APC Smart-UPS 1400 Battery replacement

su1400Having just gotten a replacement battery for my Smart-UPS 1400, I went to replace the battery, only to have the UPS randomly shutdown. I had had this issue before where if you removed the front panel and metal plate, the UPS would randomly turn off and on again. Figuring it was some cold solder joint, to bad ribbon cable between the front panel and UPS, I took everything apart to troubleshoot. Sadly, I couldn’t find the issue. I did decide to figure out why the battery never seemed to seat fully, and really, it’s due to bad design on APC’s part. The terminal connector for the battery is supposed to neatly fall into a recessed area of the chassis, and lay flat enough for the battery to seat. 9/10 with my unit though, the terminal would end up sideways, and prevent the battery from fully inserting. Worse, and this is why the unit was turning off, when this happened, and you tried to press the battery all the way back, one of the standoffs holding the PCB to the chassis would tweak enough to cause some board fault, and shut down (I haven’t dug further, I just saw the tweaking happening when the UPS case was removed).

So, as a note for anyone that might have one of these units. Don’t try to hotswap the battery. Just shut stuff down, remove the case (6 screws on the bottom), and then replace the battery while you can see the terminal connection. Then you can actually see if it’s laying properly in the chassis, and the battery will slide all the way into the unit. You can “help” it do this by making sure the battery cables are laying “down” rather than up, or back. Just, a crappy design on APC’s part. The only way I can see it always working right would be if the battery, and UPS, cables were silicone coated rather than PVC, and therefore were a bit more relaxed, and wanted to let gravity have it’s way. Maybe it also has to do with the unit being 20 years old at this point, and the PVC hardening. Either way, not a great design.

Good luck!

American Battery Company

Update 1: Got an email from the ABC manager asking what he could do to make it right, again stating their “We’re the only company to warranty our products for 2 years”, which, statistically, means nothing. I would imagine after looking at failure rates, they saw >80% of SLA batteries they source failed after 2 years, so there was no reason to not increase their warranty. Anyway, I responded that they could offer a discount on a new product, or at the very least, adjust their process so they’re not asking out of warranty customers to fill out an RMA form. I’ll post another update if I hear more…

Update 2: Okay, they’ve redeemed themselves. The manager that got ahold of me yesterday got back to me today and said he was shipping me a replacement today. He did apologize for rigamarole that I went through. So yes, the original post is moot. Thank you ABC for coming through on this.

Update 3: Got the battery. Interestingly, looks like it’s better built than the original. Thanks ABC!

ABC RBC7Just over two years ago, I purchased a replacement battery for my APC Smart-UPS 1400. I’d used ABC batteries in the past, and hadn’t really seen anything wrong with them (or right, they just worked). Over the weekend, however, the battery that was, quite literally, a month and a half past it’s 2 year warranty, triggered an alert that it needed to be replaced.

I contacted ABC, and they said they’d consider the warranty, and had me fill out an RMA request. At this point, I had already told them when it was purchased, and that it was less than 2 months outside warranty. So, I filled out the request, and expected something positive to come of it (at least the option for a discounted replacement purchase). Instead, an hour later, I got a reply from the same person that had told me to fill out the RMA request, that they wouldn’t be able to help me. So, why the hell did they have me fill out the RMA request?

Needless to say, I have a very thin tolerance for shitty customer service (see some previous posts). When there are probably a solid dozen non-OEM battery companies out there wanting to get my business, why should I keep giving it to a company that doesn’t back their product when it fails JUST outside warranty, and doesn’t give any recourse, at all. I think Tommy Boy summed up this experience pretty well.

So, ABC is no longer someone I will be able to recommend, nor will I do business with them again.

Technician mode on WelchAllyn 678

WelchAllyn SureTemp 678When my son was “on the way” we went looking to buy a thermometer since we knew we’d need one. Being a geek, I looked on eBay and found a hospital/clinic grade WelchAllyn SureTemp. It was an older model, but seemed to be in good shape, and I got it for pretty cheap (like $30). It came with the Oral/Aux probe, but didn’t come with the wall holder, which is a slight issue, as I’ll find.

The unit, by and large, works great. It was pretty grimy when I got it, but it cleaned up with some IPA and cotton swabs. The problem was, since I was using it for my baby (then toddler) son, I wanted to use the under-arm mode. It defaults to the Oral mode, and you have to hold the mode button for 2 seconds to switch it. This can be changed if you read the Service Manual by placing the unit in the wall holder, and holding the mode button down while removing the probe. I don’t have the wall holder. Damn. A bit more reading in the Service Manual showed there is a magnetic read switch on the PCB that’s being toggled when placed in the wall holder. So, I grabbed a largish magnet (circular)1, and placed it on the front of the unit while holding Mode, and removing the probe. Viola! It went into Service, and I was able to change the default to ALY (Auxiliary) mode by default. Yay! Good luck (if you have one of these, and this behavior annoys you).

  1. the type you see a hook attached to. Think I got it at Harbor Freight []