One of our own UPS units, an APC SUA1500RM2U threw a battery alarm code not too long ago. We received the replacement battery set this week.
This is what we found when we eventually pried the existing battery set out of the unit:
Note the bloating in the battery housings. The battery without the label was the one that caused the most grief when prying the tray out of the APC UPS.
Some of the terminals on the batteries themselves were also showing some signs of frosting along with leakage.
The APC is hot swap capable, so we were able to swap out the batteries while the servers were still up and running. This particular unit is about 3 years old.
Ironically, while working in the server closet at a client’s site not too long ago, one of their SUA1500RM2U units threw a battery code as well.
So, today we will be heading down there to swap out both battery sets as they have two of the UPSs and both are somewhere around the same age of 3-4 years old.
Even with the UPS self-tests running every two weeks, the above battery condition did not show itself until something inside one of the batteries collapsed enough to cause a ground condition between the plates. Depending on the failure method, things could have been a lot worse when the batteries failed.
We will take to visually inspecting the batteries in these units on a yearly basis now.
We have seen the results of a spontaneous breakdown of a UPS’s internal components . . . along with the panicked phone calls about the noise and smoke that brings if it happens during business hours.
Fortunately none of the SUA1500RM2U units we have out there have ever done that. The units that we have seen combust were smaller pedestal style 350-1200VA units. We now tend to recycle them after 2-3 years instead of putting in a new battery.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book