Pros: simple to install, dependable, customizable features, can select alarm sound, comes with software and cables
Cons: Supposed to have a replaceable battery. There are no Belkin replacement batteries for sale.
Have you ever experienced an episode where every electrical appliance seems to need replacement? Lately it seems as though a lot of people I know are having to replace their UPS Battery Backup systems. Thats what I had to do, too. Ive been experiencing more than the usual share of brownouts due to electrical demand this summer. Each time the current dips, the lights flicker ... and my UPS Backup kicks to life to protect my computer from power surges.
With the frequent (very frequent!) brownouts in my area, my UPS has taken a beating. It needs to retire from active service with honors. After some research, I decided to purchase a new Belkin UPS Emergency Battery Backup with Surge Protection (model # F6C750-AVR).
Recently I had selected the model lower than this one for my parents computer since their old UPS had also suffered during these power fluctuations. The two units are very similar except for the amount of watts they handle and how long they will operate after a power outage. I have computer equipment that demands a little more wattage protection, so I opted for the F6C750-AVR model.
What is a UPS?
For those unfamiliar with the term, UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Source. A UPS provides continual power by automatically transferring from AC to battery backup when there is an interruption in power. Should a power outage or interruption occur, the UPS switches from AC to battery backup, and when power returns, switches from battery backup to AC. Its a seamless transfer that prevents loss of data and damage to machinery.
This Belkin model provides battery backup for up to 38 minutes. This time could be shorter depending upon what computer peripherals are plugged into the UPS unit. The more watts consumed by the devices plugged into the UPS determines the amount of battery backup time the user has. For instance, a CRT monitor uses more watts than an LCD monitor.
A UPS gives the user time to save work, close programs and properly shut down the computer.
What is AVR?
AVR stands for Automatic Voltage Regulation. A voltage regulator smooths any spikes or sags in electrical current, producing what is called clean electricity.
Highlights About this Belkin UPS System
* Up to 38 minutes of battery backup
* 750 VA / 400 Watt capacity / 890 Joules
* Automatic voltage regulation
* 6 surge-protected outlets (4 of them provide battery backup)
* USB plug-and-play setup
* Telephone protection for phone/fax/modem
* RJ11 surge protection for telecommunications equipment
* Compatible with Windows XP, ME, 2000, 95, 98, NT and Mac OS X
* Comes with Belkin Power Management software
* Battery can be replaced in the unit
What comes in the box?
The box contains:
* One External UPS Unit (Black & Gray in color)
* Bulldog Shutdown Software (on CD)
* USB Cable
* Phone Line Cable
* Serial Port Cable
* Large one-page double-sided instruction sheet
UPS Unit Description
The front of the UPS unit features three LED lights. A green light glows when the AC power is on, and the light flashes when the AVR is active. A yellow LED shows the battery power status. The red light indicates if there is a fault or overload and when to replace the battery. There is also an on/off button and a button that tests to make sure the unit is properly working.
Top of the UPS Unit
This is where the outlet plugs are. The four surge-protected only outlets are set slightly apart from the two battery backup/surge protected outlets. They are marked so that it is easy to tell which outlet is which.
Back of the Unit
This is where the phone/fax/modem outlets are located. The USB port is here, too, along with the AC power cord. There is also an AC circuit breaker, which triggers if a power overload occurs. An LED light will turn on at the back of the unit if there is a wiring fault.
The LED Indicators (on the front)
When this light is solid green, the AC power is on. Flashing green indicates the AVR is active.
When this light is flashing yellow, an audible alarm beeps to warn of a problem. There are two situations that can apply to this warning.
1. The UPS is on battery backup, an audible alarm sounds, and the UPS begins the shutdown procedure.
2. The battery is low, an audible alarm buzzes, and the UPS will shutdown.
If there is a fault or if the battery is weak, a solid red light will appear, and the UPS alarm will sound for 10 seconds. The red light flashes when the battery output draws more power than the UPS can provide.
Site Wiring Fault
When this light remains a solid red, the unit has detected a possible wiring fault.
A great feature is that the user can choose whether a buzzing alarm sounds, or the user can select an audible alarm from a .wav file. I prefer the calming female voice with an English accent to warn of impending trouble. The unit can broadcast three types of alarms.
1. Back Up (Slow Alarm). When in Backup on battery mode, the red light is visible and an audible alarm sounds. The alarm stops when the UPS returns to normal operation.
2. Low Battery (Rapid Alarm). In Backup mode, should the battery become low, the UPS beeps rapidly until either the UPS shuts down due to a low battery or if the unit returns to normal operation.
3. Fault (Ten Second Continuous Alarm)
Should the output become shorted, the UPS sounds a continuous ten-second alarm.
Installing the UPS Unit
It was easy to install this UPS unit. All I had to do was connect the AC power cord into a wall outlet. The manufacturer recommends letting the battery charge eight hours before using the unit for the first time. Once the unit is ready to use, just plug the power cords into the outlets on the UPS. I plugged the tower and monitor into the two battery-backup/surge-protected outlets. Since there are two other battery/surge protected outlets, I plugged in two low-wattage peripherals. I also used the remaining two surge-protected plugs for other computer equipment.
The manufacturer cautions not to connect a laser printer or scanner to the battery backup outlets since those machines draw a lot of power when in use. They draw so much power that it could cause the UPS to overload.
I did not connect any telephone, fax or modem lines into this UPS system.
Installing the Bulldog Shutdown Software
Note that to utilize this software, the USB cable must be connected from the back of the UPS unit to the computer. The two machines have to communicate in order for the software to properly work.
