November 30, 2009

There is no S.U.R.G.E in a UPS

Well actually, there is a little, but its not worth trusting your expensive IT equipment to it.

A cheap power strip selling for $7 offers nearly the same amount of surge arresting protection as the $1700 APC Smart UPS 3000va UPS.


In the mickey mouse world of plug in surge suppressors, the strip has 770 joules and APC ups has 880 joules.  While you'll learn what all that means here, to me the main point is that whether you can trust your plug in strip for serious protection.  If you dont then why would trust your UPS for surge protection.

If you are like me, a surge strip is an extension cord, and i wouldn't trust for anything critical or expensive.

Your solution... buy a hardwired, panel mount surge suppressor.  We have good ones here at our store.

November 29, 2009

UPSes for home base servers using standard outlets

If you are operating a home based business, and nned a business grade UPS for your server at home it is important to remember the 3 characteristics of UPS in choosing the right one.

First is voltage.  Do NOT use anything other than 120volt UPSes.  Yes, there are ways to use high voltage in your home, but the costs are alot more.

Second is VA or volt amps.  As previously mentioned this is the Power Capacity of the UPS or how much stuff you can plug into it.  UPSes come in a range of VAs: 1500va, 2200, 3000, 5000, etc.  Since if you only have a standard 15amp household plug, your maximum VA will be 1800 (120v x 15a), no matter if you buy a larger rated UPS.

So why buy anything larger than a 1800va?  Because of the Third feature... Battery capacity
Battery Capacity, expressed in VAH is the amount of battery juice that allows the ups to run without power. Typically, the larger the UPS's VA the larger the VAH.  So while your UPS may be limited to 1800va, you can still get the benefits of the units, larger VAH. 

So what UPSes do I recommend for home based networks using a standard outlet?  My first choice is the (215) 220va 5U XL ups.  It offers a compact frame that can be put in a A frame rack or turned on its side for a tower.  Plus it offers the XL feature, which allows for more runtime.  Plus the standard 30amp plug can be changed at no charge to accommodate your 15amp plug.   However, any of the 2200va units can work best.

November 26, 2009

What type of Powersonic Batteries do you use - Gotcha Moment

I got this question last week and it interested me that my customer was curious my thoughts on high rate batteries.

Yes, Powersonic makes two lines of SLA batteries: the regular (PS) and hi rate batteries (PSH).  And Yes, WeBob uses the less expensive PS line of batteries, even though the PSH would be better.

However, in my defense, my competitors wouldnt even think of using the high rate batteries.  They are much more expensive.  My competitors use mostly private label batteries that they would say are specially designed for UPS units.  And some even say High Rate.

As a purchasing agent and manufacturer's sourcer in previous lives, I can tell you its about price and competition.

Having a battery manufacturer special make your battery to specs that exceed their own product lines would be very expensive. Having them make them in regular fresh stock cycles would be impossible.  However putting your sticker (aka private labeling) on a low cost battery is much more feasible and likely.

APC sells millions of batteries... and they do the sticker trick.  Do you really think makes a special hi rate UPS battery for their units....

Bottomline,  we are proud to use Powersonic brand, even if it is their cheaper line.  Our distributor gets them fresh, sells them cheap and moves thousands fast.

A Buridan's Ass - Replace Unit or Replace Batts (Small Units)

In many ways, choosing between replacing a small UPS and replacing the batteries can be a Buridan's Ass situation.  (It is a real phase... I had never heard of it either til now). 

Consider APC's 350va unit.  You can buy it new for $37.  If you need a replacement battery, its $29 plus shipping.  In that case, probably buy the new one.

Another common one is APC's BR900va unit.  You can buy it new for $85. The APC replacement battery pack is $79. sells mystery batteries for $55 delivered.   Thats not cut and dry, either... I would probably choose the new one as well.

However, there are a few that wont leave you in that Buridian perplexity... the BE750 sells on the street for $82.  When it goes bad, the RBC2 pack costs only $29 to replace. 

As I told a customer this weekend, replacing the batteries on small APC upses usually isnt worth it, but there are few exceptions. 

While it my hurt my business, check the replacement and total life cycle cost when buying UPSes

And remember, feel free to email me if you are stuck with one of these and staring at those two bushels of hay

November 25, 2009

Webob's secret alliances... nuBarter

"A new twist on an old idea" is their tagline.  However, nuBarter is more than a trade exchange, payment processor, networking group, and community... its now a noticeable part of WeBob's sales.

As a member for several months, GreenlightUPS, has been doing work for members like Dental Excellence, South Florida Computer Specialists, and Gold Coast T Shirts on 100% or 50% barter.  In exchange, yours truly has been bartering back at restaurants, like Oceans234, and Saba Sushi.

Since the "barter bucks" that are traded can be spent anywhere in the network, your barter opportunities are nearly unlimited.

Nubarter isnt everywhere yet, but it may be coming to your corner of the world soon.

As a skeptic, stingy, anti social, curmudgeon... i strongly support it... and thats as good as a referrals go.

November 24, 2009

157 - 255V voltage range DOES NOT mean its ok for 240volt


Yes the specs on most 208volt 5000va UPSes from APC offer this wide range of inputs.
BUT,unless it says otherwise, its still a 208volt system, and really likes 208volt.

If you get some crazy voltages, the UPS will handle it.  But DO NOT hookup up a 208volt UPS to your home's 240volt power.

If you do, the UPS will trim the voltage from 240+ down to 208volt.  If its doing this all the time, the batteries, system and everything will fail prematurely.

Then what do I do for home systems that need a 5000va and have 240volt?

Either a 230volt system OR a step down transformer from 240v to 224v.

But the best idea is to stay away from the high voltage and get two 3000va systems... its cheaper

November 23, 2009

Roll Call of Technical Comments

In the past I written about some technical points about UPSes.. here is a quick summary of those past posts:

What does Webob think about:  
208volt versus 120volt systems
UPS versus generators and again here
XLT high voltage models versus XLI models
Modular versus Non Modular UPSes

November 21, 2009

A tale of two APC 3 phase UPS systems

Now that we offer both the APC Symmetra PX and the VT lines of refurbished UPS systems, I need to quickly learn and explain the differences and advantages.

You would think that APC like most businesses would make any differences in product lines clear.  Yet, a quick compare between the 20k PX and 20k VT shows only a few differences.

The PX offers better power factor (100 v 80%), a larger frame, more BTU burned, a louder operation and oddly a better operating elevation.   Power capacity, modular flexibility, runtime, extended runtime options, electrical specs are virtually the same.

So for these minor differences why does APC charge almost twice the price ($28.5K versus the VT's 17.1k)?

Looking over the two units... one factor is upgrade-ability.  The 20k PX model can be upgraded with the addition of more power suitcases to 40k.   Also on the PX, if one of the power suitcases fails, you can configure a N+1 redundancy.  

So is that worth $11,000.00?
I dont think so.... but at least if you buy it from us refurbished the difference is only about $5000.