VOGONS


First post, by Hoping

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I understand that this type of question may not fit in this forum, but since it is the only one in which I am active and I pay attention to it and I think there are users with many years of experience; I am hoping someone can guide me.
Ok, the fact is that I live in an area where UPS systems are almost essential, depending on what you value your hardware of course.
I have been offered an Alcatel AL 1000-UF for which I have not been able to find any information, the only thing I know is that it has an output power of around 1400W (230v*6.3A).
It seems great to me but three things give me doubts, one that the dates that have been mentioned to me are around 1991 and another that from what I see in the photographs I think it would need 48v batteries to work, that is, a minimum of four 12v batteries in series, maybe a modern 48v would also be an option, but... the price of the batteries is important. And I don't know the most important thing for me either, I don't know if it's online, offline, line interactive, double conversion, if it's offline I wouldn't be interested since voltage drops are also common here, not just blackouts.

I am interested in knowing more because they have offered me that UPS at a cheap price from my point of view, around €30.
I am concerned about efficiency considering its age, reliability not so much since from what I see in the photographs it is full of Rubycon capacitors.
In short, although I already have some experience with UPS, I have APC, Emerson, Rielo, but I didn't know anything about Alcatel, and that's why I'm worried about investing in batteries without knowing more so that it turns out not to be useful.
I understand that this type of question may not fit in this forum, but since it is the only one in which I am active and I pay attention to it and I think there are users with many years of experience; I am hoping someone can guide me.
Ok, the fact is that I live in an area where UPS systems are almost essential, depending on what you value your hardware of course.
I have been offered an Alcatel AL 1000-UF for which I have not been able to find any information, the only thing I know is that it has an output power of around 1400W (230v*6.3A). It seems great to me but two things give me doubts, one that the dates that have been mentioned to me are around 1991 and another that from what I see in the photographs I think it would need 48v batteries to work, that is, a minimum of four 12v batteries in series, maybe a modern 48v would also be an option, but... the price of the batteries is important. And I don't know the most important thing for me either, and I don't know if it's online, offline, line interactive, double conversion, if it's offline I wouldn't be interested since voltage drops are also common here, not just blackouts.

I am interested in knowing more because they have offered me that sai at a cheap price from my point of view, around €30.
I am concerned about efficiency considering its age, reliability not so much since from what I see in the photographs it is full of Rubycon capacitors.
In short, although I already have some experience with sais, I have APC, Emerson, Rielo, but I didn't know anything about Alcatel, and that's why I'm worried about investing in batteries without knowing more so that it turns out not to be useful.

Please, if someone considers that the question should not be here, let me know, thanks.

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Last edited by Hoping on 2022-06-05, 14:50. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 27, by majestyk

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Depending on the value of the hardware - or - even more important - the value of your data I would prefer a brandnew UPS because of it´s higher reliability.
The system in the picture looks quite "worn out", there´s corrosion and it looks like it has suffered considerable overheating (or decades of 24/7 use) and this means a potentially higher risk of failure - be it due to ageing components, circuit boards or contacts.

Reply 2 of 27, by cyclone3d

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I will also only go new or close to new.

After having to get 3 replacements for a brand new APC for our server room before they sent me one that worked fully, I won't touch APC anymore. That 3rd replacement also only lasted about 2 years before it started having issues.

Another thing you want to take into account is that pretty much all older UPSes are not going to be good for newer systems because of the way they supply the battery power.

You will want to know for sure that the UPS is the correct type for the power supplies in the computers you will be plugging into it or you may end up with prematurely failing power supplies

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Reply 3 of 27, by Hoping

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Thank you very much, I understand the logic in the comments. They told me that they have several UPSs like this, so I suppose that somewhere they are going to leave them out of service, not only that one, on the other hand it is also curious because it is very different from what I know.
Well, who knows what environment they were working in.
Another issue is seniority, since they are many years old, but if they were three or four years old, even five or ten, I wouldn't doubt it much, why?
Many will ask, why a quality device that has been working for a few years, for the right price, I like it better than a new one since statistically it is less likely to fail than a new device. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if I bought a new one and it failed at least under warranty or shortly after, (planned obsolescence)
I bought all the UPS I have used and none of them ever failed, but none of them are that old.
The oldest I've bought is a 2003 Emerson that was about ten years old when I bought it and to this day it never failed in any way so it's already around twenty years old and it's still there working.
As for whether it would work properly with modern devices, well... that's the main reason I'm looking for information about then.

