Power for home lab/office

Adcadet

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What do people suggest for power protection/distribution for a home lab and home office?

We are doing some basement renovation including a small server room. Unfortunately, when somebody was trying to figure out the circuit breakers they may have repeatedly turned power off/on, and it seems to have fried my modem and router. The server room was *supposed* to be on it's own 20A circuit, but apparently that circuit was later tapped for a laundry room. The modem and router were plugged into simple surge protector (CyberPower CPS1215RMS) which perhaps didn't do it's job (?).

I don't want to go through this again, and being able to maintain the network if we loose power for a few minutes would be a plus. My network infrastructure is a cable modem, Netgate router, and Mikotik switch (CRS5354-48P-2S+2Q+RM -- in theory could go up to 750W) that uses it's POE to power two Raspberry Pis running Pi-hole. I have a few racked servers which I wouldn't hope to keep running for any significant length of time but I suppose getting them to shut down during power interruption would be kind of slick. But keeping the network up during a brief power outage sure would be convenient. And most of all, I don't want to fry more electronics.

Do people still use simple surge protectors on their office equipment?

Any guidance or wisdom would be much appreciated!

 

sedrosken

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I'm still using a surge protector for my home rack under the false assumption that it'd be fine -- lo and behold a couple weeks back my nearly brand new dumb gigabit switch got murdered by a lightning storm. Curiously my modem is fine, my router is fine minus a dead port (the one that was hooked to the switch, not surprising, I intended to replace it eventually anyway) and my NAS box I use for a home server was fine -- I am, however, in the market for a decent small UPS myself. My total wattage for my rack maybe hits 100 on a bad day, though I do want a true sine wave output and that's difficult to come by without spending $200+ on a 1500VA unit or so.
 

LunarMist

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Get a power conditioning box and then a UPS or alternatively a good double-conversion UPS to handle routine spikes, sags, and surges. I prefer UPS with internal and external batteries for extended runtime. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to stop direct or near-direct lightning damage, regardless of claims. Make sure your home insurance covers such damage.
 

Adcadet

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Get a power conditioning box and then a UPS or alternatively a good double-conversion UPS to handle routine spikes, sags, and surges. I prefer UPS with internal and external batteries for extended runtime. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to stop direct or near-direct lightning damage, regardless of claims. Make sure your home insurance covers such damage.
Any double-conversion UPS that seem better (reasonable quality, reasonable cost) than the others? This one? https://www.apc.com/us/en/product/S...-smartups-online&selected-node-id=27162421315
 

LunarMist

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For me that would cost more than the equipment on it.
I have more than that on a UPS with 24Vx24Ah, though of course not all are powered on at one time. 3x NAS=400TB, 3950x and 5950x systems, Intel NUC Tigers lake, monitor, small 40' TV and basic 5.1 receiver, networking, etc.
 

Mercutio

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I have a 20-something year old rack PDU that is undoubtedly overkill for my needs, along with a several 3000VA UPSes. I change the batteries every couple years and they've been fine. One of them is Tripp-Lite, the others are APC. My UPS units have all been salvage, something someone was getting ready to toss. Some of them are old enough to have serial ports rather than USB.
 

sedrosken

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Anyone have anything good to say about CyberPower? They seem like a more budget brand but that they don't really skimp on the things that matter. I found this unit on Amazon that seems like I could live with -- I'd prefer something rackmount but that seems to tack about 300 dollars onto the price tag for some reason, so I'd probably just as soon buy a rackmount shelf and stuff this on it. Mostly I just want the true sine output -- newer power supplies, though not usually the DC wall-warts routers and modems tend to use, tend to have issues with the stepped wave most units will put out due to their active PFC. This also has a couple of golly-gee-whiz features I'd like to play with. I can spend about 200 bucks on this, I just really can't justify any more than that.

There are three things this absolutely has to keep powered through an outage: my modem, my router, and my IP desk phone for work. I'd have just gotten one of those DC UPSes for those since they all use standard-voltage wall-warts but the warranty on my IP phone is void if I use anything other than what they included with it. Then again, it's not like they'd know as long as I keep the power supply they included handy...

Two more things I'd like to keep powered are my NAS and my gigabit switch -- but I can just move my NAS to one of the ports directly on the router for all that matters since nothing else on the switch would keep power through an outage.
 
