Author Topic: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box  (Read 4910 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
[Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« on: September 26, 2017, 08:29:53 am »
Well, I moved to my new home, and I decided to make it a good home lab, and as part of my plan, I think I will need a UPS to make sure my computer and more important, home server, to stay powered in a power outage, which is common here. I figured out that it will take me ~20 minutes to fire up my generator and to run needed cables to my room, so I sized my UPS accordingly, an APC 1500 Pro UPS and an additional external battery pack.

I set things up just ~10 days ago, and well, the UPS has failed. It suddenly turned off with F06 displaying on its LCD, and won't power up again. I removed both internal and external battery pack, with no help either. It seems like the UPS is dead. If I plug in AC power or install a battery pack, it will beep 3 times with very faint sound, then go quiet. If I then press power button, it beeps once, then nothing.

A bit googling shows F06 error means a faulty relay, and I have no idea how that can happen -- my load is, totally, less than 800W max, and at the time it fails, the load is less than 500W. If my load didn't burn the relay, then how can it fail?

Needless to say, I will call APC tomorrow and ask them how on earth their QC can be so bad. This unit literally dead in just a bit more than a week of service. The ventilation is not great, but the holes were not covered either. The unit body is cool to touch, and no smell coming out of the unit after the first 48 hours. I'm sure the load didn't have a short or any similar catastrophic failure, because I'm currently typing on the computer which is its biggest load.

Any ideas how this can happen?
 

Offline rs20

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2177
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 08:36:11 am »
How can QC catch failures that will occur during the early failure phase of the bathtub curve? As long as they promptly fix the problem and as long as this failure isn't exceedingly common, I see no reason to complain that much.
 
The following users thanked this post: nctnico, tooki, Chris935, Jacon

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 08:44:14 am »
How can QC catch failures that will occur during the early failure phase of the bathtub curve? As long as they promptly fix the problem and as long as this failure isn't exceedingly common, I see no reason to complain that much.

Maybe, but nevertheless it's their responsibility to age their device before shipping. Dead in 10 days is bad for brand reputation.
Also, the firmware is stupid. It's not the relay that's dead, it's the relay health detection circuit that's dead. In such a case, I think giving the user an alert and a few minutes to shut down before shutting down the system may be wiser.
From what I remembered the device beeped 2 or 3 times then immediately cut off its load.
Also, I can't imagine why they didn't display fault code after powering off. Literally I saw the F06 once for 1/10 a second, then it never showed, the display of the UPS then went completely dead.
Maybe for safety reasons, the unit may refuse to supply power after a fault, but why the LCD refuses to power on anymore? Had I not see the F06 code, I would not know what has happened at all. This only makes system management harder.
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3729
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 09:27:57 am »
In any case, you have a warranty claim which will cost you nothing (apart from maybe a little transportation) to remedy. Yes, it's inconvenient and annoying but that's why products have warranties and depending on your country, you have laws to protect you from financial losses due to faulty goods.

In Australia, such a fault will cost you no more than a trip to where you bought it from. These things happen. I bought a very expensive oven and relays in that failed too. It cost me nothing to get it fixed (they came to me).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 09:30:08 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline BradC

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1648
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 12:11:00 pm »
APC are exceptional about replacing failed units. Give them a call and they'll tell you the best way to get it sorted.

rs20 is right. Early life failures happen. These devices are built and shipped. There's no time for a burn-in period. If you want a UPS that has all the extra up-front QA/QC applied, be prepared to pay significantly more (like an order of magnitude). People don't want to pay the premium on low-end product, so manufacturers don't give them the option.

Relays weld. That's why they have a relay weld detector. Sounds like you copped a bad unit. Replace it and move on.

Out of interest, is it a SmartUPS or a BackUPS?

If failures never happened, no company would need a warranty support department. Early life failures happen.

