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UPS to shutdown two computers

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#1
Zxian

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I'm wondering if anyone knows of any UPS systems that can be setup to shutdown two computers in the event of a power failure. I know lots of them can connect to a single machine using USB, but I don't know if they'll support two.

Thanks in advance!


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#2
PC_LOAD_LETTER

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I dont know of any that will signal to the pc but we have a bunch of "APC Smart-UPS 1500 XLM" that can turn off their outlet groups selectively in the event of a failure -just put your 2 PCs on there and they would go down -not soft but they wouldn't leech your power.

the other idea I had is to wire the output relays directly to the motherboards power on/off button. but the drawback there is if the alarm is triggered once, the pc would soft shutdown but would start back up if it was triggered again (power comes back on but goes off)

I doubt that UPS is the same size you'd be looking for your desktops (theyre buly as heck and weigh a ton) but i know that those 2 features exist on that model. If either of those ideas work for you just look for a workstation class with controllable outlet groups or output relays

#3
SmaugyGrrr

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APC's PowerChute Business Edition (the free version) can use custom .cmd files.

Example with remote shutdown command:
http://forums.isxuse...?messageID=1586

Here's a screenshot from my PowerChute config pages.

Other UPS apps might have an email notification option, so just run netcat or a mail server which has exec rules.

#4
nmX.Memnoch

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If you get an APC SmartUPS based UPS (1000VA or higher...you'll want that much anyway for two systems to give them enough runtime to run any custom shutdown processes and then finish shutting down) you can also get an interface expander that will allow you to attach more than one machine.

http://www.apc.com/r...se_sku=AP9607CB

If that doesn't come up (because of their country selection thing), the part number is AP9607CB. Of course, that does you no good if the system doesn't have serial ports (like the Asus P5B and P5K line. And some of the newer UPSes are coming with USB only connections. I'll look a bit more and see what I can find...one would think APC would have a USB interface expander.

I have an APC SmartUPS 1400 that I use for my file server. It also has my cable/VOIP modem, router and switch plugged into it. It sits at about 15-20% load (if that) most of the time. That gives it PLENTY of runtime (especially if it's a short power outtage...I don't even have to worry about it shutting down).

Edited by nmX.Memnoch, 06 November 2007 - 11:28 AM.


#5
Zxian

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Of course, that does you no good if the system doesn't have serial ports (like the Asus P5B and P5K line. And some of the newer UPSes are coming with USB only connections. I'll look a bit more and see what I can find...one would think APC would have a USB interface expander.


Thanks for the info. I'm wondering though, if all else fails, would I be able to use a USB->Serial adaptor like this one. to create the interface? It looks like I might be able to plug that adaptor into the interface expander, and then just deal with USB cables from there.

Also, if that works, could I use the USB connection for one computer, and the serial connection for the other (assuming the UPS has both)?

#6
nmX.Memnoch

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Of course, that does you no good if the system doesn't have serial ports (like the Asus P5B and P5K line. And some of the newer UPSes are coming with USB only connections. I'll look a bit more and see what I can find...one would think APC would have a USB interface expander.


Thanks for the info. I'm wondering though, if all else fails, would I be able to use a USB->Serial adaptor like this one. to create the interface? It looks like I might be able to plug that adaptor into the interface expander, and then just deal with USB cables from there.

Heh...well, I've already tried that with the SmartUPS 700 I have on my machine. It didn't work but that could've been the specific USB->Serial adapter I was using. It wanted a driver and I'm not sure the driver ever installed right. I could get Windows built in UPS management to see the UPS for a split second and then it would lose connection. APC's management utility never even saw the UPS.


Also, if that works, could I use the USB connection for one computer, and the serial connection for the other (assuming the UPS has both)?

I don't think so. I think it's "either/or, but not both".

Edited by nmX.Memnoch, 06 November 2007 - 02:29 PM.


#7
Zxian

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I guess I could grab this UPS for testing purposes. It's got both the USB and serial connectivity, so I can test the "both or either/or" question at hand.

I've been digging around the net for a while, and read up on some Linux implementations where one system would initiate the shutdown of another. Is there any simple way I could do that from my file server to my workstation? I'd connect the two machines, as well as my router and switch to the UPS, so they'd all be online and working. Something like what this KB describes, no?