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LunarMist

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Anyone have anything good to say about CyberPower? They seem like a more budget brand but that they don't really skimp on the things that matter. I found this unit on Amazon that seems like I could live with -- I'd prefer something rackmount but that seems to tack about 300 dollars onto the price tag for some reason, so I'd probably just as soon buy a rackmount shelf and stuff this on it. Mostly I just want the true sine output -- newer power supplies, though not usually the DC wall-warts routers and modems tend to use, tend to have issues with the stepped wave most units will put out due to their active PFC. This also has a couple of golly-gee-whiz features I'd like to play with. I can spend about 200 bucks on this, I just really can't justify any more than that.

There are three things this absolutely has to keep powered through an outage: my modem, my router, and my IP desk phone for work. I'd have just gotten one of those DC UPSes for those since they all use standard-voltage wall-warts but the warranty on my IP phone is void if I use anything other than what they included with it. Then again, it's not like they'd know as long as I keep the power supply they included handy...

Two more things I'd like to keep powered are my NAS and my gigabit switch -- but I can just move my NAS to one of the ports directly on the router for all that matters since nothing else on the switch would keep power through an outage.
IIRC Cyberpower used to be considered a 2nd rate Asian alternative to APC, Tripplite, Liebert, etc. but I have no recent experiences. I do recall a period of time when there were compatibility issue with the newer UPS and the high efficiency computer PSUs. IIRC the newer UPS used higher switching frequency or something, but maybe Joe or the Sterodude can better explain. I never had any problems with a computer or other device on the old-school UPS with massive transformers.
 

jtr1962

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IIRC the newer UPS used higher switching frequency or something, but maybe Joe or the Sterodude can better explain. I never had any problems with a computer or other device on the old-school UPS with massive transformers.
This probably explains it better than I can. Most newer UPSes synthesize sine waves electronically, using what is basically a switching power supply which varies its output the same as 120VAC house voltage. This is done for cost and weight reasons. Pure sine wave inverters should be indistinguishable from plugging a device into a wall outlet. Modified sine wave inverters may cause issues with some equipment.

The old school inverters with massive transformers often just applied a square wave from the battery to the transformer primary. It was somewhat smoothed into a sine wave by the inductance of the secondary, along with some added capacitance. I recall an APC UPS I used to use had a loud buzz when powering a load off the battery. BTW, I stopped bothering with UPSes because they always cook the batteries. Every few years the batteries need replacement. I may try LiFePO4 12V batteries instead of lead acid.

Haven't seen Stereodude around here in ages.
 

LunarMist

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Yes, that's what I thought. And then those inverters can fail catastrophically. The old transformers don't have that issue at 60Hz though copper is expensive. I get 4-5 years of battery life from AGM lead-acid, which is acceptable as I do have outages.

Are there any reasonably sized/priced LiFePO4 batteries that can handle the current drain of a big UPS without mass destruction? Assuming 24V, the current would be around 50A at peak. I have used a LiFePO4 12V battery pack (4s cells) to directly power the type of low power, long run-time internet devices that Sed was mentioning above. It's quite efficient since the batteries maintain Wi-Fi router/ONT/STB usable voltages without regulation.
 

Handruin

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I ended up getting a rack mount CyberPower OR1500PFCRT2U 1500 VA back in 2017 and did a small tear down of it in this thread. It has worked well and been on basically 24x7 since I bought it. It has all my rack servers, switches, router, etc and pulls an avg of about 600W.
 

LunarMist

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I ended up getting a rack mount CyberPower OR1500PFCRT2U 1500 VA back in 2017 and did a small tear down of it in this thread. It has worked well and been on basically 24x7 since I bought it. It has all my rack servers, switches, router, etc and pulls an avg of about 600W.
Were you able to replace the batteries with standard ones?
 

