Friday, 26 January 2018

Fixing the Masterswitch

APC make a product called the Masterswitch. The ones I have are about 20 years old; I have three of them, and two are in use. They let me control the power to any of eight outlets, which means that I can switch computers on or off, remotely. From anywhere!

The one that isn't in use, is out of action because I can't access it via the ethernet port. I can access it via a serial port, but that's a bit clumsy. I wanted to fix it.

It's been like that for several years, but a few days ago, I had a sudden thought. Maybe the problem is just the ethernet card? So I went on to eBay, and discovered that these cards (AP9606) cost about £25, whereas I can get an entire second-hand Masterswitch for about £70. And I didn't actually know that buying that £25 card would fix the Masterswitch.

But I told eBay to email me if anything came up, and hey! A card was offered for £12.86, so I grabbed it. It arrived today.

I put the card into the faulty Masterswitch, and accessed it over the serial port, in order to set the IP address and suchlike. Then I tried to use it. No luck. And after trying this, that and the other, I suddenly realised that this hadn't come out of a Masterswitch, it had come out of a UPS; APC also make very nice UPSes. So the card was trying to control a UPS, it had no idea about eight switchable power outlets.

Hey ho, I thought, that's £12.86 wasted. And then I had another thought. I looked at the old card, and it had a label on it that said:

Model: AP9212
AOS: aos253.bin
APP: ms202.bin

So I'm guessing that aos is the operating system, and ms202 is the Masterswitch software. So maybe I can upload those to the new card?

I googled around, and found the software on the APC site, here. I downloaded the latest version, vintage 2001 (I told you I've had these for a long time) and used ftp to copy the files to the Masterswitch. They copied just fine!

Then I rebooted the Masterswitch, and it came up nicely. And then I accessed it via the web interface over the network, I was able to switch outlets on and off just perfectly.

Job done!

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