I *can* tell you that phoning any company and getting stuck into them about your perception of their QC won't make your warranty replacement any smoother.
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3729
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 09:08:15 pm »
On that note, I'd much rather have a product fail early than part way through it's rated life. Nothing is more annoying that having something in service for some time for it to fail randomly. If you're putting anything into a production environment, thorough testing should form part of your roll-out schedule, I guess at home that would be a little different, but even then, I don't put anything in my server rack until it's been bench tested for a good week or so.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 09:16:29 pm by Halcyon »
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki

Offline iampoor

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 500
  • Country: us
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 02:22:43 am »
A bit googling shows F06 error means a faulty relay, and I have no idea how that can happen -- my load is, totally, less than 800W max, and at the time it fails, the load is less than 500W. If my load didn't burn the relay, then how can it fail?

Needless to say, I will call APC tomorrow and ask them how on earth their QC can be so bad.

I guess you have never ran a business or been responsible for a QC department then. Early life failures do happen, and they are nigh impossible to catch in an economical manner. Like everyone else has said APC is a high quality company and very easy to work with. Calling them up and acting like you know more then them is not going to help you at all.
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki, Jacon

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 02:25:39 am »
Unit returned to Amazon.
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3278
  • Country: us
  • NW0LF
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 03:23:45 am »
Here is the flip side to that.  I have 3 APC SmartUPS 1500s here in my office, 1 for my workbench/networking gear, 1 for my company computer, monitors and printers(no laser) and 1 for my personal computer and ham radio gear.  Plus there are 3 more spares in the garage.  They were deployed in 2004, removed from service and asset depreciated in 2010 and are still going strong today.  Regular battery replacement is all that has been done.  In fact, it's time to replace the batteries again and they typically last about 4 years.  Much better than the crappy HP units we have now.  Thank God for national accounts.
I am of the age that my brain no longer says "maybe I shouldn't say that" but "what the heck, let's see what happens"
 

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 03:53:04 am »
Update: Amazon doesn't want the defective unit, and they have placed a free order on a new one for me. I guess that means I can try my luck repairing the defective one.
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB, tooki

Offline Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3729
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 04:09:18 am »
Update: Amazon doesn't want the defective unit, and they have placed a free order on a new one for me. I guess that means I can try my luck repairing the defective one.

 :-+
 

Offline BradC

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1648
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 04:14:08 am »
Update: Amazon doesn't want the defective unit, and they have placed a free order on a new one for me. I guess that means I can try my luck repairing the defective one.

So, back to the question. BackUPS or SmartUPS? Schematics are hard to come by, but even the latest SmartUPS (non-RT version) is still based on the old 4th Generation SUA and there is a schematic available out there for an early SUA1500 unit. The BackUPS is a different animal, and there are many variants. Schematics for some of the older ones are around but because of the variance in the product range the guts are not as well understood as the SmartUPS versions.
 

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 04:26:25 am »
The BackUPS is a different animal, and there are many variants.

Unfortunately, it's a SmartUPS.
 

Offline BradC

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1648
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 04:37:40 am »
The BackUPS is a different animal, and there are many variants.

Unfortunately, it's a SmartUPS.

I'm not quite sure why that's unfortunate. Much more information out there on those should make it easier to repair if you are that way inclined.
 

Offline IanMacdonald

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 944
  • Country: gb
    • IWR Consultancy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2017, 07:31:23 am »
APC have been bought over by Schneider.  One dodge they're up to is fitting 7Ah batteries in the larger 17Ah-style cases. So, you pay more for what seems like a better unit, but in fact you are getting no more runtime than the cheaper unit. Worse, there is no official or non warranty-voiding way to upgrade it to the proper batteries.

I don't have an issue with them fitting subsize batteries to make the product cheaper IF they're upfront about that situation. Effectively then it's a budget model of the fullspec unit. But, the specification was cleverly worded to avoid mentioning that. Result was that I paid substantially more than I needed to, for something that was no advantage over a lower priced unit. 

