We don't realise how much we depend on electricity until the lights go out. And if you happen to be in the middle of an urgent task that you need to finish (or save) when the electrons stop flowing in your business, you will praise the day you invested in an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.
Today we'll have a close look at the Socomec NETYS PR RT solution that will do more than provide backup power.
The NETYS PR RT is basically designed for businesses and industrial use. It's heavy, noisy, and looks totally the part when it occupies the bottom of a server rack, away from where people work.
That's its place and not underneath your desk. We have reviewed UPS units for home use before back in the time when we still had proper PCs instead of laptops. Most households these days can happily do without a battery backup solution. It's a different scenario with businesses.
A UPS unit will do two things for you: provide you with precious minutes to save your computer work or even help you finish the task but typically when the power goes out the reality is that you don't know how long you have before the backup battery system is out of juice as well.
However, you can gracefully shut your computer down without any damage to your file or system.
The other thing a UPS will do for you 24/7 is provide you with clean power without peaks or brownouts. No surges to damage sensitive electronics and that is really the biggest benefit.
Case in point: the NETYS PR RT always provides a pure sinus wave and kicks in automatically and increases the output voltage by 14% when the input voltage drops below 90% of the nominal value.
Similarly when the input voltage rises above 106% of the nominal value the Automatic Voltage Regulator decreases the output voltage by 12%. Here in Australia voltage can range quite a bit around the 240V mark. Just watch the display on the system for a few minutes and you'll see that it never ever is just 240.
Most of our equipment can handle some deviation from the norm but sudden peaks or troughs can play havoc with our electronic devices.
This Socomec unit can be used in two different modes: horizontal as in a server rack or standing up vertically with the aid of some stands that are included in the package. Similarly with the server rack solution: the brackets and screws are also included.
You will have noticed the display, or mimic panel as they like to call it. It is oriented in one direction, but the clever thing is that you can pull out and rotate the panel for easy viewing in whatever orientation the unit is used.
If you can put up with the noise (listed as < 50 dBA at 1 metre) you may decide to use it next to your computer has some small businesses do not have a server rack. In that situation I would rather have the unit flat on the desk as opposed to standing up. Did I mention it is heavy? Precisely. Some stands to make it lie flat on your desk without scratching it and for proper ventilation would have been handy.
You can easily connect another battery unit to this appliance for longer endurance.
Even though the best place for the NETYS PR RT is indeed in a server rack away from human eyes, it's not bad looking unit. The mimic panel takes pride of place that I have included a screenshot from the manual to show all the functionality.
Most of that is self-explanatory and pretty essential to check out the health and status of your system.
You might notice there are two programmable outlets on the screen.
It would have been handy if the manual had something to say about how to use these....
But let's concentrate on the stuff on the back that you should be more interested in.
We have eight a power output sockets there, a slot for optional communication cards, RJ45 protection, RS232 serial connector and a USB port. And of course mains input, a fan and battery extension socket.
After some experimenting on our bench top we decided to install it at the bottom of our server rack where it will take the place of the KStar HP900C we reviewed earlier.
With a heavy unit such as this it is important to be able to support its weight properly. That's why it is best to have it at the bottom on a shelf.
Charging the unit takes about eight hours if the battery has been fully depleted. Time available after mains interruption is counted in minutes, dependent on load, of course.
There's not a lot of excitement we can show about all the features or performance of a utilitarian unit such as an Uninterruptible Power Supply. It is not as sexy as the latest Samsung smartwatch or the Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Often hidden in the dark recesses in a server room it will just do what it is supposed to do: provide you with clean power all the time and with emergency power as everybody else is starting to cuss when the lights go out.
Highly recommended? No -- absolutely essential!
I don't care much about what brand you choose. They will all pretty well do the things they advertise. Just get back up power.
Having said that, we are impressed with the Socomec NETYS PR RT unit.
For less than 800 bucks for the 1350W model (1700VA) it has all the features you need and some you may want, like communication capabilities and expandability with another battery pack. Yes, it is noisy and the beeps are loud. All the more reason to put it in the server room and not worry about it for the next few years!
Have a look here: www.socomec.com.au
Better yet, have a look at 4Cabling who kindly provided this unit for our review.