Computer equipment is getting more expensive and more delicate. Even the slightest power fluctuation could fry your video card or power supply. Because of this, Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) have become much more popular and affordable. A UPS can seem pretty trivial next to flashy video cards or LCD displays, but when it comes to protecting your computer from lightning strikes or other power problems they are one of the most important pieces of equipment and insurance you can have. Belkin offers one such UPS and it looks like it could be a winner.
- USB and Serial communication ports for multi-computer management
- Included Power Management Software
- 3-Year Product Warranty
- $100,000 Connected Equipment Warranty
- Data Recovery Warranty
- Automatic Voltage Regulation for line conditioning and protection against brownouts
- 1 In, 1 Out RJ45 jack with surge protection
- 1-In, 2-Out RJ11 Telephone/Fax Surge Protection
- 6 surge protected outlets, 4 with battery backup
- 80 Minutes of backup time
Weighing in at 21.34 lbs with dimensions of 4.57 x 8.98 x 12.95 inches the 1100VA is not for the faint of heart. It’s not that it is overly heavy, it is just so small that when you go to pick it up you expect it to lift easily. It’s not very difficult to set up. The user manual suggests that you let it charge for about 6 hours before you plug anything in. I would strongly advise that you follow these instructions because if you don’t, you could end up voiding your warranty and damaging the battery. You may even consider charging it for the full 12 hours that it takes to get 100%.
After it has charged completely you need to find a place that is out of the way to put it. You don’t want this thing getting in the way because it is heavy, and you could hurt yourself if you tripped over it or kicked it with a bare toe. I put mine under my desk where it won’t cause any accidents. Plugging in your computer is no more difficult than plugging it into the wall. You only need to make sure you use the battery backed up plugs and not the surge only protected plugs. The battery backed up plugs are the four plugs closest to the front and they are indicated with words and lines, so they are hard to miss.
Most UPS that I have seen all have the same design. A fairly boring box with lights on the front that indicate if you are running on battery or plug power. They changed this model or UPS by moving the plugs from the back to the top. The plugs are well-spaced, and don’t face vertically, which allows you to plug in those cables with big transformer blocks without the fear of blocking other outlets. This isn’t a problem with the pc or monitor plug, but for speakers or a scanner you may have to fight with a bigger plug. Having the outlets turned is a very appreciated feature. I am sure this has been a frustration for a lot of you who have often been stuck with inadequate power because of blocked outlets on a more traditionally aligned surge protector. Having the plugs on the top is a little inconvienent for me because I can no longer stack the UPS or use it as a foot rest under my desk. I would turn it on the side if I was not worried about blocking the air vents and over heating the 1100VA.
The back of the 1100VA has 1 In, 1 Out RJ45 jack ,and a 1 In, 2 Out RJ11 jack with surge protection. According to experts you can fry your computers modem or network card by leaving them connected directly to the wall. You will also find a square usb and a serial port, these are for connecting to your computer so it can monitor the status of your UPS. You can actually use both at the same time so you can have multiple computers monitoring the UPS. This is in case you have more than one computer plugged into it and you need them both to shutdown when the battery gets low. In the off chance that you get a surge that the UPS cannot handle and it flips its internal circuit breaker, there is a reset switch on the back you can press to bring it back online.
On the front of the UPS 1100VA there are 3 led lights that are easy to understand. The green LED tells users everything is okay and that power voltages are in check. A yellow LED indicates when power voltages are either too high or too low and the battery is in use. Lastly, A red LED warns users that the internal batteries are critically low or dead.
There are four different alarms which will warn you about all the different things that are going on when you are using the UPS.
Battery BACK UP (Slow Alarm) When the UPS is in battery BACK-UP mode, the On Battery (Yellow LED) illuminates and the UPS sounds an audible alarm. The alarm stops when the UPS returns to normal ON LINE operation.
Low Battery (Rapid Alarm) When the UPS is in battery BACK-UP mode and the battery energy begins to run low, the UPS will beep rapidly until it shuts down from a depleted battery or returns to ON LINE normal operation.
OVERLOAD (Continuous Alarm) When the UPS is overloaded (the connected loads exceed the maximum rated capacity), the UPS emits a continuous alarm to warn of an overload condition. Disconnect nonessential equipment from the UPS to eliminate the overload.
FAULT (10 Seconds Continuously) When the output is shorted, the UPS emits a 10 seconds continuous alarm to warn of a short condition. Disconnect the equipment from the UPS prior to checking the equipment.
Another feature of the UPS 1100VA is it’s ability to regulate the power signal going to the computer. Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR for short) is most useful when brownouts occur (when voltage dips below 90 Volts). During such periods the UPS 1100VA will switch to battery mode for the duration of the brownout to ensure the computer is getting a clean and steady voltage (between 110V-120V).
