Review (January 2009)
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).
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.
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.
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.
- Kevin Nakano
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