The unit was for a client, and my worry was that the client might discover the subsize batteries and assume I had cheated him. So, I decided to explain the situation. Whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Rather like selling paint tins with false bottoms.  Or, like the fake 18650's that have an AA inside. :--

Have one of the 'real' APC units on my server rack, and that has been rock solid.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 07:35:11 am by IanMacdonald »
 

Offline Red Squirrel

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2319
  • Country: ca
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2017, 09:17:37 am »
Sucks that it happened, but sounds like you get to keep the broken one and now get a new one?  I guess this turned into a win, especially if all it is is a bad relay.

What sucks is having to ship something like that back as often the shipping cost makes it prohibitive.   
 

Offline nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 18005
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2017, 11:12:07 am »
The BackUPS is a different animal, and there are many variants.
Unfortunately, it's a SmartUPS.
Lots of info on the APC UPSses on internet. These aren't complicated and as long the magic smoke didn't come out the fix should be super easy. You are an electronics engineer after all...?
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline madires

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4832
  • Country: de
  • A qualified hobbyist ;)
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2017, 11:57:51 am »
APC have been bought over by Schneider.  One dodge they're up to is fitting 7Ah batteries in the larger 17Ah-style cases. So, you pay more for what seems like a better unit, but in fact you are getting no more runtime than the cheaper unit. Worse, there is no official or non warranty-voiding way to upgrade it to the proper batteries.

And there are more annoying things. In the old days a SmartUPS was always line-interactive. Now you have to check the datasheet very carefully to make sure it's really line-interactive. They've introduced a new secret communication protocol and if you don't use their crappy software you have to buy a module talking the old protocol (Legacy Communications SmartSlot Card). Everyone knows that the battery packs are overpriced. If you happen to see genuine packs with Kung Long batteries, don't be surprised! I'd check out other UPS manufacturers. APC seem to ruining their brand for more profit.
 

Offline A Hellene

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 601
  • Country: gr
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2017, 12:34:06 pm »
APC have been bought over by Schneider.
Correct!
And, that's the point where the famous APC UPS workhorses begun to pant and puff...

There still are three kinds of (affordable) APC UPS families:
1. The 'Back' family of line interactive units (see: AVR) with a lousy (multi-level, perhaps? --not sure) 50/60 Hz stepped sinewave converter unit inside,
2. The 'Smart' family of line interactive units (see: AVR) with a low frequency (iron) power transformer being driven by a 15-25 kHz PWM, either for battery charging or for a (>3% distortion) sinewave output when on battery power, and
3. The 'Smart RT' double-conversion family of <1% distortion sinewave output (continuously), full of high frequency ferritic DC-DC converters and a high voltage DC-AC inverter with a considerably large LC filter at the output stage.

A 3kVA APC Smart (not -RT) UPS hardware discovery and topology can be found here:

and


The best UPS I have ever had (and still have in use) is a Smart RT (1kVA [initially! :P], 2002 built), with a 2kVA power board. Since I have it reverse engineered (how could I not have, really? :)), this is what exists inside:
- A (~3kVA) wide-input Line PFC booster to the internal VBus of +/- 400 VDC, based on two capacitor banks of 1000uF/450V each,
- A half-bridge AC inverter of VBus to 230VAC true sinewave output,
- An isolated (~2.5kVA) push-pull battery booster (of 4 x 12V/9Ah in series batteries) to VBus, when the mains line is inadequate or absent,
- An isolated 100W half-bridge flyback battery charger, being powered by the VBus, and
- A (<25W) multiple output isolated flyback being powered by the 48V battery bank for the Control Board and the MOSFET/IGBT driver and the input/output signals stages.

In my opinion, if you are depended on AC generators power during mains shortages you should choose nothing less than a double-conversion UPS if you value your protected machinery and your UPS investment.


