- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 17 January 2011
Furman, long known for power conditioners, has introduced a series of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) that go into operation if your home (or office) AC power goes off due to storms or other factors. From the point that your AC goes off, and the Furman supplies AC power to whatever is plugged into it, you have a certain amount of time to shut down the components you have plugged into it. The amount of time you have depends on the current draw of the connected components. The Furman F1500 is rated at 900 watts load. The optional BATT1500-EXT battery pack allows additional time. The F1500 UPS was designed with home theater users in mind, and since a sudden loss of power can corrupt receiver settings and damage bulbs in projectors, the addition of a UPS to your home theater is something to consider.
- Design: Battery Backup Power Supply
- Power Output: 900 Watts Load
- Voltage Regulation: 96 V - 135 V
- Backup Time: 32 Minutes Half-Load (101 Minutes with Optional Battery Pack), 12 Minutes Full Load (45 Minutes with BATT1500-EXT Optional Battery Pack)
- RS-232 and USB Connections for Automatic Computer Shutdown (Software Supplied)
- Eight Grounded AC Receptacles in Four Banks
- Dimensions: 3.5" H x 17" W x 19.2" D (Main Unit); 4" H x 17" W x 19" D (BATT1500-EXT)
- Weight: 72 Pounds (Main Unit), 67 Pounds (BATT1500-EXT)
- MSRP: $1,299.95 (Main Unit), $649.95 (BATT1500-EXT)
- Furman Sound
The F1500 has discrete line filtering to four discrete banks of outlets, with each bank being one pair of AC receptacles. In the photo below, you can see that two banks on the left are black. These are for non-critical components that can be programmed to shut down first, leaving components connected to the Critical Loads bank (the white outlets) more time to be shut down. On the right are an RS-232 port and USB port for connection to your computer. If you want the F1500 to automatically shut down the computer, you must leave the RS-232 cable connected. This would be the case where you are using your computer as a media server in your home theater.
The red, black, and green connectors in the middle are for the optional BATT1500-EXT battery pack, which is placed underneath the main unit. This triples the available time for shutdown, and in my opinion, is well worth the expense since it triples the backup time but is only 1/2 the cost of the main unit.
In setting the F1500 up for use, it is best to leave it plugged in overnight before connecting your components. This allows enough time to fully charge the battery.
After the unit is fully charged, and your components are plugged into it (including your computer if you want) connect it to your computer via the RS-232 port (9 pin standard computer connection). Install the included software, and when you boot the program, you will see the following screen, which shows the status of the F1500. In this case, it shows that the incoming voltage is 116 volts, the Voltage Condition is Normal, the battery is fully charged, there are 135 minutes of battery runtime if the AC goes down, and 396 watts are being used currently. The second screen (Summary) is shown in the second screen shot below. It is a record of what has happened electrically over selected periods of time, such as when a power outage occurred. Note that in the second screen shot, the voltage regulation kicked in several times to keep the output within a normal range.
The following six screen shots are from the Configure menu. You can see that the F1500 is extremely flexible.
Note that when setting up the F1500, you need to scroll through the various menus that are accessible on the front panel and set your preferences. If you have the BATT1500-EXT optional battery, you have to scroll to the external battery item in the menu and set it to "Yes". Otherwise, even though the external battery is connected to the main unit, it is not being utilized.
Here is a photo of the front panel display, showing the status of the four power banks and the display panel. To select from the menu, you turn the knob above the word "Menu" until the feature you want to adjust is displayed. Then you push the knob in, and the options in that feature can be scrolled by turning the knob. When the selection is seen, push the knob in again, and it is set.
The F1500 can learn remote control signals as well. This is useful if you want the F1500 to send IR commands if the wall AC power fails. So, it can be programmed to turn off your projector, SSP, etc., before the battery power in the F1500 is depleted. For the F1500 to shut down your computer, not only must the RS-232 connection be maintained, but the software must be running in the background.
I connected several components to the F1500 that were using 430 watts as shown on the previous page. I turned off the circuit breaker, and the F1500 went into action. It shut down my computer, although I had plenty of time to do this manually. For those of you who might purchase this product just for a single computer, the front panel display said there were 77 minutes of battery power available should the AC go down (I only had one computer connected to the F1500 for this test).
I performed an FFT analysis on the output of the unit when it was connected to a live AC wall socket, and shown below is the spectrum of the F1500 (red graph) vs. straight out of the wall AC (yellow graph). You can see that the F1500 does indeed filter some of the AC harmonics, especially above 3 kHz. There actually was a bit more noise with the F1500 in the 400 Hz - 2 kHz range. In any case, its output is much like other home theater power conditioners. The difference is, that with the F1500, you don't lose power to your hi-fi equipment if the AC goes down.
Like most modern UPS these days, when the F1500 is called into action, it generates a 60 Hz sine wave at 120 volts. This is clean power that is available during your component shut down. However, it would be nice to have that clean power all the time, not just when the wall power is out, but during normal use, the wall AC is connected to a battery charger which is connected to the batteries, and what you get at the AC receptacles on the rear of the unit is the AC from the wall. It is only when the wall power goes off that you are getting your AC from the batteries through the sine wave generator and voltage regulator. The only way to get that clean sine wave generated AC is from the batteries when there is no incoming AC (with its noise) because the AC lines connected through the battery charger to the batteries.
There needs to be some technology developed that isolates the battery charger from the noise in the wall AC lines. This has not been accomplished yet.
However, the F1500 does filter some of the noise, just not as much as we would like.
In terms of which components to connect to the UPS, I would certainly suggest the projector, computer if you are using it as a media server, surround sound processor, and your network router.
Although the Furman F1500 filters some AC line noise, its real value is in its programmability to turn components off if you are not there, and if you are there, you have plenty of time to turn off the projector (the cooling fan generally runs for several minutes after you turn off the projector) and your other sensitive home theater items.