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Thread: UPS - Double Conversion vs basic

  1. #1

    UPS - Double Conversion vs basic

    Hi guys. I realize double-conversion UPS units run hotter, and don't always last as long (life cycle) as basic units, due to the inverter section always being active, but I tend to use them more than basic, because there's no switchover time on them, and I have less equipment lockups using them. I use a lot of them at my radio stations, but I also use one at home. I'm a bit concerned though, for the radio stations, because of a recent experience at home. Now keep in mind that I am very aware of UPS equipment load, and never exceed 75% (typically 50%) of the rated output of the UPS.

    I bought a Tripp Lite 1500VA double-conversion UPS for home use, back in March. It's been working great all this time, and I will occasionally cycle it, to make sure it's functioning correctly. At home, I have one computer and monitor, along with a few TV's, and cable boxes on this UPS. With this amount of load, the UPS runs at about 15% load. Just recently I noticed that none of the devices that were connected to the UPS, were getting any power, and the UPS was showing an E14 and E15 error code. When I tried to put the UPS through a self test, it failed, and would not pass power. I also noticed that one of my Spectrum cable boxes was dead. As I don't know which unit failed first (the UPS or the cable box), I'm wondering if the cable box possibly might have failed first, and when it did, it sucked a massive amount of amps from the UPS, and the UPS freaked out, and blew some circuitry.

    BTW, Tripp Lite is replacing the UPS, as it's covered by their 2 year warranty. I was not aware that they had a 2 year warranty, so I purchased an extended 4 year warranty from Amazon.com for $35. I never buy those extended warranties, but I thought it would be good in this particular situation, since I know how sensitive UPS's can be sometimes.

    Anybody have an experience with a piece of equipment failing when plugged into a UPS, and bringing the UPS down with it?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bowers View Post

    Anybody have an experience with a piece of equipment failing when plugged into a UPS, and bringing the UPS down with it?
    No. And unless the cable box (a very low-current device) completely shorted and the UPS's internal protection failed, it's not likely the UPS even noticed the cable box was there.

    My vote is a failure in the UPS. I have about 35 Tripp Lites in service and, while failures are rare, they have happened... twice.

    For the price, these things are almost disposable... to the point that they used to expect you to toss the smaller models (or properly recycle) when the batteries died. Now, they admit that you can change the batteries in some units they previously insisted were not serviceable (thanks, Youtube!). The Smart1500-LCD is a model that immediately comes to mind.

    As for the rare failure: My experience with their warranty service was the same as yours. they sent me new units immediately and didn't ask for the old ones back.

    I've had some Tripp Lites in service for 6+ years now, and some of them are starting to show signs of battery fatigue. Since they're all roughly the same, I keep a log of serial numbers... where they are and where they started out. I keep a couple on the shelf and usually take one along with me, as well as a couple of batteries. If I have time to change them in the field (some need to be taken apart), I'll do that. Otherwise, I just exchange it and do it at my shop, and then that becomes one of the shelf boxes.

  3. #3
    I have a love/hate relationship with UPS's. As a rule, a UPS will sit there are quietly protect your sensitive equipment for years, while I've had others catastrophically fail taking entire data centers or even broadcast facilities down. Best UPS used to be the industry standard for reliable power. After management and bean counter intervention to cut production costs, the quality control of Best UPS's went into the toilet, along with their reputation and sales.

    Bottom line is a UPS is just another piece of electronics to connect your electronics to. The only sure thing is eventually one will fail. It's a crap shoot which one will first.

  4. #4
    While we're on the subject, I'd be curious to hear which brand folks are now happy with. I've been using APC and Tripp lite and like both. Any other favorites?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    21
    I have been using a few Eaton 9130 models in my main server racks and STL rack. I also have the SNMP management cards installed which makes for easy remote monitoring. I used to have some smaller APC units and they always had issues when we went on genny power. The Eaton's just hum right along. Almost time to replace the batteries.

  6. #6
    Masterphreak brings up a good point. Many of us put these things in unattended locations. Not all of them like generators or will automatically come back from a fully-depleted battery.

    I used to have the same problem with some digitally-controlled air conditioners. A power outage would reset the early models to zero (or 'off').

    I don't have many APCs... two, I think. The rest are Tripp-Lites. Your Ford to my Chevy, I suppose. In any case, those items are likely to drive which brand you settle on. These two don't seem to care about giving way to generators, and they will come back up if an extended outage runs longer than the capacity of their batteries.

  7. #7
    Hi. I work for a small college with a rather hardy IT plant (and radio too ;-) ). We only run Eaton Powerware 9PX rack-mount units, double-conversion, perfect sine wave output. We also use their power distribution systems for the buildings and particularly the two data centers (not sure what we are using for generators per building these days as they have opted for outdoor units that they "decoratively fence" off to keep students out of them). Anyway, we get them with the network monitoring module and always with the "gold" 3-5 year warranties (that saves us the cost of of at least one battery replacement). Although we buy them in bulk and get great savings, they still are not cheap. But they just just don't break no matter how lousy the surrounding environment they run in. That said, the only thing we have found that does kill them is high voltage surges on the inputs compliments of our local borough's electric utility (the town has its own electric department and re-sells poorly-regulated power to the residents/businesses). We have days were some of my non-radio, facility-type, audio racks that are only on SurgeX protection systems are seeing 125-127vac for a large part of the day. So you can imagine what the crests and surges look like with that as a baseline. Its interesting that, at my home in town, I can tell when we've had a surge because all the GFCI's in the house are tripped. Anyway, I have a couple Powerware 3kva UPS units on the studio and master control cluster studios and this past fall, lost one of them due to a power blast (across campus that night, we lost five others). After ordering its replacement, I found an RV park-type surge clamp with LED panel monitoring, 120v-30A, that I adapted to L5-30 twist-locks and put them on both. So far, we've had several more surges since but those 3kva units have been fine. The IT guys are experimenting with various, single-outlet, protection units to put ahead of their units; they seem to have had some success with a Tripp-Lite box that is about 1-gang in size. But, we shall see. There is some irony in that a box that creates, clean, perfect 60hz on its output running double-conversion no matter what its being fed with constantly online seems susceptible to something as routine as power surges on its input side. $2500 UPS done in by the lack of a choke, varistor, and fuse...

    Not sure why I've just rambled like this, but its a post-holiday Monday and the coffee isn't working yet.
    -D

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