Thursday, July 21

a UPS from UPS

Having stable electrical power for my computers is a Very Good Thing. In my neighborhood (probably most of Texas), the quality of electricity could be better; my lights dim every few weeks whether there's an electrical storm nearby or not. Since the computers are all on UPS [Uninterruptable Power System] this doesn't make me flinch.

My first UPS - an APC Back-UPS Office 500 - lasted a long time, but last night the battery decided it could hold a charge no longer. After making sure I had the right size UPS (500 VA), I have some choices to make:

0) do nothing. listen to the one-minute beep every 4 hours;
1) disconnect the UPS. use a surge protector instead;
2) discard the UPS in the trash (BAD IDEA!) and buy a new UPS [APC Back-UPS ES 500] from MicroCenter ($64.93);
3) replace the (rechargeable) battery
($26.78 from or $50.29 from APC);
4) upgrade the UPS to a new model ($64.37)
(all prices include sales tax and shipping)

Upgrading to a new model will allow access to modern software (PowerChute plus was written for Windows 98); the old UPS communicated via RS232C (vs USB) and is relatively primitive. But, this PC doesn't get a lot of use, so that's not paramount. If I finally decide to cave in, I can use the prehistoric UPS [with a fresh battery] on my TiVo (secretly powered by Linux), right?

I opted for choice #3 - replace the battery .. but first I needed to know the RBC [Replacement Battery Cartridge] number. Naturally, my 3 UPS have different batteries:

APC Back-UPS Office 500 (aka BF500) - uses an RBC21
APC Back-UPS ES 500 (aka BE500U) - uses an RBC2
Belkin 375 VA (aka F6H375-USB) : no replacement!

Astute readers will note that one UPS is only 375 VA - that's because it's not powering a monitor - CPU only. I emailed Belkin's Tech Support, and got this reply: "The F6H375-USB model has a 3 year warranty and there are no replace [sic] batteries for this unit." That's interesting, because the owner's manual says that if I should ever have to replace the battery, I should remove the old one and look for the manufacturer's name. Yeah, right.

I could've moseyed over to the nearest Batteries+ retail site, but it doesn't open until 8am and I want Instant Gratification! So now, I'll sit by the door, waiting for the UPS [United Parcel Service] Ground delivery to arrive. That shouldn't take long, right?

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