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20-10-2014


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APC Back-UPS Pro 550 UPS: review and testing

Company APC is another veteran on the market of uninterruptible power supply (UPS hereinafter). Its recent fusion with corporation Schneider Electric did not to spell the death of the brand APC, on the contrary, positively affected its future. At least from the time of signing the contract, APC is constantly updating its range and expands the market. You just need to visit official website of the manufacturer and look at the impressive list of countries of imported APC products.  

Under this brand are produced UPS of different class, but for the masses the greatest interest are solutions of line-interactive type. Model APC Back-UPS Pro 550 with nominal power of 330 W, which will be discussed in this review, belongs to them.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

The specs:

Producer

APC

Model

Back-UPS Pro 550

(BR550GI)

Type

Line-Interactive

Output signal

Approximated sinusoid

Capacity, VА/W

550 / 330

Input supply parameters

Nominal supply voltage, V

230

Voltage range without transfer to battery-operated mode, V

176 - 282

Frequency, Hz

50/60 ±3

Max current strength at nominal load, A

6

Output supply parameters

Nominal supply voltage, V

230

Supply voltage deviation in all-mains mode (AVR), %

-

Supply voltage deviation in battery-operated mode, %

±8

Battery-operated mode frequency, Hz

50/60 ±1

Current strength (at voltage 230 V), A

-

Battery

Type

Unpackaged, does not require service, quick-changeable

Q-ty of batteries

1

Nominal voltage, V

-

Capacity of each battery, A*h

-

Capacity of each battery according given voltage level, VA*h

84

Battery life at voltage 50% / 100%, min

12 / 3

Complete charging of the battery, h

12

Overalls

Efficiency, %

Load 50%

84

Load 100%

77

Noise level, dB

-

Communication interfaces

Data Port with connection of USB or RS232 cables

Plug sockets

standby battery power supply

3 x IEC-320 C13

without standby battery power supply

3 x IEC-320 C13

LCD-display

Yes

Protection of communication lines (telephone/LAN)

Yes

Optional feature

Regular automatic diagnostic of battery state; capability to adjust input voltage range when UPS transfers to offline operation mode

Dimensions, mm

190 х 91 х 310

Weight with battery, kg

6,53

Warranty, years

2

Producer website

APC

Product page

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Packaging, set of delivery and design

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

UPS APC Back-UPS Pro 550 is shipped in cardboard box which provides protection against shock and possible mechanical damages. Despite the absence of bright printing, the packaging is quite informative. It has the lists all the advantages of this model with detailed representation of the rear panel, as well as briefly described types of protection, capabilities of module AVR and software PowerChute Personal Edition.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Also on the box we found an interesting table that indicates the types of computer configurations and the time during which they can work on the APC Back-UPS Pro 550 in offline mode.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

The package includes the following components you may need in the process of connecting the UPS and its use:

  • two power cords (type IEC-C320 13/C14) for connecting devices to the UPS;
  • cable-adapter from the connector Data Port to USB to connect the UPS to the computer;
  • cable with RJ-11 connectors;
  • CDs with software and documentation;
  • manual.

Also in the box we would like to see the power cord to connect the UPS to the mains. At least the other manufacturers do not save money on this component.

Design

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Model APC Back-UPS Pro 550 has a traditional UPS of entry-level shape and layout. Battery compartment and main transformer are in the lower part of the body, so the device has excellent stability. We would also like to note the compact size (190 x 91 x 310 mm) and relatively light weight (6.53) of UPS that did not affect the strength and stiffness of the whole structure. To build quality and fit of body panels is high. Taking into account the low nominal power (330 W), the manufacturer refused to use active ventilation inside.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

There is no sense to describe the appearance of the model APC Back-UPS Pro 550. It is not the computer case and the design is not important. However, the UPS will fit perfectly into the PC. Even located on the table it will not spoil the interior of a room or office.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550The front panel is remarkable by small LCD-display and three control buttons: central is used to turn on the device, left - to turn off the audible alarm, using the right button you can change the parameters that are displayed on the screen. Simultaneously pressing of two outer buttons activate the power saving mode.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Note that the display has a high brightness and well-read symbols. At the same time the menu is not overloaded with information: it displays only the most relevant information that will be useful to the user during normal operation of the device. The first is, of course the battery and the battery life. In addition, with the help of the screen you can learn about the power status of the input and output UPS mode APC Back-UPS Pro 550, as well as to track and prevent the occurrence of critical situations, such as overload or excessive heating of the internal components.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

All interfaces are on the rear part of the case. Its upper part has LAN-ports (RJ45) to protect the local network or a telephone line from high voltage spikes (for example, when a lightning strike to the wire), reusable circuit breaker 7 A and connector Data Port. The latter serves to connect the UPS to a computer via the appropriate supplied cable.

