My residential area had a few blackout as well as sparks at the power grid this year and these might had cause some of my computer parts such as hard disk to develop bad sector and etc.
To counter this persistent problem, I had decided to purchased an UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to maintain a continuous electric power for the computer before proper shut down. My choice is the APC Back UPS ES 525. This unit cost SGD118 and I purchased it from a vendor at Funan Digital Mall.
The box is pretty comprehensive about this UPS unit specifications (Click on the photos for better view). The manufacturer gave a 2 year comprehensive warranty including the battery.
There are a few accessories which come with the unit. The manual is simple and comes in 6 languages. ThePowerChute plus software (auto shutdown) CD is rather useless as only support up to Windows 2000 operating system. One need to download the software from APC website to get the latest software for Windows XP or Vista. Power cord and telephone line are included with the unit.
I have an issue with the power cord. Note this will not fit in to the normal wall outlet in this region. So, I end up not using it and use my spare power cord normally used for the computer power supply.
This is the UPS unit. It's compact (29.79x18.3x8.49cm and 3.6Kg) and suitable for home use. It comes with 4 outlets. All the outlets have surge protection (450J). It's easy to operate, once the power cord is connected to the wall outlet, push the ON/OFF button. It is advisable not to activate any equipment from the 3 battery backup outlets just after the ON/OFF button is pressed as it will self test approximately 16 seconds (one should able to hear 3 clicks). Should the battery is defective, an audible alarm will sound
The 3 outlets are battery backup. Hence, those critical equipment which need to be operational during blackout should be connected here. There will be no power from this outlets even if the unit is connected to the wall outlet unless the ON/OFF button is on. I believe the backup battery will also automatically been charged when the ON/OFF button is on.
This 1 socket is designated for less critical equipment which can afford to be offline during blackout. There will be power from this outlet when the unit is connected to the wall outlet and independent of the ON/OFF button.
Should there are excessive loads and causing overload, the unit will trip (just as with the home circuit breaker). Hence, to reset it, one need to push the "Circuit Breaker" button on the side of this unit. Some of the loads need to be removed first to avoid another trip to the circuit breaker.
At this side there are 3 ports for the phone, fax,DSL or modem line. This will give certain degree of protection for the modem as well as the computer system from lighting strike. I fried my modem before due to lighting strike (it strike at my home backyard) and I always seek for some sort of protection after that incident.
At another side is the socket where the power cord port. Notice the similarity with the computer power supply port.
At the back of the unit is the specifications and contact for customer service. It also mentioned the output for this device is not sinusoidal and has a total harmonic distortion of 40% and a maximum single harmonic of 30%. In other words, during blackout, the battery will provide a DC output to the inverter which will convert it into AC output which is not sinusoidal (meaning that the power quality is inferior compare to the power from the wall socket) to the computer system.
There is a Quality Assurance Test slip which comes with the unit. I suspect the test is a bluff as my first unit was defective when I bought it. I only discover it when I brought home. My mistake of not testing it at the vendor's place. However, APC customer service was quick to rectify the situation and sent me another new unit, all the way from Singapore to Sibu. Thumb up for the customer service for the quick response to any complain. They will reply the e-mail within 24 hour.
This is the end result with everything plug into the unit. I end up plug in the modem, monitor and the computer system to the battery backup outlets. I did some test to verify the effectiveness of the unit to counter a blackout. The easiest way to test is to switch off the wall outlet suddenly.
The delay time is virtually negligible. When in battery mode, the unit will gives 4 beeps every 30 seconds. With fully charged battery, it should gives 20 minutes run time according to the specification.