We have an APC Smart UPS 1500. The "Replace Battery" light is on, and apcupsd reports:

Emergency! Batteries have failed on UPS xxxx. Change them NOW

However, from this article,


it seems that it's not so clear that the UPS battery needs to be replaced. Stranger, according to the information on the UPS, an 11 minute runtime at 42.9% load running at 27.7V isn't so bad.

Any thoughts about what to try next? We're a non-profit, money is an object. It would be a shame to replace a battery with a year or so left in it.

# apcaccess status
APC      : 001,041,1017
DATE     : Thu Mar 29 13:01:41 EDT 2012
HOSTNAME : oreilly2
VERSION  : 3.14.6 (16 May 2009) debian
UPSNAME  : xxxx
CABLE    : Custom Cable Smart
MODEL    : Smart-UPS 1500
UPSMODE  : Stand Alone
STARTTIME: Thu Mar 29 12:57:30 EDT 2012
LINEV    : 112.3 Volts
LOADPCT  :  42.9 Percent Load Capacity
BCHARGE  : 100.0 Percent
TIMELEFT :  11.0 Minutes
MBATTCHG : 5 Percent
MINTIMEL : 3 Minutes
MAXTIME  : 0 Seconds
OUTPUTV  : 112.3 Volts
SENSE    : High
DWAKE    : -01 Seconds
DSHUTD   : 090 Seconds
LOTRANS  : 106.0 Volts
HITRANS  : 127.0 Volts
RETPCT   : 000.0 Percent
ITEMP    : 23.8 C Internal
BATTV    : 27.7 Volts
LINEFREQ : 60.0 Hz
LASTXFER : No transfers since turnon
TONBATT  : 0 seconds
CUMONBATT: 0 seconds
STATFLAG : 0x07000008 Status Flag
SERIALNO : AS0603298896
BATTDATE : 2006-01-14
NOMOUTV  : 120 Volts
NOMBATTV :  24.0 Volts
FIRMWARE : 601.3.D USB FW:1.5
APCMODEL : Smart-UPS 1500
END APC  : Thu Mar 29 13:02:12 EDT 2012

Error when running upstest

You are using a SMART cable type, so I'm entering SMART test mode
mode.type = USB_UPS
Setting up the port ...
Hello, this is the apcupsd Cable Test program.
This part of apctest is for testing Smart UPSes.
Please select the function you want to perform.

1) Query the UPS for all known values
2) Perform a Battery Runtime Calibration
3) Abort Battery Calibration
4) Monitor Battery Calibration progress
5) Program EEPROM
6) Enter TTY mode communicating with UPS
7) Quit

Select function number: 2

First ensure that we have a good link and
that the UPS is functionning normally.
Simulating UPSlinkCheck ...
YWrote: Y Got:
getline failed. Apparently the link is not up.
Giving up.
  • How old are the batteries? – Dave M Mar 29 '12 at 22:32
  • They tell me the UPS is about 3 years old. If the "battdate" of Jan 2006 is any indication, it might have been used when it was deployed or sitting in storage for a while. – mgjk Mar 30 '12 at 13:18

Perform a rundown test. That will tell you the real runtime of your battery, not the theoretical runtime. It will switch the load over to battery, and run until the remaining runtime or battery charge reaches the minimum allowed value, at which point it will switch back to mains power and recharge the battery.

You shouldn't have any downtime from this, unless the battery fails immediately.

To do so:

  • stop the apcupsd service
  • run apctest
  • select Perform battery calibration
  • I'm going to give this a try this weekend. I assume this is going to put the load onto the battery and run for a little, so there's a small chance of downtime? – mgjk Mar 30 '12 at 13:34
  • I have added more detail to the answer to clarify. – hmallett Mar 30 '12 at 20:31
  • Thanks for the update. apctest, perform battery calibration seems to be stuck. I'm visiting the site to try the test button on the UPS itself. I added the error message to the description. – mgjk Apr 1 '12 at 15:27
  • The physical test button worked and the servers didn't go down. N.b. the UPS battery life seems to be overestimated, we probably only have two or three minutes of battery life so we ordered a replacement. Thanks for the tips. – mgjk Apr 2 '12 at 14:58

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