At the bottom is the input to the power cord and six outputs for powering connected devices. All outlets conform to standard IEC-320 C13, so its use requires special cables IEC-320 C13/C14. Recall that two of these are already included, and the rest will have to buy separately.
Also, a few words should be said about the configuration of sockets. As you can see, they are divided into two groups, as well as painted in different colors. Backup battery power is supplied only on the left lane outlets (with a mark «Battery Backup»), while the outputs of the right lane (with a mark «Surge Only») do not have such opportunity and run continuously from the network. In this function the line filter and overvoltage protection is implemented for all connectors. The same can be said about the technology of automatic control of the supply voltage at the output (AVR). Thus, the outlets of the left row are recommended to connect a PC, monitor, and other devices, instant blackout which can lead to loss of information or impede the orderly shutdown. Others should be used to supply various kinds of peripherals.

Now let's get to the output color. Sockets of gray color support the power saving function, the essence of which is as follows: devices that are connected to a pair of outputs with the inscription «Controlled by MASTER», will be forced to shut down when the load is removed from the socket marked as «MASTER». Moreover, the expression "forced disconnect" we mean a complete blackout of components. In other words, even the passive mode does not consume any energy. Again, this mode is best suited for the periphery.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Also on the case we have found just such a printout with a detailed report on the results of the passage of this sample of the UPS of factory tests in amount of about 40 pieces. Agree, this approach by the manufacturer gives us confidence in the reliability of APC Back-UPS Pro 550 and minimizes the possibility of the appearance of failure in the stores.

Battery

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

A battery consisting of a single element with a capacity parameter APC RBC110 84 VA*h is used in the tested model. The other characteristics of the battery are not given on the official website. We can only note that the lifetime is in the range of 3-5 years, depending on operating conditions.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

The battery access is provided by removing the special cover on the bottom of the housing. Due to this design you don’t need to disassemble the entire UPS, and extraction or replacement of the battery takes a few minutes.

Internal device

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Structurally, the UPS case consists of several parts. One of them is attached to the battery compartment; the second contains all the electronics and a massive auto-transformer, and the last has the socket, interface connectors, and some elements of the line filter. We propose to consider all of these components in more details.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

First of all we would like to highlight the excellent quality of the soldering and mounting elements, as well as an elaborate arrangement of the main circuit board. Part of capacitors with a liquid electrolyte battery compartment is replaced by more reliable solid-state analogues.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Model APC Back-UPS Pro 550 belongs to the family of line-interactive UPS with Approximated sinusoid in output. According to the specification, the maximum load at the output can be up to 330 W.

The structure scheme includes switchable with autotransformer winding, thereby expanding the range of input voltage at which the device does not transfer to battery operation. It is 176 - 282 V, which can be manually expanded to 155 - 290 V. However you should remember that trigger point of module AVR will be changed. Therefore we recommend in most cases the use a standard scheme.

What is the advantage of UPS with AVR support compared with the solutions without this function (type off-line)? As you can already guess from the previous words, it is the ability to work in a wider range of input voltages without going offline, thereby significantly saving battery life. In addition, there is no need to purchase an external stabilizer, if your power supply is often the case of subsidence voltage.

By the way, the autotransformer belongs to the class «B», and can bear heat up to 130°C.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Switching between stages block AVR and units UPS is realized by means of 3-mechanical relays with the characteristics of 12 A x 250 V and one more powerful 16 A. As can be sure, many of the components are chosen with a fairly large margin of safety, which should favorably affect the duration of life model APC Back-UPS Pro 550.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

UPS input has a filter to smooth the noise, which includes several X- and Y-capacitors, chokes and varistor.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

To reduce the high-frequency interference the power cables are threaded through the ferrite rings.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Central board space is reserved for the battery charger and DC/AC-inverter that converts the DC voltage from the battery to AC with the required amplitude and delivers it to the output for connection to the load. The converter includes four power transistors IR L3803V, built according the technology HEXFET. To cool them thick aluminum radiators in the form of columns are applied.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

UPS APC Back-UPS Pro 550 operates under a 32-bit ARM-based processor STM32F102C8T6 with frequency of 48 MHz.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

As we reported above, almost all the nodes use solid capacitors. Only in the high part are elements with liquid electrolyte, which are produced under the brands Jamicon and Chang. And it is not the worst choice. Also they all belong to the high-temperature series (up to 105°C).

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Protection of low-current networks (telephone or computer standard of Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mb/s) against overvoltage is implemented on a small board; there is a good contact with the grounding.

APC Back-UPS Pro 550

Also inside the UPS we found the temperature sensor in the battery compartment, which provides protection against overheating. For a device of this class it is a great advantage.


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