This Belkin UPS unit can operate without the software being installed. However, the software offers a lot of helpful features such as monitoring battery power and providing a history log of power events. The software can also be networked to two computers. A cool feature of this software is that you can configure it to send pager or e-mail messages to users when a power failure or event occurs.
It is easy to install the Bulldog software and only took me a few minutes. First, place the Bulldog Shutdown CD into the CD-ROM drive. Follow the step-by-step installation instructions. This software also offers a large array of language choices: English, German, French (spoken in France), French (spoken in Canada), Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese.
The main page of the Bulldog Monitor displays lots of helpful information such as the battery voltage output and input levels (displayed as round dials). A bar graph shows the percentage of battery power remaining as well as the loading level. The window also has icons for the Configuration, Meters (view up to 12 different monitoring meters), Event Log and History pages. There is also a Help menu to explain how the software works. The Belkin website offers a manual in PDF format for both the Bulldog software and UPS unit.
The Bulldog Shutdown software senses power fluctuations and will initiate shutdown of the computer when a power outage or interruption occurs. The software can be customized and runs unnoticed in the background. A Bulldog icon is visible in the System Tray to indicate the UPS status. There are many configurations possible to customize the software. Should you need additional guidance, Bulldog has included a help area. Here are some features of the software:
* A numbered countdown so that the user knows how much time is remaining until Bulldog (in the event of a power interruption) will shutdown the computer
* When a power interruption occurs, a broadcast dialog box appears to inform the user what is happening
* Choose the type of alarm -- Ex: Buzzer or Audio Message (customizable using .wav files)
* Bulldog keeps an Event Log of power interruptions
* Bulldog keeps track of battery replacement dates
Battery Replacement And False Advertising
When I purchased the Belkin F6C550-AVR for my parents, I was impressed about the battery replacement feature. The instruction sheet includes detailed instructions with illustrations on how to uninstall the old battery and install a new one. The only catch is that nowhere on the internet could I locate any information on the replacement battery. So I telephoned Belkins customer service number. I was told there were NO replacement batteries for my parents UPS unit. I was stunned. How could Belkin advertise a replacement battery when none were on the market?
Being optimistic, I phoned Belkin again regarding my new UPS unit (model # F6C750-AVR). Perhaps the situation had changed. Unfortunately, Belkin still does not offer replacement batteries. However, the customer service person was quick to assure me that the unit had a 3-year warranty, and if the UPS battery should die before that time, then I could send back the unit (without the battery) for a replacement UPS. I would pay shipping to send the unit back to them, and they would pay the shipping to send me a replacement.
The customer service person also suggested that I might look into "aftermarket" batteries to replace a dead battery in the UPS. (Belkin says that an aftermarket battery is a replacement battery that is not manufactured by Belkin.) I asked if this would void the warranty, and the answer is: Yes. The customer service agent further said that he had spoken with one gentleman who had used an aftermarket battery, and the Bulldog software no longer recognized the UPS unit. Unfortunately, use of the aftermarket battery had voided the warranty and Belkin could not help the gentleman with a replacement UPS. Why even mention using an aftermarket battery to me when known problems exist?
I bought this Belkin UPS unit from Amazon.com for $50.95. The usual price was $80.95, but at the time of my purchase, Amazon offered a $30.00 gift certificate if one subscribed to their credit card. I was looking for another credit card and took advantage of their offer. I checked Amazons website today, and the price has gone down a bit and now costs $76.90.
Im pleased with my new Belkin UPS unit. It takes up less room than my old Belkin unit. The old UPS rested horizontally on the desktop, while this new unit stands vertical. The UPS was easy to install, and I can hear it working with all these power fluctuations. The machine emits a clicking noise as it regulates the surging power. Since I havent lost power to the house yet, the machine hasnt gone into full back-up mode, but its reassuring to know that my computer equipment is being protected against all these power dips and spikes. My only complaint is that I wish Belkin had not advertised that this unit had a replacement battery. Its a lie. At this point in time, there are no Belkin replacement batteries on the market.
Update -- July 22, 2008
We've had some severe weather, and this UPS took several hits that actually turned it off. Once I had it back on and working, it wasn't long before battery warning messages appeared. A few days later, the UPS kept turning off. I can't complain, though. This UPS battery backup saved my computer a lot!
I hope you found this review helpful.
Enjoy your day,
501 West Walnut Street
Compton, CA 90220
Customer Service: 800-223-5546
The Belkin box says there is a $75,000 Connected Equipment Warranty - 3 Year Product Warranty.
Size: 12 1/2 long x 4 1/2 wide x 9 high
Shipping Weight: 17 pounds
4 Battery-Backup Outlets
2 Surge-Protected Only Outlets
Phone Lines: 1 in / 1 out
Under/Overage Transfer to Battery:
90-136 /- 3VAC
Output Voltage on Battery:
120VAC /- 5%
AVR Voltage Detection Tolerance:
AVR Smart Boost:
Increase 20% of input of voltage if input is 90-108VAC
Thermal Breaker Device (UL/CSA approved)
Battery Recharge Time: 8-12 hours
Typical Battery Life: 2-4 years
750 VA / 400 Watt capacity / 890 Joules
Electrostatic Discharge: IEC 1000-4-2 Level 3
Fast Transient Burst: IEC 1000-4-4 Level 2
Lightning Surge: IEC 1000-4-5 Level 3
Please read my other reviews:
SanDisk Cruzer 2gb USB 2.0 Flash Drive
Philips Portable DVD Player with Screen
LiteOn DVD Recorder/Player
Canon PowerShot A400 Digital Camera
Concord Eye-Q Digital Camera 4060AF
Ott Lite Flex Arm Plus True Color Lamp
Pogo.com (Online Games)
Copyright 2005 Dawn L. Stewart