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  1. #1
    Senior Member GoSUV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    TEST REPORT: UPS for your reef tank!

    During this past week I have finally purchased a UPS for my tank, designed to provide backup power to essential equipment in the case of a short power outage (<3 hours). In prolonged power outages, a generator is needed, no question about it, but you should have gotten enough advanced notices about it (no excuses of being at the office) and would have done something about it to prevent your livestock from premature demise.

    Test object
    I purchased the APS ES350 from Staples, which is rated at 350VA/200W, designed for use with computers. It is $64.99 + taxes. It has a sealed lead-acid battery (similar type to what your car uses, but sealed for safety). On the box, it claims that it can keep a typical desktop computer, with a 15" monitor, on backup power for 5 minutes. Just enough time to save your work and shut down the computer gracefully. It also has a USB port and extra s/w so your computer can automagically do all the work for you should you left your computer on during a power outage and are not in close proximity to intervene.

    It has 3 outlets for battery backup + surge protection, and an extra 3 outlets for surge protection only. All outlets are grounded 3-prong plugs.

    It's nothing more complicated than just plug-n-play. Since I never intended to use this for my computer, I never got to test its software and auto-shutdown capability. This is strictly for reef tank use. Once you plug the UPS in, the battery will recharge, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. It takes 16 hours to re-charge the battery fully. This unit may not be for you if you experience numerous outages within a day, for example. But for most of us who live in a city, 16 hours of recharge time should be pretty short. When the UPS is running on battery power only, it will provide a warning beep and if the battery is nearly exhausted, a constant tone will sound and soon it dies.

    My test
    I let the battery fully recharge by plugging it in and letting it sit for 24 hours before testing. Before the test, I prepared a bucket of water and plug a powerhead into the UPS to verify that both are operational. The powerhead is a Rena 750, rated at 8.5 watts and provides 200gph. Similar to a MaxiJet 600 I guess.

    Then it is time to "pull the plug". The UPS immediately switched to battery power, as confirmed by the beep every 30 seconds. The powerhead had run continuously for 3.5 hours, without a hiccup. Then it was time I decided to stop the test as it met my objective, and didn't want to completely drain the battery as I don't know if it will shorten its lifespan. Honestly I should have just let it run out of power and measure how long it really lasts, but I have better things to do during the day then watching a powerhead circulating a bucket of water  ;D And the warning beep every 30 seconds can get annoying as hell as it wore on  >

    This APS unit satisfied me as being a backup power source in the case of a power outage and is quite reasonable in price. I limit myself to what I plug into the UPS as more equipment will drain the battery faster. For now I just plug my HOB protein skimmer (10 watt pump) to it since it will provide oxygen exchange and some water circulation.

    Also keep in mind that this ES350 model is the least expensive model I found in the APS line and there are certainly more expensive (and thus battery capacity) models that is available should you require more equipment to be protected.

    If the authors of "Finding Nemo" knew anything about Clownfishes, Marlin would turn into a female and Nemo would become her new husband.

  2. #2
    ijo is offline
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Re: TEST REPORT: UPS for your reef tank!

    nice paper.... GoSUV

    I can see a another advantage with aquariums with CPR type overflow boxes.  A power outage causes 99% of the floods for these systems and having one of these power supplies as back could save you from joining the "Wet Floor Club".  


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