UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

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UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

Jason L Tibbitts III
I've just taken over maintenance of the apcupsd package in Fedora and am
working through the open tickets.

One user opened a ticket back in 2013, saying that "for years" that some
of his UPSes will for no reason start showing that the battery is
disconnected, and then some time later may show that the battery has
been reconnected.  The user reports that this behavior continues with
current versions.  Currently Fedora has 3.14.14 on all branches.

The ticket is https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=998099

I hope that has sufficient information for you to have some idea what's
going on as I can't quite sort it out.  It seems to me that the user is
basically reporting two different issues with two different UPSes and I
can't rule out that they're both just flaky.  But I couldn't find any
instance of his issue being reported here so I figured I should do so.

He doesn't want to sign up for this list so if you need any further
information please let me know and I'll pass things back and forth.

 - J<

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Re: UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

Jean-David Beyer-2
On 06/22/2016 09:08 PM, Jason L Tibbitts III wrote:

> I've just taken over maintenance of the apcupsd package in Fedora and am
> working through the open tickets.
>
> One user opened a ticket back in 2013, saying that "for years" that some
> of his UPSes will for no reason start showing that the battery is
> disconnected, and then some time later may show that the battery has
> been reconnected.  The user reports that this behavior continues with
> current versions.  Currently Fedora has 3.14.14 on all branches.
>
> The ticket is https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=998099
>
> I hope that has sufficient information for you to have some idea what's
> going on as I can't quite sort it out.  It seems to me that the user is
> basically reporting two different issues with two different UPSes and I
> can't rule out that they're both just flaky.  But I couldn't find any
> instance of his issue being reported here so I figured I should do so.
>
> He doesn't want to sign up for this list so if you need any further
> information please let me know and I'll pass things back and forth.
>
I still run apcupsd-3.14.13-1.x86_64, because it is the latest available
for my distro.
I was getting this symptom on my APC SmartUps 2200 for a while. I then
noticed that I had 4 or 5 years on my battery(s).

My UPS did not report a bad battery. My UPS did not indicate a short
run-time. It did not report low battery voltage. But I decided to remove
the old batteries and install new ones. Unfortunately, I could not get
the old ones out because they had swollen too much.

So I did a TradeUPS and the new one does not have this problem.

My major complaint about APC SMART UPSs is that the Replace Battery
never indicates a bad battery until it is too swollen to even remove it.
This applies also to SMART UPS-1000 and SMART UPS 620.


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Re: UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

Trevor Roydhouse
In reply to this post by Jason L Tibbitts III
Jason L Tibbitts III wrote on 06/23/16 11:08:
> One user opened a ticket back in 2013, saying that "for years" that some
> of his UPSes will for no reason start showing that the battery is
> disconnected, and then some time later may show that the battery has
> been reconnected.  The user reports that this behavior continues with
> current versions.  Currently Fedora has 3.14.14 on all branches.
>
> The ticket is https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=998099

He's not exactly Mr Congeniality!

> I hope that has sufficient information for you to have some idea what's
> going on as I can't quite sort it out.  It seems to me that the user is
> basically reporting two different issues with two different UPSes and I
> can't rule out that they're both just flaky.  But I couldn't find any
> instance of his issue being reported here so I figured I should do so.

1) Reported by the cgi scripts? Ensure the apcupsd cgi programs are
updated to match apcupsd daemon version.

2) There was a reference to NIS in his syslog fragment, so remote or
local monitoring? Ensure apcupsd version numbers installed locally and
remotely are matched.

3) Try a different USB port - this was actually reported to work by one
Linux user. The USB port the UPS was attached to worked properly for
everything (webcam, mouse, keyboard, hard disk) except the APC UPS.

4) APC USB firmware versions are somewhat notorious in reliable
abilities ;-) Ensure the "latest" version is being used - need to
consult APC directly... I'm not sure whether it can be field upgraded on
his model.

5) A note in a 2008 apcupsd manual: "A very disturbing tendancy is for
some of the newer (Mar 2004) RS and ES UPSes to have no Voltage
information. This is annoying bug not serious. On the other hand, some
of those UPSes now have no battery charge information (BCHARGE)."
Probably related to 4) above.

Specifically in relation to the SmartUPS, his report that it "shows
correct values" is suspect given his example of correct values includes:

MODEL    : <blank>
MANDATE  : 1980-00-00
SERIALNO : <blank>
NOMBATTV :   0.0 Volts

which doesn't look correct to me. For the 2200 I'd suggest using a
serial connection and see what it reports which should help rule in/out
USB and UPS issues.

> He doesn't want to sign up for this list so if you need any further
> information please let me know and I'll pass things back and forth.

