As a thrifty shopper and inquisitive soul, I’m always interested in trying alternative products if they may be a better deal or perhaps just provide a better customer experience.
With a desire to try different brands, we bought several Tripp Lite UPS units to provide battery backup for some IT assets.
On paper the specs of these SmartOnline 6kVA Tripp Lite UPS devices appear similar to APC Smart-UPS Online units. Unfortunately in practice, some features of the APC products are blatantly absent in the comparable Tripp Lite models. Here are a couple items that come to mind based on recent experience.
- Battery Replacement
- Tripp Lite SmartOnline UPS requires disassembling the front panel of the UPS and unplugging a slightly confusing sequence of colored battery connectors. If this is the first battery replacement, a technician will also be required to cut quite a few small zip ties to get the battery connectors loose.
- APC Smart-UPS Online units usually have a pair of standardized battery modules (APCRBC140) each with a single independent connector. The front panel swings out after removing only two screws on the APC vs over 10 screws on Tripp Lite.
- If you’re planning on changing a lot of UPS batteries, I recommend you take a look at a video or try in person the process on both brands to make a better decision which serves your battery change needs best.
- Front Panel Control
- The Tripp Lite SmartOnline units appear to put the primary connector of the front panel control in a sealed section of the UPS that is not user serviceable. If the control panel needs to be replaced, you will likely need to have the unit serviced by the manufacturer or replaced.
- The APC Smart-UPS Online units have a removable control panel with a short CAT5 style cable that is easily user serviceable.
- Hopefully the front panel control will not need replacement, but if it does, APC Smart-Online owners will be able to replace the part easily while Tripp Lite SmartOnline owners will need to request assistance from Tripp Lite for repair or replacement.
In the past I thought Tripp Lite was a great drop-in replacement for APC, but after doing some recent battery replacements and control panel failure troubleshooting on both brands – I have to say that the APC offering is starting to look attractive from a pure system maintenance perspective.
There are two obvious lessons here for me. (1) you usually get what you pay for, and (2) if someone drops your UPS, it will probably break.