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Old 2011-10-23, 22:28   #1
Christenson
 
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Default UPS /combined UPS and PS for P95 computer

I'm at the point where I need cleaner power for my existing system (390W antec Earthwatts, subject to upgrade to 700W for a high-end GPU), and want to think about it for my proposed new system (at least an AMD bulldozer 8-core CPU or Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and GPU, probably 1000W PS). The 390W power supply is heavily enough loaded that it's not very robust against minor power disturbances, especially compared to a more lightly-loaded machine in the same house.

1) Has anyone marketed a combined UPS/PS, given the general thirst of motherboards for 12V power which they regulate down to the 1.2V or so core voltages that actually operate the CPU and memory? Or have 24 or 48V motherboards made their appearance yet?

2) Assuming the answer to the first question is no, or involves an unreasonable cost, what is the most economical way to gain some robustness against the minor power glitches that seem to be plaguing my house, for the existing machine, for its upgrade, and for the proposed new machine?
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Old 2011-10-24, 04:00   #2
delta_t
 
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I assume by minor power disturbances you mean brownouts and/or overvoltages? Or just complete power outages? Have you looked at a line conditioner, or an automatic voltage regulator (AVR)? There are some UPS that do include a line conditioner (automatic voltage regulator), but they do make line conditioners and AVRs as a separate units. Just note that not all UPS units do line conditioning or AVR.

I've personally used this, APC LE1200 Line-R 1200VA Automatic Voltage Regulator, but a quick search and I'm sure you could find others. I'm leaning towards a UPS with built in AVR for my next build.

Last fiddled with by delta_t on 2011-10-24 at 04:06
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Old 2011-10-24, 11:25   #3
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As I owe myself a kill-a-watt device, I'm not absolutely sure as to the nature of the disturbances....but they include sudden, brief changes in the output of the incandescent lights causing re-boots, and, as of this week, system uptimes averaging under 24 hours before reboots.

This system is not overclocked. I'm also looking at Antec Signature series, having relatively long hold-up times of 17ms under full load, and significantly more capacity than my present supply, so I could support a better GPU.
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Old 2011-10-24, 13:35   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
As I owe myself a kill-a-watt device, I'm not absolutely sure as to the nature of the disturbances....but they include sudden, brief changes in the output of the incandescent lights causing re-boots, and, as of this week, system uptimes averaging under 24 hours before reboots.
I certainly understand wanting a better PSU, but the symptoms you mention seem to cry out for a conditioning/regulating UPS. I guess that a larger, more robust PSU might handle them, though.

I'm not up on the current (no pun intended) state of things, but some years back there could be conflict between certain UPS's and power factor correcting PSU's. I suppose that the latter have become so nearly ubiquitous that situation has probably been corrected. I think it had to do with how well the UPS did at simulating a sine wave in its output.

I second the desire for a Kill-a-Watt, too, if only for curiosity's sake. But such a thing could be useful in lots of ways.

EDIT: 24v or 48v motherboards would seem make sense with the very large currents drawn at 12v. But the initial low manufacturing volume of units for power supplies to feed such things might make them prohibitive in cost.

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2011-10-24 at 13:39
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Old 2011-10-24, 19:03   #5
Chuck
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
I'm at the point where I need cleaner power for my existing system (390W antec Earthwatts, subject to upgrade to 700W for a high-end GPU), and want to think about it for my proposed new system (at least an AMD bulldozer 8-core CPU or Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and GPU, probably 1000W PS). The 390W power supply is heavily enough loaded that it's not very robust against minor power disturbances, especially compared to a more lightly-loaded machine in the same house.

...what is the most economical way to gain some robustness against the minor power glitches that seem to be plaguing my house, for the existing machine, for its upgrade, and for the proposed new machine?
There is no getting around the fact that it costs some money to protect against line fluctuations.

I start with a series-mode surge protector; mine is a Brick Wall but there are other brands. This is a > $100 surge protector. To get the grestest benefit, you must remove all MOV-based surge protectors from your house and, if you have cable-based internet, ensure that it is grounded to the earth ground at the meter. I also have a meter base surge arrestor which was installed by the utility company.

Following the series mode surge protector I use a CyberPower UPS. It has over/under voltage protection as well as battery backup.

I am sorry to say, however, that all this stuff is probably more than $500 and is more than most people want to invest in.

Chuck
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Old 2011-10-24, 21:44   #6
Christenson
 
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Chuck, I smell hokum in removing all MOV-based surge protectors....basically an MOV acts like a small capacitor until its breakdown voltage is exceeded, at which point it conducts.

Now, active PFC-correcting power supplies DO interact with some UPS's, to the point where folks still have compatibility problems....yet another engineering argument to combine the two. I don't know if I have a dropout or a regulation problem; what I do want is to spend a few hundred dollars and end up with something that will again run for weeks without needing attention -- the argument for upgrading the power supply is strong, as I can then support a bigger GPU without buying an entire new system.

In the end, we usually lose power for a day or more, in which case I'm down, or for much less than a few seconds, in which case I don't actually want to know about it, and want to remain up.
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Old 2011-10-25, 00:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
Chuck, I smell hokum in removing all MOV-based surge protectors....basically an MOV acts like a small capacitor until its breakdown voltage is exceeded, at which point it conducts.
The goal with series-mode surge protection is not to dump current to ground. The surge doesn't vanish when shorted to ground; it can hit your computer. They have a pretty good description of this at the Brick Wall web site (I'm not pushing this brand, I just use it).
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Old 2011-10-25, 03:32   #8
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I know that...it's called an LC low-pass filter...or one with an active clamp --- kind of like what I build for high-voltage DC busses....and I suppose the argument is that an MOV makes the spike worse, as you may have to wait for a voltage zero to turn the thing off. If you want to understand why a surge might get worse on an MOV, you need to understand about reflections on transmission lines.

Nonetheless, got a surprisingly low number of 220W, more or less, out of my Kill-a-watt, for the CPU unit. I may also need to replace my power strip, as the power seemed smarmy when plugging it in. If that's the *real* cause of my problems, (probably with some help from the cat) the UPS becomes an optional pleasantry. Knowing that adding 300W of high-end GPU to this beast won't require a huge power supply is also nice.
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Old 2011-10-26, 01:36   #9
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It's DEFINITELY the power strip...it crashed again, and I tested and could hear the crackling inside.
This will return the system to more-or-less continuous operation.
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Old 2011-10-26, 03:57   #10
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Crackling huh? Sounds like the magic smoke is trying to escape.
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Old 2011-10-26, 16:06   #11
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If you are happy with electrical work have a look inside the power strip, *after unplugging it*. If not buy a new one, they are much cheaper that a damaged computer (or user!) Then scrap the old one by cutting the power cable off before it starts a fire.

Chris K
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