A Detailed Look
At first glance the Ultra 850VA power protection unit looks like an oversized, high-tech outlet strip. It has four outlets (Bypass) that provide surge suppression and overload protection. These are typically used for non-critical devices like printers and scanners. The other four outlets (Battery Backup) provide surge suppression, overload protection, line regulation and backup power. These are the outlets you use to protect your PC, monitor, external HDD, cable modem/router, etc.
Ultra 850VA Power Protection Unit Specifications (courtesy Ultra Products)
From this table you can see that the UPS section is rated for up to 850VA (425 watts) maximum load. The total combined capacity for all 8 outlets is 1,200VA (10 Amps x 120 VAC). This defines the maximum operating load you can safely place on this particular unit. Add up the max loads for all the equipment you want to connect to the four Battery Backup outlets (using either VA or watts) and as long as your total doesn’t exceed 850VA/425W you should be good to go. I would also suggest leaving a fairly healthy safety margin.
A very nice feature of the Ultra 850VA PPU not found on all UPSs is the ability to start up and power a load in backup mode without first being connected to the AC mains. I have used this feature twice in the past year. Last winter I used a UPS (much larger unit) to power the blower on my wood burning stove on a very cold night when the power went out. And just yesterday, I used the Ultra 850VA PPU to power a trouble light (and boom-box 🙂 while I made some changes to the wiring in my workshop/test lab.
The Ultra 850VA Power Protection Unit features a 6’ long 16AWG/3 power cord and is protected by a 10A circuit breaker mounted just below where the cord goes into the enclosure.
To the right of the outlets are three LEDs, which provide status indication.
- Green LED – Continuous, normal AC power mode
- Yellow LED – Flashes every 4 seconds during battery backup mode
- Red LED – Flashes once per second to indicate a battery fault (replace battery)
- Red LED – Continuous, indicates overload condition
In addition to the visual indicators, an audible alarm will also beep to alert you to any abnormal condition. In practice I found the alarm was very quiet and could easily be missed in a noisy environment.
On the backside of the unit are two RJ-45 jacks (8-pin modular connector) and a USB port. The In and Out jacks can provide surge protection for a nearby network cable or phone/modem line. The USB port allows a PC running power management software to communicate with the Ultra 850VA power protection unit; more on this later.