APC UPS failures

In 2021, I purchased three APC model BN1500M2 UPS’s (uninterruptible power supplies).

Two or three months ago, I had one of them replaced under the warranty (it shut off, and I would not trust it after that).

Minutes ago, I got off of an on-line support service chat, and they are sending me a replacement battery for one of the other UPS’s (they would not replace the entire unit).

Did I pick a bad model? Or get lemons? Or has APC gone down hill?
I thought that APC built quality UPS’s for their entire line?

The units have kept my equipment up and running, with all but one exception (hence, the first RMA). So they get the job done.

But something is causing them to have battery failures. Probably sub-standard batteries. But the units might be poorly designed and are harming the batteries?

In the past, I have purchased their pricier SmartUPS models. But they are bigger and more expensive (and I am short on space and cash – so I went for a smaller, less expensive model). I have never had a problem with the SmartUPS models.

What UPS’s are others using? Any issues?
Should my next purchase be from a different brand?

Or is it just a matter of spending ½ the amount gets you less quality?

I bought 3x of the same model APC UPS 1500VA UPS Battery Backup and Surge Protectors and re-purposed an older model by adding a new battery to it.

Every other month or so I unplug it triggering/testing the battery down to 1 - 2% remaining utilization.

It’s money well spent IMO and has definitely carried it weight with the frequent brown outs I experience. I also added a APC G5BLK 9-Outlet G-Type 15-Amp Rack-Mountable Power Conditioner into the mix for staggered hard reboot which has only happened twice since July 2021. I rarely have to completely power down the entire farm at the same time. It’s usually the power blinks several times or spikes once or twice per a week usually overnight I’m noticing here.

I’ve had an APC 1500 Smart UPS for many years, been as good as gold until recently.

Some months back it reported the batteries had failed, got them changed under warranty (non genuine), then again it said the batteries had failed, which I ignored*. Also I’ll get an email saying self test initiated, then days later saying its failed, usually you’ll get an email saying passed or failed pretty quickly afterwards.

I believe there is a new version of software, which I really must install, to see if that makes a difference.

*I now have a 29kWh battery + 8kW inverter that runs the entire house if the mains goes down, under/over voltage etc, hence no rush to fix it, but I’d still like to know I could rely on it if I need to work on the ESS.

I own two 1500’s, too. Had them for close to 15 years. Aside from having to replace the batteries every ~5 or so years, they have never given me a problem.

But two out of three of my BN1500M2’s needed warranty action in under 3 years (not good).

I went with the BN1500’s when I got in to Chia. I was trying to cut back on costs.
I got them for $169 each (I believe), whereas the 1500’s were more than double that price.

And the BN1500M2’s will not let you silence an alarm, except through their software.
I will not install their (or anyone’s) 3rd party code on my Chia boxes.

And what about people not using the UPS for a computer? They cannot silence an alarm.

When a company designs a product that requires their software, when their software has nothing to do with the basic functionality of the product, that is a red flag to me.

On the 1500 models, simply pressing the “1” button will mute an alarm. Surely the BN1500M2 should be able to handle that. But the APC / Schneider Electric executives decided to force their code onto your computers.

I am not pleased with APC.
Also note that contacting them is a bit of a chore. And they try to get you to perform a restart procedure (so your entire Chia or anything else boxes must be powered off). The procedure includes removing the battery.

I do not work for APC, and will not turn off my equipment to test their failed unit. And even if I were to test the unit, I will not trust the unit. Either way, they have to replace it.

All of this has soured my opinion on APC – and I am hoping that someone offers an alternative. I know the other names in the business. But I would have liked to hear from someone that uses those other brands.

At work I’m using a CyberPower UPS 1300VA 780W (CP1300EPFCLCD-UK) cost £148 back in 2015, that’s been a reliable unit, although just noticed it apparently has 120% battery remaining :hushed:

Not even sure if I’ve ever changed the battery - I’ll have to test it.

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I’m using Eaton Ellipse Eco 650 USB FR. Bought It two years ago and no problems. It doesn’t noises. Usb-serial comunication to tell a server that the energy is going to fall and give devices the posibility of a controled shutdown.

Perfect integration with debian linux.

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Two days later, and I have my warranty replacement battery.
So APC deserves credit for the fast service.

I just hope that I will not have to visit another service request with one of these BN1500M2 models.

They shipped without delay. But they used UPS ground shipping.
I got the fast delivery, due to APC shipping from Pennsylvania, and my address is in New Jersey.

How would they ship it for a west coast address?
Perhaps they have a warehouse servicing that side of the country?

I’m running with a couple of these…
And when I needed new batteries I put in these…
Amazon.com: Nermak 2 Pack 12V 12Ah LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery, 2000+ Cycles Lithium Iron Phosphate Rechargeable Battery for Solar Power,UPS,Lighting, Power Wheels, Fish Finder, Scooters and More, Built-in 12A BMS : Automotive


I have two SUA1500 units.

But I purchased the BN1500M2 for my 2021 purchases for Chia. They are less than ½ the price, and smaller (both of which were important to me).

I would rather have purchased the higher level units, but between the price and the space, I had to compromise.

I went with the BN1500M2 units, because they outputted a pure sine wave, and they have automatic voltage regulation. So it checked all of the boxes that I was seeking. I thought that they would go the distance, and not have failures.

I also have an Eaton 9130 (true, on-line power delivery), that never missed a beat. The batteries lasted approximately 7 years. When it came time to replace them, it cost as much as the BN1500M2. The rest is history.

Swapping out the battery of the APC BN1500M2 is an ordeal.

The battery fits snugly, and they put virtually no room for the internal cable connections to the battery.

So you have to somehow balance / levitate the hefty battery, without pulling too hard on the short cables to avoid damaging them. You must lift out the battery, to gain access to its terminals. But you can barely get it out of the case, without yanking on the cables.

You have, perhaps, ½ inch of play in the cables to remove from the battery. And the fitting on the terminals is tight.

So you are struggling to hold the battery up, with almost no room to rest it anywhere, without yanking on the short cables. And while doing the above, you have to pry the cables off of the battery’s terminals.

Then repeat to install the replacement battery, and get a good, snug fit on the terminals.

I have replaced batteries in various UPS models before. They all had some room to work. This had next to none, along with fighting with the tight fitting to the terminals. It is a forced fit – no screws.

Do these companies really need to save an inch on the size of the case and the length of the battery’s cables?

It seems like some bean counter / engineer showed the execs how to save 50¢ on each unit, and they went for it. Surely they did not attempt a battery change themselves, before going into mass production. Or, they simply did not care, because it would be years after the purchase that the customers would discover the chore.

If I had known this, I would have purchased a different model. It would have been worth spending another $50+ to not have to deal with this.

I replaced my APC batteries with these, on two units, strong and light weight
Amazon.com: Nermak 2 Pack 12V 12Ah LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery, 2000+ Cycles Lithium Iron Phosphate Rechargeable Battery for Solar Power,UPS,Lighting, Power Wheels, Fish Finder, Scooters and More, Built-in 12A BMS : Automotive

Is it possible/dangerous to replace with a different battery chemistry type? I had thought they charge differently.

It can be, depends on the actual cells used, and depth of discharge will also vary, and hopefully they have a decent BMS.

It’s not something I would do, I have 29kWh of LifePo4 batteries and a Victron system, and there are different profiles for different battery chemistries for a reason.

There is NO reason to worry about “pure sine wave” when feeding computer equipment.
Their “Stepped sine wave” gear also tends to be a bit more reliable.