Reply 4 of 27, by majestyk

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In most cases the distribution of the likelyhood for a failure looks like a bathtub. It´s high at the very beginning of it´s life-cycle, then falls to a minimum, stays there for many years just to rise skyhigh towards the end of the life-cycle.
Eventual failures at the beginning are covered by warranty. If the pictured legacy UPS (that´s probably also not very energy efficient) is already nearing the end of it´s life cycle you´ve been sold a pup.

Reply 5 of 27, by Hoping

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The truth is, I think more or less the same, I'm just not sure when the life cycle of some devices is supposed to end.
And I also pretty inclined to think that these UPSs doesn't worth it especially given their age.
The reason I'm thinking about it carefully is that about five years ago I missed an opportunity to have an Emerson double conversion UPS of what I recall 4600W, which was retired the first time its batteries died only because the owner has a ton of money and I don't However, it was in a bad time for me and the UPS used I think twenty batteries that I think cost around €500 new, so I felt bad for not being able to keep it since with something like that it would cover the entire house. And without taking into account what a new UPS like that costs, the price they asked me was €1000.
It was an impressive device, it had no plugs, it was connected directly to the mains input, I don't remember all the details because I preferred not to investigate much so as not to feel worse:(
Also, it took two people to move it.😀

But the current case has nothing to do with it so, in the absence of some very relevant information and especially taking into account that the answers were in line with what I thought, I will let them pass.
Thanks.

Reply 6 of 27, by mR_Slug

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I've had some limited experience with UPSs. That Alcatel looks very much like a black APC one i've seen. Perhaps you can look for APC ones of the same wattage and see if its a rebrand.

I got a compaq R3000 3Kw one and that served my needs well. Eventually the battery's died a second time and by that time I'd moved to an area that didn't have constant outages. Computer control was my main need to shutdown them safely, and battery time, as often we'd have 5min outages. I'd go for server stuff, it is just higher quality. Though i do have a little APC 400 from like 93 that worked last time i used it. If you can't find anything on it and you need computer control, then i guess its a bad deal. Do you have long outages, and have a backup generator? If so i guess computer control is less of an issue.

Two other options, Solar systems now offer battery storage for the night. May want to look into that, though it is probably expensive. Alternatively, go low power and use laptops.

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Reply 7 of 27, by chiveicrook

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Since Alcatel is a telco company I'd guess this unit spent last 20 years working 24/7 in a base station somewhere. Design looks dated, definitely 90s stuff (which is not necessarily bad) and might suffer from poor switching time. Not worth the risk IMHO.
I'd try to find a used professional class APC UPS. Quite often companies get rid of them after service contract ends and batteries die and they tend to sell cheap. While consumer grade APC's are a bit of hit and miss, the older professional ones enjoy good support and good battery compatibility; I remember some models could even work with car batteries (and had a special charging option for them).

Reply 8 of 27, by Hoping

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Supply issues here aren't as critical as in some places, the most common issue are voltage spikes and drops, but enough to worry me personally. Most of the people around here don't care, although it is also true that most of the people around here only have appliances that are not as sensitive as our beloved computers. 😀
I currently have an APC SUA1000, an Emerson Powersure PSA 1000 and a small 300W Rielo in service.
In my case, the data does not worry me too much but the hardware does.
As someone already said, I think that the best option is to buy quality used UPS, since they are priced at a fraction of that of a new unit.
Tonight I continued to investigate and I found that in some places it is not so rare to find still in service UPS thirty years old. I found several articles about the great quality of a particular APC model, the 1200VX, dated from the beginnig of the 90's
If I verify that one of these Alcatel UPSs works well and they offer me one with a better appearance since it seems that there are several available, in the end it is possible that I consider it as a spare since the price is quite low, because if I have to buy another UPS an new batteries because the UPS failed it would be more expensive than buying the bateries for one of these Alcatel plus the price of it.
From my point of view, a UPS is essential and currently I only have spare offline UPS from dubious brands and a small MGE of only 300W.
But the problem remains, I can't find any info about this UPS.🙁

