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Re: APC UPS



Dave Ihnat wrote:
> Mind, I'm not defending APC _per se_, but some of your issues appear to
> me to be non-issues.  Just some observations on APC, and UPS units in
> general.
>
> On Thu, Jan 01, 2009 at 02:26:45PM -0500, Robert L Cochran wrote:
>   
>> The APC unit serving my network support devices failed suddenly after
>> a very short lifespan of about a year. I think it developed an internal
>> short in it that fried my web server machine.
>>     
>
> According to the APC website:
>
>   The APC Equipment Protection Policy pledges up to $25,000.00 USD to
>   repair or replace your APC-protected electronics should they ever
>   become damaged by a power surge (United States and Canada only ...)
>
> I'd argue with them that was what happened to your server.
>   

Yes, well, I don't know of anyone who has made such a claim to APC and
succeeded in getting reimbursement. I haven't looked into the process,
but naturally the terms of that offer are complex, with the odds stacked
in the seller's favor, and proving that damage occured to the web server
machine as a result of the UPS alone requires electronics testing
expertise well beyond what I possess. I think if it is my unproven word
vs. the word of a team of APC engineers, the engineers will win; they
will have a strong bias against the claim to start with. After all they
know who is buttering their bread.
>   
>> The one serving my personal machine failed quickly as well and the
>> combined cost for both these devices was well over USD $300.
>>     
>
> You do know you can get those units replaced under warranty.
>   

A warranty claim seems so easy, doesn't it? Getting that claim honored
is an expensive process. I did this for a Western Digital hard drive,
but I had to pay for the packaging and mailing cost to send the hard
drive I was making warranty claim for to their testing center. I also
had to take the time to prepare the unit for mailing and then actually
mailing it. That time is worth money and it cost me close to what the
hard drive is worth. The entire decision to replace the hard drive
appears to be entirely at Western Digital's discretion; they could have
refused to replace it. In my case they decided to. The entire process of
replacement took about 5 weeks before the replacement drive was received
in the mail. This was not a new drive but a refurbished one. It may have
been about as costly but much faster time-wise simply to toss the drive
and buy a new one, and I suspect that is why Western Digital has this
process in place.

The same would be true of a UPS unit, except that mailing it back would
cost me an enormous amount of postage and possibly insurance.

>   
>> The larger-rated APC units of 800 VA or more are physically very large
>> and heavy and accordingly difficult to move around.
>>     
>
> Goes with the turf--lead-acid batteries are going to be heavy.
>   

I don't see that lead acid batteries are optimal here. There are other
battery types such as lithium polymer which are lighter and pack a lot
of power. And there is the point that sometimes weight and bulk are
extremely undesirable properties: you have to pay for the space the
battery occupies. The UPS unit may seem inexpensive on the face of it,
until you allocate a pro-rated share of your real estate costs to it
because it is taking up your floor space.

>   
>> I'm aware that I can recycle UPS batteries but in my location this is
>> inconvenient to do, ...
>>     
>
> When you buy batteries, almost all of them come with a return mailer for
> the used batteries.
>
>   
I'm not interested in buying a battery unless it can be done locally and
very quickly. And it can't, in my location. The battery shape and design
may well be proprietary, so I'm probably (I don't know this for certain)
stuck with the APC branded battery units if I have an APC UPS. It is
possible I could buy a Werke battery and connect it to the UPS unit's
circuit but I'm not sure it would recharge either safely or correctly or
talk to the onboard communications software -- I mean, what if the APC
batteries also have programmed microcontrollers embedded within them.
Mail ordering one probably has a cost similar to buying a new UPS unit
since shipping small quantities of batteries is expensive. Mail time
distracts me from quickly restoring UPS capability to the devices being
protected.

The original, out-of-the-box APC units I bought came with no such return
mailer, and those units have batteries. And again, it takes my time and
my money to package and physically mail the old battery, even if postage
costs are paid. Standing in line at a United Parcel Service counter
costs me money.
>> ...and the right batteries are hard to find, ...
>>     
>
> Just buy on-line; I can't remember ever buying a replacement battery
> locally.  They're cheaper than buying from the vendor, too.  Use a
> shopping service such as shopper.cnet.com or www.pricegrabber.com.
>   
Time, shipping costs, and the need to quickly protect devices rule out
ordering online. A $50 battery is not a good deal if it is another $50
to ship and needs 7 days of mail time.

>> I'm using a "Geek Squad" unit from Best Buy for my network devices
>> which is higher capacity, cheaper to buy, not so darn heavy, physically
>> smaller in size and appears to be better built.
>>     
>
> After they charged a client of mine (well, she became a client after this)
> a couple of hundred dollars to clean viruses off 
>   
I don't use Best Buy's for-hire services myself. I do think the one
"Geek Squad" brand, UPS unit I have here is doing a fine job -- so far.
If it lasts another two to three years, I'll be even more pleased.


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