Quiet UPS

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radiosavage
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Quiet UPS

Post by radiosavage » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:04 pm

I am looking at replacement of UPS units in my on-air studios. I haven't ever found an online UPS that was quiet and all the line interactive units that I have purchased seem to just fail. I have one at the moment that looks fine but whenever the power goes out it doesn't work even with a new battery. No alarms or warning either. So, I wanted to see if anyone has used the EATON 5P 1500 and what they thought of the unit. Also, suggestions are welcome.

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Shane
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by Shane » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:03 pm

We operate 13 APC SmartUPS 1500s and none of them make a peep. Only noise I've ever heard is a quiet clunk when they test themselves once a week. 5 of them are in studios.
Mike Shane, CBRE
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kcbooboo
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by kcbooboo » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:45 am

The APC SmartUPS series, at least the ones I've encountered up to 2200VA, are NOT true on-line units that run the load off the inverter 100% of the time. They pass ordinary AC through via relay contacts then switch to the inverter when utility power fails. The larger units (SU1400 and larger) have fans that only run when the inverter is in use. This means that many power glitches and surges will make it right through the UPS and into the sensitive equipment that follows. Most equipment will ride right through such disturbances but I've seen computers reboot or just shut off and stay off. Check the BIOS settings and make sure the computer will power back up when AC power returns, just to be safe.

All of the true on-line units I've seen have fans that run 100% of the time because the inverter is running 100% of the time. The fans run even when the units are turned off and are just charging the batteries. Most of these are in server racks where there's other much noisier fans running as well, so you don't notice one more, but not in a studio where you need the quietness.

Some units are quieter than others. You can place it at the bottom of a rack and add some soundproofing material around it to reduce the noise. Perhaps there's another spot outside the studio that you can put it in, then run an extension cord or branch circuit into the studio if you really need the reliable power there.

Bob M.

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PID_Stop
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:26 am

radiosavage wrote:
Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:04 pm
I haven't ever found an online UPS that was quiet and all the line interactive units that I have purchased seem to just fail. I have one at the moment that looks fine but whenever the power goes out it doesn't work even with a new battery. No alarms or warning either. So, I wanted to see if anyone has used the EATON 5P 1500 and what they thought of the unit.
I have had very poor experience with most APC SmartUPS models going back 20+ years: they tend to overcharge the batteries, which swell and become very difficult to remove. Many have developed problems with the transfer relays, and make a very dirty switch from line to inverter power, or back. We no longer buy APC.

We switched to buying Liebert GXT2 and now GXT3 units, and have several dozen ranging from 1500VA to 10000VA. They've been quite reliable and get better battery life, but do tend to have more fan noise as you observe. They also tend to be pricey.

Over the past two or three years I have installed mainly Eaton UPSs, including a number of 9PX6000s (which are 208v in, 208v out, a particularly good match for our larger Cisco switches). We also have some smaller 120v versions, which have been wonderful. These are less expensive than Liebert, but come as well equipped. The 9PX series is on-line, though, so it does make a bit more noise. We do have a handful of 5S1500LCD models (including one sitting next to my desk) that are absolutely silent, except for once a week when the automatic self test kicks the relay. They are also surprisingly lightweight and inexpensive for the capacity... but I haven't tested them with equipment that particularly cares about the shape of the sine wave.

Jeff

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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by kcbooboo » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:32 am

I too have had the bulging battery syndrome with APC UPSes. I needed to take the top cover off and use a pry bar on an SU2200 that had 8 batteries inside it. In all fairness they were at least 6-8 years old and were far overdue for replacement, and for some reason the whole unit was scrapped - into my garage. Considering all the room inside the UPS, you'd think APC could have given the battery compartment 1/8 inch of extra space.

I bought a used GXT2 and was quite happy with Liebert's support. They sent me the rack slides, a new decal for the front, the software CD, the stand, all for the cost of a free phone call. The unit is fairly quiet but it still has a fan that runs all the time, making it impossible to place in a quiet home environment.

Bob M.

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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:51 pm

kcbooboo wrote:
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:32 am
I too have had the bulging battery syndrome with APC UPSes. I needed to take the top cover off and use a pry bar on an SU2200 that had 8 batteries inside it.
My problem with APC is that their charging circuitry actually causes the batteries to overheat and swell; that's just bad design. I have never had this problem with any other manufacturer. Moreover, their self test generally trips a battery alarm only after the batteries have deteriorated so far as to be useless. Our Liebert GXT2s and GXT3s, on the other hand, fire off a warning before the batteries self-destruct, and while they are still good enough to float the load for a while, even if not for the full nominal runtime. None of our Eatons are old enough to be having battery issues, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Jeff

(One afterthought about APC: whoever designed their enclosures, especially for the older tan units, must have interned at the Ginsu Knife company. Getting batteries out of those things was an exercise in self mutilation. It's not good when the rack looks like a CSI team just left.)

radiosavage
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by radiosavage » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:29 pm

I was looking at an APC SMT1500 but I had read a few bad reviews about noise. I know the difference between Online and Line Interactive. Online would always be preferred but this is mainly to run smaller items in a studio. All of my computers are housed in a rack room with online UPS units from Cyberpower, Tripp-Lite, and APC. I have heard great things about Eaton which is why I asked. This has been a great discussion since I have run into similar issues with some of my newer APC units. The newer APC units keep going through batteries. That is why I am looking at alternatives. I have a few older APC units that are built like tanks and keep going. I have also had sudden failures with Tripp-Lite as well. I am wondering if it is a race to the bottom on quality.

