APC SUA2200RM2U Ultra Short Battery Life

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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So I finally upgraded from a stand alone UPS to a nice rack mount one.
I got a SUA2200RM2U off ebay without batteries.

I had to put a lot of work into it, ordered the batteries, repaired the power cable, I also got the AP9631 Network Management Card.
Today it all comes together and its installed, and something just is not right.

It reports almost no load, but only a 6 minute run time with full capacity.

The battery bank I am sure is hooked up right, it has the correct voltage and everything.
From the management card I ran the run time calibration thinking it just needed to be calibrated and it was a false reading, but sure enough about 6 minutes and it was dying and the voltage dropped enough to end the test.

I am not sure if there is some other means of calibration or a setting I need to change, or if this can somehow simply be defective?

Also I should save this for another thread, but I am looking to get the PowerChute software setup for ESXi that was one of the main reasons for the Management Card short of having cool access to logs and status.

Here are the batteries I used.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

Blinky 42

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Aug 6, 2015
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Does it report a load that lines up with what you expect for the equipment plugged into the unit?
How long does it run w/o any devices plugged into it with just the UPS's internal load on the battery?
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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Does it report a load that lines up with what you expect for the equipment plugged into the unit?
How long does it run w/o any devices plugged into it with just the UPS's internal load on the battery?
I think so I have to double check. I know the LED's show minimal load and my rack is only ~300w so that seems right.
It would not run much longer without anything connected.

I am thinking its probably a bad battery (or more than one) I hate to go pay the huge prices for a APC replacement battery pack kind negates all the savings and all the hard work I put into doing this myself.

I am not sure I can even remove the battery pack to test the cells without killing all my equipment, as I know the unit wont turn on without the battery connected, so I am not sure if it can be removed while it is running.

Building that cell was a pain... some of the cables are so short that its nearly impossible to fit it all together. If I have to rebuild it again I might want to see if I can find some longer cables.
 

Stephan

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Apr 21, 2017
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You probably need to reset one of the EEPROM constants back to factory, see here: APCUPSD User Manual

I think you have to remove the network card for this, otherwise the console port is disabled.

After battery has floated for 2-3 days check voltage of entire pack using a voltmeter and compare with what processor is seeing and telling you. There is a possibility to fix this, should electronics have drifted a little. See APC SmartUPS Battery Float Voltage Calibration

Floating voltage for entire pack in a 48V APC should be 54,54 volts (easy to remember) to prevent electrode sulfation, but not be too high to "cook" the battery within 2-3 years. In SU models this was controlled using resistors, in later models like SUA afaik you could change this programmatically using the "B" command (see SUA1500i - Unofficial APC UPS protocol).

Finally put a 40%-50% load like a 1000W space heater or two 500W lamps on the UPS and let it run until empty to recalibrate some other stuff in the UPS. Let me know if it worked.
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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You probably need to reset one of the EEPROM constants back to factory, see here: APCUPSD User Manual

I think you have to remove the network card for this, otherwise the console port is disabled.

After battery has floated for 2-3 days check voltage of entire pack using a voltmeter and compare with what processor is seeing and telling you. There is a possibility to fix this, should electronics have drifted a little. See APC SmartUPS Battery Float Voltage Calibration

Floating voltage for entire pack in a 48V APC should be 54,54 volts (easy to remember) to prevent electrode sulfation, but not be too high to "cook" the battery within 2-3 years. In SU models this was controlled using resistors, in later models like SUA afaik you could change this programmatically using the "B" command (see SUA1500i - Unofficial APC UPS protocol).

Finally put a 40%-50% load like a 1000W space heater or two 500W lamps on the UPS and let it run until empty to recalibrate some other stuff in the UPS. Let me know if it worked.
So I read the calibration papers, it says you can do manual aka with a load and let it drain, or from the network card you can run the calibration like I did the other day.

voltage reading on the status page and my volt meter looked good, it just dropped incredibly quick once I put it on battery, so I really do think it might be a bad cell.

I ordered a battery tester from Amazon that will be here tomorrow and I will test the batteries and see if I find a bad one.

I unfortunately do not have the console cable needed to do any of the cool console stuff. Also not sure why but my network management card is offline. I see a link light but it no longer has an IP address. I assume just pulling the card out and putting it back in will reset it rather than turning the whole unit off.
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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Reset the network management card and got back in.
These numbers do not look right for load. I have used P3 before on my rack and it draws between 200 and 300w.