Reply 9 of 27, by SteveC

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Is that old Alcatel thing even give a sine wave output? That's an essential feature you need.

Any known-brand, modern (under 10 years) second hand UPS that needs new batteries is going to be a better deal surely? A decent few year old APC (500/600/2000 VA) one that has questionable batteries seem to go on ebay go for under £50. Source some batteries yourself then.

I've also seen UPSes in service for decades, but they have brand new batteries and are given full maintenance every year - my office I worked in 6 or 7 years ago had a 20 year old one that looked like it was brand new. Sorry, but that Alcatel one looks like it's been in someone's garden shed under the lawnmower for 20 years 😀

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Reply 10 of 27, by Hoping

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Like I said, I don't have any information on these UPS, but I'm pretty sure the sine wave output will be pretty good, probably better than most questionable brand UPS's, though I don't have an oscilloscope so no idea.
But you are as right as the other members who gave me opinions, The external appearance and age do not give any good hope.
Yes, it looks like it could have been in a garden making sure the roses didn't lack light.
With so many negative opinions, I'm going to forget about them.
If not, why ask for any opinions?
Thanks a lot.

Reply 11 of 27, by chiveicrook

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Hoping wrote on 2022-06-07, 11:44:

Like I said, I don't have any information on these UPS, but I'm pretty sure the sine wave output will be pretty good, probably better than most questionable brand UPS's, though I don't have an oscilloscope so no idea.

Just for future reference, vast majority of UPSes provide "approximated sine wave" (sometimes called "modified sine wave") output since pure sine wave is not really needed for computers and other stuff supplied by switching mode power supplies (which in many cases might as well run on DC voltage without any modification). The level of approximation varies greatly, sometimes it's just a square-ish wave with one step and a little bit of a dead time and other times it consists of multiple intermediate steps.
Very old UPSes might even provide simple square wave output.

Output shape is important for modern computer PSUs with active PFC, which require at least good sine approximation with short switchover time in case of power failure. Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required. Very old UPSes might not provide output that is good enough for active PFC PSUs which, in turn, might result in a wide array of symptoms: restarts during voltage fluctuations, increased load and noise or even catastrophic failure.
In contrast, older equipment with PSUs without PFC could run on really dirty power without trouble and older UPSes were often designed around that.

Reply 12 of 27, by Hoping

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chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-07, 12:06:
Just for future reference, vast majority of UPSes provide "approximated sine wave" (sometimes called "modified sine wave") outpu […]
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Just for future reference, vast majority of UPSes provide "approximated sine wave" (sometimes called "modified sine wave") output since pure sine wave is not really needed for computers and other stuff supplied by switching mode power supplies (which in many cases might as well run on DC voltage without any modification). The level of approximation varies greatly, sometimes it's just a square-ish wave with one step and a little bit of a dead time and other times it consists of multiple intermediate steps.
Very old UPSes might even provide simple square wave output.

Output shape is important for modern computer PSUs with active PFC, which require at least good sine approximation with short switchover time in case of power failure. Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required. Very old UPSes might not provide output that is good enough for active PFC PSUs which, in turn, might result in a wide array of symptoms: restarts during voltage fluctuations, increased load and noise or even catastrophic failure.
In contrast, older equipment with PSUs without PFC could run on really dirty power without trouble and older UPSes were often designed around that.

