UPS Info

This page has all the info I have collected on using UPS Backup Batteries
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UPS Backup batteries on a 6400: Here is a little (ok a lot!) of my experience in getting a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) to work on my 6400's. In general, any UPS will work to keep the computer alive during a power outage for a brief time but I wanted unattended shutdown capability in the event I was not around when the outage occurred and the computer was running. It doesn't do any good to have a backup batter for an unattended computer because if the outage is long enough the batter will die and your computer will still not be shut down properly!

I read a lot on these and found that APC has some older software for serial port Macs but I wasn't sure about it and I didn't have any serial ports left :( I do have a USB card though so I thought I would try one of these new USB UPS systems. APC did not have theirs out at the time I was looking so I tried another companies first called MGE. They make a UPS called the Ellipse and I tried the 500VA USB version. 500VA being about 250W-300W so it would power the computer and monitor in an outage. The specs require any USB Mac with OS 9.0.4. Well I had a PCI USB equipped Mac so I tried it. NO GO :( The 6400 recognized that there was a device on the USB chain but complained it had no drivers for it? Well the Ellipse is supposed to tie into OS 9's new power management features and requires no software according to the web site. Basically it turns your desktop Mac into a powerbook. I emailed MGE and they didn't have an answer? I had a B&W G3 that is USB native so I didn't return it and moved it to my B&W G3 which is waiting for OS 9 to try the battery.

So, I tried APC again and theirs was still not ready, so I looked around and found Belkin. Belkin has a system that unlike MGE's, uses software called Sentry Bulldog. They do require you to have OS 9.0.4 also though. It was cheaper then APC's so I thought, what the heck, and tried it. Well this one works and works well! Once plugged into the USB port the Mac instantly recognized it and the software started giving statistics on the battery. It shows whether your running on the battery of from the wall, battery charge level, and time till the computer shuts off when on battery. It also has features to auto shutdown and boot at scheduled times and the ability to turn off receptacles. I hope not the ones the computer is on :) Anyways it has been through 3 power outages so far and it has shut the computer down fine each time. I haven't tested to see what it does if you have documents open though? I think you will lose any open documents? But with a battery you have some time to get to the computer and save those documents that you normally wouldn't have in an outage.

Lastly, I got some info on APC's USB UPS and it doesn't sound good :( It seems to have the same issue as MGE's in that it only works on USB native Macs? The problem with this for older Macs is that USB native Macs are also newer Macs which can access the Power Management features of OS 9.0.4. The drivers that the MGE was complaining about are in the Apple USB drivers but are not activated unless on a new USB native Mac. But I see it this way, having full control of your battery is better then just a warning that the "computer is going to shut down in 10min" with no control of that time or knowledge of battery performance! Belkin gets my vote :)

Tripplite also sells UPS systems for iMacs but I did not notice anything about unattended shutdown software?

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This page last updated 9/9/2000