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buldging batteries removal

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tonyj_apc
Crewman
Crewman
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184

buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 3/17/2010


OK we had one of our satellite offices loosing connectivity every few weeks. We were looking into line problems, router issues etc but finally traced it down to the tower APC 3000 ups. It seems when it would do a self test it shut power down. I take a look at the unit and there are no error lights on. the front panel shows batteries at full green and load at one green. I decide to oeder replacement battries for the unit and when they arrive attempt to swap them out. We have many APC units in use about 4 tower units like this and several rack mount units also. I have replaced batteries without issue before. I arrive and remove the plastic door, i remove the 2 screws holding the metal plate then I pull the string to disconnect the batteries and atttempt to slide the batteries out but the will not budge. I eventually break the wire connector. I look inside and see there is no room on the edges of the battery so I remove one of the side panels. The batteries are so buldged out that they cannot fit out of the opening. Has anybody else seem this before? What might cause this to happen?? the unit is barely taxed it is supporting 1 cisco switch. one cisco router and one dell tower server with single power supply. Now I am questioning if the entire unit is bad. Why would it show full battery status even with one battery pack disconnected?


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tsullivan_at_sfwdb.org_apc
Crewman
Crewman
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184

Re: buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 2/14/2014


Haarp suggests cutting open the frame.  Don't.  working with rivets is easy even for a beginner and you can save your unit without any damage to it.  (This is for the larger SUA series or similar APCs)

The following does not consider why the batteries failed, only how to remove them so you can 'save' the APC itself and replace the 'swollen' batteries with new ones.  Note: if the APC is electronically bad, the batteries still need to come out to dispose of them correctly.

Your objective here is to release the stress on the batteries and separate the top of the cage from the bottom and the sides of the cage enough to allow the batteries to slide out.  then rebuild the frame as the factory did so you can put in new batteries and continue using the unit.

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Drill bits 1/8" (and 3/16" or 1/4")
  • Rivet gun (sold at home depot for about $20.00
  • 1/8" diameter x 1/4" grip steel rivets
  • sometimes 1/8" washers.

Process:

  1. Remove the front plastic cover
  2. Remove the front metal cover (2 screws)
  3. Remove both the left and right side panels (4 screws each)
  4. you will see rivets holding the frame together, you will need to remove these rivets
    1. Note: your objective here is to drill off the head of the rivet, then drill out the core, WITHOUT making the holes any larger than they already are.
      1. use the 3/16" or 1/4" drill bit to drill of the head.
        1. place the 3/16" drill bit in the center of the rivet
        2. drill down about 1/16" of an inch, the top of the rivet should spin off
      2. using the 1/8" drill bit
        1. drill out the center of the rivet until it 'pops' out the other side
        2. you should be able to see through the hole now.
  5. The rivets you will have to remove to release the bottom of the cage from the top are:
    1. closest to the front, the bottom corner rivets holding the bottom bracket to the upright post (each side)
    2. one of the rivets holding the center support to the bottom bracket (each side)
  6. The bottom of the cage should now be released from the top.  in fact if your batteries are swollen the frame would have moved as the pressure was released.
  7. to release the side stress you may have to bend the corners out a bit, but make sure only enough to allow the batteries to move.
  8. If the batteries don't easily slide out and you are sure all the rivets are removed that are holding the bottom of the cage to the top
    1. turn the unit on its side (the batteries are sealed)
    2. and pull the bottom of the cage open from the top
      1. you should not go more than 2-3"
  9. Caution: using a little leverage at the back of the batteries to push them forward is OK "IF", you put a board between you batteries and the lever so you don't puncture the battery.
  10. Once the batteries are out you will have to rebuild the frame.
  11. If you did not make your holes any larger then
    1. re-align the holes and insert the 1/8" x 1/4" rivet and pump the rivet gun till the rivet pops.
    2. do this to each hole where you removed rivets
  12. If you did make your holes larger or the rivet doesn't hold you will need to use the washers
    1. put the rivet in the aligned holes as above
    2. place a washer on the rivet (should be on the inside)
    3. pump the rivet gun till the rivet pops
      1. note: make sure the washer stays tight against the bracket till the rivet gun pops.
  13. Once all the holes are re-aligned and re-riveted you re-assemble the cage and put new batteries in
  14. Congratulations.. 