Should the UPS 1100VA fail during the three year warranty period and data is lost, Belkin will provide their customers with professional data recovery services free of charge. There is also a $150,000 connected equipment warranty as well. It’s nice to see Belkin not only warranty their products, but guarantee that devices attached to the UPS will not get damaged as well.
This is probably the most important part of this review and what most of you are looking for. Who really cares how it looks; if it cannot perform, you most likely
won’t buy it. Well you have nothing to fear from this product because it performs exceptionally well.
Belkin claims that this device can provide 80 minutes of battery power which would give even the slowest person enough time to back up their data. I could not find any information about what kind of load you should have to get the 80 minutes of back time so we will see what my computer gets. My computer, which I consider an above average computer, draws about a 39% load. I have a 24″ widescreen LCD monitor and mid-tower which has a 500 Watt power supply, Dual core AMD 64, three hard drives, two Nvidia 7800 GT video cards, a network card, sound card, floppy and two DVD drives.
In order to get a true feel for how well this UPS performs I decided to test how long my computer would last. I unplugged the USB cable so that windows wouldn’t try to shutdown when the battery got low. I let it charge up all the way, which is 100%, and then unplugged the UPS from the wall and started my stopwatch. It started making a beeping alarm noise indicating that it was running on batteries. This noise can be turned off by using the software or by pressing the power button on the UPS for less than two seconds. Another thing that happened immediatly after unplugging the UPs was that wihin about 5 seconds the battery level had dropped to about 70%. After the battery got low, about 24%, it started beeping again and this time I could not turn it off and the alarm kept going until the battery died. After the computer turned off due to lack of power I stopped the stopwatch and it read 11 minutes and 54 seconds. This is way less then the 80 minutes that Belkin claims. I was so surprised that I had to go back to the belkin website and check it again. On both the website and the techinical specs for this UPS it clearly states 80 minutes of backup time, but in the user manual it only states 1.5~4 minutes. So which is it? I have written Belkin an email asking them and I am waiting to hear back. I will update the forum when I get my answer.
The Software that comes with the Belkin Universal UPS 1100VA is Belkin Bulldog Plus. The software user manual says it best, “Bulldog Plus allows for automatic shutdowns, scheduled shutdowns and a variety of other features that help you manage your system and its peripheral components. Bulldog Plus provides detailed information about the UPS and its protected equipment. It is easy to install and program, yet has the necessary features to handle all of one’s power requirements. Included is the capability for network management protocol (SNMP and DMI). Bulldog Plus will disseminate UPS information into SNMP protocol and project it to the appropriate Network Management Station (NMS), such as HP OpenView. To make use of resources on the Internet, Bulldog Plus also supports HTTP protocol. This enables end-users to monitor their UPS anywhere, anytime, by simply utilizing their web browser. Bulldog Plus runs in the background as a Windows service, and communicates with the UPS in order to ensure that your computer and attached components are protected from any power problems.” If that’s not enough for you the software also has several different methods of notifying you or anyone when the power goes out. It can email, page and send network broadcasts.
Bulldog Plus features:
- Graceful operating system shutdown
- Scheduled tests, shutdown/restarts of the UPS, turn on/off receptacles
- Flexible events
- Notification: Pager, e-mail and audible alarm, network broadcasting and SNMP
- Real-time values of voltage, current, frequency and loading…
- Historical data & graph
- Network monitoring
- Multi-computer shutdown/restart
- Support Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
- Support Desktop Management Interface (DMI)
- Support HTTP, remote monitor and control using Internet browser
- Support Universal Serial Bus (USB)
- Multi-lingual menus
Warranty and Support
I found it hard to come up with negative things that I could put in my review. The most glaring is the deceitful advertising about the running time of the battery. The warranty is everything you could ask for. They offer 3 years on a battery, which is excellent, try to get a 3 year warranty on other rechargeable batteries. For example, DELL computers only offer a one year warranty on their laptop batteries. Obviously a company cannot warranty hardware for a lifetime because products wear out, especially batteries.
Besides the battery run-time issues, I am really impressed with the Belkin Universal UPS 1100VA and the number of features Belkin has managed to squeeze into what is essentially a battery. These features make a difference between worring about your computer during a power outage, or resting comfortably with the knowledge that in the evet of a power problem the UPS will take care of things itself.
For critical systems, or environments where power is spotty, a UPS like the Belkin 1100VA is a must have, and a good investment in piece of mind. This UPS is an excellent value for any budget and if you look around you can get it for a bit less then retail. So if you are looking for a UPS then go out and get this one now, because you never know when the next blackout will hit. As always, compare prices before you buy.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|