APC UPS Troubleshooting Help?

Zarathustra[H]

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Hey all,

I just purchased a new battery from American Battery Company for my APC SUA1500 about two weeks ago.

Everything was working fine, until all of a sudden today I noticed my server shutting down.

Went down to take a look at it, and the empty battery light is blinking on the SUA1500.

Thing is, we never lost power, and the UPS never warned of power loss.

I went to the web interface (I have the web interface card) and found the following spammed crap in the log.

Log on Pastebin, because it is too big for here

The logs above are from sept 16th when I replaced the battery until today.

So, no warning that the power was out, just a constant warning of a discharged battery condition exists.

I got this message ever since replacing the battery, and never noticed it, or noticed the level indicator being low (maybe I just wasn't observant when I walked by)

Code:
09/30/2017 18:05:29 UPS: A discharged battery condition no longer exists.
09/30/2017 18:04:04 UPS: The battery power is too low to support the load; if power fails, the UPS will be shut down

I also looked at the apcupsd logs in linux, and this is all that is there for the same time period:

Code:
2017-09-17 19:43:28 -0400  apcupsd 3.14.12 (29 March 2014) debian startup succeeded
2017-09-20 16:47:46 -0400  Power failure.
2017-09-20 16:47:48 -0400  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2017-09-25 14:18:12 -0400  Power failure.
2017-09-25 14:18:14 -0400  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2017-09-30 17:16:29 -0400  UPS Self Test switch to battery.
2017-09-30 17:16:30 -0400  Reached remaining time percentage limit on batteries.
2017-09-30 17:16:30 -0400  Initiating system shutdown!
2017-09-30 17:16:30 -0400  User logins prohibited
2017-09-30 17:16:30 -0400  apcupsd exiting, signal 15
2017-09-30 17:16:30 -0400  apcupsd shutdown succeeded
2017-09-30 17:42:04 -0400  apcupsd 3.14.12 (29 March 2014) debian startup succeeded

(I don't recall those two 2 second power failures it noted on sept 20th and sept 25th...)

This log almost makes it look as if it shifted to a self test and the self test drained the battery in one second and resulted in a shutdown?

Thing is when I replaced the battery, I let it charge for 24 hours, and the battery was full according to the front panel.

Any thoughts? Did I get a bad battery? Is my SUA1500 failing?

Appreciate any thoughts.
 
Last edited:

Araxie

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yeah I would replace the battery, some batteries are already weak and/or old when installed as new (old batch of fabrication, kept storaged for long time, and etc...), sometimes it's one of the batteries (those that came in dual or quad package) are bad and prevent the UPS to work properly.

I faced some kind of similar situation with one of my UPS units, replaced the battery pack and it was already degraded both batteries, on load 12,06V steady when in fact it shold be around 12,75V for a single battery and close to 13,5V for dual/quad battery pack, so replaced again with another battery and everything was fine again.

also, worth to double check the connectors..
 

Zarathustra[H]

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yeah I would replace the battery, some batteries are already weak and/or old when installed as new (old batch of fabrication, kept storaged for long time, and etc...), sometimes it's one of the batteries (those that came in dual or quad package) are bad and prevent the UPS to work properly.

I faced some kind of similar situation with one of my UPS units, replaced the battery pack and it was already degraded both batteries, on load 12,06V steady when in fact it shold be around 12,75V for a single battery and close to 13,5V for dual/quad battery pack, so replaced again with another battery and everything was fine again.

also, worth to double check the connectors..


Much obliged. I double checked the connectors. They look OK.

American Battery Company has a two year warranty on the battery, so I just filled out their warranty form. Let's see what happens.
 

Zepher

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I wonder if you can take the battery to advance auto or autozone and charge the battery and do a load test on it.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I wonder if you can take the battery to advance auto or autozone and charge the battery and do a load test on it.


I could, but it is a dual 12V battery pack, in series for 24V, glued together with a special connector. I'd probably have to separate the two SLA's, and then chances are I'd void the warranty.

So, I have requested an RMA, based on the fact that it went from full charge to shutdown in one second the first time the 14 day automated self test kicked in.

In the mean time, while I wait to hear back from them, I am charging it back up to 100%, after which I'm going to test it with a couple of high powered halogen work lights. Plug them in, turn them on, and then pull the plug and see what happens.
 

Azrak

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Sure you put the new battery in rather than the old one? ;)

It will likely be one of two things:
1. Something occurred to one of the cells in the battery. (manufacturing defect or battery left in storage too long without charging like Araxie said)
2. The UPS is no longer able to charge the battery. (charge circuit failure - very rare)

I buy ABC batteries for my ancient SUA1500 from Amazon. In fact I just ordered an RBC7 about 6 weeks ago and it's been working fine.
Curious which retailer did you buy from? Champion Battery Sales?

Hopefully ABC takes care of you. I've never done a warranty claim with them.
 

michalrz

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some batteries are already weak and/or old when installed as new

APC units come shipped with the circuit open (red wire disconnected) - is this true on all models? I have smartups IIRC.

replaced the battery pack and it was already degraded both batteries, on load 12,06V steady when in fact it shold be around 12,75V for a single battery and close to 13,5V for dual/quad battery pack,

This. I bring my voltmeter to the store and check off she shelf, avoided buying 6v (nominal 12) small lead acid packs.
 