.


See Answer In Context

6 Replies 6
BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
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185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This reply was originally posted by Laurie on APC forums on 3/18/2010


I wouldn't suspect the unit. Depending on the age of the unit, it probably just needs new batteries as you've already mentioned. What's the model and serial number on the UPS? Have you replaced the batteries before?

It doesn't have anything to do with the load on the UPS, basically it's just what happens to old/bad batteries. They can't hold as much charge anymore, but the electricity is still there trying to charge them, so it generates heat instead. The increasing temperatures cause the batteries to swell and get stuck in some frames.

The battery charge indicator will still read full because the batteries are fully charged, it's just that the capacity isn't anywhere close to what they provided originally when brand new. Ideally self-tests will detect this decrease in capacity before it becomes a problem, though depending on the type & conditions of battery failure (for example, a battery is okay one week for a self-test, then starts to swell prior to the next self-test 2 weeks later, at which point it's bad enough to drop during a test), this can happen.

I've certainly never taken one apart, and APC won't help you dismantle the UPS, though pointing a fan on the batteries to help them cool faster sometimes reduces the swelling enough that you can remove them. Maybe someone else on the forums (haarp?) can provide some instructions...

haarp_apc
Crewman
Crewman
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185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 3/18/2010


Happens a lot it seems. your unit is most likely not damaged, but the old batts are a goner.
I had to cut open the frame a little bit to remove the swollen batts out of my old Smart-UPS. You may have to do the same, or wait for what APC has to say on this.

BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
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185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This reply was originally posted by Matt on APC forums on 3/19/2010


We don't see this as often as we used to. I think for the most part because the UPS (of all manufacture) are better at handling batteries.
More often than not swollen batteries were in UPS that lived in hot environments; network closets or very small server rooms with no cooling.
It can be very labour intensive to get the old batteries out. Depending on the age of the UPS it might be worth your while to replace the whole system. In this particular case a smaller UPS would still provide the protection you need. A web management card with temperature monitoring might be worthwhile as well.

If you decide it is worth your time & energy to replace the batteries you have a couple of choices; do it yourself or send the system to a repair centre.
If you're doing this yourself there are safety precautions you need to take;
Disconnect the power source, disconnect the load
Disconnect the battery
Discharge the internal caps; cold start the UPS
Don your PPE; you have a much higher exposure risk than with an undamaged system
As haarp says, you will need to disassemble the frame enough to release the battery
Of course, if there was any warranty left on the UPS, it's now gone. APC will never recommend this course of action, just too much risk involved.

Personally, I'd use this UPS to pry some discount of your APC vendor.
Possibly via the TradeUPS program.
http://buy.apc.com/commerce/storefronts/tradeups/tradein.aspx?storefrontcode=apcetu&countrycode=us&t...

Khue_apc
Lieutenant JG
Lieutenant JG
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185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 3/23/2010


We see this quite frequently. I have a suspicion that it has to do with poor environmental conditions. We have some warm remote comm closets and these UPS devices just seem to cook in there. We use Smart-UPS 1000s with RBC-23s (I believe). When the batteries get in this position I usually end up disconnecting the power, disconnecting the batteries, braindeading the unit, and disassembling the UPS itself. I take off the cover completely. To remove the batteries I usually end up bending the front frame a bit to get the bulging batteries to clear the cartridge slot. The metal is soft and flexible and this should be fairly easy to do with a sturdy screwdriver. The unit itself is still good. When doing this activity please be extremely careful as some batteries I have dealt with have actually burst and leaked battery acid. Once I have cleaned up the actual UPS device again, I grab a serviceable replacement cartridge and simply reassemble everything.

GJinVA_apc
Cadet
0 Likes
0
185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 5/28/2010


Probably too late for you, but for others....
After unplugging the unit, you can remove the screws from the top plate so you can see how bad off your batteries are. There is a side rail on the left that needs to be removed, (several screws along the left outer edge). Now slide the rail forward to release it from the back plate and give it a good tug upwards with a pair of pliers to pull it out. You can also gain a little more space by removing the two screws to the right of the battery compartment. This allows the right side of the compartment to shift a little so you are able to use the entire front panel cut-out for sliding the batteries out.