Handruin

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I haven't had to replace the batteries yet but I expect I should be able to get four sealed 12v - 7AH batteries to replace them whenever they're needed. For the times I've unplugged my rack, this UPS estimates 12-15min run time even after been in use since 2017.
 

jtr1962

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Are there any reasonably sized/priced LiFePO4 batteries that can handle the current drain of a big UPS without mass destruction? Assuming 24V, the current would be around 50A at peak. I have used a LiFePO4 12V battery pack (4s cells) to directly power the type of low power, long run-time internet devices that Sed was mentioning above. It's quite efficient since the batteries maintain Wi-Fi router/ONT/STB usable voltages without regulation.
Anything using A123 cells can handle the load easily. I just bought some surplus 96 cell packs (12 series, 8 parallel arrangement which gives 38.4V nomimal and 20Ah). Not for a UPS, but for solar backup once I get a solar system. Anyway, right on the pack it says SHORT CIRCUIT CURRENT 2250A. These cells can put out 50A continuous. 8 of them in a parallel, as in this pack, will put out 400A continuous. Spec sheet. So in theory my battery packs can handle 38.4Vx400A = 15,360 watts continuous, although at that discharge rate they'll only last about 3 minutes.
 

Mercutio

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Anecdotally, I was willing to buy Cyberpower UPS hardware in the early part of this century, but I had a unit die in a spectacular enough fashion that there were actual sparks and a room full of smoked electronic smell. Might've been a one-off. I just let the rest wear out and then get replaced. That was enough for me. Tripp Lite is a Chicago company. Knowing that, I most often throw my power delivery dollar their way, especially for single desktop systems.

I've seen Amazon Basics UPSes in service as well but I have no opinion about them. I'm not responsible for any. I've been asking my customers to put all their important desktops on UPSes for ages. One of them chose Amazon. I don't think they've been there long enough to get a battery swapped yet. If I don't see any of them that are on fire, they're already better than Cyberpower, though.

And like jtr said, SOP for everyone everywhere is just to pull the UPSes out of service every couple years and swap the batteries. These days, this is the most likely reason I have to visit a customer site. I wasn't aware that I had an option beside standard Lead-Acid batteries for my UPS needs.
 

jtr1962

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They mention LiFePO4 lasting 8 to 10 years, versus 3 to 5 for lead-acid. In truth, if you float them at 3.4V per cell (13.6V for a 12V battery), instead of the more typical 3.65V per cell, you'll get way more than 10 years out of them. Some UPSes let you adjust the float voltage.
 

LunarMist

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The problem is that the lithium UPS are mostly practical for business use where the high cost is offset by the reduced maintenance and other advantages. I'm not seeing any replacement batteries for the Tripplites, which also jacks up the cost if you have to sens it somewhere. I can spend $200-350 to replace the 6x internal and external AGM batteries in my main UPS, but that is a fraction of the cost. I suppose eventually the lithium UPS will be more practical. The only lithium (Li-ion) USP I have that are decent are the 12V kind for communications devices up to 3A. I suspect they are full of 18650 cells or similar.
 

LunarMist

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Anecdotally, I was willing to buy Cyberpower UPS hardware in the early part of this century, but I had a unit die in a spectacular enough fashion that there were actual sparks and a room full of smoked electronic smell. Might've been a one-off. I just let the rest wear out and then get replaced. That was enough for me. Tripp Lite is a Chicago company. Knowing that, I most often throw my power delivery dollar their way, especially for single desktop systems.

I've seen Amazon Basics UPSes in service as well but I have no opinion about them. I'm not responsible for any. I've been asking my customers to put all their important desktops on UPSes for ages. One of them chose Amazon. I don't think they've been there long enough to get a battery swapped yet. If I don't see any of them that are on fire, they're already better than Cyberpower, though.

And like jtr said, SOP for everyone everywhere is just to pull the UPSes out of service every couple years and swap the batteries. These days, this is the most likely reason I have to visit a customer site. I wasn't aware that I had an option beside standard Lead-Acid batteries for my UPS needs.
I think at least some of the Amazons are Cyberpowered as they look about identical.
 

