Friday, April 5, 2024

Empowering Your Home's Power Protection: A Deep Dive into UPS Monitoring and Integration

Our household relies on several Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) to safeguard our network equipment and computers. A crucial aspect of maintaining these UPSs is monitoring their batteries to determine if they need replacement.

For UPSs located near desktop PCs, monitoring battery status is straightforward. These UPSs can typically be connected via USB, allowing us to use monitoring software to check battery health.

However, monitoring UPSs situated in network racks is more complex. Some UPSs only offer serial or USB ports, requiring a computer to directly connect and retrieve battery status. Alternatively, certain UPSs feature a network port and cloud connectivity, enabling them to upload status data to the cloud for remote viewing.

We have an APC UPS with cloud connectivity, which facilitates notifications for significant status changes through their Smart Connect service. Despite its benefits, this solution has drawbacks for our specific needs. Firstly, there's no integration with Home Assistant, preventing us from automating devices based on UPS status, such as shutting down devices during power outages when battery levels drop below a certain threshold. Secondly, reliance on a cloud connection means that if our internet goes down, the automations wouldn't function.

To address these limitations, I used a Raspberry Pi in our network racks alongside the UPSs to monitor battery status. I chose to install Network UPS Tools (NUT) software on the Raspberry Pi for this purpose.

I followed these instructions for setting up NUT on a Raspberry Pi. I initially encountered some difficulties when using a USB to RJ45 serial cable. The UPS wasn't recognized regardless of the drivers I selected. However, switching to a USB A to USB A cable resolved the issue, and the UPS was immediately recognized by the Raspberry Pi.

Once NUT was configured, I could easily monitor UPS status via the built-in web page and command line interface. Additionally, by utilizing the Home Assistant NUT integration, I seamlessly integrated UPS status information into Home Assistant, allowing us to access UPS status and trigger actions based on its state.

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