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Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

APC UPS Data Center & Enterprise Solutions Forum

Schneider Electric support forum for our Data Center and Business Power UPS, UPS Accessories, Software, Services, and associated commercial products designed to share knowledge, installation, and configuration.

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RandySea_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
3
186

Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 9/9/2012


I recently moved my UPS to a new house and different computer. I installed the latest version of PowerChute. In just a few days, I have 12 reported blackouts totalling 1 min 24 sec. There have been many more, short switchovers to battery not reported.

The odd thing is that there have not been any actual blackouts. No flickering lights. Any blackout longer than a second or so would have thrown my stove and microwave into a clock reset mode. Hasn't happened.

I reset the sensitivity from medium to low an hour ago. No reported blackouts yet, but two brief switchovers to battery.

If the reports were low or high voltage, I could see talking to my power company. But non-existent blackouts?

Any suggestions or explanations? Too bad this software doesn't keep a log or show a voltage graph. I have not seen the status page showing anything other than 120 or 121 input voltage.

Windows 7 Ultimate
Back-UPS XS 1200
Firmware revision: 8.g1.D
Software version: PowerChute Personal Edition 3.0.2
Date of last manual self-test: 9/6/2012
Result of last manual self-test: Passed
RAM: 2.87 GB
Not powering very much - max load is usually under 40 watts. Monitor, laptop charger, cordless phone.

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Accepted Solutions
RandySea_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
186

Re: Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 9/11/2012


To answer your first question:

I unplugged my laptop, cordless phone, and external monitor from the UPS. I plugged a 75 watt incandescent lamp into the UPS and pulled the main power line. I reported to the APC person on the discharge progress. To me, it seemed like a slow, smooth discharge rate. On that basis, he (Ravishankar is a male name, I think) said it was not a failing or weak battery. His (or his cheat sheet's) conclusion: Internal fault.

As for your point about the quality of power, my old house is a four hour drive (each way)! I don't know how I would determine what is a good power location in the rural area I live in now. My power here comes from a 75 KV overhead line. It drops underground and then 450' to a big transformer next to my house. From the pole to the transformer to my house everything is barely a year old.

I do know that there have not been any actual blackouts during the recent period. You could still be correct about electrical anomalies. The question would be why the UPS reports "blackouts." It reports no low or high voltage, nor line noise. Now, reporting every "event" as a blackout could be a design weakness. For the price of a home UPS like a BX 1200, I wouldn't expect super sophisticated line monitoring circuitry. Or it could be an "internal fault."

For now, with the sensitivity set on Low, I've only had a couple of instances of brief UPS activity. None were long enough to show up on the "Performance" tab. Unless it gets bothersome again, I'll probably stick with the current setup. Otherwise, next test would be to switch this UPS with the smaller APC model on I have in a utility room to power the modem and router. I wouldn't know if that one has kicked in ever, as it has no computer attached to it.

See Answer In Context

3 Replies 3
RandySea_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
186

Re: Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 9/11/2012


A helpful Chat person walked me through some tests. Conclusion was that it's not a battery problem. It is an "internal fault." Out of warranty, of course.

The tech gave me a link to an APC trade up page. In order to qualify for the "trade" discount, one has to buy one or more units with a total VA rating at least as high as the model being traded in. I found a similar model to my current one. The "discount" price was almost identical to the price from various online retailers, plus or minus a couple of dollars.

If anyone has seen this problem and knows of a way to fix it without tossing out the whole unit, I'd like to hear about it. I don't mind opening up the box and doing a little soldering if necessary.

voidstar_apc
Janeway
Janeway
0 Likes
0
185

Re: Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 9/11/2012


Randy,

I'm not sure how you guys determined that the problem is an internal fault. Pretty annoying if the UPS failed out of warranty!

Your first post sounded like the electricity to your new house is a bit flaky. Electrical anomalies can trigger the UPS without visibly disrupting other electronic devices. Especially since you stopped seeing it as much when lowering the sensitivity. An easy way to eliminate or implicate the UPS as the problem would be to plug it back in at the old house or another known-good location.

RandySea_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
187

Re: Why frequent "blackouts" when my actual power is seems to be fine?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 9/11/2012


To answer your first question:

I unplugged my laptop, cordless phone, and external monitor from the UPS. I plugged a 75 watt incandescent lamp into the UPS and pulled the main power line. I reported to the APC person on the discharge progress. To me, it seemed like a slow, smooth discharge rate. On that basis, he (Ravishankar is a male name, I think) said it was not a failing or weak battery. His (or his cheat sheet's) conclusion: Internal fault.

As for your point about the quality of power, my old house is a four hour drive (each way)! I don't know how I would determine what is a good power location in the rural area I live in now. My power here comes from a 75 KV overhead line. It drops underground and then 450' to a big transformer next to my house. From the pole to the transformer to my house everything is barely a year old.

I do know that there have not been any actual blackouts during the recent period. You could still be correct about electrical anomalies. The question would be why the UPS reports "blackouts." It reports no low or high voltage, nor line noise. Now, reporting every "event" as a blackout could be a design weakness. For the price of a home UPS like a BX 1200, I wouldn't expect super sophisticated line monitoring circuitry. Or it could be an "internal fault."

For now, with the sensitivity set on Low, I've only had a couple of instances of brief UPS activity. None were long enough to show up on the "Performance" tab. Unless it gets bothersome again, I'll probably stick with the current setup. Otherwise, next test would be to switch this UPS with the smaller APC model on I have in a utility room to power the modem and router. I wouldn't know if that one has kicked in ever, as it has no computer attached to it.