Very interesting information, because some time ago I started to get a little obsessed with making sure that any power supply I use in moderately modern computers (from 2007 onwards) has active PFC and for older computers I like to take advantage of power supplies that at least have passive PFC.
I've modified power supplies from name brand computers with passive PFCs (typically 2003-2008, and usually from Liteon and Delta) and rewired them for use in AT computers.
With this information, and without an oscilloscope, this UPSes are a total no-no.

Reply 13 of 27, by Jo22

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chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-07, 12:06:

Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required.

Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics.
Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference.
And harmonics in turn can cause all sorts of trouble.
Not necessarily in the PC itself, but it can affect auxiliary devices.

Edit: This site seemd to explain "harmonics" in this context.
https://www.enerdoor.com/application/harmonic_powerfactor

These devices are in turn physically connected to the PC through ports like USB, serial, parallel, headphone jacks, HDMI etc.
Say, external speakers with their own AC chord, printers, scanners etc..
So even if the PC's PSU is safe, noise can wander back into the PC through the backdoor.

Such harmonics can also cause harm that's not imminent.
Certain electronics parts can be triggered to oscillate, which may cause them to heat up or run out of spec.

RFI is one of the most annoying issues of our time.
Because it affects about everything that's digital, wireless or both.
The worst thing are poorly designed switching-PSUs, IMHO. They're RF noise generators. Edit: Almost like jammers.
They're seemingly appearing everywhere these days.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_interference

Edit: Attaching ferrite clips to cables can reduce sheet waves quite a bit.
That results in a lower noise floor and less buggy hardware.

Edit: Here's a video of a ham who "fixed" his laptop's PSU.
He wound the cable through a ferrite ring, if I got it right.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNByPgCAuUc

Edit: No offense, I just wanted you to be aware of it.
A cheap UPS with a pseudo-sine works "okay" likely. 🤷‍♂️
As long as it merely connects to a single PC and a monitor, at least.

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Reply 14 of 27, by Horun

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Yeah I would pass on that Alcatel... I have an old Elgar IPS1100 but will not run any new computers on it. Found a APC BX1500M for $50 last year on Craigslist (still under warranty) that works just great still plus already had some other APC's and Cyberpowers...
If you buy one used that is old is ok to use for non-computer gear but that is about all....edit: fixed the model number 🤣 It uses 4 batteries and is size of large tower.

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Reply 15 of 27, by chiveicrook

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-06-07, 21:43:
Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics. Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference. And harmonics […]
Show full quote
chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-07, 12:06:

Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required.

Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics.
Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference.
And harmonics in turn can cause all sorts of trouble.
Not necessarily in the PC itself, but it can affect auxiliary devices.

Peeking into the world of harmonics and RF interference is akin to opening Pandora's Box! Be warned! 😀

Fortunately, there are emission and compatibility standards both for conducted and radiated interference (somewhat lax though).
Unfortunately, some manufacturers claim to comply with them without actually bothering to even check their devices. Usually, for regular devices conformance is declarative and neither enforced nor audited.

Life is difficult for HAMs these days but, luckily, ordinary mortals do not have to worry too much about this.

PS. I found nice website with a collection of various UPSs' output waveforms, for the curious:
https://www.hardwareinsights.com/database-of- … tput-waveforms/

Reply 16 of 27, by Hoping

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chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-08, 06:00:
Peeking into the world of harmonics and RF interference is akin to opening Pandora's Box! Be warned! :-) […]
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Jo22 wrote on 2022-06-07, 21:43:
Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics. Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference. And harmonics […]
Show full quote
chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-07, 12:06:

Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required.

Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics.
Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference.
And harmonics in turn can cause all sorts of trouble.
Not necessarily in the PC itself, but it can affect auxiliary devices.

Peeking into the world of harmonics and RF interference is akin to opening Pandora's Box! Be warned! 😀

Fortunately, there are emission and compatibility standards both for conducted and radiated interference (somewhat lax though).
Unfortunately, some manufacturers claim to comply with them without actually bothering to even check their devices. Usually, for regular devices conformance is declarative and neither enforced nor audited.

Life is difficult for HAMs these days but, luckily, ordinary mortals do not have to worry too much about this.

