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MrZ2u

Battery Backup...UPS

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Before I switched to marine I had a 200 gal Cichlid tank which was filtered by two Eheim 2217 and two Marineland Mag 350 canisters and I had 2800va of UPS under it to keep those canisters flowing for about 36 hours without wall power.  With a canister the need is very obvious to keep it flowing and I learned that the hard way once in my first 75gal and lost about $400 worth of fish as a result.  

So, a UPS has always felt mandatory to me but the one I have under my tank right now is kind of in my way, in a way, so I have questioned how much I really even need it in this tank.  Its smallish...550va but just to run the pump and powerhead it would probably go 10-12 hrs easy.  Throw the heater in there and who knows but not long at all most likely and it seems upon thinking about it the heater is really the most important part.  Unlike the canisters which will go anaerobic and die without flow and if left long enough will become ammonia bombs when the power comes back...this tank is open top with nothing in a closed loop to go anaerobic really.  Does the UPS really even matter at all but for maybe the heater which will drain the battery pretty quick anyway?

What to you guys think...do we really benefit from a UPS that much?
 

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I'm glad I have my UPS it's come in handy a couple of times

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2 minutes ago, jolt said:

I'm glad I have my UPS it's come in handy a couple of times

Not arguing at all...just trying examine the question thoroughly.  

How though...as I said, I totally 100% see the need for closed loops like canisters.  I just do not see the same problem with a fully open system like live rock.  I get it, its always nice to keep circulation for the reasons we have it in the first place but is that necessary or just nice?  If its not necessary really wouldnt we be better suited to just run the heater on the battery since all things considered the temp at some times of the year is the most important thing.  Even thinking summer months...wouldnt we perhaps be better served not introducing heat into the system when the power is out?  

I kinda hate my UPS to be honest and I am looking for real good reasons to keep it.  Its not easy to manage physically in the space I have it but I do have a way in mind to make it more so...it would be a fair amount of effort to make it happen but the end result would be pretty slick...and what I really, REALLY, need more things on my already mile long list of things I want to do cause I have soooo much spare time these days! 

It is entirely possible I am putting too much thought into this :) 



 

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I use it to keep my apex running. I have the apex wires such that it can tell when it’s running on the ups. It then turns off various pieces of equipment and keeps others running some of which are on batter backup and some are on an apex power bar attached to the ups.   I like it for the ability to keep the apex up. 

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Does the Apex not reboot itself to the last state if it loses power?  I dont know much about them...nothing about them actually other than what they are to some degree

 

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Yes when power is restored it boots back up and makes any necessary changes in your power outputs. Lets say on a power outage you have your outlets power off and just leave your pump running.That energy bar would need to be on a ups or generator so it has power.  When power is restored it will turn anything that needs to be on at that time, back on.

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It does. But keeping it up let’s me get an alert and plot temps, manually turn off or on devices, etc etc. I can get a text on my phone that power was lost and I can hook into the system and assess and manage things. 

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while the primary reason for a UPS is for battery backup, there is a good secondary reason to keep it inline.... clean power.  When you have sensitive & expensive devices to protect... like an apex with sensors on it, you dont want electrical noise to fry the boards and stray electrical pulses to alter your sensors accuracy.

There are a couple things to remember however... APC uses pure sine modulation, so you can run motors without much damage, other brands mostly dont have pure sin, and the motors will burn out faster (i think i read like 30% faster, i cant recall where right now).  Also, high load items like heaters will drain the battery really quick.  I setup a relay for my heaters.. EB8 port triggers a relay, which activates the heater which is actually plugged into the non-backup receptacles.  I bought a second UPS just for the heaters (still waiting on getting replacement batteries for it... APC smartups/backups are cheaper at auction w/ dead batteries!)

If space is the issue, and you have a low load overall... they make some pretty smallish ones.. its a balance between runtime and what you feel comfortable with.

full disclosure.. i have UPS's on pretty much everything in my house, except fridge/freezer.  things with compressors are even more sensitive to UPS modulated power... i dont wanna deal w/ replacing compressors.

