IBM backup power system lasts half as long as expected

IBM backup power system lasts half as long as expected

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

The compact and dependable IBM Office Professional 500 uninterruptible power system does provide steady emergency power, but for only half as long as claimed.

The 8- by 6- by 5-inch black brick weighs 15.5 pounds and stands unobtrusively on end under any desk. It promises 30 minutes of automatic extra life for a desktop PC and a monitor when AC power goes out.

Half of the office Professional 500's plugs have both battery power and surge protection. The other half only do surge protection, so be careful where you plug in.

In my tests, however, the UPS never lasted longer than 15 minutes.

The first couple of times I tested it, it seemed to fail. I thought the battery must be defective until I noticed that although the computer shut down every time I pulled the UPS wall plug, the monitor would stay on.

I had plugged in the monitor and system cords on different sides of the UPS, not noticing that only one side accesses the backup battery and surge protection while the other side does only surge protection.

But it wasn't my fault entirely. A user would need X-ray vision to read the embossed text on the back of the UPS. I had to hold the brick up close to my eyes to make out the text. IBM should label it much more distinctly. The source of the UPS and its software is Tripp Lite of Chicago.

Box Score ''''''''''''''

Office Professional 500

UPS for desktop PCs

IBM Corp.; Armonk, N.Y.;

tel. 800-420-9764

Price: $289

+ Small and reliable

' Difficult to set up

' Works half as long as promised

The Tripp Lite software and a serial cord provide automatic, unattended shutdowns'a great idea. But getting the software to work as promised proved quite difficult.

The scanty documentation lacked such instructions as how to load the software. Although the UPS has only three battery-plus-surge plugs'best for a desktop PC setup'the software wizard assumed an administrator would be controlling several UPS units from a single terminal. Interesting idea, but Office Professional 500 is designed for standalone operation with client software.

Uninstalling the Tripp Lite software wasn't easy, either. The PowerAlert application refused to go away until I rebooted and entered Microsoft Windows 98's Safe Mode.


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