Set up doesn't get much easier than with Tripp Lite's BC600SINE, a new 375-watt UPS for Mac OS X, Windows and other operating systems from power protection company Tripp Lite.
The shoebox-sized unit delivers 600 volt-amps of sine-wave output in battery or line power modes, and is designed to provide backup power and protection for computer workstations, point-of-sale equipment, small telephone systems, audio/video and other business and residential electronic equipment.
The BC600 is ready to install out of the box. There are no battery connectors to attach, and if the target system is running Mac OS X, there's no software to install. Windows clients require an agent if automatic shutdown is desired. And if using the management console, Java's also required (it comes on the CD). The 600VA unit provides three AC receptacles of battery-backed-up power and another three for surge-protection only; receptacles are not very well marked. List price is $160 including a three-year warranty and $150,000 equipment insurance; it can be found on the street for around $115. The battery is user-replaceable.
Testers were impressed with the easy Mac OS X installation. The moment it was attached to a USB port on the test MacBook, a new power icon appeared in the menu bar next to the icon for the notebook's internal battery status. And in the Mac's Energy Saver control panel, a new "UPS" tab was installed next to the existing "Battery" and "Power Adapter" tabs, and it linked seamlessly with controls for system shutdown.
Next: BC600 Has It Where It Counts.Available settings offer three options: shut down after a number of minutes on battery, up-time remaining on the UPS battery, or at a specific percentage of battery charge remaining.
In tests, however, all of these controls are frozen at their lowest setting by default (one minute/one percent), with no apparent way to control or change them. Despite being marketed as "PC and Mac compatible," the operation manual makes no mention of Mac OS X. The product CD contains a PDF of the user and installation manuals, but does not provide the Acrobat reader.
We weren't particularly impressed with the Java-based PowerAlert Console software. It froze several times under Windows 7 Professional 32-bit and Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, and did not behave consistently when it was operational. For example, it would not recognize the UPS when awaking from Windows sleep or when reconnecting the USB cable, and didn't always display all available features.
But the BC600 has it where it counts. The UPS provided steady AC power for almost 34 minutes (33:42) when running on battery, powering a Dell PowerEdge R415 server that was consuming 104 watts while active and 84 watts when idle. Not bad, considering that the company claims that the unit should provide about 18 minutes of backup power for a system consuming 100 watts. At 31 minutes, the unit beeped a few times, and did so again at 31:30. At 31:40, it let out a long steady beep and its battery indicator flashed red. It finally quit at 33:42.
For resellers seeking a trouble-free solution for devices running Mac OS X, Windows or proprietary operating systems, the CRN Test Center recommends the BC600SINE from Tripp Lite as a solid choice.