Possible problem with APC S15BLK (UPS)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by BobD2, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. BobD2 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2008
    OK, I’ve read just about all the UPS-related threads on this site, but still have a question that some of you might have some insight into. Debated adding this to an existing thread or starting a new one. Anyway, here it is.
    I am using an APC S15BLK (http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=S15BLK) as my UPS to which I have connected a Mac Pro 5.1 (3.3GHx 6-core Intel Xeon), with 4 internal drives (2 In a RAID 0 array), 5 external drives, cable modem, NEC PA271W monitor, and AirPort Express (the external drives are not always on). It has worked flawlessly for several years until today, at which point everything shut down, and I got an error message on the UPS that said “Fault: Inverter Overload”. Unplugged the computer and monitor and plugged them into a power strip, and the computer started up and ran normally, so doesn't seem to be a computer problem. Unplugging the S15BLK and plugging it in again did not help – same message. A quick web search turned up someone else who saw this message (http://www.bottlehead.com/smf/index.php?topic=3243.0) and APC support told the guy that he needed a new battery. I also called, they walked me through a couple of tests, and came to the same conclusion, so I ordered a new battery.

    But in the discussion linked to, someone mentioned that the unit might eventually have to be replaced, and a unit from Eaton PowerWare was recommended as superior to APC (quote: “I’d strongly suggest a unit made by Eaton PowerWare – much better in everyway than APC”). I hadn’t heard of them, and do not see them mentioned prominently in any of the discussions of UPS units in this forum (I did see a few mentions of the company, but not many).
    A particular unit that was recommended based on Eaton’s selection tool was the 5PX1000RT. Also available would be the 5PX1500RT. Seem to be priced similarly to the S15BLK. Looking at their specifications, I see no mention of “pure sine wave” as sometimes gets discussed here as desireable.

    We do have periodic power outages and power fluctuations, so our power is not as clean as one might hope for.

    I am hoping that the new battery will restore functionality, and I won't have to buy anything else, but would like to be prepared in case that doesn't work out.

    Anyone here heard of them or use them or have any comments on any of this?

  2. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    The unit you have linked is a Power Conditioner & Battery BackUp. It is my understanding, that while this will work on a computer, it's primary purpose is to protect and improve the performance of home theater systems. I use a Power Conditioner on my home theater system. For my Macs, I have used Tripp-Lite and APC equipment for years with no issues. My current unit is an APC BR1500G BACK-UPS Pro 1500.

    Batteries in a UPS are pretty easy to replace and does extend it's life. My wife has an older APC unit, and I have replaced the batteries and it's functionality was restored.

  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    After doing a quick web search, There's a strong possibility that the battery died and all you would need to do is buy a replacement battery for it. UPS batteries will last 3-5 years on average. If it's lasted longer than 5 years you did well.

    The choice of whether to replace the battery or the whole unit would depend on the general condition of the unit. I've had good look with APC UPS in general. I've used APC replacement batteries as well as BTI batteries. BTI if I recall correctly gives a longer warranty than APC on replacement batteries.
  4. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    If you decide to go for an new UPS, it is generally advised to get a Pure Sine Wave model. APC would suggest the Smart-UPS series for your machine (their Back-UPS range is stepped sine wave).

    CyberPower do a good Pure Sine Wave model which is cheaper than APC but the product features and warranty differs from APC.

    Of note is that APC may still be offering their Trade-UPS scheme which will offer a discount off a qualifying APC UPS when you agree to send in your old unit. In the UK they did this even for non-APC trade ins.
  5. BobD2 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2008
    Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I received and installed the new battery I ordered, and things seem back to normal now. So hopefully this fixes things for the next few years. Better than buying a whole new unit.

    The unit I have (S15BLK) is marketed as a backup and power conditioner for AV systems. However, it has been recommended on this forum as an excellent backup and conditioner for computers and associated equipment (by regulars here who know more than I do about the topic). It does put out pure sine wave power. I was able to get a good deal on it (long story, told elsewhere, but ultimately directly from APC) – cost me $299. Available now from Amazon for $1049, and from other vendors at higher prices. So I’m going to stick with it for a while.

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