#8
nmX.Memnoch

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Is there any simple way I could do that from my file server to my workstation? I'd connect the two machines, as well as my router and switch to the UPS, so they'd all be online and working. Something like what this KB describes, no?


APC's PowerChute Business Edition (the free version) can use custom .cmd files.


There's your answer. It's pretty easy to setup, but you do have to install like three different components on the computer that has the actual (data) connection to the UPS. You can have it initiate a custom script (or utility) that would shutdown any other computer(s) plugged into the UPS. Of course, you would also have to have the switch plugged into the UPS (which you already plan on doing) so the shutdown command can be sent across the network. No sense in sending a shutdown command if the network ain't there. :)

All you need is the following command in your .cmd file (this is for the XP version, the 2003 version requires a few more options):

shutdown -m \\COMPUTERNAME -s -t 00 -f

-m specifies the remote computer
-s is for shutdown
-t is the wait time
-f forces applications to close

BTW, you can also do this with the built in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 UPS tools. In other words, the third party APC utility isn't strictly necessary. It does, however, monitor other settings about the UPS as well as providing for email notification.



Other UPS apps might have an email notification option, so just run netcat or a mail server which has exec rules.

See above...APC's PowerChute Business Edition has this built in.

Email notification doesn't do much good though if it's a neighborhood outage and the local ISP switch/router is down. :)

Edited by nmX.Memnoch, 06 November 2007 - 03:15 PM.


#9
Zxian

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I picked up one of these on my way home to play around with. I've got both my systems hooked up to it, along with the networking equipment. I connected the USB cable to my Server 2003 machine, and the UPS showed up in Power Management as the system "battery". I installed the PowerChute Personal Edition software though, and I think I'll keep it. It's got all the funky data about what's going on at any given moment. Right now, with all computer equipment connected (router, switch, 2 LCDs, workstation, server) and both computers crunching away at 100% (Rosetta@Home) the system is providing ~380W of power. I haven't setup any scripts, but I'll be playing with that in a sec...

EDIT - So the UPS works as it should. I managed to get Server 2003 to shutdown my workstation remotely, but only after uninstalling all APC software. The Business Edition wouldn't recognize my UPS (since it's not a SmartUPS series), and the personal edition has no ability to manage anything remotely. After uninstalling the APC Personal Edition software, I setup low battery and critical battery warnings to shutdown my workstation and server respectively.


I did find one snag with the whole setup though - I inherently have a ground loop setup with my workstation and speakers. This seems to cause more problems with EMI when the whole setup is connected to the UPS than when it's connected to a straight surge protector. I'll have to play around with this a bit more to track down the exact cause, but I have a feeling that it's due to the built-in AVR on the UPS.

#10
nmX.Memnoch

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Yeah, the BACK-UPS line doesn't have near the manageability of the SmartUPS line. But at the same time the SmartUPS line is a lot more expensive. Try the PowerChute Business Edition and see if that works. It's free up to 5 nodes. Install all three components on the main machine (your server I assume) and then you can install the console on your workstation to manage it remotely.

At any rate, you should still be able to get it to work using the built in Windows stuff.

Also, don't plug your speakers into the UPS. You don't need sound for the PC to shutdown. :) Not to mention that if you have a 2.1 or 5.1 system, the sub could have adverse effects on the battery life (because the sub will suck more juice anytime there's a bass hit). This is the same reason that you should never plug a laser printer into a UPS.

Edited by nmX.Memnoch, 07 November 2007 - 12:13 AM.


#11
Zxian

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I did try the Business Edition for my system, but it only supports certain UPS lineups - and the Back-UPS isn't included.

I'll have to play around with the electrical configuration to see if I can fix the problem.

#12
Mercury_22

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Try a USB hub or 1 USB + 1 com and this software :angel

#13
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i have 2 Smart-UPS 1500 rackmount units synced together as they back up 3 servers. Using APC's network management card AP9617, I can have either UPS shutdown an unlimited # of clients. This is good 2 fold:
1. should 1 UPS fail, the whole load doesn't drop because each server has a redundant powersupply.
2. I actually get extended runtime in the case of a power outage because there are 2 batteries holding up the load instead of 1

It's a more expensive route than the powerchute business edition, but there's a lot more you can do and monitor with the network card as opposed to the business edition software.

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