CyberPower LX1500GU-FC UPS Tear-Down

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Nuckles_56

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This was really interesting thanks Daniel, I was surprised how many corners they cut when building this and I guess if I decide to buy a UPS, I'll have to do some serious research to ensure that the one I buy isn't like this
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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If you buy an UPS for the UPS function only, you can ignore the gimmick extras and that makes it ok-ish in my book. To get 9AH batteries from APC or Tripp-Lite, you need to spend 20-30% more,
 

Onus

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I would love to see a teardown of one of Cyberpower's APFC units. My Delta-built SG-650 WILL NOT run on a cheap UPS, but runs fine on a Cyberpower 1500PFCLCD (and on a smaller one as well). I'm curious as to how close to true-sine it really is; I believe it is a clipped-triangle, but I don't have an oscilloscope myself to check it.
What I saw in this review was not a "modified sine wave;" it looked a lot like a square wave with some funk at the corners.
 

gamebrigada

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I'm raging about cyberpower right now. Started buying their stuff about 2 and a half years ago because of good pricing. I have probably a dozen UPS's from them, 3 have failed in the past 3 months. Not looking good for the brand so far. Especially when I've never had an APC ups fail for any reason other than its batteries, with 10 year old models still holding their own.
 

Epsilon_0EVP

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Not being extremely knowledgeable in electrical circuitry, I find it extremely alarming that every teardown of a surge protector or battery backup I have seen on this site points out glaring manufacturing issues, cut corners, and overall shoddy design and workmanship. It makes me question how much safer my electronics actually are when connected to these devices, given that I seem to be eliminating one possible point of failure by introducing another one. Could anyone more knowledgeable provide some thoughts on this?
 

ammaross

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I disregard the ethernet and coax passthrus (for obvious, and now shown, reasons). However, I'd love to see a teardown of the Pure Sine wave units from CyberPower and APC (APC is my pref brand, but not usually a cheap to aquire, whereas CP is usually on a great sale somewhat often).
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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Most of them, sure. All of them? No. The SurgeArrest Performance, both the old model from 10+ years ago and the newer model currently on the market are quite decent for $30-40 US. For $10-20 more, the Tripp-Lite isobar knocks build quality up a few notches with proper power outlets, extruded aluminum body and beefier filter inductors. (Although the "isolated outlet banks" turned out to be questionable.) The SurgeX unit kicked that up a few more notches, although its $400 price tag is a "little" steep.

Right now, I'm trying to keep an eye on sales. While I was putting the LX1500 story together, I missed a sale on the PFC variant for only $10 extra. I didn't want to buy $400+ worth of UPS before knowing whether interest would be there.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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They call it "modified sine" because the bipolar return-to-zero waveform has lower total harmonic content than a plain square wave. It may not look sinusoidal but as far as the Fourrier transform is concerned, it should be close enough for most purposes.

As for the "funk at the corners", that's likely the transformer's inductance resonating with the PSU's EMI filter capacitors. There isn't much of it on the APC since the old BX1000 drives HVDC to its output through an H-bridge, not much bulk inductance for load caps to resonate with there.
 

Epsilon_0EVP

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Thanks for the reply; it is nice to see some reassurance after the tough first impressions these teardowns have left. If you don't mind, though, I would like to add some questions, since you're clearly more knowledgeable in this topic than I am.

If I am looking for battery backups, what do you find most recommendable? I am searching for both high power ones (~800W) for my main PC and lower power ones (~200W) for my home server. They would also preferably have Linux drivers, but that may be a tall order. I'm currently running an APC BE550G on my home server, since reviews for it looked decent, but I have no idea at all of what the actual build quality is, and I don't really want to take it apart to see.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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If you need your computers to run from battery for a while, the first thing I would look at is battery capacity: it does not matter if the UPS can output enough power to run your PC if its battery can only provide power for 3-5 minutes where you might prefer having 10+. Most of the time, this translates into getting UPS with much higher power/VA capacity than necessary for their larger batteries. If your PC really draws close to 800W, you will need to look at 1350-1500VA units and depending on how long you want the UPS to tough that out, you may need to consider models that can use external batteries like the BR1500G.

