September 26, 2010

Backplate Options for 2U and 3U units

I have noticed that I have confused a few people with the various backplates on various units.  My listings may show one backplate in the photo, another in the description and a 3rd type that I might ship you.  This is most common on the 202x, 302x and 303x units.

APC works this out by calling the same unit different model numbers depending on the backplate.  Look at the SUA2200RM2U (my 202b)  here and then the SUA2200R2X147 (was my 202q).

So, in order to clear this up, I will redo my product pages to show the most common backplate.  Then I will feature in the listings alternative backplates.

For now look at my backplate page and learn about the options

For the record here are the now official plates

Does the 208v 3000va UPS have more power than the 120volt version

APC recommends high voltage for your UPS and server room, but not because its more powerful

3000va at 120volt [303b] or 208v [383b], is still 3000va... VA is volt-amps.  So the 208volt just takes less amps to get that VA.  You cant plug more stuff into it.

The difference is important when your consumption gets very large.   10 racks taking 3000va each at 120volt suggests 250amps (30000/120) versus 144 amps for 208.

That large of a difference in amperage effects your electrical system.  Services, Panels, and Neutrals are all sized based on amperage.  Your electrician will make alot of money if you keep your UPSes at 120v with any sizable load.  

We recommend going to 208v if your total load is over 5000va.  And if its over 30,000va then go to a 3phase UPS.

September 25, 2010

AGM GEL VRLA SLA... More Battery Questions

I got a call from a customer wanting a 12volt 12ah "gel" battery, and I kinda of stumbled in explaining whether we have one.

The short answer is and should have been... YES   its here (b12)

But, I chose to make it more complicated... Our batteries belong the family called.  VRLA.  Which is Valve Regulated Lead Acid.  These Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are contrasted with Vented, Flooded or Wet batteries.  Your car battery is a Vented/Wet/Flooded battery.

But within the VRLA family there are 2 species, AGM and Gel Cell.  Our Powersonic batts are AGM (meaning Absorbed Glass Mat). The electrolyte is not a gel but is a liquid in such a small proportion as only to keep the internal mats within the battery damp.   Real Gel Cels dont use any liquid, but rather a gel paste.

It turns out, Gel Cels are more expensive and discharge slowly  (not good for UPSes) and require a proper recharge regiment (also not good for UPSes), plus they tend to be more expensive and create less power per lb.  Finally according to the guys at, "gel" means to most people AGM VRLA, since AGM outsell Gel 100 to 1.   Even Wikipedia has a VRLA AGM listed incorrectly as a "gel battery"

Look how similar the two types of VRLA batts are

Dream Rack.. visualized

Here is the drawing if I could re-do my server rack system.

  1. UPS : 5000va 208v APC XL UPS -- Great value, includes 120v outlets, Extended run option and decent runtime.
  2. Battery Pack 3U -- Adds another 1hour to my runtime
  3. APC PDU Model AP7541 -- connects to 30amp receptacle in UPS and outputs those C13 and C19 ports for computers and power supplies  (we dont sell these)
  4. Extension Cable -- Maybe you dont need it, but being able to have the entire rack powered by a nearby receptacle or generator in a pinch is critical for use.  We would just toss the extra cable on top of the rack
  5. Surge Suppressors  -  We use the IT Protector brand, its really the only one to trust
  6. Flood Stick light - When the power goes down its nice to have a light that can't walk away.  The LED type wont drain the UPS very much.

Planning your Dream Rack

Since I have installed and repaired many UPSes in server racks over the years, here are some of my design points if you have the opportunity to create a dream server rack.

  • Have the UPS Receptacle mounted on the ceiling or the floor...  keep this important cord away from everything else
  • Avoid having a UPS on rack 1 power stuff on rack 2... the wiring gets complicated.  
  • Dont go crazy with this double double redundancy... most equipment has 2 power supplies.  Many people buy 2 UPSes and cross patch each power supply.   While power supplies do fail, when UPSes fail, they normally let regular power pass through.   It looks cool in the brochure, but its really unnecessary.  Use the money to buy a surge suppressor
  • Buy a panel mount surge suppressor... They cost less than a UPS and honestly do a lot more for your power issues.  Get one for your main panel and your server panel, Please
  • Dont mount the UPS on the top of the rack... one day you will need to change the batteries

September 22, 2010

Generations of SmartUPS

With GreenlightUPS now offering the first FIFTH generation of APC SmartUPS, the SMT2200 [200v], I thought I might share with you the previous generations.  Here is the evolution of the low power rack mount unit and store links.

  • Gen 1 - 1990? - SmartUPS 1250va (AP1250RM)
  • Gen 2 - 1995? - SmartUPS 1400va (SU1400RMNET)   ... 403
  • Gen 3 - 2000 - SmartUPS 1400va 2U (SU1400RM2U)  ... 402
  • Gen 4 - 2004 - SmartUPS SUA 1500va 2U (SUA1500RM2U)  ... 402b
  • Gen 5 - 2010 - SmartUPS SM 1500va 2U (SMX1500RM2U)  ... 412v

September 20, 2010

Bob's Best Bets for your UPS needs Rackmount VALUE

Here is my advice for your best value UPS units.  These units deliver all the benefits of the newer UPS units at a fraction of the price.  They come with a 1 year warranty on the unit and 2 years on the batteries if bought in our eStore or over the phone.

