Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
I have a 8 kw APC SURT10000XLT UPS on its way, for use with my Prius and as a backup for my 6 kw Liebert UPS with my house battery. It appears PowerChute will allow me to monitor the vitals and configure the unit via an Ethernet connection, I'm curious if anyone has experience with this software. I started installing the latest version last night (its a free download from APC) and stopped when it gave me three choices. I think it was to install a server, a client, and something else I don't remember. There seems to be some overlap between them. Not sure if I can get by with one of them or if I need more than one.
4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is

Comments

  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Solar Expert Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    That is one spectacular UPS. I think that you may be about to surpass Richard Factor as the Prius UPS man.

    Were you somehow able to get it used for a much more reasonable price? I only ask because to spend the money for a new one is a major investment. Of course, not having to buy a big generator will offset at least partially whatever was paid for the UPS.

    And, as an added benefit, the Prius will emit much, much less pollution than a regular generator.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    eBay is a wonderful thing, sometimes. Both my Liebert and APC UPSs were under $200. The old supply-demand curve. These things are designed to be mid-level computer room UPSs and so have several requirements that your average home user won't live with (and the companies that can afford the new ones @ $6k+ don't want them used).

    1. They require a 192 volt battery bank (16 batteries), and off the shelf they usually come with 32. 32 sealed lead-acids are very expensive to replace, and heavy.
    2. They are big. My Liebert is the size of a 2-drawer file cabinet on wheels. The APC is the size of two mid-size tower PCs - newer technology so smaller than the 10 year old Liebert, but still not "small".
    3. Even w/o batteries they are fairly heavy, around 100 pounds each.

    So they are cheap, and their DC input range is perfect for use with a Prius! I converted my Liebert over to 16 flooded lead-acids, way more capacity for the buck.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • arghhharghhh Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    Does the UPS have a direct Ethernet connection or a communication card with the port on it? You might be able to just set the IP address, connect it to your network and navigate to the UPS IP to get a webpage with all that information you are looking for.

    These larger UPS have much more robust communication options such as Modbus, SNMP and email alerts.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    It arrived last night so I hooked it up to put a charge on its batteries. Of course when I took a look at the back... the communication card has been removed. No cheap ones on eBay. It does have a serial port. I've ordered the proprietary serial cable and the manual says it will connect as a Terminal session... so I might not need to use PowerChute. Maybe I still can, I may try. Still not sure if I need to install all 3 parts of the software.

    My next hurdle is finding a center-tap transformer. While my Liebert natively outputs 120/240 split phase, the APC is single-phase only (no neutral) with voltage of 200 or 208, or 220 or 240.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    I think you just want the client of the software. Server would be to connect multiple of the units together I'd imagine. Client should talk to just 1. I don't think it would really matter.
  • arghhharghhh Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?
    techntrek wrote: »

    My next hurdle is finding a center-tap transformer. While my Liebert natively outputs 120/240 split phase, the APC is single-phase only (no neutral) with voltage of 200 or 208, or 220 or 240.

    I don't have any APC comm cards, you might be pretty limited with the serial port only. It looks like it's just for configuration. I am sort of surprised it is 208/240v only and it does not specify the phase displacement of the different voltages.

    Is it 208V 120 degree, 240V 180 degree? It will matter if you plan to put it through a transformer. I am obviously sort of biased against APC :P
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    APC units with DB-9 serial ports will send most of the information that the network interface card provides. I've used several linux ups monitoring programs to log and monitor power for ordered shutdowns via serial ports on servers at home and work.

    This is the 'smart' protocol for the DB-9 serial port. http://grox.net/man/ups/apcsmart.html

    I mainly used the linux versions of this software but they do have a windows version. http://www.apcupsd.com/
    If the serial ports uses "Microlink" with the rj-45 plug you're out of luck with anything other than their (APC) software unless you have a interface card.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Anyone have experience with APC PowerChute software?

    No degree offset since it isn't split phase or multi-phase, just straight 208 (or one of the other settings) L-L-G, a single sine wave.

    I've solved my transformer problem, APC has a unit called SURT003 which has a center-tap isolation transformer built in, 4800 VA, hooked to 8 standard 20 amp 120 V outlets and one 30 amp 120/240 twist lock. So perfect for portable power in the Prius or at home hooked up to my dedicated UPS sub-panel. Cheap used, like the UPS. Way cheaper than a transformer alone of a similar capacity.

    nsa - thanks, I'll check that out. The serial cable arrived today... but of course both my laptop and my wife's don't have serial ports! My desktop which does is currently out of commission so I've orderd a USB-to-9-pin-serial adapter. First job is to just hook it up via Terminal so I can adjust the output from 208 to 240. Then I may play around with more advanced software to see if I can get the other vitals remotely.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
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