PDA

View Full Version : APC Glitches


seeker
03-11-06, 12:45 PM
Twice now, once last night, and once just a little while ago, my UPS clicked, momentarily went from a green light, to the amber one just below, caused the computer to black out, apparently into standby or hibernate, and then returned to a normal state, like nothing ever happened. When restoring the desktop, it pops an error window saying that the battery is low, and that I should save all of my work. I click OK and continue as normal. The battery status in the Power Settings show that the battery is at 100% charge. I will admit that I currently haven't taken the time to install PowerChute, but that is supposed to only be necessary to allow it to save data on a real power failure. I have run this for some time in the past without PowerChute, and without any glitches. I have found APC to be very slow about responding to questions, so I asking here first, to see if anyone has ever had such a problem?

Riptide
03-11-06, 01:25 PM
First thing I would want to know is how old the battery is.

I've had the calibration go out on my Back UPS Pro before and the minutes remaining was all messed up.

Load up powerchute and try to use it to calibrate and/or check the battery.

seeker
03-11-06, 01:31 PM
The entire unit is only about 4-5 months old. I will probably do as you suggest with installing PowerChute, the only reason that I had not, is because I'm in the process of migrating to x64, because my x32 installation is messed up and the CD is bad.

Sazar
03-11-06, 02:02 PM
APC is a good company, I would consider seeing if you can get a replacement.

If you are continuing to have problems, I'll see if I can pull up any contacts. Unfortuantely the only people I know are on the federal side and not customer service.

rudedog
03-11-06, 03:45 PM
-What type of unit do you have
-How is it connected to your PC.
-What else do you have plugged into the UPS

BTW, I work for APC.

seeker
03-11-06, 03:59 PM
-What type of unit do you have
-How is it connected to your PC.
-What else do you have plugged into the UPS

BTW, I work for APC.
Yes, rudedog, I remember you. I have the BX1000, which is connected to the PC via USB. I have everything related to the PC connected, with all of the sockets filled. This shows about 25 minutes of residual power in the event of a power loss.

seeker
03-11-06, 04:01 PM
APC is a good company, I would consider seeing if you can get a replacement.

If you are continuing to have problems, I'll see if I can pull up any contacts. Unfortuantely the only people I know are on the federal side and not customer service.
If the problem continues, then I will contact APC about an RMA, but at this point, I'm not certain if that is necessary. It may just be a problem with the setup.

rudedog
03-11-06, 04:12 PM
Yes, rudedog, I remember you. I have the BX1000, which is connected to the PC via USB. I have everything related to the PC connected, with all of the sockets filled. This shows about 25 minutes of residual power in the event of a power loss.


Do you have any type of surge protectors plugged into the BX to add more outlets?

Everyone should note, that you should not plug a surge protectors and or really cheap ferroresonant transformer blocks (cheap MM speakers, 10$ phones or some other really bargain basement device) into any BX or any UPS that outputs a step approximate sign wave when on battery. The filtering in these devices can cause havoc with any UPS (APC or non APC company), unless the UPS produces a pure sign wave. Your BX produces this type of sign wave.

FYI computers and or any device that has a switched mode power supply have no problems with step approximate sign waves in these type of UPSs.

Also our tech support line is 1-800-800-4272 if it is a bad unit they can replace it simply by using the serial number off the back. You should not need a reciept.
Have any problems let me know

seeker
03-11-06, 04:50 PM
No surge protectors, etc. I'm not real clear on all that you said about step signs, but that should not be a factor on this rig. I guess what I was asking was, if I should consider this a defect, considering all that I have said, or if there is still other possibilities?

rudedog
03-11-06, 05:05 PM
When the unit goes to battery (amber light) and the overload LED does NOT LIGHT then yes, it would be a defect.

Install powerchute and see what the load is.
Any unit maxed out (load = 100%)but not overloaded will give you 3-5 minutes of run time, this goes for the smallest unit all the way up to a 100Mega watt unit

seeker
03-11-06, 05:40 PM
I will do as you suggest, and install PowerChute, but the overload light does not come on when the amber light does. It has been doing this since it was new, but without the interruption of the computer itself. I always thought that it was some kind of test cycle.

rudedog
03-11-06, 06:35 PM
Most of our UPSs do a system test every so many days/weeks.

Also if you experience lights dimming in your house, the UPS could be trying to tell you that you have a electric problem ie: overloaded circuit or experianceing a brown out.
I'll give you an example, in an office you may see your UPS go to battery every time someone makes a copy from the laser copier. This could mean the circuit is overloaded and has too many things on it. Another example is a circuit that is near overloaded, the UPS will beep every so many minutes in relation to the laser printer heating it's printer drum/head so it's ready to to be used when sitting idle.

