Pros: Clean reliable power for up to 25 minutes; outlets at the top of the unit.
Cons: PowerChute Software is somewhat limited.
The Bottom Line: Final analysis: the LS 700VA 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 UPSs from American Power Conversion (APC), and I have no less then four different types connected to my various computers. 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. When I built a new server to house my web server and pages recently, I purchased a new APC Back-UPS LS 700VA UPS.
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 LS 700VA is designed to provide 700VA and 410W output. When planning which UPS to purchase for you needs, can must be taken to account for 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.
Product Description (From APC):The Back-UPS LS Series offers leading edge power protection for high performance computer systems. With 7 power outlets (4 battery+surge and 3 surge only), 2 line fax/modem protection and easy-to-use file-saving, auto-shutdown software, the Back-UPS LS provides total protection for computer systems. Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) corrects low voltage conditions without draining the battery. Its space-saving, ergonomic shape makes the unit easier to use and manage with outlets conveniently located on top and alarm indicators visible from any angle. Customer peace of mind is further enhanced by the addition of a $150,000 Lifetime Equipment Protection Policy, free trial offers of Anti-Virus, Email Privacy, System Recovery and Firewall software, as well as a Data Recovery Warranty provided exclusively by Ontrack Data Recovery Services.
APC targets the Back-UPS LS 700VA towards advanced home and or small office user. The Back-UPS LS 700VA is a 700VA/410W 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. According to APC product literature, the Back-UPS LS 700VA can provide up to 70 minutes at 50 watts, 31 minutes at 100 watts, 12 minutes at 200 watts, 5 minutes at 300 watts, and 2 minutes at 400 watts, or full load. This is enough time to enable you, or the system itself, to save work and shutdown the computer in an orderly fashion.
The Back-UPS LS 700VA has an unusual shape; while it is free standing like traditional UPS systems at the same price point, the Back-UPS LS 700VA has the outlets at the top of the unit vice the back. The reason for this unusual design? APC calls it a unique space-saving, ergonomic design, I call it weird, but it works so
The Back-UPS LS 700VA is equipped with four battery-powered/surge protected outlets and three regular surge protected outlets on the top of the unit, with one of the four outlets on each side spaced to provide room for those ubiquitous transformer blocks.
Like all modern UPS units the Back-UPS LS 700VA can provide surge protection for a phone line (RJ-11), but not an Ethernet network connection (RJ-45), and coax cable (DSL). Connection for one input and output is provided and a re-settable circuit breaker and a USB connector (interface with computer) is located on the back of the unit. The control panel on the top front of the unit contains LED status displays indicators, for On-Line, On-Battery, replace Battery, and Overload. The Back-UPS LS 700VA also features a long 6-foot cord, an audible alarm, and user-replaceable, hot-swappable battery.
The battery Back-UPS LS 700VA in the 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. Setup and Configuration
Initial set up of the Back-UPS LS 700VA 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 on the outside of the unit. Next, plug the Back-UPS LS 700VA into the wall and let is charge at least 6 12 hours before putting a load on it.
Once installed and powered up the UPS can be monitored via a USB cable (included) and APCs proprietary APC Power Chute Personal Edition software, which can be installed on a Windows 98 or later, or MAC OS X computer. The USB cable is a hybrid: the USB port plugs into your computer, but a RJ-11 port or serial plugs into the UPS on the other end.
However, 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 APC Power Chute 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 in my neighborhood last less then five minutes, I have configured the Back-UPS LS 700VA to do an orderly shut down after seven minutes on battery power since the load on it is minimal.
Frankly I do not find APC Power Chute Personal Edition very informative or useful outside of its rudimentary functionality. Compared to other USP system I have had occasion to usemost notably Belkin, the PowerChute Personal Edition interface is pretty barebones. Granted, APC Power Chute Personal Edition 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.
Testing and Use
I have attached the Back-UPS LS 700VA with a Pentium 4 3.00GHz PC powered by an Antec 300W power supply. There is nothing else plugged into the UPS, although on occasion I use it when I am building a new workstation or server.
After charging the battery for 6 hours, I put the UPS in place, connected the USB and installed the APC Power Chute Personal Edition software. Like all APC UPS systems the Back-UPS LS 700VA initially indicated that I had more batter back up time then I knew was feasible, in this case about 1:45 minutes of battery backup time. Grated the load was light, but not that light. So in order to get a more accurate estimate of battery backup time, as is my custom, I simulated a power outage by unplugging the unit from the wall outlet, and let the UPS do its thing. The Back-UPS LS 700VA can only keep the system on as long as it battery holds out, and through APC Power Chute Personal Edition it will dynamically update the estimated time remaining on the battery as it starts discharging.
As soon as the Back-UPS LS 700VA was unplugged it went to battery power and I received a popup box on my screen that stating, your battery backup is now supplying battery power to your equipment. An (annoying but effective) audible alarm sounded and produces four beeps every 30 seconds. This alarm can be disabled via the software. After approximately 10:00 minutes, battery power had dropped to 50% and after 15 minutes power drifted below 35% and after 20 minutes, power dropped to below ten percent. I then plugged the UPS back into the wall, and after several hours of recharging the Back-UPS LS 700VA was back to full capacity, and the estimated battery time had changed from to a believable 25 minutes.
APC backs the Back-UPS LS 700VA 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 Back-UPS LS 700VA is a solid investment in my book. The average life of a UPS battery is approximately four years, and my LS 700VA cost me $129.00 retail, which some may think is a little too expensive. Since installing the Back-UPS LS 700VA, I have suffered through two blackout and one noise events, all of which could have seriously damaged the server, or the components inside. If viewed in that light the Back-UPS LS 700VA has more then paid for itself. How much is your data worth? And I run a small business from my home; my computers are on 24/7. Data production is paramount, and I cant afford the downtime associated with damaged equipment as a result of a power event. Purchasing the Back-UPS LS 700VA just makes good business and personal sense.
In the final analysis the Back-UPS LS 700VA 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. With enough power to support almost all of todays power-hungry computers, monitors and printers, not to mention the odd peripheral the BackBack-UPS LS 700VA is the idea solution for home and small office users.
Audible Alarms Automatic restart of loads after UPS shutdown Automatic self-test Battery replacement without tools Battery-protected and surge-only outlets Boost Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) Cold-start capable Dataline Surge Protection Hot-swappable batteries Intelligent Battery Management LED status indicators Lifetime data recovery warranty Power conditioning Resettable circuit breakers Safety-agency approved Transformer-block spaced outlets USB Connectivity User-replaceable batteries
The Back-UPS LS Series offers leading-edge power protection for high-performance computer systems. With 7 power outlets (4 battery + surge and 3 surge only), 2 line fax/modem protection and easy-to-use file-saving, auto-shutdown software, the Back-UPS LS provides total protection for computer systems. Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) corrects low voltage conditions without draining the battery. Its space-saving, ergonomic shape makes the unit easier to use and manage with outlets conveniently located on top and alarm indicators visible from any angle.