APC BX1500G Battery Backup Review

Discussion in 'General Reef Topics' started by Matt Rogers, Aug 29, 2011.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    After several power outages in our new neighborhood this year I bit the bullet in Office Depot and bought the biggest backup system they had - the APC Back-UPS XS Series BX1500G for $200. I wanted to review a mainstream backup system that is widely available and within reach of the average hobbyist. I knew this would not work for the big boys, but I had hopes for nano-heads like me. I have a battery air-pump for severe outages but I was hoping this APC would run my sump pump, heater and skimmer for the common outages. I didn't have to wait long to test it out as the contractor cut the power to my house the next day. Here is my first report on the APC BX1500G.

    [​IMG]

    I was attracted to this particular APC model as I had helped setup a friends for his computer rack. It was feature-rich and intuitive with a nice LED display which displays real-time loads, watts used, voltage in and out and estimated run time. Immediately I thought I could use something like this on my aquarium.

    APC® Back-UPS XS Series Battery Backup, BX1500G, 1500VA/865 Watt
    [​IMG]

    Warranty Terms - Parts
    3 years

    Product Height
    11.9"

    Product Width
    4.4"

    Product Weight
    23.8 lbs.

    Product Depth
    15"

    AVR Technology
    Yes

    Number of Outlets
    10 (5 battery backup and surge protection, 3 surge protection-only and 2 surge protection/controlled)

    Battery Backup Outlets
    5

    Joules
    354

    Coax Protection
    Yes

    Length of Cord
    6'

    Phone/Fax/Modem Protection
    Yes

    Shutdown Software
    Yes

    Battery Life
    Up to 164 minutes

    Equipment Protection Warranty
    $150,000

    MSRP
    $200



    Other options included the Ecotech backup for my Vortechs or the DIY car-battery route. These DC options would run my Vortech pumps for many hours, days even.. but would not run anything else. I imagine a generator would be the ultimate backup but I do not live remote enough nor is my system big enough to rationalize that kind of expense. (EDIT - then I looked into it and actually there are 2000 watt generators for only $50 more than the APC but they can't sell them in California!) So I kept going back to this APC in hopes to run some of the other equipment in my setup.

    With an 865 watt full-load rating and "up to" 164 minutes of runtime, I began to look at my system to see were the bare-essentials for this situation. Obviously my halide/T5 lamp got scratched off right away at about 200 watts. Hoping for a 10 minute power outage was not realistic and the corals could survive with some clouds for a while. Next I thought about my Vortechs. They were attractive as they are low watts - 25 watts off the top of my head, but I decided they were not essentials as I thought my sump pump would move the water around enough for an outage. Then I looked at my skimmer. My skimmer doesn't do well after power outages, often flooding a bit when the sump level is too high. Also my skimmer pump was low wattage at around 30+ watts. So my skimmer made the list. Next I thought about my heater. The heater is interesting and a bit of a curveball. Mine is 200 watts but, by nature, not on all the time. When a heater is on, it is often not on for long. So I decided to leave the heater in the mix as a wildcard.


    The Estimates:

    So my Eheim 1260 pump (65 watts) + my skimmer pump for my Bubble Magus at around 30 watts put me around 100 watts for constant running. The box of the APC BX1500G stated that ~119 watts should get me 59 minutes of run time. So I thought I would get over an hour which should suffice for those 'honey I think the power went out last night' situations that happen the most.


    [​IMG]

    The Setup:

    One immediate benefit I found with this setup is that the APC provides 10 outlets and suddenly I was able to cut my power-strip addiction in half. That is nice. It also provides protection from surges and maintains voltage within safe levels, so there was additional safety too.

    5 APC outlets are dedicated to battery backup - in other words, will stay on in the event of a power outage. The other 5 are surge-protected only. Well, not quite. An interesting feature of the APC is that one of the battery backup outlets is a 'master' that controls power of 3 outlets on the surge side. So if the master is turned on, the other outlets will have power. If the master is not turned on, the 3 outlets will not have power. This makes sense for computer setups where there is no need to have a monitor on if the computer is not on, but for aquariums it gets a little fuzzy. (Can you think of a situation where this would make sense? Please post.)

    Beyond the outlets, another feature worth noting is a USB connection. The APC comes with "PowerChute" software that can link your APC to your computer. It will notify you of a power outage and log details of the event. I thought this was pretty cool but my computer and router were not close enough to make this happen. That said, power outages are still logged in the APC with an events counter and can be seen in the LED display. Mine shows '1' for the event that happened the very first day.

    The battery of the APC BX1500G comes fully charged, so once it is installed and everything is plugged in, you are good to go.

