Product Review (January 2009)
APC - BR1500LCD Back-UPS® RS

By Kevin Nakano

UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) systems are a necessity for those looking for reliable and uninterrupted power for their home or office computers. APC's new Back-UPS RS offers this capability with high performance protection and abundant battery backup power (1500VA, 865W), allowing you to work through extended power outages. The design also protects your equipment from damage causing surges and spikes that travel along utility, phone and network lines. A powerful feature of the Back-UPS RS 1500 is the automatic voltage regulation (AVR). AVR instantly adjusts for low line voltage, bringing the output voltage back to safe levels without having to switch the UPS to the battery mode. The Back-UPS RS 1500 also includes audible alarms, full featured LED status indicators, a user replaceable battery pack, push-button circuit breakers and several well-spaced outlets. The two front buttons are used to control Power (ON/OFF) and Display/Hold to Mute. The Display/Hold to Mute button is used with the display to cycle through status messages, system faults and warnings, and to perform various operations, such as alarm mute mode, AVR (automatic voltage regulation), and full time display mode. Most users will find this UPS to be a nice level of protection especially with an MSRP of just $249.99 (street under $200).

Front Panel
The Back-UPS RS 1500 LCD display has a five-step indicator for the load and another for the battery supply capacity. The lower portion of the LCD has a three digit readout that can be used to display vitals about the state of the UPS. Pressing the Display/Hold to Mute button cycles through the estimated run-time in minutes, Event #, Output Voltage, Input Voltage, Load in Watts, Load in %, and output line frequency. The ON LINE indicator appears when the unit is running from utility power. Once the UPS switches to battery, the ON BATT indicator illuminates and the unit beeps four times every 30 seconds. Once the battery become significantly drained, the unit will begin to beep continuously to warn the user of imminent power loss. The Back-UPS RS 1500 has an adjustable sensitivity in the event the unit goes into the battery mode too often. This can be especially useful in case where there is excessive noise on the incoming power.

There are also indicators for Replace Battery, Battery Backup Overload, Mute, and System Faults. Up to nine System Faults can be displayed (F01 - F09) on the screen for various problems with the UPS. The ON LINE indicator illuminates when the incoming utility power is available to the UPS. The AVR illuminates when the UPS is compensating for high utility voltage and the AVR Boost illuminates when the UPS is compensating for low utility voltage. If the UPS becomes overloaded the Overload light will illuminate. The On Battery Power light turns on when the unit is running on battery power and emits four beeps every 30 seconds to let the user know that the battery is discharging. The Replace Battery indicator and Battery Disconnected indicator are the same light, but emit different beeps based on the problem. If the battery is disconnected, the unit will emit a beep every two seconds. Upon powering the unit on, the Smart-UPS performs a battery test to check the health of the system.

Battery Pack
The bottom of the unit has a large cover that slides off to reveal two high capacity 12VDC lead-acid batteries wired in series. The batteries are attached to one another making it easy to remove them as one complete assembly. The UPS ships with one lead disconnected from the battery to prevent discharging, so the user must first make this connection. The batteries account for a good portion of the weight bringing the unit in at just over 30 pounds.

Rear Panel
The rear panel consists of eight protected outputs with a circuit breaker. Two of the outlets offer surge protection only while the other six have full UPS battery backup in the event of a power failure or power anomaly. A set of F-connectors are provided for cable modems. There are also RJ11/RJ45 jacks for modem/phone/fax connections.

The Building Wiring Fault (red) indicator will light if a potential shock hazard exists due to one of the following conditions (Open or high resistance ground, Hot and Neutral polarities are reversed, or Overloaded neutral circuit). In the event of a fault, the building wiring should be checked for safety.

The Data Port is used with the supplied cable to communicate to a computer using a standard USB interface. PowerChute Personal Edition software is provided giving the user full control of the unit. This application gives the user information about the state of the UPS as well as control of some of the features.

PowerChute Software
The PowerChute Personal Edition CD includes v2.0 for Windows 2000/XP and Version 2.1.1 for Windows Vista. Once loaded the software sits in the tray and gives the user information about the connected UPS. The Monitor System section provides screens for Performance, Current Status, and Run Self-Test. The Performance screen indicates the number of times and duration the UPS switched to battery mode due to blackouts, undervoltage, overvoltage, and electrical noise. The total number of events as well as the total amount of time spent on battery power is shown. Current Status displays the current state of the UPS. Run Self-Test initiates a self-test manually. The unit automatically runs a self-test every two weeks.

The Configuration section provides Options, Runtime, Notification, Sensitivity, and Voltage. The user can set the software to enable notification sounds, show icon on the taskbar, and collect data. The software can automatically shutdown the computer after a specified amount of time on the battery backup. The audible alarm can also be disabled between certain hours or when the connected PC is off. The voltage range for switching to battery backup is fully adjustable by the user. The lower range is 88-98 volts and the upper range is 136-142 volts. The electrical noise sensitivity can also be set to Low, Medium or Maximum.

AVR Feature
The Back-UPS RS 1500 has the ability to compensate for a low input voltage by applying the AVR feature to the incoming power. When the input line voltage is 89 and 99 VAC, the UPS will boost the output voltage adding approximately 10 VAC to the input. Once the input reaches 100 VAC, the UPS bypasses this circuit and applies no boost to the incoming power. Should the input voltage exceed 137 VAC or drop below 99 VAC, the unit will switch to battery mode and run from the UPS inverter. This prevents damaging voltages from being applied to any connected equipment.

The Back-UPS RS 1500 is a great design and provides users with the protection they need for their valuable hardware. The unit worked well and proved to operate with a wide range of input voltages. The flexibility offered with this unit is impressive and the features worked as advertised. The high capacity Back-UPS RS 1500 is the perfect addition for those seeking a well designed battery backup system.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review at a glance



  • CD with software
  • USB cable
  • User Manual

    Technical Specifications

  • Output Power Capacity: 1500 VA / 865 Watts
  • Max Configurable Power: 1500 VA / 865 Watts
  • Nominal Output Voltage: 120V
  • Output Voltage Distortion: less than 5% at full load
  • Output Frequency (sync to mains): 60Hz nominal
  • Crest Factor: up to 1:1
  • Waveform Type: Stepped approximation to a sinewave
  • Output Connections: (8) NEMA 5-15R
  • Nominal Input Voltage: 120V
  • Input Frequency: 50/60 Hz ± 3 Hz
  • Input Connection Type: NEMA 5-15P
  • Input Voltage Range for Main Operations: 88 - 139 V

    Company Information
    APC Corporate Headquarters
    132 Fairgrounds Road
    W. Kingston , RI 02892
  • Part Number: BR1500LCD
    MSRP: $249.99
    Source: Manufacture Supplied

    Weight: 30.7 pounds
    Rack Height: 2U
    Dimensions: 8.75" x 5.25" x 14" (HxWxD)

    Technical Support: 800-555-2725


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