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Power Failure/UPS: No Shutdown? RRS feed

  • Question

  • WHS box, connected to APC UPS.

    Control Panel | Power Options | Power Schemes offers up "Turn off hard disks" and "System Standby", each with a "Plugged In" and a "Running on batteries" option.

    The window looks like this .

    Seems like somewhere there sb a  "Shut down system"  option for Running On Batteries.

    Bottom line, if there is a power failure, I'd want the WHS box to power itself off 100%  so it does not completely drain the UPS battery when the power remains off for, say, two days and there is nobody around to do things manually.

    Some way to tell the UPS itself to shut down completely would be a logical corellory - but I guess that's between me and APC instead of WHS.

    Can anybody elucidate?
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 2:03 AM

All replies

  • There should be a management port on the ups and powerchute software. Once connected WHS should see the ups in power options. Then you can set up it's behaviour.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:38 AM
  • There should be a management port on the ups and powerchute software. Once connected WHS should see the ups in power options. Then you can set up it's behaviour.


    Well, there was one problem: PowerChute was not installed..... -)

    I installed it, but do not see anything that would keep the UPS battery from being drained by peripherals like routers, switches, and so-forth.

    Those peripherals really need tb on the UPS to deal gracefully with a power outage - otherwise, if one of the other PC's is saving data to a file on WHS, the save would be interrupted as the routers/switches lost power.

    I've got Configuration | Runtime | Preserve battery power set to shut down the computer after 5 minutes on battery backup.

    But there's nothing about shutting down the UPS itself so those routers, switches, and so-forth will not eventually drain the battery.

    Am I missing something?   Probably...... or is there a major hole in the implementation?
    • Edited by PeteCress Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:42 PM
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:39 PM
  • The only way to be sure you've powered a modern computer off 100% is by unplugging it. Anything less may still leave it consuming a trickle of current all the time. The "soft off" in Windows usually results in the computer consuming about 2-5 watts.

    As for external devices, unless you're using devices that can be managed remotely (and I almost guarantee you aren't) they will continue to run until the UPS shuts itself down to protect itself.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 6:49 PM
    Moderator
  • The only way to be sure you've powered a modern computer off 100% is by unplugging it. Anything less may still leave it consuming a trickle of current all the time. The "soft off" in Windows usually results in the computer consuming about 2-5 watts.

    As for external devices, unless you're using devices that can be managed remotely (and I almost guarantee you aren't) they will continue to run until the UPS shuts itself down to protect itself.


    Wow!   I call that a huge , gaping hole in the whole UPS concept for WHS use - or, for that matter, any use where there is nobody available to manually intervene in an extended power outage.

    I guess the industry hasn't caught up with reality yet.

    Cresswell Predicts (within the next year or two):
    • UPS's with a special bank of outputs that get turned off when the draw on a certain output is less than a user-specified level (as when the PC connected to that output is turned off completely or put to sleep)   This functionality is already available in special power strips that cost about a hundred dollars.
    • A self-timer option on UPS's that causes the UPS itself to go completely dead (i.e. stop supplying any current to any output) after a user-specified amount of time  running on the battery.
    • Maybe a variation on the above to have the UPS go to sleep for a predetermined time, then wake up and check to see if external power has been restored; and restore power to the server back on if it has (my server will boot itself up if power is removed, then re-applied).

    Seems like those two options would enable real-world use of a UPS on a WHS box without the prospect of cooking the UPS' battery every time there is an extended power outage and the owner is not on the premises.

    Smarter people will probably come up with something that gets to the same end result better, but that's what I come up with.
    • Edited by PeteCress Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:05 PM
    Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:00 PM
  • No harm will come to a computer that's in "soft off" mode if power is removed entirely. And a UPS will deliver several times it's rated capacity at such small delivery rates. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    As for your predictions, umm, they are rather at variance with the realities of UPS sales, which (for consumer units) are primarily driven by margins rather than features. The additional features you describe could easily add $100 to the cost of a UPS, by the time you see it on a shelf at Best Buy. And the market for UPS sales to Windows Home Server users is minuscule, given that Microsoft's recommendation is to either not connect a UPS at all, or at a minimum don't connect it to the server as anything other than a dumb battery (i.e. no data connection).

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, August 20, 2009 5:28 PM
    Moderator
  • No harm will come to a computer that's in "soft off" mode if power is removed entirely. And a UPS will deliver several times it's rated capacity at such small delivery rates. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    As for your predictions, umm, they are rather at variance with the realities of UPS sales...

    My concern is with the battery, not the PC.

    Experience indicates that draining an other-than-NiCad battery harms it.

    BUt won't hold my breath until APC catches on..... especially in light of your observations about margins, add'l cost, and WHS-related market share.....

    Thanks for the elucidation.
    Friday, August 21, 2009 12:48 AM
  • ... given that Microsoft's recommendation is to either not connect a UPS at all, or at a minimum don't connect it to the server as anything other than a dumb battery (i.e. no data connection).
    That one slipped past me on the first read.

    By "Data Connection" I take them to mean that the UPS shouldn't be sending a message to WHS that that external AC power has failed and that WHS should shut down.

    And, by implication, they seem to be saying "Pull the power plug on an up-and-running system?  No problem....".

    True?

    If so, any idea as to the rationale?

    • Edited by PeteCress Wednesday, August 26, 2009 3:56 PM
    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 3:55 PM
  • "Pull the plug...": True, and relatively safe, as A) write caching is not enabled by default on your server and B) NTFS is a "journalling" file system. (Do some research on e.g. Wikipedia if you're interested in why that matters...)

    Note that I'm not saying you shouldn't use the data cable to connect your UPS to your server. I am saying that Microsoft doesn't recommend it, and doesn't support it. Probably this is because inexpensive (i.e. basically all consumer) UPSes don't deliver very good power, and they may "panic" and signal imminent battery shutdown during the transition from wall to battery. I have several UPses (consumer APC units) that do this. Since the only thing I care about with a UPS is that the computer shut down or hibernate gracefully and successfully, I don't give a darn if the UPS falsely signals that the battery is almost drained, since that will trigger the shutdown I want when wall current goes away anyway. (Note: I trust NTFS, but I obviously don't tempt fate...)

    And for the computers that I actually want running in a power outage, I use "online" UPSes from a more reliable manufacturer, Liebert. The online UPS always delivers power from the battery, even if on wall current. There are greater losses because of AC→DC→AC conversion, however, and they are much more expensive and significantly heavier.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 5:17 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes there are some known issues with the built-in power management.  APC recently released Power Chute Personal Edition version 2.2 which is now WHS compatible. All prior version of PCPE may appear to work but have known issues and a race condition. 
    The PowerChute Business edition does not have these problems and generally works really well – in fact they all disable all the native power management and dated UPS driver stack jointly developed by APC & Microsoft from the early 90’s. I would recommend the APC Business edition over PE, and lastly there is Grid Junction neither piggybacks on any of the native power management.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 10:50 PM
    Moderator