UPSs and OS X

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
The UPS attached to my G4 recently died and I replaced it with a APC Back-UPS 800 XS. The new UPS communicates with my G4 via a RJ45 to USB cable plugged into a 5 port Belkin USB2 card. This setup works great. Neither the card or the UPS required any software installation whatsoever!



APC's website does provide a System Preferences panel called PowerChute. However, I compared it's functionality to what is built into OS X (10.3.6) and decided to unistall PowerChute. There are a couple of other UPS software options available for OS X but none seem terribly polished. PowerGaurdian is however much more fully featrued then what apple provides in the energy saver prefs. For instance, the geek in me would love to see an event log for power events built into OS X. Also of interest would be the entertaining (and somewhat useful) stats and readouts found in windows or linux UPS programs. The graphical knut client for linux is a prime example even if using an ugly theme in these KNutClientScreenshots.



Since that isn't currently available, I'll continue to use the energy saver prefs for UPSs. Does anyone understand these prefs?



There are identical controls for sleep settings under both 'Power Adapter' and 'UPS'. Yet these can be set differently. Why are there seperate computer, screen, and harddrive sleep settings for the UPS? I'll post energy saver screen shots the next time I use my computer.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    I would assume the ones under the UPS tab are settings for when you are operating under battery backup power. You might want your computer to sleep after 1 minute inactivity when running off the backup, but never when running off AC or something like that.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    I suppose that makes sense. *bonk*



    Now I'll have to figure out if it will wake from sleep in order to shutdown properly. Perhaps it'll require hooking the UPS up to a MB connected USB rather than a PCI connected USB port.



    It's time for me to visit the OS X feedback page.



    The energy saver prefs are a bit baffling compared to what I expect from apple. 'Power Adapter' sleep settings vs. 'USB' sleep settings? Choosing one of the two changes the number of tabs in the pref pane. Even worse... why the popup menu for two mutually exclusive sets of screen content? That's exactly what tabs are for. It is possible to have more than one UPS, but that is an extremely rare setup.



    To start with, better labels would help. Perhaps 'Regular Power' Settings and 'When on battery backup'. I'm sure apple could think up even more succinct and descriptive names. Also, a complete re-design of the GUI layout would help things immensely. The window is large enough that there need not be such a cumbersome process to view all of the settings. It would seem that users would be less confused if they could see everything at once, there aren?t that many widgets involved.



    Also, documentation of any kind would be great! If I?m willing to admit being baffled, I?m certain that the vast majority of users would be completely lost by ?Power Adapter? settings etc?



    Please note that I realize that this is just a nit-pick. It's great that OS X has UPS support out of the box. There's just a bit of polishing needed yet before I'm truly impressed.



    In the past, Apple has been receptive to my suggestions, issuing bug numbers and notification email when implantation was complete. Also, nearly everything in my multi-page Universal Access prefs rant was fixed in 10.3. Although I wouldn?t bet on it being my feedback which spurred the UA layout redesign, but it doesn?t hurt to try? <fingers crossed>
  • Reply 3 of 12
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Yup, it's identical to the laptop panel.



    Clever of them to realize that desktop + UPS is more or less the same as a laptop, after all, in the energy use dept.



    Go to the Options pane in Energy Saver. Set your desktop to reboot on power failure. Set the UPS to shut down the machine gracefully with, say, 2 minutes left. Now, the machine will stay up as long as it can, then shutdown. When the power comes back on, it will reboot automagically. I use this for my server at home.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 525member
    With PowerChute installed you will get a dialog box with warning messages. The other day my power went out, and a dialog box with the PowerChute icon popped up, explaining what happened and how much time i have left before the battery is depleted.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    The lights going off and the UPS beeping are probably a pretty good indication of power failure too.



    With powerchute installed, there were also dialog boxes declaring when communication was established or lost with the UPS. Since these appeared when going to or returning from sleep it suggests that the UPS should be plugged into a USB port on the motherboard. Now the mouse won't wake the computer from sleep but hopeful the UPS would.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 525member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler

    The lights going off and the UPS beeping are probably a pretty good indication of power failure too.



    Unless your lights are already turned out and the power failure was only in the basement, which is what happened to me.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Just for the heck of it, I tried connecting a USB cable from our UPS to an Xserve to see if I could get some functionality, lo and behold, I ran into the same exact problem dfiler ran into; trying to figure out how the heck you use Energy Saver.



    This thread seems to answer most of my questions, but I have a few others.



    First, has anyone tried connecting an UPS to an Xserve? If you do, you'll notice that in Server Monitor, another item shows up under the Power status monitoring, which shows your UPS backup and an empty graph. That's cool, but click show log, and you'll see in red letters: "Power supply status changed" every time Server Monitor refreshes. Is this just me or is anyone else having this? Nothing seems to be changing at all, yet this still gets logged every time.



    Also, why is there only 1 USB port on the UPS? What if I have multiple computers connected to it and I want them all to do something different when the power goes out?



    Why would "Restart automatically after a power failure" be under UPS options? Wouldn't the Power Adapter setting click in once the power comes on, hence UPS options are ineffective? I'm just confused by this option.



    I guess I should probably read the manual I took over this job just a few months ago and all this equipment was already bought, I'm just trying to understand things better.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bborofka

    Also, why is there only 1 USB port on the UPS? What if I have multiple computers connected to it and I want them all to do something different when the power goes out?



    Why would "Restart automatically after a power failure" be under UPS options? Wouldn't the Power Adapter setting click in once the power comes on, hence UPS options are ineffective? I'm just confused by this option.




    A UPS can only be connected to one machine. However, the connected computer can act as a UPS monitor for other computers. I've never looked for this type of software for OS X so I'm unsure if it exists. Of course if you're industrious, you could port one of the many linux tools.



    As far as "Restart automatically after a power failure", beats me! That's why I started this thread. Anyone know the answer?



    Or... what happens if drives aren't allowed to sleep under UPS power but they're asleep when the power outage occures?



    The GUI for energy saver UPS prefs needs much work!
  • Reply 9 of 12
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler

    As far as "Restart automatically after a power failure", beats me! That's why I started this thread. Anyone know the answer?



    I imagine it means that if power fails, computer gets shut down, and then power returns... that the computer will automatically start up again



    Amorya
  • Reply 10 of 12
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorya

    I imagine it means that if power fails, computer gets shut down, and then power returns... that the computer will automatically start up again



    Well yeah... but there are two settings for this. Which one is the real one?
  • Reply 11 of 12
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler

    Well yeah... but there are two settings for this. Which one is the real one?



    I dunno - set them both the same?



    Amorya
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I know this thread has not been active for a while, but I've posted a tutorial on YouTube showing how to get multiple computers talking to a single UPS.  Namely how to install and configure Network UPS Tools on a Mac. Here's the link: https://youtu.be/8rWlouT18pw.
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