TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Reviews: PowerKey Pro 650

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 6
Column Tag: Reviews

PowerKey Pro 650

Surge protection taken further

by Michael R. Harvey

Surge protection is a normal and necessary part of any computer system. From the basic bar you can get from the corner store, to the big power conditioning systems for data centers, it all comes down to one thing, protecting the expensive parts from electrical damage. In other words, defying the old saying, and not letting the $10,000 equipment blow to protect the ten cent fuse.

The folks at Sophisticated Circuits have come up with a protector that, while not a battery backup (although it can be plugged it into an uninterruptible power supply), is far more than just a plug bar. The PowerKey Pro 650 is a surge protector that comes with a few truly spectacular extras.

The hardware

To start with, it is designed to handle six large power adapter plugs, a nice bonus when trying to get everything to fit. It is rectangular in shape, with three side by side power outlets running down each side. Each socket has a slide that covers the outlet when not is use, and provides a snug hold when a plug is inserted, so no loose plugs falling our at a critical moment. Each outlet is individually controlled. You can turn each on or off from a button on the device, or from software. It also has a USB connector in order to hook up to your computer for that control software to work. The cord is somewhat longer than your typical power bar, a nice detail that lets you reach the wall outlet that is always "that much" too far away. Last, pass through phone jacks are part of the device for dial-in control.

The PowerKey software

The control software is what really sets the PowerKey Pro 650 apart. There are several components. The first, and most important, is PowerKey, the main control software. This is where the PowerKey really sets itself apart. In order for the magic to work, though, the USB connector must be hooked into the controlling computer directly. It won't work through a hub. A cable is provided as the connector on the PowerKey hardware is proprietary. This doesn't seem like a very good idea because if anything happens to the custom cable, you're stuck. A standard port on the device would have been a better idea.


Figure 1: PowerKey application Power Saver tab.

It is from within the PowerKey application that you set most of the parameters for the surge protector. You can set which outlet switches on the others, set ones that stay on, as well as name the outlets to make identification easier. You can likewise give the device a unique name to make identifying multiple attached PowerKeys easier. From the other tabs, you can set schedules for turning outlets on and off, or set hotkeys for the same. You can even establish tone sequences that the software will respond to from a phone for controlling the outlets when calling in to the PowerKey (if you've plugged a phone line in, of course). The tab in Figure 1 shows the Power Saver settings. From here, you can tell the PowerKey Pro what to turn on and off in relation to what the Mac does. The controlling computer system is identified by the happy Mac symbol. The lock symbol identifies an outlet you have set to be always on, and not affected by the controlling computer power outlet. On and off at startup worked just fine on our test system. However, trying to turn the outlets off when our test system went to sleep never worked right. The computer would try to go to sleep, but immediately wake up again. The PowerKey Pro would detect this and instantly kick the turned off outlets back on. We could not determine exactly what the problem was, although the system would go to sleep normally when the PowerKey was not installed.

Rebound!

The PowerKey application is not all there is for software control, however. The Admin Version of the PowerKey Pro has an additional application, named Rebound!. With Rebound!, you can monitor and recover from system and application crashes.


Figure 2: Rebound! Systems Crashes tab.

As with the PowerKey application, the surge protector must be plugged into one of the USB ports on the computer for this to work. Through the connection, the PowerKey will monitor your system, and reboot it if necessary, Either because of a crash, or a power failure. In the System Crashes tab of Rebound! (figure 2), you can set various conditions for Rebound! to watch for to trigger a restart. In our tests it worked perfectly. Rebound! detected an induced crash, and restarted the system. While preparing to simulate a power failure, we had a real one occur. The PowerKey brought the computer back up with no problems.

Rebound! likewise lets you recover from application crashes. In order for Rebound! to be able to monitor an application, support must already be built in to the program. A list of programs that have this capability can be found on Sophisticated Circuits web site.


Figure 3: Rebound! Other tab.

The third tab in Rebound! lets you set what events it will record to the system log, how long after a power failure to reboot, and schedule recurring computer restarts (figure 3).

Extras

You are not, however, restricted to using these supplied applications in order to control the PowerKey Pro. Included on the CD are extras to help you incorporate PowerKey control in to your applications, and servers. There are plug-ins that support PowerKey Pro in 4th Dimension, the database development system, and applications that support the WebStar API plug-in architecture. There is information on supporting Rebound! technology with AppleScript. They also include a 30 day, fully functioning demo of iDo Script Scheduler, a program for triggering AppleScripts on a set schedule. Last, an SDK is included to help you incorporate Rebound! support directly into your applications. It includes sample code, a CodeWarrior project document, and various source files for adding Rebound! functionality to your application.

Conclusion

The PowerKey Pro 650 is available in a SOHO configuration and an Admin version. Both come with the hardware, and the PowerKey control software. The Admin version additionally has the Rebound! program, iDo Script Scheduler, and the added files for controlling Rebound! from servers, AppleScript, and within your own programs. The SOHO PowerKey Pro 650 is $199, while the Admin model is $299, direct from Sophisticated Circuits. It may seem a bit pricey, but this device does nearly everything it is designed to do, and does it very well. Ten cent fuses beware.