The batteries in the unit should last you 3-5 years of normal use. Normal use is the occasional brown out and power outage. But if your unit is stuck in the back of your desk or so close to your PC that it does not get proper ventilation then the batteries will fail much sooner then the 3-5 years.

If Powerchute shows a load less them 90% call in for an RMA

seeker
03-11-06, 07:33 PM
I just installed PowerChute, and checked the load. It wasn't given as a percentage, but as 240 watts on a scale of 600, so that is obviously less than 90%. One thing that I noticed, is that estimated battery time has reduced from 25 to 20 minutes, even though the load has always been 240 watts. I'm going to give APC a call on Monday.

seeker
03-13-06, 01:50 PM
I just called APC tech support, and I didn't get very far with this problem, because the tech had no idea of what the problem is. He wanted me to check PowerChute a few times with the APC unplugged, because he said that would be more accurate. I'm going to do this, but I really doubt that this procedure is going to shed much light on the problem. If the problem continues, then I guess that I will be a bit more insistent about an RMA.

One thing good that came out of this, is that he gave me a telephone number for Linux support. I have only had PowerChute setup on Windows, and SuSe recognizes the APC, but I have not had anything to perform a backup or monitor the system. A couple of days ago, I woke up with the monitor blinking between a black screen and what looked like the kind of scrolling when going to or from a SuSe desktop. I had to do a repair installation of the system to restore it. The APC may not have had anything to do with this, but since the system was idling without any inputs overnight, it is the only explaination that I can think of.

seeker
03-13-06, 02:27 PM
I just unplugged it to run the test that the tech wanted, and immediately the battery runtime dropped from 21 minutes to 15. According to the advertising on the box, I should get 38 minutes with my size of monitor. This was somewhat better when the unit was new, but it never showed 38 minutes. I'm beginning to suspect that the battery is no good, but I'm going to run a couple more tests before deciding. In any case, 15 minutes is not enough.

seeker
03-14-06, 04:12 PM
I just called APC tech support again, and spoke to a different tech, and I must say that I'm not very pleased with what I was told. First, I learned that the only way that any APC will work with PowerChute, is if I have a unit with a serial cable connection, instead of the USB connection that I have, plus I have to have the business edition of PowerChute, instead of the personal edition. The tech advised me to not use this APC at all with Linux. I also asked if there is a x64 version of the software available, and she said that there is not. Therefore, this unit is far too limited in terms of it's application. I can't even buy a unit with a serial hookup, because my motherboard only has one serial connection, and that is used by my modem. On top of all of this, the runtime given on the box is only with a LCD monitor, and my CRT drags it down farther.
As far as the unit going to switching to battery, she said that it had to be because of some kind of fluctuation of my house current, but this I do not believe. She gave me some settings to decrease the sensitivity of PowerChute, which I will try, but I believe it is a waste of time. For all of the reasons above, I shall never buy another APC, unless they make some very real changes in the products that they offer.

Riptide
03-14-06, 04:48 PM
I never used powerchute with x64. Just setup the UPS service and it worked fine. But then I getting the odd behavior you're seeing.

It was via serial though, and not usb.

seeker
03-14-06, 05:20 PM
I believe that the APC will work on x64 as far as providing a battery backup, but it will not be able to save any data via PowerChute. Since you have a serial connection, you might be able to use the Business Edition of PowerChute for this purpose, but I have no idea of what that would entail. I suspect that you would have to buy that separately.

The thing that still irks me, is that even if I had some kind of minor voltage fluctuation or noise, that is exactly what the UPS is supposed to be able to deal with seamlessly, without throwing the computer into a spin. I believe that the answers that she gave me were nothing more than a snow job.

Riptide
03-14-06, 05:40 PM
With x64 (or x32) the built-in UPS service will automatically shutdown your machine as long as there are no programs open that will throw up a dialog box before quitting. Since the only thing I run when not around is folding@home or newsleecher I don't have any problems and it's shut the machine down fine whenever I haven't been around.

The only time I've ever been forced to load powerchute was when the battery calibration went out of whack on me.

To be honest, I have to agree with your assessment. Sounds like you were being fed a bunch of garbage. To blame the strange behavior you are seeing on voltage fluctuations in the house, especially if things are OK w/o being plugged into the UPS, just sounds like a bunch of pure nonsense.

seeker
03-15-06, 05:59 PM
I just shot off an email to APC, advising them on how I felt about their product and service. I really do not expect for them to even answer it, but that doesn't matter.

Tr1cK
03-17-06, 04:50 PM
My UPS is USB and works fine with Powerchute on XP32. What the tech support fed you does sound like a line of ****.

Scream And Fly
03-18-06, 02:37 AM
Hey guys,

I have a question about my APC unit. I have a BX1500 (1500 XS) and notice that the UPS gets very warm on the outside in some spots - mostly on the top and sides near the front.

Is this normal?

Greg