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    Which UPS?
    Contributed by zoltan on Wednesday, September 05 @ 12:59:15 BST

    Ask Debianplanet
    I'm considering a UPS for my home, but I'm not sure if all the ones on the market work with Linux in terms of the monitoring. I'm looking at the Back-UPS Office 500. Many of the Howto's I've read only talk about the more expensive models, not the Back-UPS Office model from APC. Another potential problem is that this uses a USB interface.

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  • "Which UPS?" | Login/Create Account | 9 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Which UPS? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 05 @ 13:20:44 BST

    Choose a ups that is supported by nut. There are Debian packages from nut. Works fine here with various ups's.


    [ Reply ]

    • Re: Which UPS? by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 05 @ 22:00:48 BST

    Re: Which UPS? (Score: 1)
    by James ( on Wednesday, September 05 @ 18:27:07 BST
    (User Info)

    Hmm. It had better be big. I have a pair of 4500 kW/hr ones at work, but there the size of a Mercedes SMART car. Why not just start with one for your computer, and not the whole home? 😉

    Serisouly, I have had a run-of-the-mill Sola UPS, smallish thing, for around 2 - 3 years hanging off of a Debian box, connected over serial. Serial always works. Watch out for powered USB hubs: you will need that plugged in to your UPS as well, or you may get undesirable results. Anything using serial is probably easily detectable in a few lines of code. If you are in the mood for playing you could modify existing programs to read many UPS's that may be considered unsupported. USB is another kettle of fish, and I don't know how it works as far as drivers under Linux. Perhaps a modified serial driver?

    Much testing recommended before relying on it. Plug the UPS data feed into the system, and leave the system on mains power. Put a light on the UPS. Simulate powerfail, power restore, powerfail to the point the system shuts down. Powerfail to battery drain. etc... you should be aware of what the system is going to do in these situations.

    [ Reply ]

    consider a laptop (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 05 @ 19:55:51 BST

    It's less power-hungry, has a standard power management interface, and takes up less space.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which UPS? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 05 @ 23:36:26 BST

    I use a Best UPS ( that so far has worked just fine. I bought it because it supposedly included linux software that seemed more powerful than Nut AND because I'd just gone though almost a dozen malfunctioning APC's at work (honest: big sparks, smoke, and no "UPS" at all).

    The flip side is that the software didn't seem to work with my model. I had the feeling that my models (Patriot Pro II) were acquired from a company they had purchased recently. Their supposedly good tech support never returned any of my 4 calls for help. A few months later I saw a web page that indicated I should use a different version of the software than came on CD with the UPS, but I haven't gotten around to trying it.

    So: the equipment seems good, but I want an apology for the bad service 😉

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which UPS? (Score: 1)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 @ 18:36:43 BST

    i have a tripp-lite internet office 500. i use nut (which is REALLY easy to config as the config files are thoroughly commented) and the combo works. i can't really say whether it works "good" or "great" because this is my only experience with an ups, so i have nothing to compare it to. but i can say that it works.

    the ups is a "dumb" ups in that it only provides status. it is equivalent to an apc back-ups, in that both are "dumb" ups. it simply reports wether the ups is on or off, and whether the ups is on ac or battery. you (and any software) can assume if the ups is on battery, then the ac power is off.

    nut does do some reporting through a cgi, but i'm not interested in viewing my ups status from afar. nut has always accurately reported to syslog when the power goes on or off (actually, when the ups switches between ac and battery), so it "monitors" the ups great for my use.

    my tripplite initially did over 20 minutes (that's when the low battery warning came on and i didn't want to push the test any further as i only need to know when to set the shutdown sequence timer in the software), but i messed around with red hat's anaconda hardware detection app (DON'T DO ACTIVE/AGGRESSIVE SERIAL PORT PROBING WITH THE UPS ATTACHED) and somehow that confused the ups and caused it to overcharge the battery. i now get 12 minutes until the low battery warning. i don't know how much of that decrease is due to my accident, eventual breaking-in of the battery, or what.

    take the apc and tripplite power estimators with a grain of salt. i was told to get a >= 700VA ups based on my system and i would have a 10 minute up-time, but instead i run that same system (PII 450MHz, 15" monitor) and another (486 66MHz, headless) and get 12 minutes (initially 19 minutes) which is more than what they said i would with the one system on a larger ups. i think the estimators produce over-inflated numbers.

    one big disclaimer: i have never used nut to automatically shutdown my system. i have never needed to as the power was never out longer than 10 minutes. i think i remember that nut simply executes whatever command you tell it to, so a simply "shutdown -r now" should work.

    i do have two systems connected to the ups, so i run the nut "server" on the machine whose serial port is connected to the ups, and the client on both machines, so both machines know when power goes off and can auto-shutdown.

    if you just want an ups that helps carry you through intermittent black-outs (five or six in the last year, never lasting longer than 10 minutes) with the capability to autoshutdown and don't care about a fancy gui but instead just something that runs in the background consuming few resources, then i can recommend a "dumb" tripplite with nut setup.

    more disclaimers:

    1. there's other ups-monitoring software out there that performs the same function as nut (one even has an ssl version in non-us for encrypting server-client communication), but i learned of nut first, liked the (unix) design philosopy of nut, and became familiar with it.

    2. i chose tripplite instead of apc because of price. for a va-rated comparable ups, tripplites are cheaper. my ups was $110. a comparable apc was $150. i will admit that the apc is better/smoother/flashier looking, but from my research on, customers were just as pleased/displeased with both. i did find a REALLY good deal on an apc ubs ups, but a year ago linux-usb did not support apc upses and no ups-monitoring software could verify that they worked with a usb ups.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which UPS? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 @ 22:43:19 BST

    Of course, Tripp Lite has an open source version of their PowerAlert software for Linux that can manage UPSes across a network or across the Web.

    [ Reply ]

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