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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Automating the shutdown of APC UPS devices with a APC UPS Shutdown Manager

APC UPS Shutdown Manager

I work in an office where working late in the night is the norm including weekends.. This post is not about my office or about the work we do late into the night but about a problem statement posed to me by my subordinates. It goes like this..

The office or rather the building rules demand that we shut down (hard off) all electrical equipment once the office is finally shut for the day. This means that our office servers also requires to be shut down along with the UPS (APC SMART 2200). Now this has nothing to do with our office trying to be green but more to do about obviating any fire risks.

So, whats the problem. The problem is that, once we (management) leave the office, the duty staff has to shut down all the equipment including the servers. The issue is that our two servers running WindoZe 2008 R2 and WindoZe 2003 take about 15 minutes to shut down cleanly. And the UPS then needs to be shutdown afterwards. 15 minutes may seem a small time interval for an office which works routinely for 15+ hours in a day in a single shifts 7 days a week. But at night 2330 when its time to go home every minute looks like an hour to the subordinate staff.  So the problem was narrated to me over a short tea break. Since I believe in working Smarter and not Harder, I decided to save 15 man minutes every day.

Thus (coming to the point), this post describes a circuit / contraption I have devised which shuts down the  UPS once it detects that both the computers dependent upon it have secured for the day.

Detection of the state of the servers is done by pinging the servers at a predetermined time interval.  However generally since persistent ICMP pings are blocked by firewalls, I have decided to do an ARP request to find the state of servers. So in a nutshell if a server responds to ARP request it is deemed to be alive.


This Project gives me an idea for my own personal use. I have a UPS Battery Backup Hooked up in my Van to run AC Electric Devices from Two 1000 Cranking Amp Batteries. I have them wired in Series to give the needed 24v DC for the UPS Backup to send out 120 volts AC. This works as a Southern Engineered (as we use to say here in TX and the Deep South) or as the Kids these days, say... Hacked... DC to AC Power Inverter. I have to Plug in my UPS to an Extension Cord with 120 volts AC, first. Then I can unplug the Extension Cord and the UPS will keep on Powering my stuff for over an hour. I don't know for sure how long the Batteries will last, since I haven't tried it longer than that. I can run a PC, CRT Monitor, a Router and a 65 watt Light Bulb on this Setup (I don't leave the light on for long though, no need for it rally). Adding more of a Load than that, causes the Power to Drop. So, Ishan has me thinking... This could be a solution for... What if I forget to turn something off, when I go in the House and it runs my Big Batteries Down. They are not Deep Cycle Batteries. They are actually Batteries for Diesel Trucks, which were given to me by a friend. So, I don't want to run them all they way down and ruin them. If I built Ishan's Auto Shutdown Device. I could have it shut down my PC, in case I forget... I wonder if it could shut down a Router too???


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