Battery Backup Question

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Rhino, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    This may be off-topic for this newsgroup, if it is, please forgive me and,
    if possible, redirect me to somewhere more appropriate.

    I have an ASUS M3A motherboard and it is always connected to my UPS (battery
    backup). Yesterday morning, I was very surprised to find that my computer
    wouldn't power up when I hit the button. Ditto for the monitor which is also
    connected directly to the UPS. I traced the problem to my APC UPS, which was
    turned right off; when I turned the UPS back on and checked it via the APC
    software, the battery had gone completely flat but was recharging and was
    back to 100% charged after two or three hours.

    I'm still trying to figure out what caused that to happen. I definitely
    didn't turn the UPS off myself via the on/off switch. Frankly, it has been
    so long since I looked at it closely, I didn't even remember where the
    on/off switch was. (The UPS is on the floor behind the tower and not
    somewhere I can reach by accident.) My provisional explanation is that one
    of my two cats touched the button and turned it off but this doesn't seem
    very likely given that the button is slightly recessed and they only rarely
    go behind the computer.

    Is there anything else that would cause the UPS to discharge completely? The
    computer was properly shutdown on Saturday night and the monitor was turned
    off so there was very little for the UPS to keep powered in the event of a
    power failure, just my powered USB hub. But I don't think we had a power
    failure overnight because that inevitably disables the clock on my microwave
    and I did NOT have to reset the microwave clock on Sunday morning.

    I should mention that this UPS is 4 years old and may be getting toward the
    end of its life since I tend to get 5 years out of a UPS before the battery
    is gone. But the battery has fully recharged so I'm cautiously optimistic
    that it still has some life in it.

    Basically, I'm just trying to be pro-active. If this odd occurrence is
    symptomatic of some emerging problem, I'd like to be aware of it and take
    any reasonable precautions.
    Rhino, Oct 3, 2011
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  2. Rhino

    mikea Guest

    I found it necessary to tape a guard over the power button on my APC UPS
    some years ago, after the cats decided that it was part of their preferred
    path up to the top of my big (and warm) CRT. Since then, it has worked Just
    Fine -- until the batteries died finish, some ten years after I bought the
    gear. The batteries have been replaced, and it again works Just Fine.

    You don't say what position the power switch was found in. On my APC, it's
    a red button that latches down for ON and up for OFF. If your switch was
    ON, then you may have had a power failure sufficiently long for the
    batteries to go flat. You may also have had a short power failure, which
    the batteries weren't in condition to handle because they need replacement.
    If the switch was OFF, then someone or some critter took physical action to
    make it so.
    mikea, Oct 3, 2011
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  3. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    My UPS is on the floor, behind the tower. It's dark and dusty back there but
    the cats can certainly get there and it isn't a dead end so they could be
    using it as a path to other spots in the room.
    My UPS is a "Back-UPS ES 550" and is about four years old now. The button is
    on the top and is basically a simple pushbutton; there is no latch. The
    button is slightly recessed with a slight lip around the whole thing. But
    the cat's pads could almost certainly hit the button if they stepped in the
    right place. You don't have to push hard on that button to depress it so
    even the cats's light weight might be enough to activate the button.

    It definitely seems _possible_ that a cat could have shut that UPS off. I'm
    just surprised to see this happen, for the first time ever, after all the
    years I've had both the cats and the UPS. (The cats are 11 years old and
    I've had them since they were kittens.)
    I'm not sure where the button was; I only know that the "ON" LED was not lit
    when I looked at it. Pushing the button once lit the LED and the APC
    software then confirmed that it was charging.

    I immediately thought of a power outage. It's very rare to have anything
    worse than a "micro-outage" here, which is a term I just made up to describe
    what we get here fairly regularly, which is a VERY brief outage that only
    appears to last a few milliseconds or perhaps a few seconds. Those can
    happen any time. I even remember a day several years ago where we had NINE
    of those micro-outages in a single day. But those micro-outages always seem
    to clobber the clock on my microwave oven and I did not have to reset that
    clock on Sunday morning when I found the UPS dead and off.

    Unless someone else thinks of something, I suppose I'll chalk this one up to
    the cats and not worry about it.
    Rhino, Oct 3, 2011
  4. No biggie. You could also lean on "Gremlins" and "Murphy's Law", they
    fit here too.

    I would advise doing some kind of extended load test on that UPS anyway.
    I usually do that monthly on UPS setups just for mental security.

    "Shit this is it, all the pieces do fit.
    We're like that crazy old man jumping
    out of the alleyway with a baseball bat,
    saying, "Remember me motherfucker?"
    Jim “Dandy” Mangrum
    Nobody > (Revisited), Oct 3, 2011
  5. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    What do you do in these load tests? Unplug the UPS and then make sure the
    stuff plugged into the UPS keeps working for the expected 15 minutes or
    Rhino, Oct 4, 2011
  6. Your idea's OK. Mine is somewhat more technical. I try to gather enough
    fixed load items (lamps, small heaters (for bigger UPSs), hair dryers,
    etc) to total up to the watt-rating of the UPS and THEN unplug it.
    (don't use your computer for this.) I see how long the unit runs until
    the critical low-battery warnings come on.

