UPS Advice


Senior Member
I've decided that I'm tired of power failures outlasting my UPS run-times so I'm in the market for some new ones with much longer run-times. Anybody have advice on brands to consider or avoid?

Currently I have 6 Belkin 650 VA units (servers, office PC, router), 2 450 VA Leviton units (guest PCs) 1 Belkin 1400 VA True Sine Wave unit (TV, DVR, Satellite Rcvr.) and 1 APC 700 VA unit on the phone system.

I want to increase to run time significantly without reverting to generators or complex inverter systems. Maybe there is a UPS that will let you add run-time by adding additional battery packs?

The servers and router could be moved from 4 650 VA units to a single larger unit if that makes more sense. Everything else is in widely separated areas so they would have to be separate UPS units.

Also wondering if I should go for True Sine wave units or is that only important when backing up audio/video gear?

The Leviton UPS's claim to be friendly to PLC signals. Do any other brands have this feature? (Leviton units are kind of expensive and I don't see any long run-time models in their line.)

Any thoughts or advice would be welcome!
Any of the APC XL series of UPS's offer the ability to string many external battery packs to the main UPS.
I would go the APC route as well if you are interested in expanding your setup. I have a bunch of them at work, and they work great, powering many servers.
How is APC when it comes to X-10 signal absorbtion and noise? Also don't you pay a premium for the APC brand name?
You do pay a premium, and there are plenty of cheaper alternative sources out there for single UPS units, but when it comes to the extra battery backs and quality, you probably would want APC (based on my experience, doesn't mean it's the right way ;)) I do deploy 1u 1000VA UPS units (different manufacture) with any server which goes to a remote location, and I know for sure they are MUCH cheaper than the APC product line. I would probably go that route just to keep cost down, and since they don't take up much space, it would be easy to add more. I will try to find the manufacture (I don't order them) and post more details later.
I have to agree with everyone else. APC has earned its stellar reputation in the industry for a reason, they make great products that they back up with exceptional service and support.

As for X10 signal absorption, most UPS’s that I’ve encountered do. I run ACT 15AMP filters on all my UPS’s.
I have run many different UPS systems over the years, and years ago after having a couple off-brand units actually burn up on me, I decided to stick with APC for all my needs. APC has the quality, features, and breadth of product in their line that I require, and they are always listening to their customers and building new units to meet their customers' needs. All the consumer units also come with (used to, anyway) insurance that covers anything plugged into them up to $10,000.

That said, you are going to pay a bit more for the APC units than a generic or unknown brand. The units that allow you to add batteries to increase run-time will cost you more, naturally. APC's site has a great calculator that wll helpyou figure what size and model unit you have to have to power your units for the number of minutes you want, based on the current your devices draw.

I have not experienced any problems with my X10 signalling being absorbed by any of my APC units, and I have some older units as well as newer ones. X10 signals will not pass through them, of course. At one point I had 11 UPS in the house for a variety of devices. I'm down to 7 or 8 now, all APC except for one custom-built heavy duty unit.

Another approach might be a whole-house unit with only certain circuits on the UPS. It might be cheaper in the long run, and it wouldn't cost too much more to add backup generator to those circuits at that point! ;-)

Just remember, when you get the UPS home, make sure the batteries are connected and you're plugging things into the right outlets*. UPS are shipped without the battery connected (FTC regulations), so you have to connect it once you get the unit home. Also, on APC units these days, they supply outlets that are simply surge protected but not battery-backed, as well as outlets that are battery-backed. Check the back carefully when you plug things into them.

*Funny story: I joined a company that had decided to put a small UPS on each of their critical financial workstations because local construction would periodically cause our power to blink and reboot all the PCs. After the rollout, we had a momentary power glitch and they all still reset! The techs never connected the batteries! After they fixed that, we still had workstations dying when power blinked. They had to go around AGAIN and make sure they plugged things into the right outlets! LOL! RTFM!
huggy59 said:
I have not experienced any problems with my X10 signalling being absorbed by any of my APC units, and I have some older units as well as newer ones. X10 signals will not pass through them, of course.
I haven't had a problem with X10 being absorbed, either, with a number of different brands of UPSs running. I thought I'd comment that X10 signals will pass through the surge-protector outlets of (at least some) UPSs - just don't expect them to pass through the battery-backed outlets. My CM11A is plugged into a surge-protector outlet on an old APC UPS and I've not had any problems with signals going out or coming in.
What keeps one from extending the wires of an UPS to a large marine external battery (marine due to the low extended draw)? I have often thought of doing that, but instead just keep buying 950va units instead (when on sale).
Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

I thought about this as well. I used to have something similiar on my previous phone system and a pair of deep-cycle marine batteries kept it running for 3 solid days (out of a 7 day outage). This setup used a charger designed for this however and I'm worried that the charging circuit in a standard UPS would not handle the extra charging load when the power came back with several discharged marine batteries attached.

Good advice on the surge only outlets... A local company here has UPS units on every workstation because of the frequent outages. They found some machines got plugged into the wrong outlets and still went down at the next power glitch. Unfortunately one of the machines that went down was the CEO's who was in the process of using remote desktop from Europe at the time! The remaining IT folks still employed there are much more careful about checking the UPS plug labels!
I'd have to agree with upstatemike that the charging of the extra batteries is the issue, and if the UPS wasn't made to use external batteries, I'd expect the charging circuits to be able to handle only the factory battery. Too large a draw on them could appear as a short to the charging circuit and a safety would prevent it from charging anything up. Or it could overload and trip a breaker or burn up.