable, although I didn't have any initial luck with the Java version -- so for any advanced monitoring or logging, you might have better luck with the older source. Good news, though, is that even their latest model is compatible enough with Tiger that you can just plug it in and see the battery capacity in the menu bar. And through the Energy Saver pref pane, you can set a threshold for shutting your machine down when the battery gets to a certain level, or for when it has been on battery for a certain amount of time. If you're not running Tiger, there are some free and shareware offerings on versiontracker.com which should do the same thing (robg adds: PowerGuardian is one that I found, though I haven't tried it.)
I just got a really nice new Tripp-Lite at Costco for only $99.99 (cheap for an AVR model with this load capacity) -- the Omni1000LCD which is their latest 1KVA/AVR model. It's really cool because it has a slim form-factor and it actually has a nice bright blue LCD readout which shows the line voltage, battery level, wiring faults, etc. in a nice easy-to-read display. So when you take it home and plug it in, you'll know quickly if your AC is only delivering 103V or if there's a wiring fault, and you can call your electrician right away.

I'm sure many others will have their own input on the subject, so let the replies begin...
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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: zellpharm on Oct 11, '05 06:59:23AM

I have customers with Xserves and Tiger Server and we recommend the APC series. Recognized immediately and they work as advertised. Pull the plug, it alerts you and shuts down as specified in the prefs pane. What more could you want?



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: macslut on Oct 11, '05 07:22:32AM

Great article...I'm glad it was included.

Questions about the Tripplite:
Does it come with software for OS X?
Does it allow for automatic shutdown with auto-saving of documents?
Will it allow for the Mac to turn on when power is restored?



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: b00le on Oct 11, '05 08:29:47AM
From the article:
The only bad thing I can say about Tripp-Lite (my old one has been a rock and it's at least four years old) is that they don't make any software for the Mac.
As they say on slashdot - RTFA

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UPS to Mac USB connection and hub
Authored by: randydarden on Oct 11, '05 07:34:46AM

One tip (I think I read this here): if you have your UPS connected to your Mac via a powered USB hub, make sure that the USB hub is plugged into one of the battery backup sockets on the UPS. Otherwise, when the power fails, the hub will lose power and the UPS won't be able to shut your computer down.



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UPS to Mac USB connection and hub
Authored by: nmerriam on Oct 11, '05 01:45:29PM

Absolutely, I've seen this exact scenario more than once. Good way to screw yourself if you're not paying attention.

Of course, if Apple would join the 21st century and put more than 2 USB ports on the back of a computer, we wouldn't have to dangle everything off of hubs.



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UPS to Mac USB connection and hub
Authored by: PeteVerdon on Oct 16, '05 07:43:14AM

I was under the impression that most powered hubs, if the power is disconnected, simply revert to being unpowered ones. Certainly both of mine do. Since the UPS presumably isn't drawing any power from the USB tree, it ought to carry on working fine.

Plugging the USB hub into the UPS is vital if you use USB-powered drives, of course.

Pete



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: slgillen on Oct 11, '05 07:46:30AM
APC has an excellent wizard to help you find the UPS that is the right size.

http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/?lid=UPS%20Selector

Just select your country and then select the link for "Configure Now" under the PC or Workstation link. It will detect what computer you have (usually) for you.

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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: imageworx on Oct 11, '05 08:22:59AM

I've ALWAYS suggested to my clients to go with APC UPS. If home user/SOHO, I recommend something 1.5-2x the required Volt Amp hour rating (CRTs drain faster than the LCD monitors). Also, recommending the USB hub is a given, but also any external storage device. And AVR is definitely recommended over non-AVR.
Never plug a laserprinter into a UPS-battery-supported outlet. Nor any lamp or amplifier.
For businesses, I've always suggested hot-swappable battery units.

Note: you should recycle UPS batteries to either Radioshack or automotive service center (they take the bigger sized UPS batteries). If you buy replacement batteries for APC, they come with a UPS (pun) return tag to ship the spent battery to their depot.

Unfortunately, we are still in a windows-biased world. APC UPS BH500NET for home network (model#?) actually has a network port for web-based monitoring and remote control of AC outlets. The software is not for OS X. Atleast the built-in UPS monitoring of OS x allows for shutdown via USB connection. Never leave a computer on, attached to a UPS without the ability t opower off the system if the AC goes out and the battery power kicks in (unattended). If the UPS battery dies, the power loss to the computer will likely be fatal (HD crash, ...)

Home users may want to consider a solution at the AC panel for surge in areas that have frequent power issues (storms, black/brown outs...). And the general rule of thumb for UPS batteries is 3-4 years before replacement. Also, check/replace your home smoke alarm batteries every Spring when its time to DST or in the Fall.

A UPS costs 10% of your computer investment. Think about it. Cheap insurance.


---
To BeOS or Not to BeOS



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: pub3abn on Oct 11, '05 09:28:26AM
If the UPS battery dies, the power loss to the computer will likely be fatal (HD crash, ...)
While I'm a firm believer in UPS backups, I think this is an exaggeration. I have many firsthand experiences of computers losing power under such circumstances, and have not seen any "fatal" consequences yet. In my experience, there is about a 5-10% chance of data corruption (and a 100% chance that all unsaved data will be lost). But I've never seen any "fatal" hardware failures do to power failure of a protected system.

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Here's a first hand experience
Authored by: lionel77 on Oct 11, '05 07:05:43PM
While I'm a firm believer in UPS backups, I think this is an exaggeration. I have many firsthand experiences of computers losing power under such circumstances, and have not seen any "fatal" consequences yet. In my experience, there is about a 5-10% chance of data corruption (and a 100% chance that all unsaved data will be lost). But I've never seen any "fatal" hardware failures do to power failure of a protected system.

I once had a 200GB FireWire hard drive die on me because of a power outage. A simple head-crash -- there was nothing I could do to recover the data.
Back in the those days a 200GB FireWire drive was about $400. Luckily I could get it replaced because it was still under warranty.

Since then I've been really paranoid about power supply issues.

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Here's a first hand experience
Authored by: justzisguy on Oct 11, '05 11:25:04PM

Pardon my ignorance, but what kind of UPS would kill hardware? Does it not simply turn off once the voltage is ready to dip? Data corruption sure, but I too haven't seen any hardware death as a result of a UPS. Brownouts OTOH, sure.



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Here's a first hand experience
Authored by: lionel77 on Oct 13, '05 05:33:46PM

It's not the UPS killing the hardware, it's the sudden loss of power.
If your hard drive is writing or reading while the power supply is interrupted there is a good chance that you get a head crash and the hard drive becomes physically damaged.



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Here's a first hand experience
Authored by: mauricev on Dec 13, '05 08:04:16AM

Actually, there is virtually no possibility this could occur. When the power is cut to a drive, it automatically parks the head.



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Here's a first hand experience
Authored by: justzisguy on Oct 11, '05 11:25:43PM

Pardon my ignorance, but what kind of UPS would kill hardware? Does it not simply turn off once the voltage is ready to dip? Data corruption sure, but I too haven't seen any hardware death as a result of a UPS. Brownouts OTOH, sure.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: imageworx on Oct 13, '05 08:51:01AM

You can think whatever you want. But this has happened (and yes, its extreme situation). But if you have no means of powering off a machine that is running off UPS battery, (whether builtin or software controlled) and the power is not restored before the battery discharges, you will damage the device(s).

That is why its been great that you can connect to a UPS and OS X has a builtin power manager. Maybe not as feature-rich as the APC Windows client, but still better than nothing.

Maybe you can test this "exaggeration" for us and leave your most important non-laptop CPU on battery for a few days (hours?) why its running some open programs. Then get back that nothing happened?

---
To BeOS or Not to BeOS



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: neuralstatic on Oct 11, '05 08:31:09AM

i'll just pass on what one of the consultant team told me when outfitting our server room:
consumer APC units do not conditin power or signal, do not stop spikes.
the just turn on when there is no power input.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: BMarsh on Oct 12, '05 07:26:44PM

depends on the model now, this may have been true a few years ago, but many in the past 3 years have AVR (automatic voltage regulation) same feature that used to be enterprise only.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: entr0py on Oct 11, '05 08:44:01AM

I always recommend APC products, but only where a battery backup is truly necessary -- servers and the like. As far as spikes &c go, however, I'm in deep doubt of the need for anything at all. In ten years of managing 125 Macs in four locations, none of which are plugged into a proper surge protector, the only equipment failure we ever had due to electrical issues was an HP LaserJet 4 printer. In one of those locations, our largest, we constantly have power issues compounded by the many fools plugging in overpowered heaters under their desks -- no problem for the Macs.

Save your money.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: pub3abn on Oct 11, '05 09:36:13AM

Regarding spikes, etc., I think it depends on environmental factors. I've seen a number of unprotected computers get zapped through electrical overloads. Even an instance where a computer was protected, but not the phone line into the modem, and a surge through the phone line fried the motherboard. For that reason I always get UPS backups that have support for phone and ethernet cables.

Also, I think UPS backups benefit more than server systems. Where I work (a television studio) there are brownouts and spikes every time they turn on the studio lighting. I've seen coworkers without UPS's lose hours of work (yes, they should have saved more often, although they undoubtedly would have lost some work regardless). With a UPS, I at least know that I have time to quit all my applications and save everything. That's a major factor for me, and would be for a lot of people I think.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: simes on Oct 11, '05 09:05:19AM

Some good comments here; its worth noting that UPSen also protect against under or over voltages as well as spikes. In certain cases under voltages can do lots of damage to equipment.

The advice about laser printers is good as well; I should probably note that you can get UPSen which have a separate socket which is designed for laser printers to be plugged in to - such sockets are usually just surge protected and are not battery backed up.



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Another type of UPS
Authored by: rpost77 on Oct 11, '05 09:44:28AM

One type or UPS you missed out on in your description is the Online or Double Conversion type. These are the most expensive type of UPS you can buy but are (in my opinion) the best type of UPS to go for. You can buy consumer sized Double Conversion type UPS's and you will find that most of the industrial UPS's used (for computer centres etc.) are of this type.

An Online type UPS works by converting the incoming AC to DC power and feeding the batteries. The DC power is then converted back to AC via an inverter to deliver an AC feed to the connected devices. The benefits of this are:-

1) The input and output stages of the UPS are separate so whatever happens at the input end (voltage sag, spike etc.) is kept totally out of the way of what is being delivered at the output end (the output end is always a constant voltage fed via the inverter from the battery circuits no matter if the input is way under or way over voltage) - surge suppression etc. is kept separate from the output feed - AVR type UPS's or buck-and-boost UPS's work differently in that the voltage is under or over compensated for as it tranverses the UPS circuit.

2) The output is a true sine wave output which is 'healthier' for any connected equipment. Most other UPS types do not deliver a true sine wave but a modified sine wave (on a 'scope looks square instead of a flowing line). Although a modified sine wave won't neccesarily harm your equipment, there are arguments that say some sensitive devices don't cope so well with them and it can 'stress' circuitry and lessen a devices lifespan.

3) There is no switchover time when the incoming AC power fails. As the output is fed from the DC float (batteries) via an inverter and thus separated from the AC input, when the AC input fails there is no time period for 'switching' required as in AVR types etc. Although the switching times of other types are fast (milliseconds) there is still potential there for this to cause an interruption to connected devices.

I personally use a Double Conversion type UPS (Sola 610 1KVA - sold as Best 610 in the US and now owned by Powerware - I live in Australia).

When it is time for my current UPS to pass to the UPS graveyard I will be buying another Double Conversion type (I feel the extra expense is worth it for the power quality I get for all my sensitive (expensive!) electronic equipment that is connected).



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UPS Safety and Costs
Authored by: parr on Oct 12, '05 07:37:19PM
A couple of more suggestions, to help you spend your money wisely (and keep it).

1000 to 1200 Watts are required to provide adequate power for many desktop computers. To provide that power the 12 Volt batteries in many medium sized UPS units have at least a 100 AMP fuse! 12 Volts x 100 Amps = 1200 Watts. 100 Amps running through a wire or shorted circuit board can melt or catch fire to many fire "resistant" materials including the case plastics.

After seeing two separate UPS units spontaneously combust due to their internal electronics or batteries shorting out. For fire safety reasons I now only use UPS units in metal cases.

liebert makes nice dual conversion UPS units, In the short term they are some of the more expensive units, but they will make up for it in reduced battery costs and replacement hassles, because of their dual conversion design. They eliminate the cycling of Charging vs. ON Battery stress that many of the lower end UPS units have. Batteries in Liebert UPSs typically last about 5 to 7 Years. Batteries in simpler designed units typically last 2 to 2.5 years. At $75 to $100 bucks a battery change, recycling issues: battery = (LEAD + hydrocloric acid), hassle factor and not to mention the peace of mind. The few extra bucks up front is worth it.

Also remember to test the batteries in your UPS at least yearly.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: peragrin on Oct 11, '05 09:49:05AM

Great comments but a few quick other words.

Voltage does varies based on your location from the transformer. At least in NY the average voltage is 120V with 125V -130V common for suburban areas. Anything less than 110V isn't normal.

---
I thought once I was found but it was only a dream



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Laptops too?
Authored by: jeb11382 on Oct 11, '05 10:42:32AM
"I basically recommend that anyone who owns a com[p]uter should get a UPS. No exceptions."

Is there any reason that a laptop owner would want a UPS instead of just a surge protector? My PowerBook already adjusts to rapid power changes (when I unplug the cord from the wall, for example) and regulates the voltage. It also lasts 2 hours if the power goes out. If I have no external devices, can anyone think of a reason why I would want to spend so much for a UPS when it seems that a portable surge protector would do?

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Laptops too?
Authored by: mike666 on Oct 11, '05 11:09:59AM

When unplugging the power adapter from any of their portables, Apple officially recommends that it be unplugged from the portable first then from the AC outlet to avoid causing problems with the PMU. If the power drops or goes out completely, this is essentially like unplugging your adapter in reverse. I've seen brownouts cause problems with both a desktop and a portable at the same time. This may only happen a fraction of the time but why take chances? Fortunately, a PMU reset or leaving the portable shut down for a while can usually get things back to normal. More seriously though, most power strip surge protectors are majorly inferior to the spike protection circuitry in a UPS - and the right type of power spike could easily take out your power adapter, your DC-in board or even your logic board.



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Laptops too?
Authored by: imageworx on Oct 11, '05 11:52:24AM

Laptops do have the advantage here (for continuous power). However, surges, spikes,... can still do harm. And a cheap powerstrip merely has a "cheap" protection (likely a choke or cap). You are saving money only on outlets. Nothing more. Check manufacturer for ratings and specifications. Again, a voltage regulator either builtin or separate isolation transformer can give you clean power (when its there).

Don't forget damage can come from the modem cable (if you use dial up) as a POTS line can handle up to 500Volts (Tip ring).
I would recommend a decent surge protector at minimum that filters modem wire. You can also add surge/lightning protector to Coax line (Cable modem) or telco line (DSL) to protect from outside problems.

And it might sound silly, but humidity is important in winter climates (that tend to get dry). That static charge (high voltage) you build up from the carpet (or synthetic clothing...like micro fleece) can generate enough to fry not only your computer hardware but also flash cards, USB keys and other sensitive electronics. A humidifier (inline or room unit) can help.

---
To BeOS or Not to BeOS



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Laptops too?
Authored by: lucite on Oct 18, '05 09:47:23PM

Why would you want to protect your Coax line? Just for the modem, or can electrical issues go through ethernet wiring too?



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: alfrank on Oct 11, '05 02:02:42PM

I think the american people should finally make an inquiry to their government for underground power lines !

Here in germany those power problems caused by storms or other weather effects are virtually unknown, because we mostly do have underground power lines...



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: axello on Oct 11, '05 03:24:59PM
Ditto in the Netherlands. I think we've had one blackout for a couple of minutes the past 10 years or so.
I'm afraid what the future of privatisation will bring to the electrical power stability. When I look at the Californian power issue, I'm shaking my head in disbelieve.

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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: Makosuke on Oct 11, '05 04:00:16PM

For me and my unreliable Northern California power (how come I have to get browned out when LA is running too many air conditioners 1000 miles away?), I like my APC. Their software was ok, but slow updates for new versions of the OS lead me to just stick with OSX's built-in ability to communicate with it, which works well enough and requires absolutely no additional software (nice). Just wish it had an option to shut the UPS down after the computer, but the power isn't usually out for that long when I'm not home, anyway, so oh well.

Anyway, though: "Here, here!" The stupidity of above-ground powerlines here in the US is hard to fathom. I suppose it was originally a response to having plenty of trees to cut down and a whole lot of distance to cover, but I'd think we'd have moved past those days for anything other than super-high-voltage long-distance trasmission lines (which never get knocked down in a storm, anyway).

Most utilities and/or municipalities are just too cheap to make the changeover, I suppose, although my town is apparently moving everything underground this year (yay for prettier skies!).

As they say: Sure, it's harder to get to underground lines to fix them... except since they're underground they ALMOST NEVER BREAK!

Speaking as someone who's gone two weeks without power after major storms, I yearn for buried lines. Of course, here in California the power would probably go out all the time anyway, but that's for a different reason...



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: zo219 on Mar 08, '08 07:15:27PM

Our powerlines are aboveground because we were so damn early in getting electricity to everyone. Probably be last to redo everything and get them underground.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: mike666 on Oct 11, '05 07:27:37PM

Actually, I live in a suburb of San Diego and all our ulitities are underground. We still have bad power though becuase we share the grid with the Navy, the Marines and Tijuana... Sometimes all it takes is one bad boy on the same line. Also most power distribution stations are still above ground - at least over here. Is this not the case in Germany and the Netherlands? I would guess that most European power plants are also not as over-subscribed as in the US. We are power-hungry little rascals... ;)



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Reboot after shutdown?
Authored by: iRideSnow on Oct 11, '05 02:18:43PM

As someone mentioned above, are there any UPS's that will restart your computer after it has been shut down by the UPS?

I have a reasonably new APC UPS with the PowerChute software. Works great. Except for when it actually shuts the computer down because the power has been out long enough. The problem is it doesn't reboot the system after the power comes back online. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

Oddly enough, OS X lets you specify "restart automatically after power failure" in the Energy Saver preference pane. But this only applies if you DON'T gracefully shut down the computer first. If you do the "right thing" and have your UPS shut down, you have to manually restart the system. Sucks!

So, anyone know any UPS Software which will do this?

Rob



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Reboot after shutdown?
Authored by: axello on Oct 11, '05 03:39:49PM
This is a tricky and interesting problem. I also thought about the 'Restart automatically' feature at first. However, I see problems in any implementation:

1a) UPS shuts down Mac and starts up computer through its USB interface. Unfortunately Apple in its infinite wisdom decided to remove the startup button functionality from the USB bus in the models from the past couple of years.
1b) UPS shuts down Mac, and just before the last shutdown item from Apple which hopefully triggers the nvram clock chip (or whichever chip causes the auto-startup), a specially written shutdown program halts the system horribly. Think system freeze. Then, when the power finally fails, the system isn't damaged, the HD is already nicely parked and the computer is shut off.
The autostart feature would work automagically when power is restored. And the normal manual shutdown would also still work.
Problem: when the power goes up again before the power fails completely, the computer is still in the frozen state and is utterly useless. The UPS should detect this and handle accordingly: kill the power mercilessly and restore power after a while (...)

Can anyone think of clean solutions?

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Reboot after shutdown?
Authored by: mike666 on Oct 11, '05 08:59:45PM

The only thing I can think of is a solenoid with a circuit that triggers it once and only when its power source goes from 0 to 110V. You could rig a strap to go around your machine and keep it placed over your power button. If you had a Cube or an older ADC display you could use a similar circuit with an infrared LED or something which would trigger the touch switch. These are all I can think of that wouldn't void your warranty...



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This Can (sort of) Be Done
Authored by: Makosuke on Oct 12, '05 03:30:18PM

This actually can be done, as such:

The "Restart after power failure" option will reboot the computer any time AC power goes away then returns... INCLUDING when the computer is off. That is, if you turn that option on, shut down your computer, then pull the plug and put it back, it'll start up again without pushing the button.

And, since some UPS software (sadly not OSX's built-in feature) allows you to power down the UPS after X minutes (one assumes after the computer has had sufficient time to shut down), which in turn cuts AC to the computer, once the utility is restored and the UPS turns itself back on, the computer would also restart automatically.

Again, this would require a UPS that can turn itself both off and on based on a timer and utility back up, respectively, as well as Mac-compatible software that is compatible with it, but if you can find both of those things (which should be possible--I'm pretty sure APC UPSes and their software offer these features, for example--then you can have your computer come back up automatically after a power failure.

The only time it wouldn't work would be if the power came back on after the computer had begun to shut down but before the UPS had turned itself off...



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This Can (sort of) Be Done
Authored by: argh128 on Dec 15, '05 05:37:08AM

Or, just leave something with reasonable amount of power consumption on the UPS port...

The computer shuts down, but the remaining attached device still draws power, eventually killing the UPS. As long as power doesn't come back on in the intervening time, this should get around the timer. Of course, if the unit had a timer, and the power came on in between it would STILL have the same issue.

---

A completely SANE Canadian.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: xwiz on Oct 11, '05 04:06:48PM

Were you concerned about costs at all, or should all mac owners be rolling in cash?



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: mike666 on Oct 11, '05 07:34:15PM

When you consider how much replacing your power supply, logic board or your entire machine costs, $70-100 is not a bad investment... Even if your machine is under warranty, if it's determined that something is damaged by bad power or a lightning strike, it's well within Apple rights to deny coverage - environmental causes aren't covered.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: Autocat on Oct 11, '05 10:51:16PM

There's MGE too for good UPSs and Mac support

mgeups.com



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: freddiepingpong on Oct 12, '05 08:57:52PM

Before everyone gets on the underground wiring kick, I remembered from a documentary on lightning that underground wires are struck and affected just as much as above ground wires. Sure enough:

The studies revealed that underground power lines are also vulnerable, contrary to previous beliefs, Rakov says. Ground lightning strikes affect underground distribution lines almost as often as they affect overhead lines
http://www.ece.ufl.edu/publications/Archives/inthenews/2003/lightning-powerlines.html



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 06, '08 10:46:35PM

It's not lightning strikes on above-ground power lines that most often damages them--it's a storm's high winds, trees and branches falling across the power lines, etc. that does the most damage. Underground them, and that wouldn't happen.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: tertuliano on Oct 25, '05 02:02:24AM

hi.

could you check if you got my e-mail?

I bought a trust 600 VA for a double 2.7 G5 with an external lacie. The other day the light ran out and so did the G5, although the UPS went into battery mode. Is it a question of not feeding enough power to the computer or am I missing some configuration here?

I'm depending on an answer so I may return it to the vendor or not.

many thanks in advance,

adolfo.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: Blittser on Oct 28, '05 04:07:15AM

I don't really understand what the difference is between a UPS, line conditioner and surge protector. IMHO, my priority is that power anomalies don't PERMANENTLY damage those hardware which I consider vital. I don't really mind if my computer switches off during a power failure, since it is incumbent on myself to save frequently before hand, and have triplicate backups.

Therefore, AFAICS, what I'd really need is a line conditioner +/- surge protector for my computer/laptop, external LCD and external FireWire drives. And surge protectors for my printers, modems, scanners. Using a UPS for an inkjet printer... seems like overkill really. I'd rather spend the money on protection (probably surge protectors) for my other expensive power items like a television, DVD player, amplifier.

Although I would preferentially spend money on having a foolproof backup strategy first.

Any thoughts?



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: TrumpetPower! on Dec 13, '05 11:39:36AM

The only power conditioners I'm aware of come built into UPS units. That's the one-and-only reason I had my parents get a UPS.

That, combined with SafeSleep, means that they're unlikely to ever again notice any of the myriad problems they've had in the past with the poor-quality power they get.

Read the earlier comments in this thread for why you don't get power conditioners without batteries, but the short answer is that, if power dips, you have to make it up from somewhere. I suppose you could use a capacitor...but any such thing that'd get you more than a second or two of protection is likely to be just as expensive and difficult to engineer as an honest-to-goodness battery.

Cheers,

b&



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: mauricev on Dec 13, '05 08:02:46AM

Actually, there is virtually no possibility this could occur. When the power is cut to a drive, it automatically parks the head.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: tcl on Sep 20, '06 07:44:20PM

Have had the Omni1000LCD UPS ($99) from Costco for over 1 month and has worked fine except for 2 unexplained shutdowns by the unit, all by itself. There was No inadvertent hitting the UPS power button. The unit just shutdown all by itself while my son listened to music and wife on the internet.

I will be returning this unit and will decide on an exchange or full refund. I don't believe any critical data was lost so no negative impact but the potential for loss is real.

Good Luck.



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A few tips on picking a UPS for your Mac
Authored by: bdodds on Mar 05, '08 06:37:23PM

I also have been using an Omni1000LCD UPS ($99) from Costco for about a year. It worked fine until recently when we had a brownout.
At that point if failed to keep my Mac Pro on and has now started this unexplained shutdown all by itself thing. Every time is 100% random with No power problems.
The thing just starts wailing and shuts off a few moments later. I also know of THREE other Omni1000LCD UPS units that failed like this.

I will be returning this unit for a full refund and going back to an APC model. I have had one of them fail on me yet.



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