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Noisy APC BR1500G Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

I’ve been using APC uninterruptible power supplies for almost 6 years now, starting with the big honkin’ SmartUPS 1000XL units with an extra 75 lb battery, but more recently, as power demands have declined, the APC BR1500 with its add-on battery. The BR1500 has performed admirably, with a fan that runs only when charging or when power is lost. I’ve never had a failure with the APC units, though the SmartUPS 1000XL batteries are now dying, after 5+ years of use.

NOT recommended— too noisy

Now comes the “improved” BR1500G with a very nice LED screen which shows load, time remaining, etc— very nice. In all functional respects it is a very nice unit.

Except that the BR1500G runs its fan continually, and it’s fan is absurdly loud, drowning out my 12-core Mac Pro with 4 drives inside, along with an external enclosures with 8 drives. Ridiculous.

I gave the BR1500G plenty of time to fully charge (multiple days), and I tried it with the smallest of loads. The BR1500G is simply too loud to be tolethe BR1500G is just way over the top.

Here are some details I discovered.

  • At an ambient temperature of 45° F, the BR1500G does not run its fan with a load of 100 watts or so.
  • At an ambient temperature of 70° F, the BR1500G runs its fan continuously with or without a load. That’s right— plugged in and fully charged with nothing attached the noisy fan is going full tilt.
  • The BR1500G vampires off 20 watts of power with nothing attached. The older BR1500 was better, consuming only 10 watts without any load. Neither is acceptable, both are vampires, but a 20 watt vampire load when zero devices are attached is ridiculously wasteful, and shows pathetically poor engineering. And my electricity is not cheap.
  • I have reports from other BR1500G users of having similar fan-noise problems, yet I also have reports of near silent operation. So I don’t know if there is a bad build, or a change in firmware within the unit, etc.

I sent the BR1500G back. The noise is absurd. I wish APC would keep making the original BR1500, which is now hard to find. I just ordered what appears to be a fanless APC BACK-UPS ES BE750G 10-Outlet 750VA 120V UPS System. Half the power at 1/2 or less of the cost. If so, using more than one of those will solve the problem (e.g., one for computer, one for display, etc), although these smaller units do not accept an add-on battery, so their runtime is limited.

APC says

I doubt it’s “unusual” to have the loud fan noise, since I’m not the only one. And 45 dB is not quiet at all, especially in a quiet room. I did not do any “troubleshooting” on the phone, because the last time I called APC, the representative seemed unaware of fan noise as an issue, or even to know which models had a fan. I’m not into wasting my time with ignorance of one’s own product line. At any rate, the position is clear: all BF1500G models have a fan that never stops running. All fans make some noise, and I want a silent UPS, like the original BR1500.

All currently manufactured UPS models which are 1500VA or higher are going to have a fan installed which is going to run constantly. The new design has a 2 speed fan, a low speed during "normal" operation and then a higher speed fan when the UPS is "on battery" or temperature reaches a certain point. This is not something that can be changed at this time.

However, the description that you have reported is very unusual and the UPS with the fan operating should not cause the level of noise that you describe. It is possible that the UPS that you purchased and returned had a specific issue, but I don't believe that is indicative of the behavior of all of the BR1500G models. The Audible Noise at 1 meter from surface of unit should not surpass 45.00 dba. Did you discuss the concerns you had with regards to the sounds from the UPS when you had the UPS in your possession? I am just wondering if any troubleshooting was done to try to remedy the issue. If not, it's possible that a new BR1500G might be the appropriate replacement.

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