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TEST APC Smart UPS

Posted on 2016-09-18
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Last Modified: 2016-09-19
What should I need to check on APC Smart UPS as a Preventive maintenance ?

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Question by:AXISHK
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by:Tomas Valenta
ID: 41804334
The most important is battery condition (capacity) and for your information how long will this UPS serve your equipments before it shut down.
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by:AXISHK
ID: 41804336
There is a "test" button on the UPS, should I press it to check for potential problem ?

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by:Tomas Valenta
Tomas Valenta earned 356 total points
ID: 41804372
If the UPS has management adapter you can configure tests in web interface and receive results by e-mail. Test button on UPS make a test but no result visible.
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John Hurst earned 600 total points
ID: 41804652
There is a software application that came with the UPS that you can install. I have done that on my APC UPS.

All you really need to know is the battery health and age. At 3 or 4 years old, it is time to consider replacing the batteries.
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by:Obaid ur Rehman
Obaid ur Rehman earned 348 total points
ID: 41804884
If you are looking for suggestions for Periodic Preventive Maintenance, there's very less you can do but matters.

1- Checking Battery health (from the UPS software (PowerChute) or by just observing). PowerChute also offers some other tools for event logging and limited configuration (depends on UPS model)
2- You can use a blower to clean inside.
3- If your UPS is showing abnormal behavior, most probably there's configuration issue. Note: most problems can be resolved using APC cable (black one) and Telnet.
Over the time when battery gets weaker, the software changes the battery constant (different for different models). In most cases, the UPS will report it with Battery LED. If it doesn't and the backup time is greatly reduced, most probably the battery is close to death. The "test" button actually simulates power failure and calculates the available runtime of the battery, it then updates the battery constant in the configuration. It is by default set to 14 days. So pressing it would not help.

You can also use APC UPS Daemon as an alternative to PowerChute.

Hope that helps!
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by:serialband
serialband earned 348 total points
ID: 41805164
In addition to the above:

Lead Acid Gel Cells last up to 5 years without any deep cycle drains, but you probably need to replace them at 3-4 years if you want longer uptime from them, even if the batteries still work.  They can do about 8 full cycle drains before you have to replace them, but you may want to replace them even before that time, depending on your uptime needs. One company I service has to replace the batteries every 2 years, because of all the outages they have.
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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 348 total points
ID: 41805736
The solution I believe in for testing a UPS is to unplug it at the wall, and then see if the actual runtime meets expectations.  If not, it's time for a new battery or a larger capacity UPS.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41805739
That will work, but the UPS software will tell you the same thing.

Lasting time depends on load. My UPS will start shutting things down in 15 minutes (lots of capacity left), but with only a network load (computers off or laptop on battery), it is good for a couple of hours.
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by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41805743
That will work, but the UPS software will tell you the same thing.

In my own experience, this is not always true.  The UPS software makes the potentially invalid assumption that everything in the UPS is normal.  As examples, if a wire has corroded or an output MOSFET has failed, the only way to discover that is to exercise the UPS.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41805745
It normally works for me and for my clients. I do not keep these in damp environments, and short of an outright failure, they do not corrode inside.
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Author Closing Comment

by:AXISHK
ID: 41805774
Thx
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41805781
You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
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by:serialband
ID: 41805793
Exercising the UPS for a full deep cycle shortens the time for the next deep cycle.  Don't do it.

It's best to just keep track and replace the batteries on a proper fixed schedule, based on how many deep cycles you've had and how many years you've had them.  Having dealt with a location that has quarterly outages that last 2 hours or more, I've had experience with UPS battery life.  At 1 cycle per quarter, 8 cycles means just about 2 years of battery life before replacement is definitely needed at this site.

That's in line with the deep cycle life of full house/full business battery backups for Solar Panels for the same amount of cycles.  They basically told me the same thing that I found from experience when I got a quote for a commercial location.  If you don't ever deep cycle your lead acid batteries, they can last up to about 5 years, but if you want to keep the same uptime, 4 years is when you swap them.

The sliding scale is 8 full deep cycles or about 4 years, whichever comes first.  That basically means that each full deep cycle shortens the life by about 6 months.  Powerchute can really only tell you charge levels by checking the voltage and doesn't really keep track of the cycling.  It's only really good for telling you if the UPS failed earlier than expected, because one of the cells failed sooner than expected to generate a lower voltage.
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