May 22, 2010

If I take a UPS on a plane, will I be sent to Gitmo?

Nearly every UPS system uses lead-acid batteries which is the most proven battery technology available.   Specifically, these batteries are termed Valve Regulated Lead Acid - Absorbant Glass Mat batteries (VRLA - AGM).  In these batteries the acid or electrolyte is absorbed into a mat of fine glass fibers.

According to C&D battery, makers of the great Dynasty battery, VRLA-AGM batteries are completely safe for air transport.

Yet, while these batteries are safe and will not cause the same risks as flooded batteries or Lithium Ion batteries, I would not recommend going through TSA security with a UPS and announcing you have lead ACID batteries underneath your burka. 

Recently, even an experienced shipper questioned me on my UPS batteries.  To assuage his fears I marked the air bill "Uninterrupted Power Supplies."  But technically they should be marked as NMFC 063496 UPS System with DOT safe AGM batteries. 

If you get stopped by Homeland security, ICE, FBI, FAA or other spook, remember UPS batteries are:

  • "Battery, wet non-spillable, not subject to regulations" by DOT 
  • "Not restricted for air transport" by IATA
  • "In compliance" with IATA/ICAO special provision A67

May 19, 2010

Remote location UPS?

A customer needed a small UPS for a kiosk to last for 8 hours but didnt have any space to put the giant bank of batteries.  The kiosk was powered by a single outlet up against the wall.  On the other side of the wall was a service area, which had tons of room.   So we...
  • Moved the kiosk outlet to the storage room side of the wall
  • Installed a SmartUPS RT 2000va UPS in the storage room with 5 battery packs
  • Created a wall mounted inlet plug that connects to the kiosk on the other side
In theory you can do this across larger distances and with larger UPS units.  The applications are endless...

May 15, 2010

Website Updates... SendBurnerBing

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have added some extra features to the website.

The first one is the quick SMS sender listed on our home page.  This is great for people that want a quick shipping or inventory check..  The service is free at

The second one is the Blog headline scroller from Feedburner.  The full WeBob blog is now at

Finally, we are now advertising on Bing.  If you start Binging... you might even find our Bing cashback offers later this summer

May 11, 2010

Smart and dumb UPSes

Talking with a customer today, we shared some thoughts on APC naming conventions.

APC's  flagship line has been the Smart-UPS (which even has a wikipedia entry).  In the past, most SmartUPS units output a true sine wave.  APC's cheaper BackUPS line was the UPS with a stepped or simulated sine wave UPS.    The other feature of the SmartUPS used to be that it had a SmartSlot port to allow for network management cards to be used to monitor and control your power needs... hence "smart"

Yet today its all screwed up.. some SmartUPS units has square wave,  All BackUPS have "smart' features that allow monitoring, remote shutdown, etc.   SmartSlots are missing on some SmartUPSes and SmartSlots exist on non SmartUPS models.... so what gives?

The bottomline, is that I don't know myself.... but at my store at least I wont sell a SmartUPS that isn't sine wave.   That means the crappy SC620 that I got is being sold as a BackUPS 620.

Here are some of the quirks...
Old Smart UPS 700 (SU700) - Sinewave
New SmartUPS 620 (SC620) - Sq Wave

Old SmartUPS 700 - SmartSlot
New SmartUPS 620 - No SmartSlot
New Backup Pro 700 - LCD, Smart controls

May 9, 2010

Attack of the little ones...

We just got like a gagillion small UPS units (200-500va).  Its like... too many.
They are so Tre' cute though and come with a bitchin' warranty... fer shur!  Prices start at 30$

And this is how I really speak... As if.

How to put one room (lights, & outlets) on a single UPS cheaply.

Several of you have inquired how to have battery backup power for an operating room, gate house, CEO's bathroom, or other vital room with a UPS.

The best solution is to have your UPS feed circuits in your electrical panel.  It breaks down like this:

  • Identify the circuit(s) or breaker in your UPS that you want to protect
  • Size the UPS to the total breaker size  (1 - 15amp x 120v = 1800va)
  • Install a new circuit and outlet for the UPS back to the panel  (keep the UPS close to the panel)
  • Install a new power inlet nearby and connect that to the panel
  • Junction in the panel your home run circuit for your room to the new inlet power circuit
  • Plug the UPS into the new outlet, and connect the UPS's output to the power inlet
Presto... now that circuit runs through the UPS.  Here is what you would see below your panel.

Here is another application with a line drawing.