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Old 09-25-2009, 5:31 PM
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Default UPS Battery Backup?

Hello,
I have question that I would like to ask and gets everyone's opinions on. I am looking at purchasing a UPS for my computer and radio equipment. I have 1 Pro-197 base radio, 2 BC895XLT radios and 2 ham radios (IC706 and a FT7800 hooked to a Pyramid PS-52KX power supply) I would like to supply power to these radios in the event of a power outage. I was thinking about getting a 810watt UPS to hook it all to so when the power does go out I don't have to fiddle with hooking everything up to a battery, this way it switches over instantly and I can run everything off the existing transformers as well. In the event of a power failure the computer would be cut off and just the radios would be running. I have been looking at other solution's as well but buying the other equipment I would actually spend more than I can purchase a nice size UPS for. Anyone else using a UPS for backup power? I know that it is not ideal but would work to keep my radios going in the event of a outage for a while anyway. Thought about buying a Super PWRGate, but by the time I purchase that and batterys I have close to $200.00 plus in it, and it states that I cannot use a regular automotive battery with it. (Battery would be outdoors of course). Just wanted to get some thoughts and maybe suggestions. Mostly the radios would be in receive mode, if needed for extended periods of time I can power the Ham equipment from my battery in my truck.

Thanks,
Joey
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Old 09-25-2009, 6:24 PM
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Personally I don't like UPS systems unless you have a pre-wired automatic transfer generator ready to go. Consumer UPS systems IMO are great for short term outage, but is worthless for the long term ones and usually when you drop the batteries very low they are never the same again. Also the batteries in them are only good for a year so plan on replacing it at least in that time frame.

I have my whole shack (scanners, amateur radios (HF, VHF & UHF), 800 MHz radio, etc.) on two (2) deep cycle sealed 100 AH batteries on a Marine Style charger that keeps the batteries charged. The batteries are outside on the patio along with the charger and with this configuration I couldn't care less what the power company does. Also I have had that configuration during hurricane Wilma where power was out for almost a week and nothing went dark during that time period.

Mark
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Old 09-26-2009, 7:33 AM
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There is a device out there that you connect to a battery and your power supply, when the power is on the power supply powers the radios and it charges the batteries. When the power goes out it switches everything right over to the battery. I can't remember what it's called, but I know it's out there.
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Old 09-26-2009, 7:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff5093 View Post
There is a device out there that you connect to a battery and your power supply, when the power is on the power supply powers the radios and it charges the batteries. When the power goes out it switches everything right over to the battery. I can't remember what it's called, but I know it's out there.
These days this device is not even needed if you are starting from scratch.

The industrial switching supplies have developed into sophisticated electronics
and eliminated the need to switch the load and have pretty much done away
with all the noise that used to be associated with switching supplies. I use the
IOTA DLS 55 with the IQ4 option and when the power goes out the supply just
disconnects itself and the batteries take over. I have two 75 Ah batteries in
parallel with the supply and repeater equipment and its never failed me yet.

EDIT: Forgot to mention it was far cheaper than a UPS that would be needed
for the current draw and makes more sense.

IOTA Engineering DLS Series AC/DC Power Converters and Battery Chargers for 12VDC Systems
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatshovel View Post
Hello,
I have question that I would like to ask and gets everyone's opinions on. I am looking at purchasing a UPS for my computer and radio equipment. I have 1 Pro-197 base radio, 2 BC895XLT radios and 2 ham radios (IC706 and a FT7800 hooked to a Pyramid PS-52KX power supply) I would like to supply power to these radios in the event of a power outage. I was thinking about getting a 810watt UPS to hook it all to so when the power does go out I don't have to fiddle with hooking everything up to a battery, this way it switches over instantly and I can run everything off the existing transformers as well. In the event of a power failure the computer would be cut off and just the radios would be running. I have been looking at other solution's as well but buying the other equipment I would actually spend more than I can purchase a nice size UPS for. Anyone else using a UPS for backup power? I know that it is not ideal but would work to keep my radios going in the event of a outage for a while anyway. Thought about buying a Super PWRGate, but by the time I purchase that and batterys I have close to $200.00 plus in it, and it states that I cannot use a regular automotive battery with it. (Battery would be outdoors of course). Just wanted to get some thoughts and maybe suggestions. Mostly the radios would be in receive mode, if needed for extended periods of time I can power the Ham equipment from my battery in my truck.

Thanks,
Joey

Hi Joey,


Picking a UPS depends on how much run time you are looking to get. If you're looking for a prolonged run time at 800W your best bet is to get a high quality UPS and attach external batteries to it. Buying a charger/inverter combination will also work, but a UPS will work even nicer and offer real power filtration.


I would recommend going with a unit such as the Smart UPS 1400 or the Smart UPS 1500, remove the internal batteries or buy the units without, and attach external 50-75ah deep cycle marine batteries.


This set up will provide you a line interactive UPS that has AVR boost and drop, line filtering and battery backup. Most importantly, it will provide you a very long run time. The Smart-UPS's have almost zero switch over time, so your radios won't be interrupted.


The above described set up won't look as pretty as a UPS with external battery cabinets, but it's also significantly cheaper and will provide a significantly longer run time.


I would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone may have about this setup.



Tony
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Old 09-26-2009, 7:36 PM
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Same idea here.....I have 2 deep cycle batteries that are hooked to a copper bus bar through a diode. I have a battery maintainer that will supply up to 15 amps and maintain 3 batteries individually hooked up to them. My radios never know if the power is off.


