Snow Leopard, UPS, and a missing PowerChute

Reader Don Cooper has done the smart thing by attaching an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to his Mac. Yet, a question remains. He writes:

I have my iMac hooked up to an APC XS 1500 UPS. I recently upgraded my iMac to Snow Leopard and I found that I can’t use APC’s PowerChute utility to monitor the UPS because there’s no Snow Leopard version. What do I do now?

First, make sure that you’ve connected the USB cable from the back of the UPS to a USB port or hub on your Mac. Without that connection that Mac won’t know that it’s attached to the UPS. Now launch System Preferences and select Energy Saver. You should see a UPS tab. Select it and you’ll find options for configuring the UPS.

These options are similar to what you see when you select the Power tab in this system preference—computer and display sleep times and options to put the hard drives to sleep and restart the Mac after a power failure. To view more arcane options specific to the UPS, click the Shutdown Options button. Here you can set limits on when to automatically shut down the computer running on UPS power. You have the options to shut it down after a specific number of minutes (from 1 to 15 minutes), when a certain number of minutes remains in the battery’s charge (again, from 1 to 15 minutes), and/or when the battery level reaches a particular percentage (from 1 to 100 percent).

APC suggests that this covers the most necessary PowerChute functions. If you need PowerChute features not supported by Energy Saver (you want to turn off the low-battery beep, for example), APC also suggests that you attach the UPS to a Windows PC or Mac running an older version of OS X, run PowerChute to do what needs doing, and then reattach it to your Mac running Snow Leopard.

Of course the broader lesson is that if you have a UPS, it's connected to your Mac via USB, and you're running Snow Leopard, you too may wish to explore the Energy Saver system preference.

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