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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Exclamation UPS no longer prevents power loss! Please Help.

Hi. I have a powercom smk2000a UPS that I've been using for several years. It has always worked without any issue, other than needing to replace the batteries once.

That said, recently it has seemingly been rendered useless. Power flickers so briefly that the lights don't even go out, most of my other UPSs even so much as get off a single beep, but my main rig (the only one connected to this UPS) immediately dies.

UPS doesn't even beep or turn off or show any battery drain on its diagnostic display. It DOES spin up its cooling fan (as it is designed to do while charging or discharging the cells), but that's it.

I've tested the batteries with my multimeter, albeit not while under any load, and they seem fine. Testing them under load isn't really possible with the equipment I have at hand.

Anyone have any clue whats going on here? Do I just need new batteries, even though the replace battery diagnostic light isn't on and they are within spec according to my multimeter? Is the UPS somehow damaged?

I really need an answer to this quick, cause I'm now in storm season and I'm getting an outage every single day, forcing constant RAID rebuilds and other issues.

Thanks

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 06:35 PM
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Is it line interactive? I can't seem to access the powercom website to get any specs. The narrowest range I can set on my UPS for under and overvoltage is 88V to 136V. This means that if the brownout is still within that value, the UPS will not do anything. It wouldn't be unreasonable for a PSU to trip off at 90V for safety. Try pulling the plug completely to see if the computer stays on, this could at least narrow your investigation.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 07:17 PM
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Basing on reviews the battery lifespan is rather short in this UPS.

It uses 4x12V battery set ?

If you want to test them under load then use a car light bulb(standard 55W) or something similar.
Check for voltage dips on each battery.

Theory wise you could also upgrade the PSU to be able to withstand short voltage dips.
Larger primary side capacitors should do the trick providing that there's no protective circuitry which monitors AC mains input voltage.

The only UPS which is 100% sure is an online UPS.
AC mains into DC, battery in the middle and then conversion back to AC.
It's inefficient but provides a stable AC output which doesn't change no matter what happens on grid AC.

You could convert your current UPS into "online" by providing the power to batteries instead of UPS AC input.
The main problem is that an offline UPS in not really rated for continuous usage (transformer and inverter will overheat), if the load is a fraction of rated power(say 50%) then it should be fine.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by MightEMatt View Post
Is it line interactive? I can't seem to access the powercom website to get any specs. The narrowest range I can set on my UPS for under and overvoltage is 88V to 136V. This means that if the brownout is still within that value, the UPS will not do anything. It wouldn't be unreasonable for a PSU to trip off at 90V for safety. Try pulling the plug completely to see if the computer stays on, this could at least narrow your investigation.
Yes, it is line interactive. Powercom site is indeed down (and was extremely outdated even several years ago, so I'm not surprised).

I have no idea what the range is, but in the past, it would catch brownouts with 100% consistency and there was never an issue. I can try pulling it from the wall as you said, but that's a pain, both physically and due to the huge RAID rebuild times.

Quote: Originally Posted by Pawelr98 View Post
Basing on reviews the battery lifespan is rather short in this UPS.

It uses 4x12V battery set ?

If you want to test them under load then use a car light bulb(standard 55W) or something similar.
Check for voltage dips on each battery.

Theory wise you could also upgrade the PSU to be able to withstand short voltage dips.
Larger primary side capacitors should do the trick providing that there's no protective circuitry which monitors AC mains input voltage.

The only UPS which is 100% sure is an online UPS.
AC mains into DC, battery in the middle and then conversion back to AC.
It's inefficient but provides a stable AC output which doesn't change no matter what happens on grid AC.

You could convert your current UPS into "online" by providing the power to batteries instead of UPS AC input.
The main problem is that an offline UPS in not really rated for continuous usage (transformer and inverter will overheat), if the load is a fraction of rated power(say 50%) then it should be fine.
yes, 4 12v batteries. As stated above it always handled voltage dips just fine in the past. In fact, there was a period when the infrastructure in this area was so bad that it was boosting the voltage for at least half the day, every day, and also occasionally bucking it as well. It has a beefy cooling fan which keeps the unit itself from overheating under those conditions... unfortunately it overheated all the batteries to the point that they swelled up and couldnt be removed from the unit without sawing off a tiny bit of the chassis, but thats another story.

It seems like the best thing I could do is try to test the batteries under load. My system typically draws about 600w. Would I need a similar load to test the batteries, or would a smaller load like a lightbulb as you suggested still show meaningful results?

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2018, 02:21 PM
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If you want to test the UPS itself then just use any other load.

A hairdryer at half the output (most have such switch) should be somewhere near 600W I guess.
Few powerful light bulbs or a small space heater may also do the trick.

As for voltage dips testing.
For simplicity let's assume 100% conversion efficiency.
600W/48V=12.5A
Two 55W car light bulbs in parallel should pull around 9A together.
It's a "good enough" test to see how much the voltage goes down under load.

As conversion efficiency is lower than 100% I would guess the real load current to be somewhere around 15A or so.

For my NAS I simply use a 420W UPS along with an older car battery.
Still has ~20AH out of 35AH. Enough to power my 150W NAS for over 30min.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Pawelr98 View Post
If you want to test the UPS itself then just use any other load.

A hairdryer at half the output (most have such switch) should be somewhere near 600W I guess.
Few powerful light bulbs or a small space heater may also do the trick.

As for voltage dips testing.
For simplicity let's assume 100% conversion efficiency.
600W/48V=12.5A
Two 55W car light bulbs in parallel should pull around 9A together.
It's a "good enough" test to see how much the voltage goes down under load.

As conversion efficiency is lower than 100% I would guess the real load current to be somewhere around 15A or so.

For my NAS I simply use a 420W UPS along with an older car battery.
Still has ~20AH out of 35AH. Enough to power my 150W NAS for over 30min.

You make good points. Thanks. I've got a portable 900w heater I can use as the test load for the ups and I can probably dig up something that will work for batteries.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-31-2018, 07:32 AM
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well I have 3 large UPS units in my house now each one attached to a desktop PC I have been using UPS systems in my home now for about 15 years, my units typically last 10 years before I need to replace them. I have replaced batteries in one unit before, but the unit died before the new battery did. so today I just replace the whole unit if something fails. today I have one cyberpower and two APC units, the cyberpower is a 900 watt unit and the APC units are 1000 watt units. my UPS units are set to keep the PC one for 10 seconds after power loss, before starting the shut down process.

do you live in the US?

if so, having half power to the complex is a wiring issue, I would pay to have a electrician diagnose what is causing the issue, provide you with a estimate for the repair, and submit a copy of that to the management of the complex. it is possible that legal action will be needed to get this fixed. there is also the option of moving.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-01-2018, 01:47 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by toolmaker03 View Post
do you live in the US?

if so, having half power to the complex is a wiring issue, I would pay to have a electrocution diagnose what is causing the issue, provide you with a estimate for the repair, and submit a copy of that to the management of the complex. it is possible that legal action will be needed to get this fixed. there is also the option of moving.
I couldn't resist responding to this post. You might want to make sure that electrocutions are legal in your state!

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