This uninterruptible power supply beats comparable units in both price and performance.By Bob Grossman
Minuteman Power Technologies’ power protection products are manufactured by Para Systems, based in Carrollton, Texas. Now in its 35th year, the company’s product line is well supported and respected, and we tested its remote power management system in August 2016.
Our positive experiences with that product raised our expectations, and we were not disappointed. For this review we tested the PRO1500RT, a member of the PRO RT family that includes both 1000VA (700W) and 1500VA (1,050W).
These are line interactive units with six battery backedup outlets and surge protected outlets and two surge protected only outlets. All outlets are 15A, appropriate given the power rating.
Believe it or not, our favorable impression began with the packaging.
Rather than making the user wrestle with preformed top and bottom pieces of Styrofoam packing material, the PRO- 1500RT arrived in a box with eight corner pieces (four top and four bottom) and three side pieces.
Unpacking was extremely simple, and there were no larger pieces of Styrofoam to be broken up when it was time to discard the packaging. We found this packing configuration to be ingenious.
As with the previously tested Minuteman product, construction is extremely solid. The inside is easily accessible with a standard Philips head screwdriver and looks to be fairly easy to service.
Batteries were relatively easy to change, although lining up the long-yet-flimsy screws that hold the front bezel on was more difficult than it needed to be.
The RT designation at the end of the product model number stands for Rack/Tower, another clever design trick.
The supplied rack mount ears can be screwed on the front for rack mounting, or flipped over and used on what becomes the bottom for stabilizing the unit when used in a tower configuration.
We were somewhat puzzled by this at first, as the screws that were provided with our review sample fit the mounting holes used for the rack mount configuration but not the mounting holes provided for the tower configuration.
This is an obvious mistake; we received two identical bags of screws and should have gotten two different types.
We spoke with Bill Allen, director of marketing at Minuteman, and confirmed that Murphy’s Law was alive and well and applied to review units, as others in their inventory were correct.
Minuteman also provides an optional wall mount bracket that can be used to place the PRO RT Series (and other models) to a wall.
This eliminates the need to buy a shelf when these units are used in data closets or other areas, and would allow mounting of the unit with full convenient access to both the front and rear panels.
The module that holds the display and switches can be pulled out and rotated to ensure readability from three of the four possible orientations; upside-down is not an option. All of this is very clearly explained in the printed user’s manual supplied with the product.
An abbreviated single-page quick install guide explains how to connect the batteries and equipment, and turn the unit on, but you need to go to the manual for the other mounting configurations, display reorientation, and an explanation of the various alarms and display information.
It should be noted that this UPS, like others we have tested, is made in China. Unlike others, Minuteman has clearly taken a leadership role in product line management, particularly with regard to documentation.
The manual was well written, free of typos and grammatical errors. We understand that few people actually read the manuals, but those that do will not be left scratching their heads in bewilderment.
The PRO RT Series is marketed as “a value-priced, yet feature-rich UPS,” and that it is.
With an easily read backlit LCD display, simple to use software (more on that later), and displays with alarms for fault, low battery, weak/bad battery, fault and other modes.
The UPS self-tests every two weeks, and overcharge protection is also incorporated into the software. The UPS also checks for an improperly wired wall outlet, indicating a problem on the front panel display.
There is no programming to be done from the unit; not even an option to run in “silent” mode, bypassing audible alarms. You have to go to the software for that.
The scroll buttons take you through the various display options, and the manual explains them (fairly intuitive).
There’s a serial port on the back (RS-232 communication and simulated contact closures for low battery warning and AC failure), a USB port for the included software that also works with most operating systems (e.g. Windows), and accessory slot for an optional SNMP card or dry contact relay card.
There is also a pair of RJ45 connectors for surge protection of a telephone (RJ11) or network connection. In short, this UPS is bare-bones if programming or advanced features are required, although the software provides some additional “tweaks.”
However, the PRO1500RT is quite full-featured in terms of the majority of applications for this price class and configuration. We would have liked to have seen a way to mute the alarms from the front panel, but that’s the only shortcoming that we saw.