-George

<EDIT>: Attachment added
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 01:21:05 pm by A Hellene »
Hi! This is George; and I am three and a half years old!
(This was one of my latest realisations, now in my early fifties!...)
 

Offline A Hellene

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 601
  • Country: gr
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2017, 02:59:47 pm »
[...]
Any ideas how this can happen?
I believe that your control board (being powered by the dying battery bank) has a problem of power starvation, probably because the battery bank charger has failed. Check the high and low voltage fuses!

Update: Amazon doesn't want the defective unit, and they have placed a free order on a new one for me. I guess that means I can try my luck repairing the defective one.
Well, I hope that the following information might be of some help to you for repairing the failed unit:

Here is an older generation (meaning, a pre Schneider acquisition of the APC, without the LCD and the newer logic section) schematic sheets of the Back PRO 280-420-650 (640-0226D Rev.4, 1994) UPS and the Smart 1000-1400 (640-0733D Rev.4, 1997) one.

It can be seen that in the Smart series, the uCU creates via a DAC the output reference sinewave that is being compared to the HV output feedback. In the Back series there is no DAC produced reference sinewave to guide the output power stages.


-George
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 03:02:18 pm by A Hellene »
Hi! This is George; and I am three and a half years old!
(This was one of my latest realisations, now in my early fifties!...)
 

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2017, 02:17:46 am »
Final update: Amazon ended up shipping me the wrong item, I asked for a replacement UPS, but they ended up sending me a replacement battery. Upon notification, they sent me the UPS again and allowed me to keep the battery pack. So now I end up with 2 UPS units and 2 battery pack units.

If anyone living near Raleigh, NC wants the extra set of UPS, PM me to pick up the perfect battery pack and faulty UPS together, for free.
 
The following users thanked this post: A Hellene

Offline SeanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 15166
  • Country: za
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2017, 10:15:17 am »
Funny, I need an APC battery, as i have one which needed a batterry ( old one was stone dead) along with an Eaton that needs one as well. Just on the lookout for some used Telecoms batteries though, and then will put them in an external configuration, like my other current UPS, which used a really tiny 7Ah battery inside, but which now has an external deep cycle battery.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2319
  • Country: ca
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2017, 02:49:57 am »
I don't know if this is just a corporate policy at my company or if it's an actual law but I've been told telecoms can't sell/give old batteries out anymore so might be hard to come by.

It's kinda too bad because they switch out power plants every now and then and would love a string myself. Even "bad" cells would give a pretty good run time in a residential environment.

I personally use 4 12v 100ah deep cycle batteries for my setup at home, good for about 4 hours.  I eventually want to update to a 48v dual conversion setup though. Probably do solar at same time and just tie it all to one project/battery bank. 
 

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 12479
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2017, 03:40:21 am »
I don't know if this is just a corporate policy at my company or if it's an actual law but I've been told telecoms can't sell/give old batteries out anymore so might be hard to come by.

It's kinda too bad because they switch out power plants every now and then and would love a string myself. Even "bad" cells would give a pretty good run time in a residential environment.

I personally use 4 12v 100ah deep cycle batteries for my setup at home, good for about 4 hours.  I eventually want to update to a 48v dual conversion setup though. Probably do solar at same time and just tie it all to one project/battery bank.

I've never heard of such a law that prevents giving any products to an employee, but if it affects accounting or it introduces safety hazard, companies may well think it's just cheaper to dispose of them than giving them to anyone.
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3729
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2017, 04:12:42 am »
I've never heard of such a law that prevents giving any products to an employee, but if it affects accounting or it introduces safety hazard, companies may well think it's just cheaper to dispose of them than giving them to anyone.

There isn't (at least not in Australia). You'll generally find if the asset is owned by the business and has become obsolete, it's not worth the time or money spent to prepare them so their in a state to be given away (such as erase hard disks etc...). It's generally quicker and easier just to write off the asset.

