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High end biology lab system selection

APC UPS for Home and Office Forum

Schneider Electric support forum for our APC offers including Home Office UPS, Surge Protectors, UTS, software and services and associated products designed to share knowledge, installation, and configuration.

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rshevin_apc
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High end biology lab system selection

This was originally posted on APC forums on 7/23/2008


Greetings.

I am looking for some advice for protecting some high end microscopy/imaging equipment and am getting a bit overwhelmed with my choices. I have 4 PCs (1 high end quad core, others typical) with 2 LCD monitors driving 4 major pieces of equipment plus a small 3 computer server rack and other associated small hardware. There is a single connection to a 10MB network which I assume (hope!) is protected on the IT end. I count a total of 20 individual power cords and would like 2-4 for expansion. I'm in the US with 120V power most easily accessible although we may be able to get a 240V plug installed. There are 2 separate circuits.

As best I can figure it, the equipment power draw sums to between 5-6 kVA although I'm having some trouble with inconsistency between how different vendors present power load and converting everything to consistent units. We're looking at UPS but will consider only power conditioning if price of the former is prohibitive.

My questions are:
1. I may be drastically misunderstanding, but I seem to be in between "household/small office" level of use and the small network/server level. Would it be more cost effective to look at multiple smaller devices or to be significantly under capacity for a larger unit?
2. The same, if space is a concern?
3. One of my vendors only presents power in voltage/current. I understand I should be able to get power in VA as V~rms~*A*powerfactor however using this equation on other instrumentation where all 3 variables are known doesn't give me the "correct" answer (assuming PF=0.6). What am I missing here, concept wise?

I can only hope I'm not making a fool of myself with these questions. I have a background in electrical engineering but have never gotten much education in practical surge protection/power conditioning. Any advice, or better yet questions you have so I can better explain what I'm looking for?

I very much appreciate your time.

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BillP
Administrator Administrator
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194

Re: High end biology lab system selection

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 7/24/2008


1. I do have room in my small server rack for I think 3 more "things," but I can't imagine I can plug in 20 plugs? So it sounds like I'd need 3 or 4 of these surge protector like things in addition to that? As for hard wiring stuff, I guess that can happen. I'll have to get some opinions on that. Of course, my building is rather old and the walls are growing more and more crowded.
*Well, you can have PDUs that are 0U or 1U or 2U in size. We have some with 8 or 24 outlets on them, with 5-20 plugs which you can also plug in regular plugs (5-15 into). [Here is a link to some plug type info|http://www.nooutage.com/nema_configurations.htm]. You can also manage these PDUs via the network (metered or switched). Just a note, they themselves do NOT have surge protection. They rely on the UPS they are plugged into to do that.*
3. Thank you. I'm not sure why the numbers don't work out. I had been calculating as you described. I blame Canada. (joke there)
Haha I hear ya..I am not good with the numbers either. Too much brain power 🙂
4. All the outlets are standard US grounded/3prong. To the best of my knowledge any transformers are in line and not at the plug. I don't remember having to deal with plug problems with we set up (other than #plugs > #outlets).
Ok, so that should be 5-15 plugs if you look at that link I sent. You can check out the metered PDUs if you want to monitor the current and then switched if you want to monitor current and be able to turn outlets on and off.)

about the forums - you can mark an answer helpful or correct..then each person gets some points..more points, the cooler you are 😛 3 points for helpful i think, 10 for correct or something like that..maybe 5 for helpful. its just a way to see who is the most helpful i think 😄

See Answer In Context

3 Replies 3
BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
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194

Re: High end biology lab system selection

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 7/24/2008


hi

i am not an expert in sizing, so anyone else, feel free to chime in..but i will present some comments in bold below:

My questions are:
1. I may be drastically misunderstanding, but I seem to be in between "household/small office" level of use and the small network/server level. Would it be more cost effective to look at multiple smaller devices or to be significantly under capacity for a larger unit?
*I believe you are going to be looking for something in the [network & server UPS line|http://www.apc.com/products/category.cfm?id=13&subid=51]. I believe it would be easier to manager one larger UPS than multiple small ones. smaller UPSs are supposed to be on dedicated circuits. with larger UPSs, you can hardwire your output to outlets in a room, eliminate the need for power cables all going to the UPS. this is generally available on UPSs larger than 5kVA or so, either standard, or by purchasing a kit. you can also look into our (managed or unmanaged) power distribution units. they look like giant power strips. [can take a peek here|http://www.apc.com/products/category.cfm?id=6&subid=48]. they should be plugged into the back of a UPS or to an outlet protected by the UPS so they can have battery backup and surge protection.*
2. The same, if space is a concern?
Our UPSs around 5-6kVA arent that large, we have tower models, rackmount models..I am not sure what exactly you'd need.
3. One of my vendors only presents power in voltage/current. I understand I should be able to get power in VA as Vrms*A*powerfactor however using this equation on other instrumentation where all 3 variables are known doesn't give me the "correct" answer (assuming PF=0.6). What am I missing here, concept wise?
Watts are more accurate so we usually size with that. the VA value is usually larger. Watts=PFxVA soo if you have something that pulls 2 amps at 120v your VA is 240 and you can multiply it it by 0.6 or whatever you need to figure out the watts. any devices that i mentioned to you in the network and server line have a .7 or better power factor themselves.

I can only hope I'm not making a fool of myself with these questions. I have a background in electrical engineering but have never gotten much education in practical surge protection/power conditioning. Any advice, or better yet questions you have so I can better explain what I'm looking for?

Like i said, i am not sales so I am not good with checking what outlet types, etc that you'd need but i hope i have at least answered some of the questions. please let us know if you have any questions specific to a particular UPS or sales may be able to run over the differences in each.

rshevin_apc
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194

Re: High end biology lab system selection

This was originally posted on APC forums on 7/24/2008


Thank you. I think a big part of my problem is when I think of a UPS, all I know are the small units that basically amount to a battery backup for your home PC. It seems like whatever I buy will be several levels more complex, like they are computers in their own right, and all this seems so far beyond what I can intelligently choose between.

1. I do have room in my small server rack for I think 3 more "things," but I can't imagine I can plug in 20 plugs? So it sounds like I'd need 3 or 4 of these surge protector like things in addition to that? As for hard wiring stuff, I guess that can happen. I'll have to get some opinions on that. Of course, my building is rather old and the walls are growing more and more crowded.
3. Thank you. I'm not sure why the numbers don't work out. I had been calculating as you described. I blame Canada. (joke there)
4. All the outlets are standard US grounded/3prong. To the best of my knowledge any transformers are in line and not at the plug. I don't remember having to deal with plug problems with we set up (other than #plugs > #outlets).

I guess I'll have to browse the catalog and see what I can find to ask better questions.


Also as an aside, I don't know the details of the points system and marking answers correct versus helpful. Is there a sticky or something you can point me to? I've not used a forum with these features before.

Thanks.

BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
0 Likes
0
195

Re: High end biology lab system selection

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 7/24/2008


1. I do have room in my small server rack for I think 3 more "things," but I can't imagine I can plug in 20 plugs? So it sounds like I'd need 3 or 4 of these surge protector like things in addition to that? As for hard wiring stuff, I guess that can happen. I'll have to get some opinions on that. Of course, my building is rather old and the walls are growing more and more crowded.
*Well, you can have PDUs that are 0U or 1U or 2U in size. We have some with 8 or 24 outlets on them, with 5-20 plugs which you can also plug in regular plugs (5-15 into). [Here is a link to some plug type info|http://www.nooutage.com/nema_configurations.htm]. You can also manage these PDUs via the network (metered or switched). Just a note, they themselves do NOT have surge protection. They rely on the UPS they are plugged into to do that.*
3. Thank you. I'm not sure why the numbers don't work out. I had been calculating as you described. I blame Canada. (joke there)
Haha I hear ya..I am not good with the numbers either. Too much brain power 🙂
4. All the outlets are standard US grounded/3prong. To the best of my knowledge any transformers are in line and not at the plug. I don't remember having to deal with plug problems with we set up (other than #plugs > #outlets).
Ok, so that should be 5-15 plugs if you look at that link I sent. You can check out the metered PDUs if you want to monitor the current and then switched if you want to monitor current and be able to turn outlets on and off.)

about the forums - you can mark an answer helpful or correct..then each person gets some points..more points, the cooler you are 😛 3 points for helpful i think, 10 for correct or something like that..maybe 5 for helpful. its just a way to see who is the most helpful i think 😄