Category Archives: General

So, why the sudden interests in UPS’s?

I’m looking at the remote connectivity of my network.  Currently, I have 2 desktop PC’s, 2 Laptops, a ReadyNAS, a TimeCapsule, a couple of Laser printers, Apple TV and a few other devices.  So, I’ve been looking at the backup strategies, and resilience of my home network.  Whilst it’s great that, I’m backing stuff up to my ReadyNAS and TimeCapsule, there’s not really any protection for those devices.  So I’ve thinking about that and want to make sure that my devices are protected.

What do I mean by protects?

Let’s tackle each of those devices.

Desktop 1 – I need that machine to power down safely when there’s a power cut.

Desktop 2 – don’t really care about this at the moment, it can be unprotected.

TimeCapsule – There’s no provision in that for UPS interaction, so it can remain unprotected.

Laptop 1 – spends most of it’s time on charge, it’s internal battery is good enough.

Laptop 2 – same, but when I go away, I’m taking that with me.  Nothing special needed.

ReadyNAS – I need this to be up for as much as possible.  Provided I can access it, I’d like to be able to do so.  I need it to power down safely, to protect the data stored on it.

Printers – these can loose power when there’s a powercut, that’s fine.

Network infrastructure, I have 2 swtiches, 2 wireless routers, and a cable modem.  I need these devices to remain active for as long as possible.  As long as my broadband connection remains active, I’d like to have some ability to access my network, even if I can’t access all the devices after they have safe powered down.


So, to make this a reality, I’m going to need several UPS devices.  This is why I purchased a cheap Powercool UPS.  it does the job for powering my downstairs switch and router.  I could probably have it power my VirginMedia Tivo, but I’ll think about that later.   I’m going to get another one of these and set if up to power my Cable modem, upstairs switch and router.   Those two UPS’s will keep my network up and running whilst the power is out for a short time.  If the network is out for a long time, the network is power down until mains power is restored  – that’s fine as the devices save the config and there won’t be any risk of corruption due to power failure.


Next, I’ll be purchasing a better UPS for my ReadyNAS, this one has the requirement that my ReadyNAS can properly monitor it, shutting down when the UPS runs low on power.  Finally, I’ll be getting a 4th UPS to protect Desktop 1.  That will give me the chance to make sure that my work is saved.  These two UPS’s will help to protect my data from corruption.

Powercool Smart UPS 850VA

1565_PCUPS850VA_1_BigProductImageToday I picked up a very cheap PSU.  This was admittedly an experiment to see what this thing is good for.   The idea was to purchase this as a ups that I could dedicate to my ReadyNAS 104 in order to give it some protection from power outages.  Well that was plan A.  Plan B, is was to put it to use on my Desktop PC to give that some protection if it wasn’t suitable for the ReadyNAS.  Plan C & D is to use it elsewhere in my house to provide some resiliance to my network.  I’ll be explaining why in another blog post.

Turns out that this UPS whilst the spec look quite good on paper, it turns out that this isn’t really good for either my Plan A or Plan B.

I bought this UPS for the bargin price of £33.60, so for that price it’s good.  Actually, I’m thinking about getting another in a couple of weeks if I can get one for under £40, but I’ll not pay any more than that.  From my list of plans above, I’m going to use this UPS for either Plan C or D.

So that’s my verdict – it’s OK, but not brilliant.  So what’s the problem?   Turns out that this UPS is a a Chinese import.  It’s got USB connectivity, which is a useful for monitoring the device.  However, the implemented protocol is a proprietary one rather than something more standard.  In short, it won’t work with my ReadyNAS 104.  This means that my ReadyNAS can’t monitor the UPS and receive a shutdown notification if the battery falls below a threshold.   It’ll keep my ReadyNAS running, but it won’t monitor, so if there’s a powercut it’ll just delay the time until the ReadyNAS looses power.  That’s an improvement, but not ideal.


So why not use it for Plan B.  Again, because it’s a Chinese import, I’d rather not put their software, which already looks old and dated, onto my PC.  So, again no monitoring.


So, it’ll be employed in helping to keep my network running.  That means I’ll put it to keep either my upstairs switch, router and cable modem running, or put it downstairs to keep a switch and wifi access point up.  For those devices it does not matter if the power goes out after a while.  This UPS is cheap, but for unmonitored devices that’s fine.   This will keep my home network infrastructure protected enough, that should I loose mains power I can keep using my network.