Status
Last Battery Transfer:Due to software command or UPS's test control
Internal Temperature:29.7°C
Runtime Remaining: 5min
Power
Input Voltage:123.8 VAC
Output Voltage:123.8 VAC
Frequency:60.0 Hz
Load
Load Power:19.5 %Watts
Apparent Load Power:20.8 %VA
Load Current:3.3 Amps
Battery
Capacity:100.0 %
Battery Voltage:55.08 VDC
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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Still no luck.
Got the battery tester, all the batteries tested good.
Did the calibration run until it cut off and determined it needed to run on power again and then tested each battery with a volt meter and still was getting 12v+ per cell.

I think the issue here is the unit has a very high cut off voltage, in my reading I think it should be able to go down to as low as 42-43v before cut off safely but mine is cutting off in the 50's

I see nowhere i can configure this, even downloading the entire config file.
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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Just once more: You need a console cable and reset the battery constant to factory.
Ok I guess I will do this, no way to reach those commands via the NMC or SSH? What console cable to do I need exactly?

I have a USB to Serial adapter already for programing my ESP8266 and ESP32 MC's so I might be able to just use raw wire and a header on the board, or fashion some kind of external cable for it, but if its cheap enough I'll just get the right cable.
 
Last edited:

Stephan

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Apr 21, 2017
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My cable says "APC 940-0024D". I know of no way to reach the parameters via the card.

IMHO for longevity correct float voltage is much more important than brand. Sealed lead-acid is on its way out, next-gen products might all be LiFePo4. So no big innovations for any manufacturer to be expected. It is a very mature technology. Your 55V is already a bit on the high side. Yuasa for example wants 54,6, CSB even wants 54V as lowest float in a 48V pack. Personally I am using Effekta batteries and those want 54,4 on the low side of the spectrum.
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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the UPS reads it as 55v but with a multi meter I get less than that. Like 52, but that might not be a fully charged battery with the surface charge not removed. Id have to retest to verify after fully charging.
 

Dave Corder

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Dec 21, 2015
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I use a DB9-RJ45 adapter wired to the Cisco console pinout on my APC UPS, and then a standard Cisco console cable with integrated USB adapter from my networking kit.

Examples:

 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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So I have a FTDI USB to serial on the way and a knock off APC cable from ebay wont be here for weeks though. I also found today a program that looks very promising called apc-fix.exe it seems like it can do what I need to do automatically. However I cant tell for sure if the "free" version vs the "full" version has any restrictions.

The setting I can change is the voltage constant once I get this, it should read my batteries voltage correctly after, but I do not see a setting for what voltage the batteries actually "cut off" and I still need to determine for sure what value to set.

There is a possibility that the batteries are the cause of the issue and that if I got some APC branded batteries it would just work. I think I see hints here and there, that this issue happens with self replacement batteries that are not in the same spec. Who would have thought? I mean they are all 12v batteries.

I dont understand how the equipment has such a hard time just reading voltage and acting accordingly.

I do have a cisco console cable, so might try your way just for fun. I had no idea that at its heart it was serial communication all the same. When I looked up the pin out for the APC cable it had shorts and stuff that I though might be required ontop of the ground, tx, and rx pins.
 

ViciousXUSMC

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Nov 27, 2016
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So I got this fixed I guess, found a pretty cheap USB to Serial Cable made for APC on Amazon (cheaper than buying the console cable and a USB Serial Adapter, and no wait like from ebay) was able to get in there and from days of research found how to change two key things.

The battery constant (Found two different possible values for my model) and the float voltage.

My float voltage was 54.5 at the meter and that is perfect so I left that alone, and I found a neat trick, that you just set the battery constant to FF (the maximum value) so you get the longest run time possible and it will still shut down based on voltage.

Now the one issue I have is my voltage and load readings are still wrong at the unit the 56.x volts and 20w load figures are very off, and my run time is way shorter than what I would have expected from this unit. However I guess thats just how it is and I maybe had unrealistic expectations.

One of those small UPS you buy from Best Buy or Amazon with a 1500VA rating last just as long if not longer.

Since I went thru so much trouble to get this working and figure it all out, I actually have a 2nd one on the way from ebay and I will see if it has similar results.

I also may "hack" one of these with deep cycle car/marine batteries. Now that I know how to tweak and change things I can use non standard batteries pretty easily.

I also got the console cable for the NMC just incase I need that for any reason.
 
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