APC Ups thing

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Shane
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APC Ups thing

Post by Shane » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:47 pm

Has anyone had a problem with APC UPSs (I want to say this is the 1500) chugging merrily along and then one day begin alarming that the batteries are toast, only to discover that the batteries have been so badly toasted they've swelled up and you can't hardly get the battery tray out of the unit? We have about a dozen of these, all but two of the same age, and every one of the older ones has done this. The last one I had to bend the case out of the way to get the tray of swollen batteries out.

Seems like they should maybe alarm before it gets that bad or maybe they're all overcharging their batteries.

All these units do a bi-weekly test switching to battery power for several minutes. Not a peep out of them until they get to this point.
Mike Shane, CBRE
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Dale H. Cook
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by Dale H. Cook » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:45 am

Shane wrote:the batteries have been so badly toasted they've swelled up and you can't hardly get the battery tray out of the unit
That is typical for APC, which is why I replace their batteries every three years.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
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RGORJANCE
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by RGORJANCE » Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:20 am

I have also seen identical issues with the smaller APC units. Also have had to use a small pry bar (large screwdriver) to extract the battery. We get the replacement batteries at our local Grainger store.

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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:03 pm

Had batteries die in 6 APC 1500's after only 1-1/2 to 2 years. APC would not replace them. Suggested the ambient temperature was too high.
Don't think keeping the room around 72 degrees is too hot do you???
You are not the only ones having this problem. I think there's something going on here. By the way, they were Chinese made and the batteries APC is sending out are a different brand.

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PID_Stop
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by PID_Stop » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:59 am

Overcharging and battery swelling are indeed common to APC SmartUPS units -- we have well over 100 of varying sizes and ages in our plant, and I have made a special "U" shaped tool to help extract damaged cells. We are also finding that after a few years, many of these units perform a really dirty switch between line and inverter power, so the "protected" equipment goes down anyway.

The result of all this is that we have stopped buying APC, in favor of Liebert GXT2 and GXT3 series gear. Since it is "on line", there is no switching between inverter and utility power; the battery life is also longer, on the order of 5 or 6 years compared to about 3 or 4 years for many APC units. Also, Lieberts (at least the larger ones we use) enclose the batteries in a metal container that slides out of the UPS, so even a swollen battery wouldn't be hard to remove. (This is hypothetical, as I have never had a Liebert cause its batteries to swell.)

Heat is indeed a factor. It's something of a no-win: mount them low in the rack and they suck in a lot of dust; mount them higher in the rack and they run hotter (and are harder to maintain).

Digikey is a very good source for replacement batteries. Their part numbers for the most common types (all Panasonic):

P218-ND: 12v 7.2AH, .250" lugs (more common on somewhat older models, same size as P225-ND)
P225-ND: 12v 45W, .250" lugs (more common on newer models, same size as P218-ND)
P230-ND: 12v 12AH, .250" lugs
P174-ND: 12v 17AH, bolt-on lugs
P074-ND: 6v 7.2AH, .187" lugs (typical for 1RU models)
P165-ND: 6V 12AH, .250" lugs

These six batteries account for nearly all of the various model APCs we've accumulated over the last 20 years, and we have saved thousands of dollars by purchasing replacements by the case. In many cases, APC used these very Panasonics as original; they are also close if not identical replacements for the Yuasa and PowerSonics I have seen. Digikey sells these things rapidly enough that they are generally less than a couple of months from the factory.

One thing I've learned the hard way: just about all UPSs have really sharp metal edges, and love to snack on unwary fingers.

-- Jeff

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radiowave911
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by radiowave911 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:12 pm

PID_Stop wrote:
One thing I've learned the hard way: just about all UPSs have really sharp metal edges, and love to snack on unwary fingers.
That is their way of ensuring you make the required blood sacrifice to the computer gods :)

I never by the 'manufacturer's' replacement battery. I bout the exact same batteries that were in my APC UPS from Mouser. The *exact* same ones - manufacturer and model (found after peeling the APC sticker off the old batteries).
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Sam Buca
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by Sam Buca » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:16 am

PID_Stop wrote:The result of all this is that we have stopped buying APC, in favor of Liebert GXT2 and GXT3 series gear.
We use Liebert GXT2. Love those things. It's been 9 years since they were installed, so the batteries have been dying over the past few years. When a battery goes bad during an automatic test, it will light up and alarm....but still power the load. APC units like to dump the load no matter what.

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PID_Stop
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Re: APC Ups thing

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:41 am

radiowave911 wrote:I bout the exact same batteries that were in my APC UPS from Mouser. The *exact* same ones - manufacturer and model (found after peeling the APC sticker off the old batteries).
That's how I got started getting the Panasonics from Digikey: those were what APC was using at the time.

-- Jeff

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