I never get power cuts. But, we've had two in the last week. They've both been fixed quickly, but it takes an age for my cable modem to reboot - and then an age for my smarthome to reconnect to the WiFi. So it was time to invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
Let's put it through its paces!
It's a chunky monkey! And weighs about 25Kg. So best set it on the floor, or a really sturdy shelf. It's about the same size and shape as a PC tower - with an array of blinkenlights and buttons on the front.
It's pretty simple to use. Plug it in to the mains using the supplied kettle leads. It'll make some beeping noises and the batteries will start to charge. This causes the fans to spin. They're not overly noisy - but they turn off after 3 hours when the unit is fully charged. The unit sits passively quiet until there's a power cut.
You'll notice that on the back are eight IEC sockets. You'll need an IEC to UK plug adapter in order to connect your electronics.
And... that's it. I charged the UPS, plugged my kit in, then unplugged the UPS from the wall to simulate a power cut. It immediately started beeping, to let me know it had lost power, and its little lights started flashing. And, most importantly, all of my gadgets stayed on!
It can output 1kW for about 6 minutes - for a more modest 400W, it'll run for half an hour. So should be able to keep most gadgets going but it isn't going to run your gaming rig for several hours.
Importantly, it has serial control, so you can tell your servers to gracefully shutdown when the power goes out. Let's take a look!
The RJ45 port is not, sadly, Ethernet. It's a serial port. Kinda redundant as there's a USB-B port as well. Plugging it in to a Linux machine gets you this on
Although APC provide their own software, it seems a bit outdated and doesn't fully support Linux.
There's a good tutorial to get the UPS talking to Ubuntu.
Once that's done, you can monitor the battery from the command line. I wasn't able to find a way to upgrade the firmware, or do anything fancy like that. But it seems to show all the basics.
Overall, it's a great little UPS.