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Scheider/APC Smart signalling bullshit (serial cable)

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MrMobodies:


I realized my APC UPS wouldn't work when I plugged it in not just that it would shut down on connection and was a bit concerned about that.
I found others with the same issue and came aross this yesterday
https://www.apc.com/shop/uk/en/products/UPS-Communications-Cable-Smart-Signalling/P-940-0024


--- Quote ---UPS Communications Cable Smart Signalling
Price £53.99 including vat
940-0024 Features
Key Features
Cord Length: 2 meters
UPS Communications Cable Smart Signalling  :bullshit:
UPS Cables that provide dedicated connections between APC UPSs and desktops, workstations, and servers
RoHS
Interface Cables Features & Benefits
Provides availability and reliability to let your UPS send signals over longer distances.  :blah:
UPS cable provides dedicated serial/USB communication between the UPS and the server, independent of the network.
--- End quote ---

When I see that word with this combination I tend to get very skeptical  thinking they they are up to something.
Unless there is *SOMETHING* in the cable sleeving or connecting then maybe I could understand.

I found this article just now:
https://www.apc.com/us/en/faqs/FA156800/

--- Quote ---Why does a Smart-UPS turn off when a standard serial cable is attached?
Issue: Why does a Smart-UPS turn off when a  standard serial cable is attached?
Product Line: Smart-UPS
Environment: All Smart-UPS  models, All Serial Numbers

Cause: 1 A Smart-UPS will turn off if a standard serial cable is connected.  :bullshit: This is due to the proprietary pinout of APC Smart-UPS serial cables.
Resolution: Always make sure a proper APC Serial Cable is being used. APC Serial Cables will always have part number clearly marked on the connector end of the cable. Do not connect the serial cable if it is not marked with one of these part numbers.

SU, SUA, SUM, and SURT models use a DB9 to DB9 Serial cable. These cables are the 940-0024 or 940-1524 (Smart-Signaling) or 940-0020 (Simple Signaling)
SMT, SMX, SMC, and SRT models use a new Keyed RJ45 to DB9 cable to further differentiate between the APC cable and a standard serial cable. These cables are 940-0625A or 940-1525A (Smart Signaling) or 940-0128D (Simple Signaling)
 
Published on:8/10/2012
Last Modified on:9/29/2021
--- End quote ---

Signalling am I missing something here... "Smart signalling vs simple signalling" or if this a load of old nonsense?

1 To me it sounds like it is deliberate. Maybe I am missing something? could this had been the tradition with their older stuff many years before that or is it that they have decided to change a few pins around and give it a fancy name like there is something special about the wires/conductors in this cable that the UPS requires to work.

I brought a used on Ebay for £6 and it works:

I changed the wires around on another serial cable and it works too:
APC Smart Ups/Pro 400 to 650 series Pinout

--- Quote ---F      M
1      
2      4
3      5
4      
5      6
6      
7      
8      
9      

--- End quote ---

EDIT:
Number pinouts on the male connector corresponding to the same positioning (parallel and not reversed) as the female connector so it is the same as the other diagrams I have seen but where the numbers are just reversed on male connector.

No problem so far:

Schneider/APC: You can't use a normal serial cable because we have changed the pinouts and won't tell you to get you to buy our own.

Joke: You have to buy our own cables which is proprietary (none of your business about pinouts or how it works) as it does very smart signalling between your UPS and will allow you to extend the cable longer.

Telling me to use a particular cable number reminds me of what use to happen years ago with equipment and power supplies with a common barrel jack... Use only this power supply model number. No voltage rating, polarity if DC and current.

I was trying to find something older to see how far back that went but found an APC UPS document from 2004 where they mention it too and it has the word "smart" in there as well:
--- Quote ---Utilize apenas or cabo fornecido to connect to serial port. OBSERVATION: A serial pad interface is incompatible com or no-break.
--- End quote ---


What do you think?
Ever had this issue before?

Shall I tear down that £6 cable to see if there is something in there?

BradC:
There isn’t and the pin out has been known for years. It’s legacy from the old old smartups pre-serial comms where the serial lines were used for dumb signalling and control. Not a conspiracy, just backward compatibility.

The pin outs are like a rash all over the net if you do a 10 second search. Check the NUT or apcupsd docs if all else fails.

MrMobodies:
I didn't see any mention of compatibility. So they decided from the beginning to use that particular pin configuration.

It would have been nice if it was given an official standard relating to serial communication and labelled up on the actual port instead of a bunch of codes on the cables that I found confusing.

What in the cable is suppose to be "smart signalling" in the cable itself, it's no different to any other apart from the pinout.

Is that just marketing nonsense?

Maybe I'll change the title in the post.
Thread name changed:
Scheider/APC Smart signalling scam (serial cable)
to
Scheider/APC Smart signalling bullshit (serial cable)

Sorry about that I think I jumped to conclusions too soon.
It would have been helpful if they explained why it was as they say "proprietary" in terms of compatibility if that is the case.

I can't seem to find a way of running multiple copies of the PowerChute at the same time on the minipc I dedicate to monitoring stuff. I was thinking of making a copy and renaming the services which uses some form of Apache and SQL but I can't find where to change the port numbers in the configuration files.

Now one is connected to a minipc that has a serial port on it and other on a laptop that stays on all the time with no serial port but I found a Moxa Nport DE-311 network serial port server that I forgot about for many years which has now come in handy and seems to work fine with it.

darkspr1te:

--- Quote from: MrMobodies on May 11, 2022, 04:18:21 am ---I didn't see any mention of compatibility. So they decided from the beginning to use that particular pin configuration.

It would have been nice if it was given an official standard relating to serial communication and labelled up on the actual port instead of a bunch of codes on the cables that I found confusing.

What in the cable is suppose to be "smart signalling" in the cable itself, it's no different to any other apart from the pinout.

Is that just marketing nonsense?

Maybe I'll change the title in the post.
Thread name changed:
Scheider/APC Smart signalling scam (serial cable)
to
Scheider/APC Smart signalling bullshit (serial cable)

Sorry about that I think I jumped to conclusions too soon.
It would have been helpful if they explained why it was as they say "proprietary" in terms of compatibility if that is the case.

I can't seem to find a way of running multiple copies of the PowerChute at the same time on the minipc I dedicate to monitoring stuff. I was thinking of making a copy and renaming the services which uses some form of Apache and SQL but I can't find where to change the port numbers in the configuration files.

Now one is connected to a minipc that has a serial port on it and other on a laptop that stays on all the time with no serial port but I found a Moxa Nport DE-311 network serial port server that I forgot about for many years which has now come in handy and seems to work fine with it.

--- End quote ---
I've used NUT and APCUPSD for years on serial based APC units, theres the official protocol which covers the usual info like power status, battery etc but then theres another protocol which covers the NVRAM settings including battery age , all changeable as well as the input voltage (240/120) which only messes with the math for load requests.
using the above tools (NUT/APCUPSD) you can have one linux pc monitoring multiple serial UPS's and then in turn send that data onto clients (NUT works always as client server via TCP) or have client pull that data(per ups unit or as a whole). it can also pass onto graphana.

heres a good site for info,
https://networkupstools.org/protocols/apcsmart.html

darkspr1te

Ranayna:
I think that this is an error that most people make who try serial communication with an APC UPS :D
It is very common to read about someone that killed a bunch of servers by plugging in the wrong serial cable into the UPS. Inevitably, any such post is accompanied by a lot of ranting against APC...

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