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Bought My Last APC Product

APC UPS for Home and Office Forum

Schneider Electric support forum for our APC offers including Home Office UPS, Surge Protectors, UTS, software and services and associated products designed to share knowledge, installation, and configuration.

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jimmyk_apc
Crewman
Crewman
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313

Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 5/4/2010


As a result of dealing with APC for years for data center products, I've purchased several UPSes for home use. I just discarded my second Back-UPS Pro 1100 (BP1100) and I won't buy another, or any other APC product.

About a year ago one of the two BP1100s I had at home began emitting a strong odor and a slight buzzing sound, even when switched off. By the time I finally detected the smell, the cabinet was so hot I just about burned my fingers carrying it to safety outdoors.

Amazingly, the same sorry thing happened again today: got a call from my wife, she said the remaining unit was stinking, and was extremely hot to the touch. She got it out the door safely, again nearly burning herself on the chassis in doing so.

First time it happened, I notified APC via customer support; since they're both out of warranty, I received a "thanks for letting us know" type response, nothing more. This time I won't bother to contact APC.

So, from now on, I'm using passive surge suppressors on my PCs and A/V equipment. It's simply not worth the risk to me: the choice (at least in my two cases) was provide good power protection to my equipment at the risk of the UPS causing a fire. No, I think I'll pass.

Anyway, take this anecdotal information for what it's worth, just one person's experience. Fortunately no harm was done (the carpet the UPSes were resting on was hot to the touch but not permanently damaged), but I won't be recommending APC UPS equipment any more.

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jimmyk_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
313

Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 5/4/2010


As a result of dealing with APC for years for data center products, I've purchased several UPSes for home use. I just discarded my second Back-UPS Pro 1100 (BP1100) and I won't buy another, or any other APC product.

About a year ago one of the two BP1100s I had at home began emitting a strong odor and a slight buzzing sound, even when switched off. By the time I finally detected the smell, the cabinet was so hot I just about burned my fingers carrying it to safety outdoors.

Amazingly, the same sorry thing happened again today: got a call from my wife, she said the remaining unit was stinking, and was extremely hot to the touch. She got it out the door safely, again nearly burning herself on the chassis in doing so.

First time it happened, I notified APC via customer support; since they're both out of warranty, I received a "thanks for letting us know" type response, nothing more. This time I won't bother to contact APC.

So, from now on, I'm using passive surge suppressors on my PCs and A/V equipment. It's simply not worth the risk to me: the choice (at least in my two cases) was provide good power protection to my equipment at the risk of the UPS causing a fire. No, I think I'll pass.

Anyway, take this anecdotal information for what it's worth, just one person's experience. Fortunately no harm was done (the carpet the UPSes were resting on was hot to the touch but not permanently damaged), but I won't be recommending APC UPS equipment any more.

See Answer In Context

7 Replies 7
PNOTEPROC6_apc
Ensign
Ensign
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0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 6/19/2011


Even for products that do not contain batteries, this is possible.

See my thread...
http://forums.apc.com/spaces/4/back-ups-surge-protectors/forums/general/1813/back-ups-750g-vista-pc-...
...my APC did catch fire.

APC (and likely some other manufacturers) need to add thermal fuses to their products.

Some customers will obviously complain about their products going dead when the fuse fails. (thermal fuses often have a finite lifetime) But this is preferable to having my, or my neighbor's house burned down. Most folks would GET that concept. A little tricky if not difficult to pull off from an engineering standpoint, a potential solution is to make the fuse user-serviceable, or replaceable.

null

Javik_apc
Lieutenant JG
Lieutenant JG
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0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 10/12/2010


This is another gripe I have with APC products... they are apparently very poorly designed. Why aren't there temperature sensors on/in the battery packs, in even the cheapest models, as a safety measure against failure/melting/fire?

Cell phone manufacturers have been building temperature sensors into their tiny little custom-molded battery packs for years, and they won't charge if the battery gets hot.

Meanwhile most APC battery packs are just off-the-shelf VRLAs with a fancy cover. It cannot be too hard for APC to slip a temperature sensor between each of the batteries to measure cell temperatures. Have two quick-attach connector clips on the battery pack, one for the battery connection, and one for the temp sensors.

,

Nah, it's much simpler to just blindly pump current into a battery without monitoring its temperature, and boil the acid right out until the room stinks from sulfur vapors, and the battery casing has swelled up so it cannot be removed without disassembling the UPS. (Had this happen to me two or three times now with various SU1400NET over the years.)

APC needs to spend a little less on the advertising and the Currents magazine, and a little more on competent product engineering and analysis of failure modes and effects.

upsguy_apc
Commander
Commander
0 Likes
0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 10/13/2010


It would seem that adding a temperature sensor could be an easy solution however there are a few reasons why its most likely not done. As you stated APC uses VRLA batteries which is common practice throughout the UPS industry. Adding a temperature sensor could cause more issues with UPS performance than it would solve. As you stated a battery entering thermal run away can cause some smells and possible damage to the UPS however adding multiple temperature sensors in a battery cabinet could cause the following problems:

1) Loose connection causing alarms and for some home users that are not tech savvy would force them to "work" on the UPS when they would rather plug it in and forget about the unit.

2) Some users place their UPS in very poorly ventilated spots which could cause the temperature sensor to shut down the UPS in an undesired fashion.

3) As you may have noticed some users already think APC charges to much for their UPS products and adding additional circuitry would only increase these costs.

4) Thermal runaway of a VRLA battery is fairly uncommon(however does occur) and is normally associated with extended use in poor conditions or use past recommended lifetime. This is not always the case but it would most likely not be cost effective for the customer or APC to add a feature like this for a very small instance of batteries completely melting down. As you noticed a failing battery normally will release a sulfur smell prior to actually "coming apart"

Even the largest most expensive Data Center size UPS do not have temperature sensors mounted between every battery. I'm sure APC as with any company weighs the cost benefit of every feature that would make their product better.

Mrblock1_apc
Cadet
0 Likes
0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 11/4/2011


I have a pro 1100 that at 5am my wife and I got woken up by same stink and when I found out it was the problem did the same thing went to lift it up and burned my fingers could have started a fire if I didn't find it was the cause called apc and got the same line about being out of warranty and trying to upgrade me at a higher price than sold in stores, no thanks I should put a claim against them where my rug was damaged by this piece of junk unit

pavel_at_bvx.cz_apc
Cadet
0 Likes
0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 5/19/2010


Hi I have same experience, after two days searching in our large server room i finally found stinking source - BACK UPS PRO 420. Btw UPS was extremely hot and stinking like a sewer or cloaca (impossible)!!!!

BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
0 Likes
0
313

Re: Bought My Last APC Product

This reply was originally posted by Allen on APC forums on 6/3/2011


Hello,

I think I understand Jim's concerns. I had a 500 series APC UPS fail with a thermal runaway a couple of years ago, but assumed it probably would never happen again.

In 2004 I purchased a BX 800 (Serial No. QB0350231987). After approximately 4 years I replaced the battery pack. The unit had been operating fine since then. Although one could conclude that that it was probably time for another set of batteries, I had no such indications or signals to that effect. Two days ago, I wife looked into my office and said, "What are all those red lights?" The usual visual signal was green, but all three lamps below were red. I unpluged the protected components and the poser supply, and like Jim, gingerly carried the unit from the house and left it outdoors.

Now, unlike Jim, I haven't purchased my last ACP equipment... in fact I replaced the BX 800 with an XS 1300.

Like Jim, however, it frightens me that two APC devices have failed in "runaway modes". The instrumentation for monitoring my new unit seem great; however, I'd like to think that equipment failures should be designed as a service failure, not a catastrophic overheating or bursting of batteries.

I can only hope that you're still monitoring this forum.

I just registered and admit that it wasn't clear how one begins a new thread.... so I'm merely responding to a "similar complaint/concern"

Allen

jimmyk_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
314

Bought My Last APC Product

This was originally posted on APC forums on 5/4/2010


As a result of dealing with APC for years for data center products, I've purchased several UPSes for home use. I just discarded my second Back-UPS Pro 1100 (BP1100) and I won't buy another, or any other APC product.

About a year ago one of the two BP1100s I had at home began emitting a strong odor and a slight buzzing sound, even when switched off. By the time I finally detected the smell, the cabinet was so hot I just about burned my fingers carrying it to safety outdoors.

Amazingly, the same sorry thing happened again today: got a call from my wife, she said the remaining unit was stinking, and was extremely hot to the touch. She got it out the door safely, again nearly burning herself on the chassis in doing so.

First time it happened, I notified APC via customer support; since they're both out of warranty, I received a "thanks for letting us know" type response, nothing more. This time I won't bother to contact APC.

So, from now on, I'm using passive surge suppressors on my PCs and A/V equipment. It's simply not worth the risk to me: the choice (at least in my two cases) was provide good power protection to my equipment at the risk of the UPS causing a fire. No, I think I'll pass.

Anyway, take this anecdotal information for what it's worth, just one person's experience. Fortunately no harm was done (the carpet the UPSes were resting on was hot to the touch but not permanently damaged), but I won't be recommending APC UPS equipment any more.