    In your case, it's probably not necessary to go to that depth. Use
    what's plugged in, but just don't have anything critical running on your
    pooter . I would run it until the low-batt warning comes on, not just 15
    minutes. That's the real-life run-time

    That's to prove out your batteries. When the run-time starts abruptly
    getting shorter (assuming regular tests), it's time for new batteries.

    "Shit this is it, all the pieces do fit.
    We're like that crazy old man jumping
    out of the alleyway with a baseball bat,
    saying, "Remember me motherfucker?"
    Jim “Dandy” Mangrum
    Nobody > (Revisited), Oct 4, 2011
  7. Rhino

    mikea Guest

    If the batteries are rated and constructed for deep discharge, the
    full-load testing probably is OK, but if you're just using, say, motorcycle
    batteries or other "automotive" batteries, it may not be a good idea.
    Either way, it will shorten their usable lifetime somewhat, but the harm
    won't be nearly so pronounced (initially, anyway) with deep-discharge

    So our machine-room UPS technician (90 KW, 90 minutes) tells me, anyway.
    mikea, Oct 4, 2011
  8. Rhino

    Rob Guest

    I would certainly load-test it as "Nobody > (Revisited)" mentioned.

    If you have the data cable and UPS software installed on your PC,
    you should find a log entry in Event Viewer if your UPS was
    activated by a mains power outage (if the PC was on at the time.)
    It doesn't sound like this is likely, but worth a look anyway.

    IME, the battery life depends a lot on the temperature - as the
    UPS is at the back of your PC, it may be running fairly warm, so
    best check the batteries under load as they may well be on their
    way out. I have one APC (a Smartups 700) which needed new batteries
    after only 3 years - that one is in a room which never drops below

    Rob, Oct 4, 2011
  9. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    Thanks for clarifying what you meant by a load test.

    I may give that a try one of these days. I may even get to the point of
    trying it regularly ;-) It won't be today though; too much other stuff to

    Rhino, Oct 4, 2011
  10. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    I've only ever used the batteries provided in the original UPS. I've never
    seriously considered any other kind of battery for fear that the
    voltage/amperage would be too high or low.

    I've never even bought the manufacturer's replacement battery when the
    original battery finally went dead. I just bought a new UPS.

    It's not that I've got money to burn but I never see replacement batteries
    in the stores so I assume the only way to get them is to mail-order them
    somewhere; by the time you add on the shipping, tax, and duty, it seemed
    easier - and much faster - to simply buy another UPS. I really ought to
    confirm that though when this current UPS finally fails for good.
    Rhino, Oct 4, 2011
  11. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    Good point! I had forgotten that Windows will track events like that.

    I didn't actually find any events relating to the UPS in Event Viewer when I
    just looked now, which tends to confirm it wasn't a power failure.
    I doubt that my UPS is quite that warm now that summer is over but the load
    test sounds like a good idea anyway, just to be sure.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
    Rhino, Oct 4, 2011
  12. Rhino

    Ian D Guest

    I have an APC XS1500. On that unit the power button is
    on the front, and it only disconnects the inverter and rear
    UPS AC out sockets. The UPS battery charging is active
    as long the UPS is connected to power, along with the rear
    surge protected only sockets. The power button is a momentary
    contact button that toggles a power relay that makes a very
    pronounced click when toggled.
    Ian D, Oct 4, 2011
  13. Which "full-load"?
    Specifically on the batteries themselves (separated from the UPS for
    this) or the "full-load" rating of the UPS?

    I was aiming this at the UPS rating for this. For the OP's issues, a
    system check is more valid, for him the UPS is a system/box to verify.

    Unless there's a defect in the UPS (or a very bad design), "FL" draw on
    the UPS should equate to about 1/2 -2/3rds of the battery "FL" spec.
    (This is for the plug-in "prosumer" stuff. When you get into the 90/90
    range it's far more complex! Ask your UPS tech for more on that.)

    It's not as bad if you read it that way. Your warnings are still
    correct, it's just that the problem possibility dropped considerably.

    "Shit this is it, all the pieces do fit.
    We're like that crazy old man jumping
    out of the alleyway with a baseball bat,
    saying, "Remember me motherfucker?"
    Jim “Dandy” Mangrum
    Nobody > (Revisited), Oct 5, 2011
  14. Rhino

    Jeff Brown Guest

    Sorry might be going off topic, but I am actually fed up of my cellphon
    Actually, these days I am using Black Berry phone and is very muc
    irritated because of its battery issue. Does some body else had the sam
    Jeff Brown, Oct 5, 2011
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