If you still have issues you can sometimes remove some of the batteries out of the front and then separate the others with a putty knife and rotate them from the top opening and remove them this way. (This all makes much more sense if you print this out and have the unit open as you're reading this, BTW)

It is unfortunate that I have so much experience with this. I think the original Smart UPS3000 units are faulty and allow overcharging of batteries way too easily. (where is a class action lawyer when you need one?) Almost all of my battery replacements on my older 3000 units have been surgeries. It was just a crappy unit in my opinion. APC says the life-span is supposed to be 7 years on these but mine have had this issue stating at about year 3or 4. They will offer to send you a replacement unit for about a grand if you complain enough. APC also claimed that keeping my server room @ 71F wasn't quite optimal and may have shortened the life! Bunch of BS frankly - their units should work in standard data/server room temperatures (68 - 75F)!

Best of luck with yours, I hope the caps haven't popped and spilled acid, that's an even bigger pain to clean.

tsullivan_at_sfwdb.org_apc
Crewman
Crewman
0 Likes
0
185

Re: buldging batteries removal

This was originally posted on APC forums on 2/14/2014


Haarp suggests cutting open the frame.  Don't.  working with rivets is easy even for a beginner and you can save your unit without any damage to it.  (This is for the larger SUA series or similar APCs)

The following does not consider why the batteries failed, only how to remove them so you can 'save' the APC itself and replace the 'swollen' batteries with new ones.  Note: if the APC is electronically bad, the batteries still need to come out to dispose of them correctly.

Your objective here is to release the stress on the batteries and separate the top of the cage from the bottom and the sides of the cage enough to allow the batteries to slide out.  then rebuild the frame as the factory did so you can put in new batteries and continue using the unit.

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Drill bits 1/8" (and 3/16" or 1/4")
  • Rivet gun (sold at home depot for about $20.00
  • 1/8" diameter x 1/4" grip steel rivets
  • sometimes 1/8" washers.

Process:

  1. Remove the front plastic cover
  2. Remove the front metal cover (2 screws)
  3. Remove both the left and right side panels (4 screws each)
  4. you will see rivets holding the frame together, you will need to remove these rivets
    1. Note: your objective here is to drill off the head of the rivet, then drill out the core, WITHOUT making the holes any larger than they already are.
      1. use the 3/16" or 1/4" drill bit to drill of the head.
        1. place the 3/16" drill bit in the center of the rivet
        2. drill down about 1/16" of an inch, the top of the rivet should spin off
      2. using the 1/8" drill bit
        1. drill out the center of the rivet until it 'pops' out the other side
        2. you should be able to see through the hole now.
  5. The rivets you will have to remove to release the bottom of the cage from the top are:
    1. closest to the front, the bottom corner rivets holding the bottom bracket to the upright post (each side)
    2. one of the rivets holding the center support to the bottom bracket (each side)
  6. The bottom of the cage should now be released from the top.  in fact if your batteries are swollen the frame would have moved as the pressure was released.
  7. to release the side stress you may have to bend the corners out a bit, but make sure only enough to allow the batteries to move.
  8. If the batteries don't easily slide out and you are sure all the rivets are removed that are holding the bottom of the cage to the top
    1. turn the unit on its side (the batteries are sealed)
    2. and pull the bottom of the cage open from the top
      1. you should not go more than 2-3"
  9. Caution: using a little leverage at the back of the batteries to push them forward is OK "IF", you put a board between you batteries and the lever so you don't puncture the battery.
  10. Once the batteries are out you will have to rebuild the frame.
  11. If you did not make your holes any larger then
    1. re-align the holes and insert the 1/8" x 1/4" rivet and pump the rivet gun till the rivet pops.
    2. do this to each hole where you removed rivets
  12. If you did make your holes larger or the rivet doesn't hold you will need to use the washers
    1. put the rivet in the aligned holes as above
    2. place a washer on the rivet (should be on the inside)
    3. pump the rivet gun till the rivet pops
      1. note: make sure the washer stays tight against the bracket till the rivet gun pops.
  13. Once all the holes are re-aligned and re-riveted you re-assemble the cage and put new batteries in
  14. Congratulations.. 

.