I've only bothered with a response at all because you're martyr material :-)


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Re: UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

Jason L Tibbitts III
>>>>> "TR" == Trevor Roydhouse <[hidden email]> writes:

TR> He's not exactly Mr Congeniality!

Well, yeah, he's a bit problematic, but I figured it's worth a try.

TR> 1) Reported by the cgi scripts? Ensure the apcupsd cgi programs are
TR> updated to match apcupsd daemon version.

I don't think the CGI scripts are involved, and he's running the Fedora
packages so everything gets updated in lockstep.

TR> 2) There was a reference to NIS in his syslog fragment, so remote or
TR> local monitoring? Ensure apcupsd version numbers installed locally
TR> and remotely are matched.

As far as I can tell, everything he is doing is local.

TR> 3) Try a different USB port - this was actually reported to work by
TR> one Linux user. The USB port the UPS was attached to worked properly
TR> for everything (webcam, mouse, keyboard, hard disk) except the APC
TR> UPS.

I would be incredibly surprised if somehow the USB port could be broken
in a way all communication with the UPS works fine except that the
reported battery level goes to zero for a while.  Especially on two
different computers.  It seems to me far more likely that his UPS units
are just flaky.  Given my experience with APC I'm often surprised when
one of their units still works after a couple of years.

TR> For the 2200 I'd suggest using a serial connection and see what it
TR> reports which should help rule in/out USB and UPS issues.

That's not a bad idea but then it needs a serial converter cable which
he probably doesn't have in order to work on any modern serial-port-less
machine.

TR> I've only bothered with a response at all because you're martyr
TR> material :-)

That's just one of the things you have to deal with if you're going to
be a distro package maintainer.  And any response is appreciated, even
if it's just "the UPSes or batteries are probably just broken".  More
consensus that this isn't an apcupsd problem gets me that much closer to
closing out that ticket.

I also made the suggestion that he just try NUT to see if it behaves any
differently.

 - J<

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Re: UPS reporting occasional battery disconnection

Ted Mittelstaedt-5
On 6/22/2016 11:55 PM, Jason L Tibbitts III wrote:
>>>>>> "TR" == Trevor Roydhouse <[hidden email]> writes:

> are just flaky.  Given my experience with APC I'm often surprised when
> one of their units still works after a couple of years.
>

APC has good UPSes and crappy UPSes.  The SmartUPS series are generally
good.  The BackUPS series are generally crappy.   APC has been told
many times by it's dealers to stop contaminating the brand with the
crappy junk.  At least rename it or something.  But the realities of
ignorant uneducated consumers mean that they have to sell a cost-reduced
UPS since a lot of people - perhaps such as yourself - think a UPS is a
UPS and buy a cheap UPS then wonder why it don't last.

And before you start complaining you better admit you deserved that.
Remember you came here for help, check the Eaton religion at the door,
please.

The 19" rack mounted smart UPS is designed for easy battery removal
so that is either suspect in the report or he is being snarky for no reason.

> TR> For the 2200 I'd suggest using a serial connection and see what it
> TR> reports which should help rule in/out USB and UPS issues.
>
> That's not a bad idea but then it needs a serial converter cable which
> he probably doesn't have in order to work on any modern serial-port-less
> machine.
>

Forget that.  The USB serial converter cables are being run from the
same flaky USB port, that isn't going to work.  He needs to buy a real
serial port card that plugs into the PC if he's going to go that route.
Anything MOSChip-based should work well on Linux.  And the BackUPS RS
may not have a serial port anyway.

> TR> I've only bothered with a response at all because you're martyr
> TR> material :-)
>
> That's just one of the things you have to deal with if you're going to
> be a distro package maintainer.  And any response is appreciated, even
> if it's just "the UPSes or batteries are probably just broken".  More
> consensus that this isn't an apcupsd problem gets me that much closer to
> closing out that ticket.
>
> I also made the suggestion that he just try NUT to see if it behaves any
> differently.
>

NUT does not support MODBUS although it is fine for the older UPSes.
But, remember the BackUPS UPS was NEVER officially supported by APC for
statistics reporting only the SmartUPS.   It is a hit or miss with a
BackUPS whether it will report what you want or not.  And the BackUPS RS
has given list users trouble before.  I also believe apcupsd was
modified to pull data from a backups once we became aware that APC was
using the same chips in both models and this could be done.

This may sound like a snarky reply but the reality is that if he's
running an "infrastructure" (ie: multiple servers) he needs to go to
Ebay and purchase the correct network card for his SmartUPS and plug
it in to the UPS and query over the network off that, and use the USB
cable for bailing hay.

Ted

>  - J<
>
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