I simply buy the UPS with the biggest batteries I can find within the budget I am willing to spend. My PC and attached accessories may only use 150W under typical use but I like having the option of casually continuing to do whatever it was that I was doing for 20-30 minutes before worrying about shutting down or hibernating my PC. I would not be able to do that on a 500VA UPS and 7.2Ah/12V battery. The LX1500 should be able to manage 60+ minutes after I turn off non-essential stuff.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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Depends on the definition of "slightly" here. On my side of the border, the LX1500 was $180 vs $280 for the BR1500G at the time of purchase. Right now, they are $200 and $270 respectively, still a 35% premium for APC.
 

spadam_2000

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Love these articles. I would like to see a strip down of a Tripp Lite Isobar HT10DBS, or similar. Or even a full-house surge protector such as an Eaton CHSPT2MICRO. Thanks!
 

Thunder64

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Long time reader, first comment.

Onus, I have the same 1500PFCLCD. It seems to be very close to a real sine wave. With my old APC the PSU would make that buzzing sound when running on battery. With the cyberpower, it does not. I also liked how it comes with 8.5AH batteries, as opposed to the common 7AH. I had replaced the batteries in my APC with 9AH, but I figure two fresh 8.5AH are the same or better than two older 9AH ones.

Also, check out this youtube video where they check the output of the 1500PGCLCD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QlF5vJlXaA
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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For the isobar, I would expect the internals to be almost exactly the same as the model I did a tear down of last year, except for the addition of cable, POTS and network surge protection.
http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/684-tripp-lite-isobar-tear-down.html

Whole-house surge suppressors would not be terribly exciting since most are little more than banks of parallel MOVs up to the rated surge current, potted for increased heat absorption capacity, improved thermal coupling with thermal limit fuses, fire prevention and weatherproofing. Since these protectors are usually meant to be fed through breakers for safety reasons, you lose some effectiveness from the surge suppressor being located downstream from its breaker's coils. That's assuming the surge protector's breakers survive... https://youtu.be/gOUSDDLKICk?t=1648
 

spadam_2000

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Thanks Daniel! I must've missed the article on that isobar! Thanks for the link! Yeah, I figured the whole house surge protector would be more simple, but if it is a more viable alternative to traditional surge protectors. Since the whole-house is in parallel instead of series with equipment, I figured it might not protect as well. I appreciate the knowledge and feedback!
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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All surge protection operates in parallel with the loads they are intended to protect since their very function is to provide a lower impedance path between live/hot and ground/neutral than the protected equipment does.

The main benefit of a whole-home surge suppressor when all wiring is installed correctly is that when all the home's grounds are bonded and surge-protected at the meter or electrical distribution panel, it minimizes ground voltage differences between all the different cables (power, phone, coax, outdoor antenna, etc.) coming into the home, which should prevent surges from jumping between connected equipment since everything within the home is referenced to the same panel ground. Once you start connecting equipment powered from cable runs routed along different walls though, you effectively form single-turn transformer windings for the magnetic fields from lightning storms to couple into and make your equipment vulnerable to induced surges. This applies to point-of-use surge protectors too.

The main benefit of point-of-use surge protection is that you do not need to remodel the breaker box, get an electrician, landlord permission or do anything else to fit them, you just plug them in and get a convenient location to plug all your stuff in, ideally including all external connections to avoid letting a surge into your "protected island" through coax/phone/LAN.
 

KaiserPhantasma

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Long time reader, first comment.

Onus, I have the same 1500PFCLCD. It seems to be very close to a real sine wave. With my old APC the PSU would make that buzzing sound when running on battery. With the cyberpower, it does not. I also liked how it comes with 8.5AH batteries, as opposed to the common 7AH. I had replaced the batteries in my APC with 9AH, but I figure two fresh 8.5AH are the same or better than two older 9AH ones.

Also, check out this youtube video where they check the output of the 1500PGCLCD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QlF5vJlXaA

its funny because for the last 2 years I've been eyeing that same UPS myself... and I think this your post and that youtube video (which I saw also two years ago) proves that certain line of UPS from cyberpower actually does what it claims and is "bang for your buck"
 

Memhorder

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I've got a couple 1500VA AVR from CP and reading this kinda disappointed me a little......But. All I needed it for was Battery Backup and it has done it's job nicely on a few occasions. I got dirty rotten power grid in the country with constant fluctuations and outage and it's saved me some hassle. I laugh at brownouts :) Thanks Daniel for the tear down. I was always curious if i should be plugging my Ethernet cables into it but now I'm sure not to
 

Onus

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Wow, I'm at home and could finally check that out. That's a lot better than I expected, to be sure.

Next question, are consumer-grade UPS units like that capable of being run continuously? For example, consider an off-grid location with 12V battery banks, but no commercial A/C. Could one of these run a ham radio, a PC, lighting, and other non-inductive loads (e.g. not refrigerators, power tools, or a window A/C unit) for significant portions of the day?

 
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