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Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

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Javik_apc
Lieutenant JG
Lieutenant JG
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Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 10/7/2010


I think I see a disturbing pattern here.

1. Newer APC UPS models have fans that run all the time when power is turned on
2. Newer APC UPS models do not have air filters for fans that run all the time
3. Fans are not user-replaceable
4. Fans get dust in bearings over time, and eventually run rough, seize, and fail
4. APC will not provide technical assistance to replace fans yourself, and voids all warranties if you do.
5. ???
6. PROFIT from selling new $1000 to $5000 UPS to customer, to replace $25 worn out fan.


Really, is it that hard for APC to design a user-replaceable, hot-swap fan module for the UPS that does not require opening the UPS case?

Even with Trade-UPS offering "up to 25% off" a new UPS, that still doesn't bring the cost of the new replacement down to anywhere near the cost of just replacing the worn-out fans.

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zander13_apc
Crewman
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Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 3/11/2013


I would like to add a comment to this.  I have a Back UPS 1500 XS with LCD screen which I have been happy with along with past products from APC.  However when one of the fans recently started making noise I called them up and asked for a replacement.  They said the fan cannot be replaced, so I should get a new unit... what?!?!  All this plastic and printed circuit boards and inverter and batteries should be thrown out because of a $13 fan?

There are only 2 moving parts in this whole thing (both fans) and I was baffled that they would not make these easily replaceable.  Even without the money issue the environmental implications of this are insane.

I pulled the back off and then took out the fan and and found the manufacturer in China by typing in the part number (Jamicon KF0420B2MM-R).  Unfortunately that manufacturer does not seem to sell fans in the US market retail so then I took the specs and found the most similar fans on Digi-Key I could.  I ordered two of them (one with overcurrent alarm and the other with tach output) and when I got them saw that the wire color matched for the o/c alarm one so I soldered it in.  This was Digikey part# 1053-1414-ND, Orion Part number OD4020-24HB02A FAN DC 40X20 24V W/ O/C ALARM

Put it all together and its now working fine.  This will be the last of these units I purchase until they correct this simple design flaw.

See Answer In Context

5 Replies 5
BillP
Administrator Administrator
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Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This reply was originally posted by Federico on APC forums on 10/18/2010


@Javik

I totally agree with you and also complained about the same fact. Smart UPS, and Symmetra Modules lack this fundamental capacity.

BillP
Administrator Administrator
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178

Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 10/7/2010


from my own experience working at APC and some of my personal opinion, here is what i have to share..

APC has never had user replaceable fans on smaller units because it is simply not a serviceable part. it doesn't make sense cost wise. on larger units, it is. units INCLUDE fans to help keep the internal components cool. i am not sure why some folks don't understand why the fan is there but its just honestly to keep the internal components cool and give them a longer life. the fans are under warranty along with the unit themselves so if the unit is under warranty and something happens with the fan, then it can be replaced. if anything, i think is smarter to have the fan on more often than not to protect the UPS's internal workings than let them heat up and degrade the life of the unit and battery. with saying that though, the fan shouldn't be noticeably loud and should last a decent amount of time. it should also not cause concern and APC should be able to tell you when the fan is expected to run. unfortunately, there are different criteria for each of the Back UPS units though and Smart UPS are different.

also, fans are not replaceable since they do require opening the case and present a hazard to users being exposed to the UPS's internal workings. i agree though that if they were replaceable, they should not pose a hazard to anyone when replacing them or require the case to be opened by an end user.

thus, on a $50 unit, i dont think it makes sense to have the fan be user replaceable. units at that price don't necessarily have a fan either. i think it does make sense in pricier units but it is not my decision of course.

again, most of this is my own personal opinion having working at APC but i just thought i would share the other side of the fence here about the fans.

Javik_apc
Lieutenant JG
Lieutenant JG
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179

Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 10/7/2010


I already tried contacting CBM for fan replacement options. The way that works is:

- Remove UPS from service and leave loads in an unprotected state
- Mail the UPS to them.
- Wait for UPS to return. Loads are still unprotected.
- Reinstall UPS when it comes back and reconnect everything
Not exactly an ideal situation since it forces me to shut down the entire network twice to remove and reinstall the UPS. And of course if we have an outage while the UPS is out for repair, the servers will all crash.

,

If the UPS had hot-swap fan modules, this would change to:
- Unscrew retention thumbscrews while UPS is running
- Pull out bad fan module, which auto-unplugs from power connector
- Powerchute logs fan module removal event
- Insert new fan module, which auto-plugs into power connector
- Powerchute logs fan module insertion event
- Tighten thumbscrews
This would take all of about 1-2 minutes, not affect the protected loads, and not require any network/server downtime.

,

Hmm, is a hot-swap fan module really that novel of an idea for a UPS? Most servers include this as a standard feature.

Maybe I should try to patent this concept? 😉

BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
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179

Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 10/7/2010


hi Javik,

i am going to pass your feedback and suggestions along to the appropriate product managers. what you are suggesting makes perfect sense and i definitely want them to see the feedback.

zander13_apc
Crewman
Crewman
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179

Re: Fans that run all the time --> Planned obsolescence?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 3/11/2013


I would like to add a comment to this.  I have a Back UPS 1500 XS with LCD screen which I have been happy with along with past products from APC.  However when one of the fans recently started making noise I called them up and asked for a replacement.  They said the fan cannot be replaced, so I should get a new unit... what?!?!  All this plastic and printed circuit boards and inverter and batteries should be thrown out because of a $13 fan?

There are only 2 moving parts in this whole thing (both fans) and I was baffled that they would not make these easily replaceable.  Even without the money issue the environmental implications of this are insane.

I pulled the back off and then took out the fan and and found the manufacturer in China by typing in the part number (Jamicon KF0420B2MM-R).  Unfortunately that manufacturer does not seem to sell fans in the US market retail so then I took the specs and found the most similar fans on Digi-Key I could.  I ordered two of them (one with overcurrent alarm and the other with tach output) and when I got them saw that the wire color matched for the o/c alarm one so I soldered it in.  This was Digikey part# 1053-1414-ND, Orion Part number OD4020-24HB02A FAN DC 40X20 24V W/ O/C ALARM

Put it all together and its now working fine.  This will be the last of these units I purchase until they correct this simple design flaw.