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My UPS Woes
#1
So I posted a while back, whining about how I buy UPS's and they inevitably (after not many months) start randomly beeping. I got one shortly after I moved down here and it started doing it in less than a year. I replaced that one with a bigger one in case capacity was an issue, which was earlier this year. Well, last night, it started beeping. I powered it off so that I could sleep. This morning it went OK for a while then started again. I powered it back off and went and got some groceries.

I looked up the beep and it means it's on battery power, when clearly the wall power is on.

So, I turned it back on and a bit later it clicked (because the fridge came on while the heat pump was running I think), and this time it didn't do the whole sequence of clicks that it normally does and it immediately started beeping again. So, being suspicious, I went over, using the time honored precision diagnostic method, and gave it a good whack. Sure enough, it did the final click and stopped beeping.

So, I guess the issue is that the power here is just so bad and that it cycles so often, that the relay just starts getting stuck. That sucks because I'm guessing that's not covered under warranty unless they guarantee some number of cycles (and how could I prove I was under that count anyway?) If so, that means that they become essentially disposable units that I have to keep buying.

In the meantime, I'll just keep whacking it and see if it keeps getting unstuck. If so, I'll ride it till it dies, then eat it and get a new one I guess.
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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#2
What about warranty - regardless of cycles, if its in its warranty period then you should be claiming a defective unit. Sounds like it sunder a year old so should still be under some warranty.

In your case, you should be looking for a UPS with an extended warranty so you can "upgrade" free of charge.

Here in Australia, the consumer protection laws even protect you outside of warranty - if you buy say a top of the line UPS that would come with an expectation of many years of service and it fails say 6 months after the warranty expires, the manufacturer is actually obliged to replace or fix it. not many people push the issue though. If you buy a cheap Chinese version then you get what you pay for with no support from the law.
Mykel Koblenz
Illawarra Smart Home
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#3
It's a APC (750W), so it's a good one.
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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#4
Dean Roddey Wrote:It's a APC (750W), so it's a good one.

Do have power conditioning prior to the APC? Might be worth a shot. I have Surgex units on all my important stuff (media rack, main pc). Might condition the power enough to save the wear on the UPS units. Bought them all on ebay.
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#5
Is that basically a big capacitor or something? To smooth out glitches?
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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#6
You could try changing the voltage set points for the changeover. As I recall the default is pretty tight.
Les
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#7
Dean Roddey Wrote:Is that basically a big capacitor or something? To smooth out glitches?

The tech is way over my head but they tout the fact they have never lost equipment protected by it. It doesn't wear down over time as well.

Check out their landing page which touches on UPS.

http://www.surgex.com/products.html

They mention that the Hubble control center uses it....
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#8
If the relay is sticking that should be a warranty item. The only wear item I've found in a UPS is the battery. I don't recall APC's warranty period off the top of my head.

Having additional surge protection upstream is a good idea. Don't know why but the amount of energy dissipation that APC puts in the UPS is rather low. You are in thunderstorm country now. If you do cascade units it's probably best to not have them all be the same type. The common, inexpensive ones just use MOV's to shunt the surge to ground. Put enough of those in one location and all of a sudden you can be putting a lot into the ground wire if it's a major surge. The other problem is the MOV can burn out and no longer be a shunt.

However, before concluding that the random switching is a fault, check and see to verify. The control software that comes with the things has a little monitor routine that logs things like going onto battery for voltage over and under the setpoints etc. Forget what the defaults are but low and high could be something like 105V and 125V. Anytime the line goes over or under the UPS switches to battery. Unless a line conditioner has voltage regulation it won't change this.

Another way to tell is just observation. I notice a lot of times that when the things trigger the lights have also gotten slightly brighter or dimmer the refrigerator changes tone etc. Not surges, just voltage fluctuations. You'd have to check on your equipment but the switching power supplies used in computer equipment can usually tolerate bigger variations than this so you might be able to change the setpoints to prevent the UPS from tripping every time the AC cycles.
Les
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#9
I'd have to look but I don't think this one is in the line of software controllable ones. BTW, I don't think the switching was random, I'm sure they were all justified. The power here is bad. The lights blink every time the fridge or microwave goes on or off, or I power on my A/V receiver. Those things often are also enough to make the UPS switch over and then back. Some days I don't here it happen at all, and other days it's quite a number of times. Sometimes, if I put something in the microwave to warm up, not on 100% power, so it's cycling on and off, and go back to the computer to work while it's warming, I'll hear it flip every time the microwave transitions.
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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#10
Almost all of them have a USB cable and some version of PowerChute software. The only difference is how much you can control and whether it runs over a network or not. At the most basic you can set when it will have the PC shutdown, voltage setpoints, monitor battery condition etc.
Les
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