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Re: UPS as backup power

Talk about a delayed reply! I finally got around to testing this over the
weekend. I bought a cheap APC es-350 from compUSA ($40) seeing that sinewave
was a concern. It's true the sinewave is quite ugly however it had no
problem running the three filters I have at home (Eheim canister, duetto and
whisper), I couldn't notice any power loss or noise from the motor. I think
your problems were due to the fact that you were trying to run your entire
setup, my main concern and the reason why I wanted to test this was the
concern of losing my bacteria colonies during longer power outages. My first
test was on a 55 gal tank with a 200W heater set to 80F (ambient temperature
74F) and an Eheim 2217 canister. I wasn't expecting much considering the
unit is rated for a few minutes backup on a 350W load, it ran both the
filter and heater for just under 30 minutes.

My second test was more successful, the unit ran the filter alone for 12
hours before I gave up waiting for the thing to die and stopped the test
myself and whent to bed. In all I think it's safe to say that even these
cheap units can do a good job at keeping several filters running during
blackouts. My tanks are all in the house and we rarely have a temperature
problem during blackouts so this works for me. I'm not sure how to calculate
temperature loss of a tank, perhaps that would allow me to see just how long
my tanks can go without heating during the different seasons but at least I
know my bacteria buddies should be OK.

Giancarlo Podio

> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 18:07:12 -0800
> From: Joe Reiter <jreiter at bigfoot_com>
> Subject: Re: UPS as backup power
> >
> > Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 11:44:04 -0500
> > From: "Giancarlo"
> > Subject: UPS as backup power
> >
> > Hello all,
> >
> >
> > OK so I finally did some real testing to see if the theory still
> > works and boy was I surprised! I remembered I had an old UPS in my
> > garage which my brother in law gave me a few months ago. It's a
> > couple of years old (probably 3-4) and has been sitting dead in my
> > garage for around 4 months now.
> >
> > Charge Time: 60min
> > Computer ran for: 3.5 minutes
> > Canister filter ran for: 195 minutes
> So it actually worked for you?  I didn't have the same luck a few months
> back when I tried the same thing with a few of my UPSes.  I have a large
> 1250VA APC Back-UPS unit that I was going to hook up to my small
> nano-reef tank.  Unfortunately, none of my water pumps nor the CF light
> ballast would accept the power supplied by the UPS when it was on
> battery.  The lights would flicker and the ballast would crackle, and
> the pumps would clatter and make unhappy noises.  I'm assuming this is
> because of the pseudo-squarewave output of this particular UPS not being
> compatible with things like flourescent ballasts and magnetic pumps.
> Perhaps the UPS you used has a more sinewave-like output?  I seriously
> like the idea of having backup power on my aquarium equipment
> (especially the reef!), but none of my UPSes would work.  They are all
> easily large enough to handle the load, but they are all APC Back-UPS
> units which probably all have the same squarewave output.
> - -joe
> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 21:58:13 -0500
> From: Bill Wichers <billw at waveform_net>
> Subject: Re: UPS as backup power
> The APC Back-UPS uses a "modified sine wave", which is more of a modified
> square wave like this:
>     _       _
> __| |_   _| |_   _ [etc]
>        |_|     |_|
> Not quite as bad as a square wave, but not good enough for shaded-pole
> motors either. Air pumps run super with it though.
> The APC Smart-UPS units are true-sine units though and should run any
> aquarium accessory you have. They show up on Ebay a lot for cheap, but
> usually with bad batteries. Digikey (http://www.digikey.com) carries exact
> replacement batteries from the Panasonic line for APC UPSes if you want to
> replace them. I've repaired 20+ APC Smart-UPS units like this.
> The usual rule of thumb is cheap UPS = non-sine, expensive UPS = true
>          -Bill