 

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I'm going to go against the grain here and say I run a simple system and didn't like having a ups and the space it took up. I use 2 battery powered air pumps now instead, one for the display and one for the sump. And the sump one gets split into 2 tubes because my sump settles into 2 separate areas when the return pumps are off. Anyway, those plug in and when the power goes off they kick right on. Had one run a full week on 2 D batteries once. So in a power outage I lose my lights and heating/cooling, but assuming the temp doesn't get crazy, nothing will die. Just another idea. The pumps were about $6 on Amazon.

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2 hours ago, Isaac said:

while the primary reason for a UPS is for battery backup, there is a good secondary reason to keep it inline.... clean power.  When you have sensitive & expensive devices to protect... like an apex with sensors on it, you dont want electrical noise to fry the boards and stray electrical pulses to alter your sensors accuracy.

There are a couple things to remember however... APC uses pure sine modulation, so you can run motors without much damage, other brands mostly dont have pure sin, and the motors will burn out faster (i think i read like 30% faster, i cant recall where right now).  Also, high load items like heaters will drain the battery really quick.  I setup a relay for my heaters.. EB8 port triggers a relay, which activates the heater which is actually plugged into the non-backup receptacles.  I bought a second UPS just for the heaters (still waiting on getting replacement batteries for it... APC smartups/backups are cheaper at auction w/ dead batteries!)

If space is the issue, and you have a low load overall... they make some pretty smallish ones.. its a balance between runtime and what you feel comfortable with.

full disclosure.. i have UPS's on pretty much everything in my house, except fridge/freezer.  things with compressors are even more sensitive to UPS modulated power... i dont wanna deal w/ replacing compressors.

 

First, APC makes several UPS models that produce modified sine wave power when on battery…for an ordinary PC that’s no problem…for most things that’s no problem.  Pure sine wave is only available as you move up to the more expensive units in their lineup…same with Tripplite, Cyberpower, etc.  To the degree you should even care its only for certain AC powered devices.  The Apex systems themselves little more than a tiny “PC” of sorts and they are DC powered internally which is not apparent since there is no wall wart on that power cable, rather buried inside.  You would want to protect them from surges but the line conditioning is not of use to them.  DC devices are much more tolerant of voltage fluctuations (brown power) which is mostly what power conditioners seek to eliminate.   This is a different topic all together really…lets step way back and take the electrical engineering and the Apex out of the conversation. 

I didn’t specify my setup extremely well so this diversion to more complex systems was my fault
J 

My tank is not a closed loop…anywhere, it’s a Fusion Lagoon 25 “AIO”.  I have the main “return pump”, a skimmer, wave maker, heater, ATO and the light.  Presently all I have on the battery side is the main pump, ATO and the heater.

The question was more about how much do we really need to care about the circulation with a tank like this?  o2 exchange occurs on the water surface and there is almost 4sq ft of that here.  It seems unlikely that the system would go anaerobic for a very long time.  Way more time than would be experienced in an ordinary power outage and for an extended one I have a generator.

The heater would probably not drain much most of the time because most of the time the air outside is hotter than my water anyway…though on days like today it seems like it might be the most critical component for extended outages.

In any event my UPS is only sufficient for outages when I am in town and can make other arrangements for things if they drag on.    If I went on vacation tomorrow for a week and the power was out for extended periods while I was gone, if it mattered much that something gets power then it wouldn’t matter cause it likely would only prolong the inevitable.  This was as true with the previous canister setups as well but that situation was on a much tighter clock with much more dire eventualities so it was a critical factor. 

Like I said…not arguing, just attacking the logic across the board in MY tank for THE unit I have because its kind of physically in the way for some future plans and if it doesn’t truly serve a critical purpose then it can go away.

24 minutes ago, KimP said:

I'm going to go against the grain here and say I run a simple system and didn't like having a ups and the space it took up. I use 2 battery powered air pumps now instead, one for the display and one for the sump. And the sump one gets split into 2 tubes because my sump settles into 2 separate areas when the return pumps are off. Anyway, those plug in and when the power goes off they kick right on. Had one run a full week on 2 D batteries once. So in a power outage I lose my lights and heating/cooling, but assuming the temp doesn't get crazy, nothing will die. Just another idea. The pumps were about $6 on Amazon.

