An Innovative and Reliable UPS From A Name I Trust
Jan 3, 2008
Pros: Clean power for up to 35 minutes; configurable from a PC or MAC; LCD readout.
The Bottom Line: Final analysis: the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD does what it is supposed to doprotect my computer from harmful electrical events and provide a source of emergency power; it does it well.
As I have stated in my other UPS reviews, my axiom on blackout and or sporadic power outages is the same as hard drives: the question is not if it will happen, but when it will happen. And when it happens will your computer equipment be protected from those inevitable power spikes that accompany them? I have learned the hard way that the sensitive innards of my computer need to be protected from errant electrical interference, having had to replace two motherboards as a result of electrical spikes. Add to that the constant treat of data lose as a result of unplanned power outages, and it becomes clear that a robust, reliable, smart Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is essential.
I have for years relied on the UPS Systems from American Power Conversion (APC), and I have no less then five different types connected to my various computers at home and work. The company has been making UPS systems since 1984 and is the industry leader in UPS and related technologies. From very small home systems to very large multi-battery enterprise systems, APC has something for everyone.
So when it came time purchase a new UPS for my ever power hungry workstation I naturally turned to APC; this time it was a new APC Smart-UPS BR1300LCD UPS System.
What is a UPS?
A UPS is a hardware device that is placed between a power outlet or source, and your computer, peripherals and or printer. The UPS is designed to protect the computer and related equipment from power outages, surges, electrical noise and power spikes, by; 1). Automatically switching power over to an internal battery whenever AC power is lost; 2). Providing a source of clean regulated power whenever a noise is detected, and; 3). Protecting the equipment attached to the UPS from spikes and surges.
Each UPS is rated as being able to handle a load (output) expressed in Volt/Amperes (VA), and watts (W). The level of equipment the UPS can handle depends on this rating. The Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is designed to provide 1300VA of power with a 780W output. When planning which UPS to purchase for your needs, you must take into account ALL the equipment you plan to attach to the batter backup outlets on the back of the UPS, by adding up the wattage each piece will draw. Failure to account for all of the equipment can result in overload, and thus inadequate protection for your equipment.
In the Box
Smart-UPS BR1300LCD Power Chute Business CD Serial Cable, User Manual
APC targets the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD at the home as well as small to medium-sized business user. The Smart moniker springs from the ability of the UPS to speak to the computer and relay its status, and it also refers to the UPS ability to shut the computer down (in conjunction with PowerChute Personal Edition UPS management software) if there is a blackout. The Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is a UPS designed to provide short-term emergency (battery) power to a computer, monitor, and essential peripherals in the event of a power outage or noise.
The Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is a free standing traditional UPS system that features a long 6-foot cord, an audible alarm, and user-replaceable, hot-swappable battery. The Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is equipped with (6) battery-powered/surge protected outlets and (2) regular surge protected placed in two vertical rows on the back of the unit. And like all modern UPS units the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD can provide surge protection for a Ethernet network connection (RJ-45), (RJ-11) telephone line, and BnC cable connection. The battery in the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is a maintenance-free, leak-proof, lead-acid battery with Intelligent Battery Management, that features Micro-processor controlled battery charging and diagnostic testing ensures maximum battery life. The novel feature of the flat black unit is the red Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) provides 20 status indicators readouts on many crucial pieces of information, including voltage in/output, wattage output, estimated run-time (in minutes) of battery time, and how many (power) events the UPS has experienced. The LCD screen also tells one at a glance the status of the battery; e.g. fully charged or percentage of charge. These readouts can be accessed via one of the two round buttons (this one labeled Display) on the front of the unit
According to LCD readout, my Smart-UPS BR1300LCD will provide up to 30 minutes of power with my current load that includes a computer, monitor, AIO unit and several smaller devices, including a Linksys bridge. This is more then enough time to enable me, or the system itself (with a little help from PowerChute Personal EditionUPS management software) to save work and shutdown and attached computer in an orderly fashion.
Setup and Configuration
Initial set up of the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is fairly simple. The unitor any UPS for the matteris shipped with the battery un-plugged, so the first step in the install process will be to plug it in; easy to follow directions for doing so are provided. Next, plug the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD into the wall and start using it.
Once installed and powered up the UPS can be monitored via a USB cable (included) and APCs proprietary PowerChute Personal Edition software, which can be installed on a computer running Windows 2000/XP. Once the USB cable is plugged into your computer, the OS recognizes it as a UPS and installs the necessary software to communicate with it. Then you can install PowerChute Personal Edition to monitor and configure the UPS for the type of protection you want; i.e. in the even of a power outage you can elect to have the UPS keep your computer on battery power as long as possible, or you can choose to have it shutdown the computer automatically.
Since most power outages at work typically last more than five minutes, I configured the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD to do an orderly shut-down 22 minutes on battery power since the load on it is just approaching 25%; this should be enough time for an orderly shutdown if necessary, or for the power to recover.
Frankly I do not find PowerChute Personal Edition software very informative or useful outside of its rudimentary functionality. Compared to other USP system I have had occasion to usemost notably Belkin, the PowerChute interface is pretty barebones. Granted, PowerChute allows you to monitor up to 24 weeks of power events but viewing the current status of the unit is limited to the following: remaining battery capacity; the status of the battery (charged or charging); how many (approximate) minutes the battery can power your system; and what kind of power event caused the last transfer to battery power. Viewing current load level, timelines, an event log, and a more detailed status report would be nice, and that is what the LCD readout brings to the table.
APC backs the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD with a 2-year repair or replace warranty and a $150,000 lifetime protection policy. The policy stipulates that APC will replace or repair your APC equipment as well as any other equipment that was connected to the UPS and damaged in a power event up to $150,000.
To me a UPS is a must have, and the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is a solid investment in my book. Since installing the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD, the UPS has experience two events with nary a hiccup from the attached devices. The Smart-UPS BR1300LCD set me back some 150.00 at retail, but I think the unit will pay for itself over time. How much is your data worth? Data production and asset protection are paramount, and I cant afford the downtime associated with damaged equipment as a result of a power event. Purchasing the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD just makes good personal and business sense.
In the final analysis the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD does what it is supposed to doprotect my computer from harmful electrical events and provide a stable source of emergency powerand it does it exceedingly well, and in style thanks to the cool LCD panel. With enough power to support almost all of todays power-hungry computers, monitors and printers, not to mention the odd peripheral the Smart-UPS BR1300LCD is the ideal solution for home and small to medium business users.
o Output power capacity: 1300VA/780W o Voltage input/output 120V o Backup time (estimate): 25.5 minutes (half load), 15.5 minutes (full load) o Interface port: USB (serial) o Audible alarms o Automatic self test o Building wiring fault indicator o Hot swap batteries o Intelligent battery management o Lightning & surge protection (320 joules) o Re-settable circuit breaker o Control Panel Status indicator LCD Panel status display. o Includes software for unattended safe & graceful shutdown o 2-year repair or replace warranty & Lifetime $50,000 Equipment Protection Policy.
o Net Weight: 28.8 pounds o Watts: 780 Watts o Volts: Amps 1300VA o Surge Energy Capacity: 320 Joules o Connected Equipment Warranty: $50,000 o Outlets: (8) NEMA 5-15R Outlets o Data Line Protection: RJ45, RJ-11, Coax
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About the reviewer
Vincent Martin (vemartin)
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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