PS. I found nice website with a collection of various UPSs' output waveforms, for the curious:
https://www.hardwareinsights.com/database-of- … tput-waveforms/

I was shocked when I read that article.
Even brand name UPS turned out to be horrible, high power consumption by themselves and the absence of the sine wave, not even anything close to it, have left me petrified.
At the very least, I have to get a power meter, which is not very expensive, to know how much the UPS is increasing my electricity bill.
As for the ferrite cores, I had already read something and I would say that they were much more common a long time ago than today.
I think it would not be a bad idea to recover some of the damaged power supplies and do tests.
But.....again I repeat that I am in shock with the results of that article.
I'm lucky enough to have an APC SUA1000I that in the article is one of the good ones with a very clean output sine wave.😀

Reply 17 of 27, by PentAmd

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Hoping wrote on 2022-06-08, 09:01:

I was shocked when I read that article.
Even brand name UPS turned out to be horrible, high power consumption by themselves and the absence of the sine wave, not even anything close to it, have left me petrified.

As an electrical engineer I can tell you in 2022 you don't need sine wave for consumer electronics at home. Computers, monitors, TVs, led-lamps have Switch-Mode-Power-Supply inside. The SMPS in the first stage rectifying the sine wave, and fills up a capacitor with DC current. For this stage is no matter if you have sine wave or non-sine wave (rectangular).
Sine wave is necessary only if you have a Phase cutting Thyristor (SCR) or Triac circuit, where the power reduction is done that way. I have an old welding machine which work that way.
Even if you have an old device with transformer (like audio tape cassette player, or some old HiFi device), the non-sine wave will be transformed, so the device will work. The transformer of that device maybe heating up a little more, but UPS is not designed for 0-24 usage.

Reply 18 of 27, by SteveC

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chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-08, 06:00:
Peeking into the world of harmonics and RF interference is akin to opening Pandora's Box! Be warned! :-) […]
Show full quote
Jo22 wrote on 2022-06-07, 21:43:
Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics. Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference. And harmonics […]
Show full quote
chiveicrook wrote on 2022-06-07, 12:06:

Pure sine wave is naturally the best but not strictly required.

Problem is, that everything "not sine wave" is causing harmonics.
Harmonics are the culprit for RF interference.
And harmonics in turn can cause all sorts of trouble.
Not necessarily in the PC itself, but it can affect auxiliary devices.

Peeking into the world of harmonics and RF interference is akin to opening Pandora's Box! Be warned! 😀

Fortunately, there are emission and compatibility standards both for conducted and radiated interference (somewhat lax though).
Unfortunately, some manufacturers claim to comply with them without actually bothering to even check their devices. Usually, for regular devices conformance is declarative and neither enforced nor audited.

Life is difficult for HAMs these days but, luckily, ordinary mortals do not have to worry too much about this.

PS. I found nice website with a collection of various UPSs' output waveforms, for the curious:
https://www.hardwareinsights.com/database-of- … tput-waveforms/

Oh wow that database of waveforms is horrifying! I'm amazed how well the devices cope that are plugged into them! I need to somehow scope out my Chineseium UPS now (although maybe I'd rather not know 😁 😁 )

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Reply 19 of 27, by chiveicrook

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SteveC wrote on 2022-06-08, 09:36:

Oh wow that database of waveforms is horrifying! I'm amazed how well the devices cope that are plugged into them! I need to somehow scope out my Chineseium UPS now (although maybe I'd rather not know 😁 😁 )

Well, as mentioned previously, things powered by SMPSes don't really care that much. Active PFC aside, depending on implementation. Most computer PSUs with 115/230V compatibility are capable of running off 325VDC for example.
When on battery the only emissions to worry about are radiated emissions, which are likely to be confined by casing (assuming anyone bothered to test the device).
On the other hand, people often buy UPSes for heating circulation pumps (or for anything with an induction motor) and these must absolutely be pure sine wave units.

Audiophiles and HAMs will have a different opinion on this, naturally 😀