No, not against the grain at all...more in line with where I am at with my question.   I imagine I would be able to run small air pumps for days on this UPS...so thats something of what I am on about.  Do we need to do ______ and if so why?

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2 hours ago, Isaac said:

APC smartups/backups are cheaper at auction w/ dead batteries!

1

The goodwill over on 183 and metric has a computer section and they often have these "dead" UPS's  Thats where I scored the 2800va ones I had under my 200 years ago for like$10  

This is where understanding what cares about pure sein wave and what doesnt pays off cause the older ones are the cheapest and cheapest to put batteries in usually as well.  Only two AC pumps in my set up and they can take the dirty power just fine...and even if they didnt I would just replace them with DC versions that I cannot justify at this time :)

 

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I stopped using UPS partly because of the long term maintenance cost (air pumps like Kim referenced are cheaper and run a lot longer) and, more importantly, the run time issues.  The UPS I've tested do not adjust their output according to their load so using a smaller load than a UPS is rated for did not extend  the time the UPS ran.  If you're going to use an UPS to run equipment in case of a power failure you definitely want to unplug it and time how long it's actually going to run.   And I've had the batteries fail in less than two years so yearly testing to see how long the battery is actually lasting would be a smart thing to do.    Besides simplicity, redundancy and running a lot longer another reason I prefer small battery operated air pumps is it's really easy to find "D" cell batteries anywhere any time of day.  Finding the right battery for a UPS in an emergency isn't necessarally going to be an easy or quick job

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Although…the physical proximity of the tank lends itself to another solution to keep the UPS as well as fortifying it for longer run times and it wouldn’t be much trouble really. 

There was no AC power behind this tank till I put it there. 

20170203_090901.jpg

Almost directly above that back wall in the attic is an AC outlet and the doorbell transformer.  I really just lopped off the C13 end of an old monitor power cable, butt jointed it to some romex and dropped it down the wall...it still has the 5-15p on the other end even…its quite literally just plugged in! 

20190208_131259_HDR.jpg


I could change the 1way box to a two way, drop another stretch of romex, put this plug on the non-battery side and the new one to the battery and then the wall would be conditioned on one outlet and battery-backed on the other.  That so totally touches my geek nerve cause that would be slick even if it only impresses people like you ;)

At this point I could terminal out of the UPS itself and use a much larger battery...deep cycle car battery for example...talk about run time.   I could even get crazy with it and put a solar panel on the roof above it...it could get out of hand!

 

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7 minutes ago, Timfish said:

I stopped using UPS partly because of the long term maintenance cost (air pumps like Kim referenced are cheaper and run a lot longer) and, more importantly, the run time issues.  The UPS I've tested do not adjust their output according to their load so using a smaller load than a UPS is rated for did not extend  the time the UPS ran.  If you're going to use an UPS to run equipment in case of a power failure you definitely want to unplug it and time how long it's actually going to run.   And I've had the batteries fail in less than two years so yearly testing to see how long the battery is actually lasting would be a smart thing to do.    quick job

3

Those must be some really old basic UPS's and even then somewhat defective.  Even a homemade UPS (actually pretty simple) should drain based on the load...part of which is the inverter itself but that is built into the manufacturers suggested numbers.  Newer ones do a battery conditioning and you can reasonably expect much longer life out of the batteries themselves.    Its hard to know for sure whats inside but a lot have 12v batteries...there are two big suckers sitting in my driveway right now.  That requires forethought to cable out of the UPS to facilitate that but its very doable.

Edited by MrZ2u

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If you go the UPS route and want long term whole tank coverage, I hear, used fork lift batteries make for long run times, but boy are they heavy.

I guess the real solution is one of those battery wall units Mr Musk is manufacturing. A friend of mine has 3 in his garage for his solar panels.

