Is the APC Back-UPS RS 1300 LCD Uninterruptible Power Supply (at almost $200) perfect for the individual power-user or small office? Or is it too expensive for the former and too weak for the latter? The first part of the article covers features, installation, and test configuration.
slide 1 of 5
A Light in the Dark
With aging power grids and the growing unpredictability of weather, more and more often the power to your PC is full of surges and undervoltages, and it sometimes gets cut off entirely. A surge protector can help protect your equipment, but you are still subject to sudden shut downs that cut you off in mid-thought, and could in themselves damage your equipment. Not only is your PC worth protecting, your work is valuable, and so is enjoying your recreational time. If you are using your PC regularly for business or play, it is probably worth protecting not just it, but what you do on it.
Installation is simple, but must be done very carefully. Sliding a panel on the bottom out of the way allows you to access the big, heavy, and potentially dangerous batteries that must be connected (see the fifth picture). Though it is a simple black to black and red to red procedure, heed the instructions; take off your jewelry and use insulated tools. The blue spark that leapt with joy as I connected the red wire made me very glad to have some insulated needle-nose pliers between me and the battery; and my dry head of hair and rubber soled footwear didn’t hurt.
Despite trying to carefully fold the wires in and insert the battery a couple of times, I was not able to get the battery compartment cover to click all the way shut. Given the weight of the unit and that it isn’t the sort of thing you move around very much, this is not a big problem. The cover slides into place and will stay there under the RS 1300’s bulk just fine.
The rest of the installation is better: connect your components and power, connect the data port to and install the software on your PC, and turn on the unit. Note that you shouldn’t run from the battery after installation until it has had 16 hours to charge up fully.
The sixth picture is a screen from the APC PowerChute software that links you to common tasks. The easy to use and slick-looking software allows you to monitor and control the Back-UPS from your desktop with your mouse, as opposed to under your desktop with two buttons one can hold down or push multiple times. That, and even more importantly, the ability to shut down your computer autonomously if you left it on while trying to get your laundry off the line in mid-storm, are the benefits of connecting the UPS to your PC and running the software.