Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Inside a Belkin PureAV AVU1500
It's been very hard to get this posted, first time, from my mobile phone. Ultimately I had to re-forward from another email account. I had a bunch of other pictures, but will get posted slowly until I can figure a better way.
Note that you're getting a pretty full box of stuff in your Belkin home theater UPS. The most impressive bit to me was the set of linear filters in the back, one for each bank of outlets and perhaps two for the analog outlets. With wirewound chokes and large film capacitors, it looks similar to the components inside a large Monster Power 5100. In addition to the chokes at the AC input, each bank apparently sees a ferrite choke followed by a shunt cap, a series inductor, and a final shunt cap. Then there are two flat MOV's and one cylindrical TSS before going to the outlet bank.
You are also getting an impressive 30 pound battery, not found in cheapo UPS's because it's worth more than many of them.
Now I want to believe the sine-wave backup generator is good, and it's much better to have sinewave generating UPS than "stepped-approximation-to-sinewave" in my opinion, who knows what that kind of distorted wave is going to do to equipment (though I guess it must be safe, because almost everyone does it). In any case pay a large premium for pure sinewave in the UPS market. APC, for example, has a cheap home theater UPS with stepped sinewaves (H15, $250 street), and one priced about the same as the Belkin (S15, $1500 list, $800 street) with sinewaves. Hey I wonder if the APC S15 is a clone of the Belkin, though the wattage spec is 100W lower for the APC (900 vs 1000W).
But this particular sinewave inverter, while probably similar to comparable units from APC and Monster, does not impress me with over-building. The heatsinks for the the transistors notably look fairly small for a unit supposed to be able to supply 1000W and 1500AV. Also, the internal air path does not go directly through those heatsinks. (I was actually expecting to see a wind tunnel inside this thing, but I guess nobody does that anymore now that transistors are so much better.) Instead, the heatsinks are simply in the center of the unit, where there is at least some open area to *allow* airflow. Also, notably, within half an inch of the heatsinks are some vulnerable electrolytic capacitors.
But I don't think your cheapo stepped wave UPS's are going to have that fairly hefty transformer. It looks like the sinewave generator drives the transformer which steps up the voltage as required. The transformer is apparently an important part of this, maybe does a lot of the smoothing, and is located right next to vent holes on the side of the unit and therefore in the direct airflow path. That's probably because the transformer heats up as much as anything in sustained operation. And that's probably because we are dealing with somewhat marginal parts and design here, not something built to extremist audiophile standards. Something like this built to extremist standards wouldn't cost $500 or even $1500 but something more like $20,000.
In my mind so far this is not a "server grade" UPS that you would feel safe running your hedge fund on. It's probably not up to long daily stretches on backup power without failing during warranty period either, but it's probably adequate for quasi-weekly power hiccups, which is really what it's intended for anyway.
Posted by Audio Investigator at 3:23 PM