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Battery Backup Uninterruptible Power Supply

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by kmetal, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    The 1 month old APC backup unit employed on my studio failed twice today, once last week. Yes there are shoddy power issues in the building. We have multiple breakers in our sub-board but haven't popped. These issues are for the electrician.
    My concern is that an $80 powerstrip with a battery didn't keep the computer (g5) board (d8b) on for even a second, when there was a power outage. Nothing blew this time. We've had power failure about 7 seven times this year.
    Got any ideas for profesional audio UPS's?
    Looking to save the studio's main gear reliably, nothing too fancy, nothing that fails like the current unit. Perhaps we just got a deffective one, but i think this product is no proof, all pudding.

    ps. i searched for battery backup, and UPS, and uninterruptable power supply. to no avail, i posted. Rock on, not interrupted.
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    The unit must be defective...
    I used to have an APC and it worked reliably for years.. I now own a Siemens USV with 5 kW, which gives me 4+ minutes to safe and quit, if ever necessary, even with large studio PCs.
    The mains is very reliable ans stabil, here. We have ...maybe ... 1 outage a year. I bought it, because there was some road construction going on in the streets around me, some time ago, and you never know.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I have to agree with K. You either have defective unit or you aren't plugged into the half of the plugs that are marked "backup" or "battery".
    I have five rackmount units but those dudes are pricey now. Three of them are Furman. Not all UPS units filter RF or otber power related noises FYI. When you get a good unit, you just replace the batteries every three or four years or until it gets smoked by a current overload.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    what is your load, and what size is the UPS?
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you might be having an issue with a ground fault circuit breaker? Ground fault Breakers are in wide use so as to prevent electric shock. The only problem is, they really don't work well in many audio applications. I cannot utilize ground fault circuit breakers in the wiring of my control room. They keep popping off because there IS always a difference in ground potential from one side of your control room to the other.

    You are indicating that no circuit breakers however are blowing? So if you are losing power, and no circuit breakers are blowing and your UPS is not working, you have electrical issues that need to be addressed properly. You really don't want to risk killing yourself do you? You really have to have a pretty fat UPS to put anything more on it than a single computer. And those aren't something you pick up for $40 at the computer store.

    If your UPS device doesn't weigh at least as much as 2 car batteries, you're using the wrong thing. That's because, you need one that has the equivalent of 2 car batteries inside. The UPS circuitry only weighs a couple of ounces for most any UPS. And you may have a substantial difference between your control room ground & the electrical ground that could cause uncertain problems to occur.

    And then some pieces of equipment don't particularly like working upon a UPS. They can't tolerate the switchover. So a UPS could do more damage than good in those situations. I'm not talking about damaging the UPS but damaging your equipment. Although that situation is relatively rare.

    It could just be defective? Like me.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    certainly the cpu is plugged into the propper row of battery backup plugs. there is a cheapo power strip plugged in too, this feeds the board, and rack (ugh). The strange thing to me is the the cpu lost power every time, but the board, and some of the rack stayed on 'next to the last time'.
    perhaps deffictive ups? or just erractic behaviour from an overloaded ups..?
    Link- gotta figure the load, it's been bothenring me anyway (not knowing), so that should state alot.
    I don;t like the fact that nothing stayed on last outage.
    Car batteries, and pricey rackmount...I'm fine with that, the recent interruption cost me three hours ($150) that i couldn't charge for, to redo what i lost.
    since our sub-sub panel didn't blow, i'm expecting there are other draws on the same breaker., perhaps our neighbor, and we just overloaded it. Going to get our own breaker or 2 on buildings sub panel. this seems minimal. Gosh, there are alot of electirical issues, maybe i should have the electrician bring a feed from the buildings main, bypassing all these other rooms/floors' electric. Either way battery back is needed. Rock out even w/ the lights out!
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You do understand that a UPS, from the computer store, is not designed to keep your equipment on? It's designed to give you enough time to properly shut it all off. So there won't be any " Rocking down" with the lights off. You are talking about a completely different kind of power distribution system which is more industrial in nature. Heck, nature had nothing to do with it! These carefully constructed systems however are designed to keep your house power up for a certain amount of hours. These devices are larger than a refrigerator. That's not what you're using. You get to emergency shutdown and that's it.

    Have you considered a hydrogen powered cell? Don't smoke around it.

    Power corrupts absolutely
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. shanabit

    shanabit Active Member

    Just got an APC 1500VA here, works great
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It does sound like you're drawing to much amperage for the UPS. Even if some of the units are drawing from the band that is NOT battery backup they will still affect both sides. Consumer UPS units are really designed for computers and nothing else. Get a Furman Series II or newer to filter the power to the rest of gear and leave just the computer and hard drives on the UPS. You can plug the UPS into the Furman also.