www.sophisticated.com


Michael R. Harvey

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Sierra Cache Cleaner 11.0.6 - Clear cach...
Sierra Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for macOS X. SCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many macOS X functions. Novice and expert... Read more
Live Home 3D Pro 3.1.2 - $69.99
Live Home 3D Pro, a successor of Live Interior 3D, is the powerful yet intuitive home design software that lets you build the house of your dreams right on your Mac. It has every feature of Live Home... Read more
Pinegrow 3.04 - Mockup and design webpag...
Pinegrow (was Pinegrow Web Designer) is desktop app that lets you mockup and design webpages faster with multi-page editing, CSS and LESS styling, and smart components for Bootstrap, Foundation,... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 7.1.2 - Catalog your di...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Apple iTunes 12.6.2 - Play Apple Music a...
Apple iTunes lets you organize and stream Apple Music, download and watch video and listen to Podcasts. It can automatically download new music, app, and book purchases across all your devices and... Read more
Transmit 5.0 - Excellent FTP/SFTP client...
Transmit is an excellent FTP (file transfer protocol), SFTP, S3 (Amazon.com file hosting) and iDisk/WebDAV client that allows you to upload, download, and delete files over the internet. With the... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.12 - Import, develop,...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
Google Earth 7.3.0.3830 - View and contr...
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery and geographic information. Explore destinations like Maui and Paris, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, and more. Google Earth combines... Read more
Cocktail 10.4.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
iMazing 2.3.2 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best deals on the App Store this wee...
There are quite a few truly superb games on sale on the App Store this week. If you haven't played some of these, many of which are true classics, now's the time to jump on the bandwagon. Here are the deals you need to know about. [Read more] | Read more »
Realpolitiks Mobile (Games)
Realpolitiks Mobile 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: PLEASE NOTE: The game might not work properly on discontinued 1GB of RAM devices (iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad... | Read more »
Layton’s Mystery Journey (Games)
Layton’s Mystery Journey 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $15.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: THE MUCH-LOVED LAYTON SERIES IS BACK WITH A 10TH ANNIVERSARY INSTALLMENT! Developed by LEVEL-5, LAYTON’S... | Read more »
Full Throttle Remastered (Games)
Full Throttle Remastered 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Originally released by LucasArts in 1995, Full Throttle is a classic graphic adventure game from industry legend Tim... | Read more »
Stunning shooter Morphite gets a new tra...
Morphite is officially landing on iOS in September. The game looks like the space shooter we've been needing on mobile, and we're going to see if it fits the bill quite shortly. The game's a collaborative effort between Blowfish Studios, We're Five... | Read more »
Layton's Mystery Journey arrives to...
As you might recall, Layton's Mystery Journey is headed to iOS and Android -- tomorrow! To celebrate the impending launch, Level-5's released a new trailer, complete with an adorable hamster. [Read more] | Read more »
Sidewords (Games)
Sidewords 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Grab a cup of coffee and relax with Sidewords. Sidewords is part logic puzzle, part word game, all original. No timers. No... | Read more »
Noodlecake Games' 'Leap On!...
Noodlecake Games is always good for some light-hearted arcade fun, and its latest project, Leap On! could carry on that tradition. It's a bit like high stakes tetherball in a way. Your job is to guide a cute little blob around a series of floating... | Read more »
RuneScape goes mobile later this year
Yes, RuneScape still exists. In fact, it's coming to iOS and Android in just a few short months. Jagex, creators of the hit fantasy MMORPG of yesteryear, is releasing RuneScape Mobile and Old School RuneScape for mobile devices, complete with... | Read more »
Crash of Cars wants you to capture the c...
Crash of Cars is going full on medieval in its latest update, introducing castles and all manner of new cars and skins fresh from the Dark Ages. The update introduces a new castle-themed map (complete with catapults) and a gladiator-style battle... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Sale! New 15-inch MacBook Pros for up to $150...
Amazon has the new 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2249 $150 off MSRP – 15″ 2.89Hz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2779 $... Read more
DEVONthink To Go 2.1.7 For iOS Brings Usabili...
DEVONtechnologies has updated DEVONthink To Go, the iOS companion to DEVONthink for Mac, with enhancements and bug fixes. Version 2.1.7 adds an option to clear the Global Inbox and makes the grid... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.3GHz Silver MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/256GB Silver MacBook Pro (MPXU2LL/A) on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple Tackles Distracted Driving With iOS 11...
One of the most important new features coming in iOS 11 is Do Not Disturb while driving, intended to help drivers stay more focused on the road. With Do Not Disturb while driving, your iPhone can... Read more
iMazing Mini for Mac: Free Automatic and Priv...
Geneva, Switzerland-based indie developer DigiDNA has released iMazing Mini, their free macOS utility designed to automatically back up iOS devices over any local Wi-Fi network. The app offers users... Read more
Clearance 2016 13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple re...
Apple dropped prices recently on Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs, with models now available starting at $809. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
9.7-inch 2017 iPads available for $299, save...
B&H Photo has 2017 9.7″ 32GB WiFi iPads on sale for $30 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and pay sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 32GB iPad WiFi: $299, $30 off Read more
Welcome to the new MacPrices.net!
Welcome to the newly redesigned MacPrices.net! MacPrices has been comprehensively redesigned from the ground up over the past couple of weeks. The new design is cleaner, with less clutter, minimal... Read more
Clearance iMacs available for up to $370 off...
B&H Photo has clearance 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs available for up to $370 off original MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $1929 $370 off... Read more

Jobs Board

Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Manager, *Apple* Media Products - Apple Inc...
Job Summary The Apple Media Products Discovery, Fraud and Abuse team is responsible for protecting the integrity of Apple services. As a manager of the team, you Read more
*Apple* Watch, Accessories, Engineering Proj...
Job Summary Engineering Project Manager, Apple Watch Accessories. The Accessories group is looking for an Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to lead the design and Read more
Sr. Technical Writer - *Apple* Information...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
Full Stack Web Developer - *Apple* Maps Tra...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.