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A bit late, thanks to some vacation time last month, but as promised here is my review of the APC Back-UPS ES USB 650.

I've got this unit sitting under my desk at work, my primary system there is an older PowerMac G4, and as I mentioned previously, we've had a bit of a thunderstorm problem this summer, and power had been dropping on a regular basis. Not great for productivity. I'm happy to say that with this little guy under the desk, my desktop didn't lose power once while I was on the road. But, this unit also has a dark side...

To put it mildly, the software sucks. Big time. Yes, in my original just having opened the box report, I did say I liked the software. I still would, if it actually worked as it is supposed to.

When I first powered everything up, the software reported that the unit had a bit over half a charge, after running for a while, this number creeped up to 100%, but the 'time remaining' until full charge, a month later, is still unknown.

The software installs into the Energy Saver panel, which is cool, and lets all the power management settings be set there. A nice bar graph showing the power level is also displayed, but unfortunately clicking in the bar graph will actually let you move the bar, which serves no purpose that I can tell, since it is supposed to be reading the charge on the battery. This, with the unknown time to full, basically means that I can't trust the numbers being reported, and I really have no idea how much power the battery has.

Options are available to shut down the computer after the UPS has been on battery power for up to 15 minutes, or shut down the computer when a certain amount of battery power remains. Since the software can't seem to read the battery properly, I've left these off.

As I noted in my first report, there does not appear to be a way to silence the audible alarms using the Mac software. Apparently, the Windows version can do this, but for some bizarre reason the Mac version wasn't written with this capability.

Of course, the Mac software team at APC seems to be out to lunch, the software available via their web site indicates that it will work with Mac OS X 10.3.9 thru 10.4.1, and is dated over two years ago. Silly me, wanting to run this under 10.4.10! A call to APC indicated that the software 'might' work with 10.4.5. Lovely.

I installed a system using 10.4.1, installed their software, and of course it didn't perform any better, or offer any additional features. Their support person I reached on the phone said that I should be able to control the audible alerts from the Mac, but info in their support forum confirmed my findings, that this isn't possible.

The hardware isn't bad, but the software stinks, if you happen to pick up one of these, avoid the software at all costs until APC updates is.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim published on August 7, 2007 11:48 PM.

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