Review: Eaton 5S 1000 LCD Uninterruptible Power Supply

Standby Power

With its latest 5S series UPSes, Eaton not only provides standby power for small computers and point-of-sale devices, it also isolates coaxial and network or modem lines from electrical disturbances and simplifies in-person monitoring with a built-in LCD panel. The tower-style 5S units range from 500 VA to 1,500 VA and in list price from $161 to $388. For review, Eaton sent the CRN Test Center the 5S 1000 LCD, a 1,000-VA, 600-watt model that sells for $230. Here's a look at what we found.

LCD Panel

The newest and most obvious aspect of the 5S is its 1.25-inch backlit LCD panel, which during normal operations shows the status of input line voltage, condition and load, and the battery charge level. During a power outage, the LCD switches by default to minutes remaining. Also on the front panel are buttons (from top to bottom) for power, LCD scroll and for silencing the power-event alarm. Pressing the scroll button pages through percent, minutes, Hz, kVA or kW measurements. Farther down the front panel, a door opens to reveal the user-replaceable battery. Out of the box, a trip inside was necessary to connect the battery during initial setup.

Physically Fit

At about 10 x 15 x 3.5 inches, the 5S 1000 is one of Eaton's smallest; only 3S-series models are smaller. Its 10 surge-protected outlets are in two columns; five on the right also provide battery backup. The bottom-most two outlets are set apart to accommodate AC adapters. The rear panel also is home to a USB host connector, RJ-45 and coax line protection connectors, a 6-foot captive power cord and a circuit breaker reset button. Its heavy-duty outlet hardware and connectors give the Eaton unit a solid, reliable feel. Though it has vents on both sides, Eaton says it's OK to lay the unit flat and use it to elevate a monitor.

Two of its backed-up outlets are configured as a master/slave. If there's no power draw on the master, the UPS cuts power to the backed-up slave along with three surge-only slaves. This conveniently saves energy by automatically powering down peripherals such as monitors, cash drawers or small printers that are needed only when a computer is running. The threshold can be fine-tuned or EcoControl-disabled through Eaton's UPS Companion software or via the LCD control panel.

Runtime On Battery

According to Eaton's published numbers, the 5S 1000 can provide close to 15 minutes of standby power with a load of 300 watts -- half the unit's rated maximum. To test this, we connected a 298-watt load to a fully charged unit, cut AC power and clicked our online stopwatch. The power button flashed green and the alarm beeped every 10 seconds for the first 16 minutes, then became more rapid. At about 18 minutes, the system ran out of gas. We conducted separate tests of the software, which worked well on Windows and Mac OS X. More on the software next.

Sturdy Companion

To control and monitor its sturdy hardware, Eaton provides sturdy software for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Shown here are UPS Companion for Windows (a free download) and similar functionality for Mac OS X implemented within its Energy Saver preference panel (inset). The software provides energy usage and cost reports, monitoring of UPS status and events, and can implement an orderly shutdown in the event of a power outage.

With its 5S series, Eaton provides a solid point solution for consumers and small business that's easy to set up and use, supports all major operating system platforms and is priced to fit most budgets. The CRN Test Center recommends the 5S series; larger enterprises seeking a centrally managed backup power solution would need to step up to Eaton's P-series or higher.