Kevin
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Old 09-26-2009, 8:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N2ZPY View Post
Same idea here.....I have 2 deep cycle batteries that are hooked to a copper bus bar through a diode. I have a battery maintainer that will supply up to 15 amps and maintain 3 batteries individually hooked up to them. My radios never know if the power is off.


Kevin


That's a great idea. Some people prefer to self configure the setup and others like to have a foundation from which to work. I know a lot of guys who have RV's who use computer UPSs with big deep cycle batteries to back up their RV's. As long as the unit isn't too small, the charges shouldn't be overwhelemed when trickle charging the big batteries.



Tony
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Old 09-26-2009, 8:41 PM
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I didn't buy mine for scanner set up, but I have 2 xs1500's by APC. One runs my desktop, and the other runs my DSL, and Scanners. I am not sure exactly how long I have with it. My desktop runs for about 50 minutes, but not sure on the scanner / DSL.
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Old 09-26-2009, 9:26 PM
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Agree with the others, while a UPS is handy for a computer (mainly to handle short power outages, or to do safe shutdowns after x minutes) radios mostly being 12v are much better suited for battery operation. UPSes are inefficient and noisy(RF) while converting perfectly good 12vdc to 120V quasi-ac
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Old 09-26-2009, 9:33 PM
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I can say for short term UPS do work ok I have a small one for Phone and dsl router. I have a larger one for computer, monitor and scanners. I also have a small 13 watt Compact light on this one so I will have light in the basement if needed. I have used the small ups a number of times and the it kept the wife happy as she could still use the laptop until the batt died. If I am going to be out of power for longer time I have a couple of inverters I can run with a hook up to the truck battery with clips. I used the inverters during the floods we had in Iowa last year they worked great, just don't try to overload or you will burn up fuses or the inverter. You can search homemade ups and get some ideas.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS4VT View Post
I have my whole shack (scanners, amateur radios (HF, VHF & UHF), 800 MHz radio, etc.) on two (2) deep cycle sealed 100 AH batteries on a Marine Style charger that keeps the batteries charged.
What do you do for lighting when the power goes out?

I think the OP was also concerned about keeping his computers running. A UPS would sustain them for a short period, but I think it would take a generator to keep them running for more than an hour or so.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff5093 View Post
There is a device out there that you connect to a battery and your power supply, when the power is on the power supply powers the radios and it charges the batteries. When the power goes out it switches everything right over to the battery.
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9RXR View Post
What do you do for lighting when the power goes out?

I think the OP was also concerned about keeping his computers running. A UPS would sustain them for a short period, but I think it would take a generator to keep them running for more than an hour or so.

A UPS could work for a very long time if it has big batteries attached. If a UPS is running with 50-100ah hour batteries, you would hours, maybe even days on your radio and lights if the power went out.



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Old 09-28-2009, 2:54 PM
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I second the suggestion above to use an Iota with the IQ4.

I have an Iota DLS-55 here with the IQ4 module as well. It's been running 24/7 for years now, and it floats a Optima deep cycle battery. Never a problem, no noise from the power supply on any band, well worth the investment. Going that route your only limited by your budget, as in how many batteries you can afford!

I have UPS's for the computers and such here as well, but when it comes to the radio gear it makes less sense to go from the UPS battery to the UPS inverter to AC power and then through a power supply and back to DC power when running the UPS. The efficiency of the newer UPS inverters is pretty good, but your still loosing battery capacity to the overhead of running the inverter.

If you have something else that needs the UPS, a computer for example, you can always run a larger battery, or pair of batteries, on the UPS and then tap off for your radios from there as well, then when the AC comes back on the UPS charges the batteries. It's a poor mans way of doing it but it does work! I have an old UPS under my workbench that floats a pair of large gel cell batteries, those batteries also provide power for tinkering on radios on the workbench, i do have a larger power supply on the bench as well, but most of the time the batteries serve my needs for testing a radio quick, etc.
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Old 09-28-2009, 3:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9RXR View Post
What do you do for lighting when the power goes out?

I think the OP was also concerned about keeping his computers running. A UPS would sustain them for a short period, but I think it would take a generator to keep them running for more than an hour or so.
I have 12v light fixtures in my shack, on a relay, so the second the AC power drops the DC lighting comes on. I also have a couple other DC lights around the house that run off a 7ah gel cell which is floated when the AC is on, and come on when it fails.

The DC lighting and UPS's will keep everything going here for a while, the computers in the shack will keep going for about 45 minutes without line power. If an outage lasts more then a half hour i just go fire up the generator and flip the switches on the transfer panel in the basement. I don't have an automatic generator setup, just an inlet box on the side of the house and a generator out in the garden shed with an outlet box on the side. I grab my heavy cord and plug it into the house, plug it into the shed, walk in fire up the generator, and by the time i get back to the house it had its warmup period and i can flip the switches on the transfer panel. Under full load it will run 6-8 hours easy, and on the light load of running lights and refrigerator and freezer i can run 10-12 hours on a single tank of gas. Of course i have a 5 gal can on standby, and all the fuel is treated with Stabil and swapped out for fresh fuel every 3-4 months regardless, i will just use it up in the lawnmower, snowblower, etc..

I'm as about as prepared as i can be for emergency power.

Last edited by kb0nly; 09-28-2009 at 3:05 PM..
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Old 09-28-2009, 3:38 PM
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If the equipment runs off 12v, a charger and battery bank is far more efficient than a UPS.

If you want to do it right get "deep cycle" or "telecommunications" batteries, not consumer car batteries, and get a good equalizing charger.
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