  • Small Server group - 1400va - 120v:  APC 1400va 2U in Black  (402c) - $239  ... this unit has the same look as the newer 1440va (402b called a 1500 for some reason) at $50 cheaper.
  • Larger Service group - 3000va - 120v:  APC 3000va 5U in Beige (315) - $429  ...this is just $10 more than the 3u (303), but has 30% more battery life and and Extended run port.
  • High Voltage small - 3000va - 208v:  APC 3000va 3U in Black (383b) - $449  ... better built and cheaper than its 2U cousin (382b) it also has two 120volt outlets which help.
  • High Voltage large - 5000va - 208v:  APC 5000va 5U in Beige (585) - $939  ... a solid workhorse, this unit offers generous battery time and unlike its newer version (585AB), keeps the 120volt convenience outlets

September 14, 2010

New High Voltage Keys for Snips

As per our previous post about the 4 types of high voltage UPS systems, we have changed our product thumbnails (or snips) to show their type of high voltage handling
These refer to (from left to right): 208volt ONLY; 208v or 240v;  220,230,240v; and universal 200-240v.

Here is the old and new snip for IBM's 3000va 2U (392ibm)
 is now  

September 13, 2010

230volt ... and other High voltage systems

There are 4 different ways that UPSes are designed to handle "high voltage"

The first is 208volt only.  This is the most common type of high voltage system, since nearly all server rooms in commercial facilities have this power pre-wired.  The UPSes input this 208v and then output 208v.

The second is 220,230,240v.  These are primariliy for international use.  UPSes using this power format nearly always have IEC type plugs and ports.   Most of the units are auto-sensing for that range.  Unfortunately they do not output 208v.  If you plug these into 208volt, they will output 220,230 or 240v.  So dont buy these if you have 208volt power.

The third type is 208/240v.  Here the UPS can be configured to accept 208v or 240v.  As I mentioned, 208v is common high voltage for commercial facilities, but 240volt is common high voltage in non commercial facilities and in your home (think your dryer).  Most newer APC units are setup 208/240volt.  In these units, the plugs and ports are NEMA twistlocks.

The final type is "universal high voltage."  In these systems, 208v, 220, 230, 240 are accepted.  The UPS auto-senses the voltage.  This format is found in most Tripplite and Powerware systems.

None of these systems step up or step down the power... they output the same as the input.

Below lists some common units for each type.

September 8, 2010

Mea Culpa Dixi... APC's inflated specs, which fooled me too.

Most of time APC's numbering system makes sense.  A SmartUPS 3000 is 3000va, A SmartUPS 5000 is 5000va, however a SmartUPS 1500 is NOT a 1500va unit.

When APC rolled out the black 3rd generation SUA upses, they upgraded our popular SmartUPS 1400 2U rackmount to a "SmartUPS 1500" (SUA1500RM2U)  Yet in actuality, its a SmartUPS 1440.   I've been wrong for years.

So when people call demanding the newer 1500, I will remind them its just a black 1400 with a squidgen more power which I charge at least $50 more dollars for.

Anyway, still the best bet is that 1400 2U (402), but if you want you can get the black Dell branded 1400, (402c) for just a bit more.  

Anyway of you really want the "1500", its here.  But if you want a real 1500va, BestPower makes a great one.

September 5, 2010

Random APC Part of the month II

Even sillier than the the Serial cable surge suppressor is the APC AP9324... Alarm Beacon.

Part of the NetBotz series of products, this alarm beacon will "Quickly notify personnel of critical situations with a visible alarm signal"

Mercifully, it does not have an alarm or buzzer.  But in a pinch it can be turn your server room into a rave den.  Obviously people like this item, as its offered by hundreds of suppliers and is actually ranked 40,000 or so in electronics at Amazon.

September Transformer Clearance

While I have written that Stepdown transformers aren't really needed anymore, there are some applications where its so much easier to have 120volt outlets.

So for the rest of September most of our transformers are 33% off.

Beige 5kva 2U - XF52U - normally $275 >>NOW $183.75
Black 5kva 2U - XF52UB - normally $299 >>NOW $200.33
Black Isolation 5kva 3U - XF52ISOB - normally $455 >>NOW $304.85

September 3, 2010

The best 3000va 120v Rack mount Units

Our most popular type of UPS is the 3kva APC rackmount.  However, we offer at least 9 models meeting those specs.  They range from $409 for the 3U workhorse (303) to the super premium double conversion RT model (313g3).

For your reference, we have made a special table that allows you to sort by relative price, my rating and rack thickness.

The highest rated is the 3U workhorse (303) because its great value, good form factor, price and quality.   The lowest rated is the thin 2U 302b which has heat problems, but is still a very popular seller.   Most of the newer units (310b) and (333B) get low rates not because of quality but because of their much higher cost relative to what you get.   The highest rated unit that is expandable (XL) is the 315.

See the whole table here

September 1, 2010

Full Line of APC Symmetras

GreenlightUPS has a full line of the powerful modular APC Symmetras.

We have the classic SY Masterframe 16kva (SY16), Small PM 6kva rack mounts (SYPM6), Workhorse LX 8kva towers (SYLX8), and the awesome 3phase PX 80kva (SYPX80) systems

These systems offer great flexibility for server and equipment rooms.