I worked for a large telco about 9 years ago and we did sell off old computers as we refreshed the technology. However at one point we ended up with a pile of hundreds of monitors and desktop PCs. It took a few of us weeks to sift through the pile, pull out all the hard disks and test them. I have a photo someone of a room about 30 metres long by 10 metres wide with the floor absolutely covered in old IT gear.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5642
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2017, 04:32:46 am »
I don't know if this is just a corporate policy at my company or if it's an actual law but I've been told telecoms can't sell/give old batteries out anymore so might be hard to come by.
If they're anything like car batteries, even totally dead ones have a substantial scrap value and the supplier would ask for the old ones in order to waive the core charge.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline sibeen

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 232
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2017, 11:43:27 am »
APC have been bought over by Schneider.
Correct!
And, that's the point where the famous APC UPS workhorses begun to pant and puff...


APC were a cheap option well before Schneider got anywhere near them. In the early to mid 90s they were the world's largest UPS company, but like many companies they got there through superior marketing and not superior engineering.

As to the early failure, for that style of UPS the factory would be working on something like 4% DoA (dead on arrival) figure and would be budgeting for a failure rate in that ball park. So no great surprise that you get a dud.
 

Offline BradC

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1648
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2017, 11:47:36 am »

APC were a cheap option well before Schneider got anywhere near them. In the early to mid 90s they were the world's largest UPS company, but like many companies they got there through superior marketing and not superior engineering.

I always saw APC as the "Toyota Corolla" of UPS. Not fancy, not cheap. Kinda mid-field, but solidly engineered and long lasting. I've had plenty of experience with higher performing units (better density, power handling, features) but they haven't gone the distance. I know plenty of 20 year old APC units still doing the job.

I've got some beautiful Eaton and Liebert units here that are half the size with better specs, but at 10 years they're toast.
 

Offline A Hellene

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 601
  • Country: gr
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2017, 06:11:32 pm »
APC have been bought over by Schneider.
Correct!
And, that's the point where the famous APC UPS workhorses begun to pant and puff...

APC were a cheap option well before Schneider got anywhere near them. In the early to mid 90s they were the world's largest UPS company, but like many companies they got there through superior marketing and not superior engineering.

As to the early failure, for that style of UPS the factory would be working on something like 4% DoA (dead on arrival) figure and would be budgeting for a failure rate in that ball park. So no great surprise that you get a dud.

Though BradC has beaten me to it, these are my thoughts:

APC products were never were the Holly Grail (or whatever!) of the UPS units available in the market; they were afordable, yet reliable UPS machines; they were honest devices, delivering [more than] every single inch they promised to do. Yet, nowadays they seem not to be of this kind, any more...

Personally I am who I am ONLY because, in my share of the market, I have the name of the one who always delivers; I have alayws had a good reputation; a positive NAME in my share of the market. This is what APC has lost after their aquisition by Schneider Electric; this is what Tektronix lost after their aquisition by the Danaher Group; et cetera...

So, where does this marketing acquisition scheme of trashing any previously good products lead us?


-George
Hi! This is George; and I am three and a half years old!
(This was one of my latest realisations, now in my early fifties!...)
 
The following users thanked this post: Jacon

Offline Electro Detective

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2208
  • Country: au
Re: [Rant] New UPS fail almost out of box
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2017, 11:34:27 pm »

So, where does this marketing acquisition scheme of trashing any previously good products lead us?


It may lead us to hanging on to older and semi-serviceable APC, TEK and Fluke gear, till they or we stop working.     :-BROKE

Smartass lazy speculating shareholders and commission grubbing brokers may need to look for an easy buck or REAL WORK elsewhere
otherwise go hungry waiting for struggling tech/EE/hobby battlers to spend dumb on new 'fail engineered' or half baked beta products..
usually dolled up with marketing based on expired 'reputation driven company' BS  to pull in suckers  :=\


 
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 11:43:20 pm by Electro Detective »
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf