Mac Pro Raid Card battery failure

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cohibadad, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    dang. I guess I gloat too much about my lack of Apple hardware failures. Anyone else ever had this? I don't want to shut down my system to haul it to the service center. It may cause a huge power surge to the neighborhood if I turn it off!
  2. romelfanger macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    similar issue

    I am seeing a similar issue. The raid utility is randomly reporting that
    the battery on the card has failed. Rebooting the system seems to clear
    up the problem for several days. The system is now on UPS, and I
    still see the failures. The problem I see is that when the battery fails it
    turns off the write cache, and also it seems to disable commands that
    allow you to migrate to raid 5. I am trying to get my issue resolved
    under the system warranty.
  3. Rick Here macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2007
    Have you tried contacting Apple, perhaps they will send a new battery or know of a fix.
  4. Data macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2006
    Same here

    It's sitting in the shop now waiting for apple to take a look at it.
    I really could not go on with the machine, my diskspeads were slower then my macbook, and the machine kept getting slower and slower overall, and even hang/crashed on the finder a couple of times in a way it usually never does, and everytime i restarted it the list of error's in the raid uttility grew.

    If seen a lot of complaints lately on teh raid card battery, so i'm thinking it's a factory fault or maybe a software problem, but it's defenitly effecting alot of the people that got the raid card.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    A UPS would be an alternative to the battery on the RAID card. :)
    It offers additional benefits as well, so it may be worth it in the long run if at all possible. ;)
    For a Mac Pro, 1500VA would do nicely. :eek:

    I hope Apple solves your problem, and quickly.
    Good Luck. :)
  6. kittiyut macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2007
    Mine didn't "fail" per se. When I first got my MP back in Feb, during the initial charge I got a "failure" code (can't remember what it was) but the darn thing eventually charge up. 3 weeks ago, it had to do its 3 month recondition thing and I got that same battery failure message again. Hoping it'll go away, I let it continue to do its thing. Going through 10 days of charging/reconditioning (but didn't get the failure code for the 3rd time) I finally gave up and called apple care. The gave me an option of either they send me a new battery and replace it myself or I take it to an apple store. I chose the latter since I am only 15 minutes away from one. I didn't want to take the chance that the problem might not be just the battery. I made the right choice, I got a call telling me that the card itself was at fault so they put in a brand new one in for me. There was no data loss and all this time I never really had much problems over all with the MP. However, while I was waiting for my machine, I decided to get the Caldigit RAID card so I can do bootcamp - got one from Adorama for $438 (I think they made a mistake with pricing, they've up the price to $521 after they shipped mine)

  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    CalDigit RAID Card for $438?!? I demand they change it back! :p
    You lucked into that one. :D
  8. romelfanger macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    replaced the raid card

    The problem I had seemed to be that on boot, the card realized that the battery was present and charged it, and then forget about it, so every 3-4 days the battery would fail and the system had to be restarted to get it to charge again. The raid card was replaced about 3 weeks ago and the problem hasn't reappeared.

    The UPS suggestion doesn't quite work. If the battery on the card is dead, it disables the write cache. Also it won't allow you to do the raid 5 conversion when the battery has failed. The apple raid utility gives a bizarre command not supported error if the battery isn't fully charged when you try to do the conversion. Yes, I also have the system on a UPS.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Whoa! That's weird! :eek:
    I've never heard of a card that locks out the cache without the battery. They're usually an option, and a UPS is a better one. :confused:

    Is it possible Apple placed a software setting somewhere?
  10. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I have the Apple RAID card also and every 3 months (only 2 times at this point since I have had my MP) it disables the cache and reconditions the battery. It usually takes about 24 - 30 hours with the machine left on. For anyone that doesn't know, a MP with a RAID card never goes into an actual sleep BTW.
  11. bkreid macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2008
    Palo Alto, California, USA
    from bad to worse

    I had the battery failure described in this thread. I lived with it for 6 months and then finally got around to calling Apple tech support (the machine is still under warranty). Tech support sent me a new battery, which I installed (it took about an hour to figure out how to dig down to the old one without breaking any cables etc).

    Anyhow, after putting in the new battery, I get the same warning on reboot ("The RAID card requires your attention...") but when I launch the RAID Utility, it crashes after about 1 or 2 seconds. It stays on the screen just long enough for me to see that it (RAID Utility) does not seem to be aware of the new battery.

    So now I have to call Apple tech support again. Such a time sink.
  12. kittiyut macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2007
    I am quite surprised that tech support sent you the battery for you to replace it yourself without offering first for you to bring your MP to an Apple store to have someone there look at it. First of all, I don't think I would want to do it myself (which I could) but secondly, I don't want to get a new battery only to find out that it was the card that was defective - which is exactly your case. I brought mine to the store, after 2 days I got a call telling me that it was the card that was faulty. They put in a brand new card and all was good to go. However, I got the Caldigit card (very very happy with it) and now the Apple RAID card will go on eBay :)

  13. bkreid macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2008
    Palo Alto, California, USA
    No, it wasn't the card

    As soon as the new battery got charged, it all worked just fine.
    The software stopped crashing once the battery had enough charge in it to respond to probes.
    Maybe they made a lucky guess about it being the battery, or maybe they could tell from the error code number that it was the battery.
    ("Battery failed (code 0x#0 = 18)")

    The RAID Utility should be ashamed of itself for crashing when the battery was uncharged, but that's a separate issue.
  14. darrenleeweber macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2008
    Check the FAQ

    Before running off to apple care, check the FAQ:

    In my case, the RAID Utility flagged an event during the recondition process (supposed to happen about once every 3 months). The system profiler, under "Hardware RAID" indicated that the card was working fine.

    Once I cleared the old event from RAID Utility, it indicated that it's all good to go. I may expect something similar once every 3 months. If the battery event does not coincide with a recondition cycle, there may be a problem. I checked the date-time stamp on the recondition in the system profiler (Hardware RAID) against the RAID Utility event and they were about the same.
  15. cmogle macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2008
    Same here plus RAID Utility crashes

    I am having the same issues as above with regular (every time) battery failures and the RAID Utility crashing. I am planning to spend today deleting pretty much everything I don't need off my system with a view to a major re-install (everything has ground to a halt - especially Firefox).

    Any more insight on the battery failures or the RAID Utility crashes would be much appreciated.
  16. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    The battery on an array controller is not equivalent to a UPS. They both supply power in case of a power failure, but that's where the similarities end. You cannot replace one with the other, and one is not better than the other, as they serve two different purposes. In case of a power failure, the UPS supplies power to the entire system, while the array controller battery supplies power to the memory on the array controller, usually for around 4 days. Of course, on our systems I use both.

    Every array system we have will disable the write cache when the array controller's battery fails. This is to ensure all data is written directly to disk and not stored in the array controller's memory. It's never an option; it's designed by the manufacturer.

    That said, I've never heard of any array controller reconditioning the battery on a periodic basis. I guess it could just be a bad idea that was implemented, but never seen that on EMC or HP arrays, even the bundled array controllers. I'd start taking this back to the manufacturer of the array controller, and see if there's a firmware update to correct this.
  17. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    So what happened from this? Did Apple find a fault in the firmware?
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I know the battery and UPS are different, and why they're used. And ideally, both should be used. Even in the case of a redundant PSU.
    My point is, that it's listed as an option, not mandatory. Though I do believe in using them. I've even seen a case where the option was listed, but the manufacturer hasn't actually made them available. Atto Technology comes to mind, and they are decent, well rated cards. My experience with them has been quite good. Areca as well, my current favorite for price/performance, but the BBU is available. :)

    In using various cards, the cache could be set, and would operate without the battery. It wasn't automatically disabled if the battery wasn't present. No BBU sensor perhaps, and it works either way. At the user's peril of course. ;)
    I've never heard of this either, until reading it in this thread.
  19. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Then why say a UPS is an alternative to an array controller battery? The redundant PSU will only save you if one PSU fails, so I'm not seeing where that fits either. Maybe I'm just reading this all wrong.

    It wasn't, and still isn't, clear what you mean.

    For read cache, you always have it without a battery, but for a write cache a battery is required. I'm not sure if this is the same on really low-end equipment though. Having a write cache without a battery would equal peril some day. :)

    Yeah, sounds like a dumb idea.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'll try to clarify what I meant.

    I interpreted the OP's(? way back in thread) initial question as, is the battery or UPS better. Generally, I take the question in the sense they don't understand what either really do, and are thinking they can save some cash by skipping one, or even both.

    I've always viewed a UPS to have better benefits used alone vs the BBU alone. You have the time to properly shut the system down, so a write can be completed, assuming there is enough run time in the battery. I came to this due to witnessing power loss (dead PSU, not redundant) during a large write. Though the BBU maintained the cache, the write was modifying a particularly large file, and wasn't completed. When the system was repaired and powered up, the cache wrote what was stored, but it didn't help, as the file was incomplete, and corrupted.

    So the idea behind my statement was, if you can only have one initially, (with a strong urgency to upgrade with a BBU as soon as the $$$ is available), use the UPS. Power outages happen more often than blown PSU's/power cords yanked from the wall. The user can opt to disable the cache if the battery isn't present on cards that can't sense the BBU presence. A write speed hit occurs, but you can recover a little easier.

    Ideally, a UPS, redundant PSU, and BBU are necessary. Budgets come into play though, and this may not be feasible or even possible. For example, a redundant PSU may not fit in the computer. The Mac Pro comes to mind. Even if upgrading with the missing components is possible, it may not happen. Perhaps due to a false sense of security, resulting in the lack of will to part with $$ for a BBU.

    The battery is typically listed as an option, and it isn't made clear in the technical specifications page that the battery must be used to enable write cache. Or the documentation, once you have that in hand. Manual downloads are nice, as you can at least check, if you know to do so.

    It seems some don't actually sense the battery's presence, and it can be enabled/disabled via settings. And as I said earlier, this is done at the user's peril if the battery is not present. Things do go wrong. (Even with a battery).

    On a side note, Atto isn't garbage. It seemed odd that they listed an optional battery, but never provided one. It's not even available through Atto's store. :confused: I even checked yesterday, and confirmed this. :eek:

    Hopefully, this might clear things up a little. :)
  21. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Ah, gotcha. I knew I wasn't reading it right.

    Yeah, most of the array controllers for servers have the battery as an option to buy. I originally thought you meant an option in the firmware to turn on or off without a battery.

    On the EVAs and XPs from HP, the batteries are included (and should be for what you pay). :)
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I wish the batteries were always included. No matter the manufacturer. It would certainly simplify the process of having to locate them. ;) :p

    Though that wouldn't help with the inevitable replacement. :D
  23. cosmos macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Battery Failure

    I too received the Battery Failed (other than expired) code. I just wanted to add that mine was covered under Apple Care. At least at the time of failure which is under a year.

    I did not ask if Apple Care covers for the entire three years. Apple is sending a replacement battery kit. For this at least, you don't have to give a Credit Card nor send back the original battery.
  24. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Sorry this is happening to you

    but... So glad I didn't go with the Apple RaidCard,
    imagine going through this every few months... what a nightmare! :(
  25. POLOgt macrumors member


    Jan 27, 2009
    Are the Apple RAID Cards that problematic?
    I was considering it, I going to stay with Apple on this one for the interface and plug and play, .... etc...

    I have seen they have had issues with their batteries, is that their only fault or am I just missing the rest?

    Thank you for the help,

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