Planning an upgrade to Mac mini

Yeah, it’s kinda dumb to go from DC to AC to DC :-)

Just to followup to my own article…

For those unaware, power bank devices like the Jackery and EcoFlow are not actually UPSs. Connected devices are always powered by the battery and its power input (whether AC, solar or something else) only charges the battery.

There is no pass-through operation, so if your connected devices draw power faster than the battery can charge, the batteries will drain, even if it is charging from an AC outlet that can power your devices directly.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s very different from a UPS which should always be able to pass full power from the line to your devices (up to its capacity limit) without drawing from its batteries.

Different designs for different requirements.

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Just a followup.

Ethernet-based monitoring/management is typically done via the SNMP protocol. This is a common protocol used for remote management of all kinds of network equipment. Most servers (especially Unix/Linux-based, but also Windows) include support for the protocol, and UPS management software is usually available for these platforms.

Unfortunately, macOS does not have built-in SNMP and UPS manufacturers do not seem to provide Mac software at all - relying on Apple’s built-in capabilities, which are USB-only. Howard Oakley wrote about this recently as a part of a larger article about UPSs.

After a reply/response exchange on the article’s comments thread, I went to look at what APC (my favorite UPS vendor) offers, and was surprised to find that their Mac port of PowerChute (their monitoring software) is old, no longer supported, and incompatible with modern Macs. So you’re stuck using Apple’s built-in UPS monitoring. It’s functional, but minimal.

It should be possible to write an app that implements the SNMP support needed to communicate with a UPS, and it should be possible to use this to configure a UPS and get its status, but according to Oakley (see my comment and response in the above-cited article), even if you can do this, Apple does not make public the APIs necessary to properly initiate a system shutdown the way the built-in UPS software does. I suppose you could launch a shell and run a sudo shutdown -h now, but I don’t know if you could authorize the app for the root access needed to let this run. And you still wouldn’t be able to integrate it with Apple’s UPS system setting, which would be ideal.

It would be nice if Apple would make the necessary services available, but it would appear that they were deleted quite some time ago, so I wouldn’t expect them to come back any time soon.

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