I am going to order an Eaton5P1000 and let everyone know how it works out.

Sorry, can't run extension cords. We are in a high rise that gets the Fire Marshall dropping by once in a while.

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Shane
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by Shane » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:14 pm

Looking forward to your report. To tell the whole truth, we have had the swollen battery issue* and the Chinese revenge sharp edges on the BOTTOM of the battery tray where they can do the most damage to your fingers and any surface you set them on.

*As noted above, the batteries should have already been replaced going by the calendar rather than waiting until we had to bend parts of the cabinet to get them out!

Pretty good luck with TrippLite but did have one go south all at once as also noted above.
Mike Shane, CBRE
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kcbooboo
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by kcbooboo » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:23 am

I was given an Eaton 5PX-series with what appeared to be battery issues (another one where they waited 6 years before changing batteries) but this one had an odd situation. It worked fine on utility power, running a small electric motor. When I pulled the power plug the front panel said 120V 60.0 Hz, but all of the outlets were dead and the motor stopped. I popped the cover and saw a 2-pin quarter-inch quick-disconnect connector floating in the breeze about 1/2 inch from its mating prongs on the inverter board. The cable led to the rear outlets. I put the connector back on but it fell right off, so I took each contact out of the connector body, squeezed it tighter, and plugged the connector back onto the board, with considerable effort this time. That fixed it right up. I don't know how long it operated this way. From the tightness of the top cover hardware, I don't think anyone else had been inside until I delved into it.

I had a bad experience with a TrippLite on-line UPS that was very strict on the quality of the incoming utility power. When an older mechanically-governed generator was supplying power, the unit refused to work on utility power, instead opting to stay on battery, and eventually when those discharged, it had a choice of either going back to utility power or shutting off; it chose the latter. None of the equipment ever complained about the generator power, but the TrippLite UPS sure did. Other brands were much more accepting of the non-60Hz power, deciding to keep charging the battery and run the load on its inverter, saving the batteries for those times when there was NO incoming power.

Some companies believe that the inverter has to be in synch with the incoming utility power so there aren't any switching glitches if/when it has to go into bypass mode or shut down entirely, and when the frequency is off by more than 1 Hz, they refuse to even charge their batteries.

OK. Enough ranting.

Bob M.

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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by ChuckG » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:43 pm

Shane wrote:
Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:03 pm
We operate 13 APC SmartUPS 1500s and none of them make a peep. Only noise I've ever heard is a quiet clunk when they test themselves once a week. 5 of them are in studios.
That's what I have in several studios as well. Haven't really had any issues with then and they seem to tolerate the 1960's mechanically governed Onan generator power just fine. I haven't had battery issues, but I do swap them every 2 years. They're cheap.

100% failure rate on the 2 Tripp Lites I bought as a test, was easy to find the failure, just follow the trail of smoke.

We do have one building with 20-ish year old Best Power Ferrups units located in the hallway outside the studios. The fans aren't noisy but they do have a noticeable transformer hum.
Eaton took over when Best Power went under and still sells these units. Sit down before checking the price...but if they are still designed to last 20+ years, probably worth every penny.
They output clean power no matter what you throw at them (and the building is in an electrically noisy industrial park) but you have to wire the studio to allow the units to be placed elsewhere.
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kcbooboo
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by kcbooboo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:57 am

By the way, when I said "extension cord" earlier, I didn't really mean to lay one across the floor and incur the wrath of the fire inspector (been there, done that). I was thinking of running some conduit and making a real branch circuit fed by the UPS, so you can get the constant power from a UPS in one room into the quiet studio.

Bob M.

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Bill DeFelice
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by Bill DeFelice » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:11 pm

FYI: Been using APC brand for years and while some work fine with the batteries lasting for many years there are a few that seem to overcharge the batteries to the point of bulging and failure. FYI: I do notice the APC fans will come on when the batteries begin to get warm and swollen, so that's a tipoff that they need to be replaced. From my experience it's usually due to excessive float voltage. I suspect they set it higher than it should be to help the UPS recover after a power failure.

Here's a reference on how to go about how to set the float voltages on the APC Smart-UPS via serial control and software or by direct hardware mod:

APC SmartUPS Battery Float Voltage Calibration
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Re: Quiet UPS

Post by M7H » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:18 pm

At the last studios I built, I put a short rack next to the circuit breaker panel. In that rack was a UPS for each studio (just tek power and not lights or wall outlets). I had an electrician brake the connection from the studio to the circuit breaker, install a box with a twist lock cord on it that would reach the UPS. Connected to the studio's circuit breaker was a twist lock outlet for the UPS to plug into. So I inserted the UPS into the circuit at the breaker box. This was done five times for five studios and worked great. The last transmitter site I built out I went one step further and had the electrician put a switch in a box on the wall that let me chose between UPS power and non-UPS power with the throw of a switch. It is great for if you need to swap out the UPS with out interrupting.

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