jtr1962

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The problem is that the lithium UPS are mostly practical for business use where the high cost is offset by the reduced maintenance and other advantages. I'm not seeing any replacement batteries for the Tripplites, which also jacks up the cost if you have to sens it somewhere. I can spend $200-350 to replace the 6x internal and external AGM batteries in my main UPS, but that is a fraction of the cost. I suppose eventually the lithium UPS will be more practical. The only lithium (Li-ion) USP I have that are decent are the 12V kind for communications devices up to 3A. I suspect they are full of 18650 cells or similar.
That's why I would suggest using a standard UPS that takes lead-acid batteries but build your own LiFePO4 battery. You can get A123 cells in packs used for about $1 a cell. "Used" is a misnomer because when I checked the capacity, it was the same as new cells. To replace a 7Ah, 12V SLA battery you would need 16 A123 cells in a 4S4P arrangement. That gives you an 8Ah, 12V battery, or 7Ah if the used cells lost a little capacity. Add in a 100A BMS for about $10, and you can build the battery for $30 or so, plus your time. There are plenty of how-to's online. If you don't care about physically putting the battery in the UPS, you can even make a much larger capacity external battery using more cells. Still 4 in series for 12V, but as many in parallel as needed for the desired capacity.
 

Handruin

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I was considering making my own with LiFePO4 batteries also but I have questions/concerns on the best way to be able to charge them assuming my UPS isn't designed to charge to a higher voltage to get the 100% SoC when compared to a SLA. I was reading some suggestions of "disabling" the charging with a diode (maybe?) and then using something external to charge the LiFePO4. I also thought it might be neat to get one of those SOK or Trophy 5kWh server rack batteries with EVE or CATL cells that already come with BMS/breakers, etc to wire it into the UPS.
 

jtr1962

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Anything 13.8V or higher is enough to fully charge a 12V LiFePO4 battery. SLA needs at least that much or more to fully charge, so most UPSes are voltage compatible with LiFePO4.

Yes, a server rack with EVE or CATL would be an awesome backup battery for a UPS.

I also have 6 packs with 48 A123 cells in a 12S4P arrangement. I was thinking of using the cells in one of those packs with my APC UPS. I'd rewire them into a 4S12P arrangement, add a BMS, and end up with a 12V, 30Ah backup battery. That's enough to run my system for a few hours, even with both monitors on.
 

Handruin

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I'll want to pick your brain some more about this idea of building out a better battery at some point if you'd be up for it. I don't have time yet to build one right now with a couple other projects going on but maybe I can start a separate thread to get some ideas. I was thinking if I could find another used UPS to experiment with building this out.
 

jtr1962

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OK, no problem, I'm happy to help. I might dig out my APC UPS just to see what the charging voltage is, and if I can adjust it.
 

LunarMist

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The absorption phase is typically about 28V and the float about 26.8-27.3 depending on the UPS brand/model. It should be temperature compensated. However, I've seen some of the more primitive UPS just use the higher end of float voltage as the only charge. I'm not sure if that significantly reduces lead-acid battery life, but it might be a little low for the LiFePO4. I have seen a few low-power 12V models, but the run times are 1/2 or 2/3 at most.
 

jtr1962

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Those numbers are fine for LiFePO4. I actually made a charger which does the absorption at 3.5V and the float at 3.4V. Those numbers translate to 28V and 27.2V, respectively, for an 8 series battery. Sometimes they use 3.6 or 3.65 for the absorption phase just to get faster recharge times but for a UPS that's not terribly important. UPSes spent most of their life in float. For LiFePO4 floating in the high 3.30s or 3.4 per cell is optimal for battery life. Any more and it starts to degrade.
 

Adcadet

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So....to provide reasonable protection, and power for a few network devices for a short period of time (perhaps even <1 hour) but not servers, using conventional home power input, what what you get?
Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDXL?
CyberPower OR500LCDRM1U?
Eaton 5P?
Something else?
 

Handruin

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All of those are fairly expensive so it's a tough call to be able to suggest which one for you to get. Your requirements are to run a few networking devices for about an hour.

  • Cable modem (~25W)
  • Netgate router (~25W)
  • Mikotik switch (CRS5354-48P-2S+2Q+RM) (~40W)
    • two raspberry Pis via PoE (about 5W each)

So you're looking to run 90-100W for an hour? (I'm guessing here)

  • Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDXL (900W capacity) @ 100W might get you 50-60min runtime
  • CyberPower OR500LCDRM1U (300W capacity) @ 100W might get you about 20min runtime
  • Eaton 5P depends on capacity
I'd suggest if you want it to last about an hour, you'll need to find a UPS that offers 900+W in capacity. That means you'll need one that can hold at least two or more batteries.
 

LunarMist

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