    [​IMG]

    Actual numbers on my system:

    With everything plugged in, it was time to turn the aquarium back on and check out the real-time numbers. My estimate of watts used (minus the heater curveball) was fairly accurate. The APC shows me burning about 93 watts. It is interesting to me to see this number fluctuate a watt or two every few seconds. (Why does it change? Please post.) After that, I pressed the far-right button on the front to see the estimated run-time…. 58 minutes! Sometimes I get 61 minutes. So I hit the hour mark, but did not exceed it. I think this will work for me for typical power outages. But the 12 hour one I experienced when the transformers blew up? I'd be back on the battery air-pump.

    [​IMG]
    I have my APC sitting on top of an old shelf in case of any running water on the floor. I also have a glass splash guard near the back. I plan on making a complete case that will still allow for air-flow. EDIT _ BY THE WAY - this is not sitting next to my aquarium as it may seem - but behind a media cabinet near the aquarium. About 3 - 4 feet away.

    Impressions:

    Overall I am happy with my APC. Having it come through on the 1st day with a short outage was huge. I think for most short outages, it will be there for me. If I start experiencing longer outages, I will remove my skimmer from backup and just run the sump pump. I think I could get an extra 30 minutes or more by doing so.

    For people with smaller nano setups than mine, this APC would give you even more for your money. APC says the BX1500G could run ~40 watts for up to 164 minutes. That sure would run my Dymax Pico for a long time or even a JBJ cube (minus lights). Of course, if you have a 30w LED light, you could throw that in the equation and have everything running.


    Positives:

    • Real-time display
    • Number of outlets
    • Features
    • Ease of use
    • $150,000 equipment insurance policy… say what?

    Negatives:

    • Actual battery runtime prevents anyone with an aquarium bigger than a nano from considering this.


    Next Report:

    • Real-time numbers with heater on and possibly skimmer off.
    • More power-outage event handling.


    More:

    http://www.3reef.com/forums/general-reef-topics/apc-backup-ups-reef-116386.html
    Power Saving Back-UPS XS 1500
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
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  3. WhiskyTango

    WhiskyTango Eyelash Blennie

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    Does it beep every few minutes when the power goes off and the back up kicks in?

    I have a older APC ES 550 that I used on my tank for awhile, but the beeping in the living room drove us crazy. Now it's on my computer upstairs.

    How long do you think you could run a single power head and a single air stone on the APC BX1500G?
     
  4. malac0da13

    malac0da13 Torch Coral

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    Another question howvlong does it take to charge back up?

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
     
  5. Dr. Bergeron

    Dr. Bergeron Peppermint Shrimp

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    I got this for my wife's computer and it's a great unit. It also comes with a master/slave outlet configuration, so if you have two things that need to be on/off together (or just to save power) you can set it up so one will not turn on unless the other outlet is drawing current.

    you can set it up to beep when there's a power outage or to be silent i believe. I have ours set up to run silently when power goes out.

    Not sure how long it takes to charge off the top of my head, i want to say under 3 hours though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    You are correct about the beeping - it is an option that you can turn on and off.

    As stated above, the beeping is an option you can turn off.
    Well it will run 40 watts about 164 minutes so I think you would be good for that at least.



    I'll have to look that up - might be in the attached manual.

    matt
     
  7. haloist

    haloist Skunk Shrimp

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    Another thing added to the wishlist. Oh boy, Christmas is going to be fun for people I know. :p
     
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  9. gcarroll

    gcarroll Zoanthid

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    Matt, in a time of emergency, the only thing I would have running is the return pump. Everything else is a luxury. The object is to einsure that everything stays alive in the event of a powe outage. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if your tank can't run healthy for a couple hours without anything other than the return pump. Power outage is something you should not concern yourself with. You've got much bigger problems. The only thing one needs in an emargency is something in the tank to keep the water moving inside the tank for oxygen excahnge. The sump can go more than a day and will be fine as ther are no animals down there that consume oxygen as fast as fish.
     
  10. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    I hear you Greg and I tend to agree.
    It's a bit of a push to see what I can get away with from most events.

    For the record, there are bigger APC backups - there is at least one 3reefer using one from their 'Smart' series - however they were cost prohibitive for me. If I had a tank full of expensive acros, I might have thought differently.

    matt
     
  11. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Just looked in the manual:

    Ouch. If you are having one of those up, then down power outages, this could be a problem. I believe I saw that a more expensive model did it in a few hours.

    matt
     
  12. Seano Hermano

    Seano Hermano Giant Squid

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    I know the next purchase I've just added to my wish list!

    That's just awesome.