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

MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.8 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
BitTorrent Sync 2.1.1 - Sync files secur...
BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync unlimited files between your own devices, or share a folder with friends and family to automatically sync anything. File transfers are encrypted. Your information... Read more
Quicksilver 1.3.0 - Application launcher...
Quicksilver is a light, fast and free Mac application that gives you the power to control your Mac with keystrokes alone. Quicksilver allows you to find what you need quickly and easily, then act... Read more
iWatermark Pro 1.72 - Easily add waterma...
iWatermark Pro is the essential watermarking app for professional, business, and personal use. iWatermark, is the number 1 and only watermarking tool available for all 4 platforms iPhone/iPad, Mac,... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.3 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 16.0.1 - Profess...
Photoshop CC 2015 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Photoshop customer). Photoshop CS6 is still available for purchase (... Read more
Together 3.4.6 - Store and organize all...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Monosnap 3.1.0 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Capture: Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel perfect with... Read more
Cocktail 8.5.1 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X 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
Vienna 3.0.6 :5eaf312: - RSS and Atom ne...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 has Been...
In keeping with tradition, Five Nights at Freddy's 4 has made its way to the App Store with zero warning fanfare. Honestly I'd be disappointed it if happened any other way at this point. [Read more] | Read more »
Doom & Destiny Advanced (Games)
Doom & Destiny Advanced 2.3.4.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 2.3.4.0 (iTunes) Description: ---SUPER GIGA LAUNCH DISCOUNT! Get it now for cheap or pay more later!---An additional 143 MB download is... | Read more »
Five Nights at Freddys 4 (Games)
Five Nights at Freddys 4 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: This time, the terror has followed you home. | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: July 27-31, 2015
Winding Down July With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out... | Read more »
You'll Want to Keep an Eye Out for...
If you're the kind of person who had fun hunting down and completing all the codex puzzles in Assassin's Creed 2, then are you ever in for a treat. The Guides looks like it's going to be a very robust collection of similarily odd, seemingly... | Read more »
Vivid Games has Announced Real Boxing 2...
The original Real Boxing was a pretty impressive bit of fisticuffs, but if the trailer Vivid Games is showing off for GamesCom is any indication Real Boxing 2 is going to be even better. [Read more] | Read more »
PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX - Tips,...
[Read more] | Read more »
Card King: Dragon Wars - Tips, Tricks an...
[Read more] | Read more »
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has brou...
Bandai Namco has released Pac-Man Championship Edition DX on iOS and Android, which features the classic arcade gameplay that we've all grown to love. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX can be enjoyed in much shorter bursts than the arcade versions... | Read more »
Cosmonautica (Games)
Cosmonautica 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Cast off! Are you ready for some hilarious adventures in outer space? | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

MacBook 12 Retina Pundit’s New Favorite Mac
If you’re eyeing the purchase of a new 12-inch Retina MacBook, but wondering if you can live with a single USB-C port, 2011-level CPU performance, and the unorthodox keyboard, you should find... Read more
PDF Element Tool Kit For PDF For Windows 10,...
South Surrey, British Columbia based software developer Wondershare has posted an interesting infographic tracking the development of Microsoft’s flagship Windows operating system over the years,... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $81 off MS...
Adorama has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2218, $81 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more
Back-to-School with Tablet and Smartphone Acc...
Belkin helps you prepare for the coming school year with a wide variety of the latest mobile and tablet accessories to outfit both grade school and college students. The line-up includes charging... Read more
11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
Best Buy has 11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - 11″ 1.6GHz... Read more
iPad Air 2 on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
Best Buy has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online... Read more
Sale! 13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.5GHz/500GB MacBook Pro: $999.99 save $100 - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina... Read more
Sale! Save $100 on 13-inch MacBook Airs this...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Market Decline Continues, Ap...
The worldwide tablet market declined -7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) with shipments totaling 44.7 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data... Read more
TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT Powerline Featuring Ho...
Consumer and business networking products provider TP-LINK is now shipping its TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit that expands your home’s network over its... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Hil...
Infrastructure Engineer - Apple /Mac Job Code: 1608 # of openings: 1 Description Our fortune 500 client is looking to hire an experienced Infrastructure Engineer to join Read more
Executive Administrative Assistant, *Apple*...
…supporting presentation development for senior leadership. * User experience with Apple hardware and software is preferred. Additional Requirements The following list Read more
*Apple* Bus Company is now hirin - Apple Bus...
Apple Bus Company is now hiring school bus drivers in the Pettis County area. Class B CDL preferred. Free training provided. No nights or weekends required. Flexible Read more
*Apple* Certified Mac Technician - Updated 6...
…and friendly, hands-on technical support to customers troubleshooting and repairing Apple /Mac products with courtesy, speed and skill. Use your problem-solving skills Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.