Brian_B

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Did you try running the self test on the APC? That should perform a short test discharge, and see if the issue is reproducible. (Can also ghetto it by unplugging unit from the wall simulating an outage)

Also some models have a self-calibration procedure you run after battery replacement.

I found this, which isn’t a whole lot of help (apart from a manual cal procudur), expect that it says if self test and cal procedures fail with a new battery, there is some magic voodoo you can do via command line that tech support may be able to help with.

http://forums.apc.com/spaces/5/smar...l/8185/smart-ups-3000-rm-discharged-battery/1
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Hopefully ABC takes care of you. I've never done a warranty claim with them.

Just got this back from them via email:

Thank you for your inquiry, It sounds like your UPS unit needs a hard reset.

A hard reset is a failsafe APC built into the units to prevent overheating due to overcharging a low battery.

The old battery triggered the failsafe which indicated replace battery. If a hard reset isn’t performed, it can trigger the replace battery on a new battery when the volts drop just a little bit. Often this happens within the first few weeks – months.

Please perform a hard reset per your APC user manual, and advise if you are still experiencing any issues.

I'll have to see if I can find a manual for the SUA1500 online and figure out how one does one of these "hard resets".
 

michalrz

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Zarathustra[H]

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No problem I was curious. Maybe it's a USB thing.

I have the unit connected to the server via a serial port. I considered that option to be more reliable than USB. They seem to suggest that some sort of code is flagged that a battery needs replacement and that it can require this "hard reset" to get rid of it.

I'm not convinced it will help, but if that's what they want me to try before an RMA, I'll do it.

Now I just need to figure out what the hell constitutes a hard reset, as that exact term is not in the manual.
 

stormy1

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They are right there is a flag that is set when a battery goes dead that can cause that.
I have cleared it a couple times but for the life of me I cant remember how.
 

stormy1

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your welcome, let us know if it works for others to find. I had a very hard time finding it.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Well, I can get a good serial connection to the unit.

I do the Shift y, and get the SM prompt as expected.

The two 1's in a row do nothing though. If I just press 0, it tells me "NO", and if I hit enter a few times it just prompts me to log in with the admin password.

I wonder if these instructions are for older models than the SUA1500.

I wonder if I should try to just reset the unit to defaults in the menu hierarchy and see if that does the trick.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So here is what I found.

The second guide on conetrix included a key detail missing from the first guide. Namely that all smart slot cars must be removed before this would work. This meant poweriung down the unit, disconnecting the battery and pulling the web interface card from my SUA1500.

Once I did this, I was able to follow the instructions to via serial console change the battery constant.

There is a problem though. The first guide on joeteck stated that for SmartUPS models the correct constant is "8C". The second guide on conetrix stated that it depends on your model, and that you need to contract APC support for the correct number for your model.

Well, when I got into mine, it was on "1F". I have changed it to "8C" for now and hope this will do the trick, and is the correct value for mine.

Side note:

All this seems awfully shady. It's as if APC has this built in poorly documented intentional failure mode that sometimes triggers when your battery dies that they use to try to make you buy a new UPS unit before you actually need one. That's the only reason I can see for this. A big "SHAME ON YOU" to APC.

I may need a new UPS some day, but shit like this pretty much guarantees I'll buy from anyone but APC. I've been told they have gone downhill since Schneider bought them anyway. I hear good things about Cyberpower though!
 
Last edited:

stormy1

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kewl, glad it helped let us know if it does the trick long term.
If not I will go hunting again.
This stuff is shocking hard to find searching for it.
Just goes to show how far google has gone downhill because it was not this hard to find back when I did a couple for clients.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So here is what I found.

The second guide on conetrix included a key detail missing from the first guide. Namely that all smart slot cars must be removed before this would work. This meant poweriung down the unit, disconnecting the battery and pulling the web interface card from my SUA1500.

Once I did this, I was able to follow the instructions to via serial console change the battery constant.

There is a problem though. The first guide on joeteck stated that for SmartUPS models the correct constant is "8C". The second guide on conetrix stated that it depends on your model, and that you need to contract APC support for the correct number for your model.

Well, when I got into mine, it was on "1F". I have changed it to "8C" for now and hope this will do the trick, and is the correct value for mine.

Side note:

All this seems awfully shady. It's as if APC has this built in poorly documented intentional failure mode that sometimes triggers when your battery dies that they use to try to make you buy a new UPS unit before you actually need one. That's the only reason I can see for this. A big "SHAME ON YOU" to APC.

I may need a new UPS some day, but shit like this pretty much guarantees I'll buy from anyone but APC. I've been told they have gone downhill since Schneider bought them anyway. I hear good things about Cyberpower though!

I just did this again about an hour ago, and I am still pissed off from the experience.

I only use anything serial port based once in a blue moon, so I had to install the serial port header, and try to connect. Spent like 2 hours troubleshooting before I got a good connection to the unit. Because I ahdnt used anything serial based I wasn't sure if I was troubleshooting the PC or the UPS which made it take longer.

My problem this time was that not only does any smart slot card need to be uninstalled, but you also need to disconnect any USB connection. If the USB cable is connected you will not get any response from the unit via serial cable.

I reset the constant to 8C again with my new batteries and everything is good again.

I hope this saves someone else a lot of time.

And I still say curse you APC. This is a terrible design flaw.
 
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