    FWIW, I've used the APC 1500 and it works well enough but it still is designed for a max 5 amp draw. It lasted my full computer setup at my summer job about 22 minutes or until the laser printer killed it. In my sound racks are three Furman rackmount UPS units (again only feeding hard drives and computers and power supplies for four tube mics; and I also have two very old Cyberpower rackmount UPS units. The Cyberpower units are beasts but are noisy running-not on the AC line but they hum audibly in the rack. They are in auxiliary racks that don't get used much.

    The ultimate solution would be a gennie feeding a toroidal balancing transformer feeding into your control room. But then you have to deal with the gennie.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    yeah, i'm just looking for enough time to shut stuff down about 2 or minutes. i'm going to plug just the cpu/hard drive into the backup section, and plug the board into a different outlet on the audio circuit. there is no way we can afford any sort of generator right now, hopefully down the line. I tried to look up the amperage of the board online, but can't find it, i'll check the psu. If i can get another ups just for the board, i will.
    Also i have the electrician coming next week to see whats giong on. he used 10 ga. wire throughout the studio, and said that 30a is the max spec. I'm hoping our sub-panel is on a 20a breaker so we can grab some more amps, but with an ac, 2 dehumidifiers, rack, mac, running. it took about two hours to pop the fuse, so my guess is we already are on a 30a. I'll know more tomm.
    If this is the case a proper ups's will have to tide us over, as well as not running those heavy machines all at once.
    Will look into the mentioned battery backups. Thanks! There's always acoustic guitars, candles, and a zoom h4....
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    This is about the worst thing you could have on your audio circuit other than a dimmer switch. Those all have heating elements and grab beau coups amperage. This is what is jacking with your system every time they cycle on and off. Get those on another circuit altogether. You still should have a dedicated UPS for just the computer and hard drive. Protect the other gear with power conditioner that filters RF etc.
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Those are not on the audio circuit, for that very reason. They are on a seperate 20a circuit. The lighting, on another circuit. CR, another one. instrument plugs, another one, but all instrument plugs share one circuit reguardless of the other 4 rooms. a compromise we had to make. Sorry for being vague there
    The ups will def be fore the cpu/hard drives. I'd like to see a power conditionerfor the rest of the stuff. i'd like to have a ups for the speakers/board, cuz i hate that loud 'pop' that happens when i shut them off in the wrong order, or power cuts out. is this unnecessary?
    The problem i think, is that the heavy duty stuff+everything else, is pulling more than the sub panel's breaker can handle. why our sub-sub-pannel isn't popping, before the breaker we're drawing off of, i just don't know.
    In other words, we aren't overloading any 1 of the 6 breakers in our sub-sub panel, collectively we are drawing too much from a breaker on one of the buildings' sub panels.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well our resident sparky can answer better than I but the short answer is simple. Your sub panel is being fed by a breaker that isn't big enough. In most applications a master breaker works on the law of averages such that none of the sub panel circuits will be drawing full current. The main breaker then is rated at 40% draw of total potential. At my summer business (campground) I feed 4 50amp double pull rv sites with a single 100amp double pull. A house works the same way very often. What size breaker is feeding your three 15amp circuit panel?
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I'd definitely put a priority on calculating how much current your equipment draws. The building wiring sounds pretty convoluted and scary to me. Is there any way of getting a dedicated line just for you as close to the meter as possible - or better yet your own service entrance?

    I'd be somewhat concerned when you're losing power and not tripping any breakers.

    Your theory that you're sub-sub-panel isn't popping because you're overloading the panel feeding it isn't illogical, but the question is, when you lose power, does it magically come back on its own, or does someone have to go physically reset a breaker somewhere upstream?

    As far as the overloaded UPS is concerned, I don't see how one receptacle from the battery back-up side would work and others would fail unless it's defective / mis-labeled. This is would be an easy thing to test. Plug some 60w lights into each receptacle on the UPS and then pull the main plug on the UPS - observe what stays lit.
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Interesting posts everyone, thanks i'm learning alot, your advice is priceless. i need to check what size breaker is feeding our panel. thinking it's a 30a since it took so long to pop. We have to physically reset one breaker on the sub (not sub-sub) every time this issue happens, it's on the main breaker just one of many on the pannel. As far as the building goes, we can install anything that we want to pay the electrician to do, there are no limitations other than budget/practicallity. It's tough that we are limited to 30a due to the 10ga. wire within the studio.
  16. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Just for clarification for when Davedog notices this thread concerns electricity....

    When you say 30a, are you talking about a double breaker feeding 30a of 220v to your sub-sub panel? or a single 30a of 110v?
  17. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    That'll be an interesting and informing question to answer. I look forward to this. And then I'll make an assessment.

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