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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:24 pm 
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Boy, no shortage of weirdness here this week. Due to impending stormy weather a few nights ago, I shut my entire workstation down, disconnected the computer from the cable modem and even unplugged my Back/UPS (the one year-old APC BR1500G) from the wall socket.

When I put everything back online and restarted the next morning, things appeared quite normal until I happened to notice about 8 hours later that the Power Adapter menu bar display showed the Back/UPS at 90% charge capacity. I emailed APC tech support but, shortly after, realized that maybe I didn't let the Back/UPS sit idle long enough after putting it online and before starting everything up. I needed a nap anyway, so I shut everything down again but left it all connected and the Back/UPS powered up. After the nap, I saw that the Back/UPS was at a full charge again. I'm still awaiting a reply from APC.

All was fine until Sunday afternoon. I was watching a movie on Hulu and clicked to rewind 10 seconds. Then clicked again. The Mac mini went into a Kernel Panic. When I restarted this time, the Power Adapter menu bar display showed ZERO charge capacity. And the display on the Back/UPS confirmed that. THAT puzzled me: how an issue with the computer could have instantly drained the Back/UPS battery...

...or is there something amiss with the Back/UPS? As of 11:30pm Sunday, it's now several hours after the restart and the recharge is at 77% and slowly climbing.

---- ADDENDUM

Now Monday morning. After putting the system to sleep as I normally do, the Mac mini's Power Adapter menu bar display tells me the Back/UPS charge capacity reached only 86% during the night. And the Back/UPS display now graphically shows that approximate charge level. Puzzled why it wasn't able to fully recharge during the night, I unplugged the cable between the Back/UPS and the Mac mini then plugged it back in again. Now the charge level had jumped to 96%.

Now, after about 90 minutes or so, the charge level – according to the emu bar display – has dropped back to 87%.

Again, the Back/UPS is only a year old, its diagnostics display gives no indication that the battery needs replacement, and has recorded no power outages since being installed (although there have been several occurrences of momentary dips in power, causing on-screen alerts.

Of course, I plan to let APC know about this when they reply to my first report, but I figured I'd toss it out here, too.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 am 
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UPDATE: APC says the fluctuations in the battery charge level seem to indicate a bad battery and, because the Back/UPS isn't correctly identifying problems, as it's only a year old, they are replacing the unit and battery (with an updated unit).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:24 am 
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Great to hear Mike... I sorta thought it was the battery... thanks for the report. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:16 am 
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Good to hear! I've been pleased with APC and their hardware over the years, in contrast to at least one other UPS/surge suppressor manufacturer.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:21 am 
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APC had been highly recommended to me by the Chief Engineer at the radio station I worked at from June 1999-September 2004. I've owned an APC Back/UPS since May 2004.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:49 pm 
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To perform a hard reset of APC units, turn them off, disconnect them from power, remove or unplug the battery, then press and hold the power switch. It should make a little half-hearted chirp with the briefest of brief flash of lights. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then reconnect the battery, reconnect it to power, and turn it back on.

I've had UPSes that refuse to turn on or were in shrill constant shriek that persisted until they were hard reset. Later I opened a ticket with APC over another UPS doing the shriek thing and was told to perform roughly the same steps I had figured out on my own. Did a little happy dance over that one.

You couldn't pay me to deal with CyberPower's UPSes. I don't even want to list the many ways I've seen them fail, and I never even bought one, they were inherited from prior employees. The rest of the manufacturers I'm kind of ambivalent about, I've seen equally good and bad things that I can't necessarily chalk up to manufacturing defects.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:37 pm 
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Thanks, MB. I tried the hard reset as a last resort before calling APC tech support. After doing it, the Back/UPS wouldn't even power up again. It be stone cold dead. That's what convinced them to ship me a new one.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:26 pm 
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Yeow! That's definitely some kind of hardware failure. Glad to hear they're honoring their warranty.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:09 am 
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And I should say that they were quite happy... actually eager... to replace the unit. They never seemed to doubt anything I reported and, in the subsequent emails regarding the replacement, they apologized for the inconvenience AND for the defective unit.

It's very refreshing to have a company respond this way, where so many others don't want to know us almost immediately after making the purchase.

Quick story on product support: in the late 90s, I was working for a small ad agency that had an HP fax machine that would always jam when pulling in paper. When I got "customer service" on the phone, HP immediately knew what the problem was: a small, thin square of rubber they call a "shoe," that is designed to prevent more than a single sheet of paper from loading from the tray. They went so far as to say it was an extremely common problem; after a while, the rubber either gets dry and/or coated with paper dust, reducing its gripping ability. And, further, they had designed most if not all of their products to use exactly the same rubber shoe, so they had scads of them in stock.

But, they said, because our machine was "no longer supported," they weren't able to send me one. I said I was perfectly willing to pay for the tiny replacement part, but they stood firm. Bewildered at the stupidity, I very calmly said, if you don't send me this tiny part that you have just boasted as being the source of a very common problem in a machine only two years old and still bearing the HP name, this machine is going to come sailing through your front window.

I received the rubber shoe a few days later.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:45 am 
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I have a feeling the reason APC was so eager to replace your defective unit was to get it back to them so they could see just what the blazes went wrong with it. I'm betting on a primary battery cell failure resulting in the rest of the cells being cut off electrically from the charging circuitry and thus, no power (it's a safety feature).

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:44 am 
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The tech DID say, after I described the symptoms and the steps I had taken, that he felt there was some component failure in addition to the battery. But Googling didn't turn up reported evidence of any troubles with the now discontinued BR1500G. I hope the BR1500MS fares better.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:10 am 
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Man they're sticking USB ports on everything these days.

But to be honest I recently bought the one at the bottom of that linked page (the one on the far right) in part because I could retire two chargers plugged into the previous UPS. That and its kind of unique profile fit into a spot the old UPS took a lot of effort to squeeze into. Now I just have to figure out a home for its displaced brother.


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