Monitoring UPSes?


Senior Member
With the plethora of stuff that goes out in rooms (dvrs, steaming boxes, etc) I've need to put small UPSes along with them.  We get enough blips of power loss around here to make it worth having something that can carry the gear for just a minute or two until the generator kicks in.
The downside to most of the small UPSes I've used thus far is this means a power loss in the middle of the night generates a cricket-like series of beeps all over the house.  I've gone so far as to literally RIP OUT the piezo buzzers on two of the in bedrooms.  But this also means I lose the ability to hear whatever alerts they might make to indicate problems.  
I've got enough wiring to these locations to consider remote monitoring.  But I'd prefer not to break the bank going with APC SmartUPS gear with network interfaces.  I've used a couple of APC BE350R and they've done well.  They're sort of like beefed up power strips in proportion.  Not the plugs-on-the-back cinder blocks.  The strip style usually works better in these places.  They've stopped making the 350R, which has USB connectivity.  To get that you now have to step up to the BE550G.  Not a big leap though.

Trouble is none of the low end units have the ability to silence their power loss alarm.  I'm fine with a unit bleating like a stuck pig when it has an actual problem.  Just not during a power outage.  The low end units don't always have the ability to control this.  Thus my time spend with pliers...
Tangentially, even if you don't have total losses of power, there are enough situations where voltage changes (both high and low) that the power supplies often suffer.  I've found running stuff through a UPS seems to make the power supplies last longer.  YMMV, of course.
So I'm wondering what are others here using for UPSes out in rooms?   And are you monitoring them remotely?


My solution to this problem has been to run dedicated lines to critical locations over the years and have one big (2kw) UPS handling all of those loads.  12/2 with a nice red receptacle at each location.  That one Smart UPS has a Web/SNMP board installed.  Those boards are readily available on eBay at good prices.  The UPS is then powered off of an APC Universal Transfer Switch that my generator powers.  That lets me power up one house circuit that includes some outside compact fluorescents so I can see while I set up the generator to get power back online.


Senior Member
There's enough potential for rearranging over the years to make it a little problematic to set up dedicated outlets with home run wiring.  I thought about it and decided against it.  That and there's the single point of failure factor, which I suppose balances out somewhat against trotting around maintaining separate batteries.  Six of one...
An idea occurs to me, I may try using a low-end USB-equipped wifi router to do the monitoring.  I'll disable the routing and wireless features and just use the switch aspect of the device.  3rd party firmware solutions like dd-wrt give you what's essentially a little linux computer inside the router.  And since most also have 4 ports it'll make a handy switch for the uplink, the DVR and the iTach IR controller.  The trick will be finding one that does this without excessive fiddling around.  Firmware hassles as legendary time sinks...


I am using CyberPower and APC UPS's.  They work OK.
I've gone to monitoring with Homeseer.
It was maybe 3-4 years ago I did inherit (get) a 3 floor commercial UPS.  I have utilized these in commercial environments.  The one I "inherited" had new batteries.  That said it was a major PITA to bring it home and put it in the basement.  3 of us moved it to the back of a pickup truck (which was an endeavor) and to the basement.
The above noted it sat for three years unconnected.  It wasn't worth my efforts to dedicate circuits to it such that I dismantled it and tossed most of it keeping the batteries.
I have today two APC UPS's dedicated to the LCD TV.  It works OK for short outages.
Ultimate though for adding a generator is to add a whole house UPS such that they work together; but its a very expensive endeavor.
I like to watch the variances in the HV feeds to the home on the little CyberPower UPS.  I did find a "deal" once on a special at Fry's and purchased remaining stock of the 1500's. (way less than $100 each - new old stock).


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Senior Member
If you're thinking of little switches anyway, you could possibly look at the RouterBoard devices - some of them have serial ports and they have built in support for monitoring UPSs - and you can script anything you could dream of on them since they're little linux boxes; if you wanted to you could also run their TheDude monitoring to get other alerts as well.  Most of this support is all built in.