One of the blessings about living in Singapore is the access to clean, constant electricity, and we really do to take this for granted. The last major power outage in Singapore was almost exactly two years ago, in January 2019, when a transformer failure at a substation caused up to 27,000 households to be without electricity for up to 90 minutes.
Now you might think that’s not a very long time, and while most of us who work from home with desktop PCs might curse the short downtime, the majority of users affected who need to do work would probably just use their LTE-enabled notebooks, or switch their smartphones to hotspot mode for the short downtime. If you’re using a cloud office suite such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs then your work is automatically saved.
I must admit that when I was asked to review the American Power Conversion SurgeArrest PM6 and Easy UPS 1 PH BV 500I a few months ago, the thought of experiencing a power outage was far from my mind, and the only time electricity went down in my HDB apartment was when the central switchboard of my block was turned off for swap-out, which took less than 30 min. Having said that, my block also recently underwent some lift-upgrading, which also necessitated the power being cut for an hour, and thankfully by then I had the UPS up and running, had enough back-up power to save my work files and switch off my Apple Mac Mini safely.
If you haven’t heard about American Power Conversion – the company has been around since 1981 in the universal power supply market, primarily for server and data centre power systems. In 2007, APC became the Critical Power & Cooling Services Business Unit for Schneider Electric.
APC Easy UPS 1 PH BV 500I
The Easy UPS 1 PH BV 500I is a brick-shaped module with four universal power ports on its front, and a simple circuit breaker located on the back of the device that you need to slide in to connect the device’s batteries. The overall module is a little big and heavy, but totally unobtrusive when it’s sitting behind my PC monitor, where it basically performs as a multipoint power outlet, surge protector and voltage regulator. Apart from my PC, monitor and USB-C notebook charger, I’ve also hooked it up to a desk light and Google Nest Hub. The BV 500I model comes with a 12V/4.5 AH battery, which APC states will provide 40 min of run time if you’re using 40watts, which APC claims is what a basic PC with a small monitor would draw.
Installation of the UPS is easy – connect the unit’s circuit breaker, then plug it in. It will then admit a loud tone as a test, but this is also the warning tone that the UPS will emit when there’s a power failure and it switches to battery mode.
I do reckon that since I’m mainly a notebook/Google Docs user, I’m relatively ‘safe’ from electrical failures, but if you happen to work in an old office building that has such issues, a UPS would give you plenty of peace of mind.
I figure that there are people like my brother who are tropical fish tank aficionados with heated aquariums housing tropical that would find a UPS handy, as a power outage for more than half an hour could prove fatal, for the fish. In this case, an Eheim 2217 Classic 600 External Canister Filter consumes 20W.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
A simple, easy to use UPS that will give you crucial backup power and peace of mind.
Power Capacity 300 W / 500 VA
Output Voltage on Battery 230VAC +/- 10%
Output Frequency Range 50 Hz or 60 Hz +/- 1 Hz
Input Voltage Range 170-280 (V)
AC Input Fuse 5A
Battery Type 12 V / 4.5 AH
120W Runtime 5 min
Dimensions 9.25 x 16.05 x 30.5 cm
APC SurgeArrest PM6
With multiple devices to recharge every night, I must say that my bedside table has turned into a web of cables, and I sleep right next to a 5 port power outlet. The APC SurgeArrest PM6 not only adds multiple surge protection, but it also has an electromagnetic and radio frequency noise filter, which you will need if you have sensitive electronics, such as audio recording gear. While the design is a little chunky when compared to a ‘straight’ outlet, it does have six ports plus two USB ports in a less lengthy configuration.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Both products are available on the official APC by Schneider Electric Lazada Store.
APC Easy UPS 1 PH BV 500I S$79
APC SurgeArrest PM6 S$79