Your 2nd alternative could be a natural gas generator with a automatic transfer switch.

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2007 if my memory serves me correctly and the first battery did last several years.  And by all means geek out, I do whenever I have the time and opportunity! :D

But going back to your first post;   Looking at the cost/run time of a UPS and the cost/run time of a B11 battery operated air pump that turns on when power is lost the air pump is a much better choice in my opinion.  Especially since I've personally known people to go with out power for almost 72 hours here in Austin.   If someone wants to go with a big UPS and, like you (or me ;) ), has come across one cheap or maybe doesn't mind spending the money that's good.  But don't forget the air conditioning either, we have a lot more hot days than cold days.   And as I see it running a lot of heat generating equipment in warm weather without AC is an additional complication that needs to be worked into the overall design as well.   And definitely test to see how long everything is actually running.

 

Edited by Timfish

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Just now, Dogfish said:

If you go the UPS route and want long term whole tank coverage, I hear, used fork lift batteries make for long run times, but boy are they heavy.

I guess the real solution is one of those battery wall units Mr Musk is manufacturing. A friend of mine has 3 in his garage for his solar panels.

Your 2nd alternative could be a natural gas generator with a automatic transfer switch.

Well, yeah, that the crazy end of it all.  I have almost covered my roof with panels twice now.  Was about to pull the trigger each time and then I got laid off...each time.  Kinda has me a little gun shy about looking at solar ya know ;)

But that would certainly solve all this to at least some degree.  Even on days like today the panels would be putting out something...having the power walls like your friend would, in theory, put the whole house on a UPS so to speak.  Then one just has to be careful how you use the power and as advertised you could potentially make it through any outage.  

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2 minutes ago, Timfish said:

2007 if my memory serves me correctly and the first battery did last several years.  And by all means geek out, I do whenever I have the time and opportunity! :D

But going back to your first post;   Looking at the cost of a UPS and the cost of a B11 battery operated air pump that turns on when power is lost the air pump is a much better choice in my opinion.  Especially since I've personally known people to go with out power for almost 72 hours here in Austin.   If someone wants to go with a big UPS and, like you (or me ;) ), has come across one cheap or maybe doesn't mind spending the money that's good.  But don't forget the air conditioning either, we have a lot more hot days than cold days.   And as I see it running a lot of heat generating equipment in warm weather without AC is an additional complication that needs to be worked into the overall design as well.   And definitely test to see how long everything is actually running.

 

Oh sure...all that is part of my thought project.  Thats why the heater is on the UPS right now...to my thinking its really, kind of, the most important thing right NOW.  I have the UPS cause, well, it was free so why not use it.  I have them all over the house as well.  One on the internet gateway, one on the DVR (priorities ya know) and one on the PC...then of course the aquarium.  I cant remember the last time we had a power outage up her in RR.  I know we do every now and again cause the clock on the microwave tells me so... but they never seem to last long.  If they were frequent and prolonged that would be part of my thinking...or more part of it anyway.

The hotter months are more concerning to me as well.  I feel like keeping the temp from climbing is easier than keeping it from falling.  Unless the whole area is down I can drive to get some ice.  I have a gas furnace but the blower...well, yeah, there is that.  

I mean there is only so much you can do if the electricity goes down for too long and this was more an exercise to see if the one I am using right now, which is kinda in my way, is more perceived security or actual.  the more I think about it the more it seems perceived.

...but I am thinking about hanging the dang thing in the attic like I discussed above cause that will only be the cost of a 2-way box and an outlet...I have left over romex from the first drop :)  

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batterywholesale is out of g-town, most often are the cheapest w/ no shipping.  you dont have to get branded batteries, often the after market ones last longer and offer higher AH for the same price/physical size. i get about 2 yrs out of mine. cheap enough to have a set on standby if need be.  The UPS will run w/o batteries, so its not a huge issue if you have to wait a few days though.   my server closet runs at 50%, tank system around 40-60% during "daylight" depending on the one heater on the ups (i have 2 other heaters on a relay). 

 

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