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Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

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rpgmaker_apc
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Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/1/2015


I just bought an APC Back-UPS ES 8 Outlet 550VA 120V. Once I connected the negative battery plug and connected the unit to the power outlet the building wiring fault led was on. When I turn it on the UPS a kind of internal "clicking" sound comes from inside the UPS while the building wiring fault led is on. I live in an apartment building so please assume for the sake of argument that it is not realistic for me to change/fix the wiring of my place* significantly (I know that that is the ideal solution but please assume that I just can't do that right now). Is there a way to disable this led? I read that using a GFI power outlet (I'm thinking of the Leviton X7599-W SmartlockPro Slim GFCI Tamper-Resistant Receptacle with LED Indicator, 15-Amp) might fix the problem, is that a possible solution? The apartment is relatively new and there has never been an issue with the wiring (I know that that doesn't mean that there isn't an issue) so if I could disable this led and clicking sound I would because I trust the wiring.

* Again, please, for the sake of my thread just assume this and answer accordingly.


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rpgmaker_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

If at all possible, just for the sake of checking, would you be able to take the UPS to another building and plug it in? I am thinking it would be wise to confirm that the unit is indeed detecting a wiring fault as opposed to it being a false warning.

I will try to do that (don't know why I didn't think of it before) but all the buildings in my area were more or less built by the same contractor so if there's a problem with the wiring in mine the others are likely to have the same problem. I will perform the test anyways.

On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

I started digging, and sure enough the electrical contractor that had been involved with the original construction of the building had not wired the main transformer for the unit correctly (the neutral was not grounded). I shut down the service for the unit, properly grounded the secondary neutral of the transformer and the wiring fault was dealt with.

I live in a third world country so I assume that the wirings may actually be the problem :). That being said, that's the same reason why I know that the wiring thing (if that is in fact what is causing this) won't be dealt with how it's supposed to: things aren't dealt here unless people experience the consequences of whatever problem was there and they didn't care for or weren't aware of.

On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

I hope that I haven't stepped over the bounds, but trusting the wiring seems like a poor choice unless you can prove the UPS is wrong. If the UPS is indeed wrong, APC will replace it for you, the LED will go out and the clicking will cease 🙂

You did stepped over the bounds 🙂 but you gave sound advice that really needed to be said. I still would like to know if the solutions I proposed would work, if not I guess my best choice is to return this smart UPS and make sure that the next one doesn't have this functionality (that I honestly didn't know it had before buying, not that I would think my wiring would set it off mind you).

Thanks for the thoughtful answer!

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BillP
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This reply was originally posted by Daniel on APC forums on 4/2/2015


Please read all the way to the end 🙂

If at all possible, just for the sake of checking, would you be able to take the UPS to another building and plug it in? I am thinking it would be wise to confirm that the unit is indeed detecting a wiring fault as opposed to it being a false warning.

That being said, I had a UPS show wiring fault in a leased unit of a building where I had wired the outlet on a dedicated breaker right from the panel (I am a licensed electrical contractor)

Needless to say, I was alarmed. I started digging, and sure enough the electrical contractor that had been involved with the original construction of the building had not wired the main transformer for the unit correctly (the neutral was not grounded). I shut down the service for the unit, properly grounded the secondary neutral of the transformer and the wiring fault was dealt with.

The point of that story is, if you can determine that the UPS is correct when it says there is a wiring fault, it is definitely in your best interest to inform the buildilng owner. A floating neutral (if that is what's happening in your case) is a potentially fatal condition.

I hope that I haven't stepped over the bounds, but trusting the wiring seems like a poor choice unless you can prove the UPS is wrong. If the UPS is indeed wrong, APC will replace it for you, the LED will go out and the clicking will cease 🙂

rpgmaker_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

If at all possible, just for the sake of checking, would you be able to take the UPS to another building and plug it in? I am thinking it would be wise to confirm that the unit is indeed detecting a wiring fault as opposed to it being a false warning.

I will try to do that (don't know why I didn't think of it before) but all the buildings in my area were more or less built by the same contractor so if there's a problem with the wiring in mine the others are likely to have the same problem. I will perform the test anyways.

On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

I started digging, and sure enough the electrical contractor that had been involved with the original construction of the building had not wired the main transformer for the unit correctly (the neutral was not grounded). I shut down the service for the unit, properly grounded the secondary neutral of the transformer and the wiring fault was dealt with.

I live in a third world country so I assume that the wirings may actually be the problem :). That being said, that's the same reason why I know that the wiring thing (if that is in fact what is causing this) won't be dealt with how it's supposed to: things aren't dealt here unless people experience the consequences of whatever problem was there and they didn't care for or weren't aware of.

On 4/1/2015 11:55 PM, Daniel said:

I hope that I haven't stepped over the bounds, but trusting the wiring seems like a poor choice unless you can prove the UPS is wrong. If the UPS is indeed wrong, APC will replace it for you, the LED will go out and the clicking will cease 🙂

You did stepped over the bounds 🙂 but you gave sound advice that really needed to be said. I still would like to know if the solutions I proposed would work, if not I guess my best choice is to return this smart UPS and make sure that the next one doesn't have this functionality (that I honestly didn't know it had before buying, not that I would think my wiring would set it off mind you).

Thanks for the thoughtful answer!

Terry_Kennedy_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


I would not suggest swapping the UPS for one that doesn't detect the problem. There is a real problem there (if the UPS itself is not at fault) which it is in your best interest to have corrected. Some miswires are "mostly harmless", while some can lead to fires.

If you are using a "cheater" to plug a 3-prong plug into a 2-prong receptacle, this will trigger the fault indication on the UPS.

Here in the US, we have inexpensive outlet testers which provide a simple way to determine not only if a fault exists, but what the fault is. A GFI will not fix the fault, unless it is a wiring error in the existing receptacle itself which you fix when you switch it to a GFI (for example, hot / neutal reversal). A GFI will not provide a ground if there isn't one in the wiring it is connected to - it is designed to trip if the current on the hot and neutral wires is not the same (meaning leakage via some other method, possibly through a person). 

BillP
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This reply was originally posted by Daniel on APC forums on 4/2/2015


And the irony is that being in a third world country, where you can assume the wiring is probably not up to par, you most definitely want a UPS to protect your electronics ... ah the paradoxes we face in life.

I wonder if any reputable companies make a UPS without fault detection on the incoming power? I noticed you have not mentioned contacting APC support directly, perhaps they would be able to shed some light on disabling this particular feature (if that's even possible) or a product that they make which can function silently under those conditions.

rpgmaker_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


On 4/2/2015 6:42 AM, Daniel said:

I wonder if any reputable companies make a UPS without fault detection on the incoming power?

You're right, from the list of UPS I was considering before buying this one most of the alternatives listed on amazon do have the wiring fault led on the back.

On 4/2/2015 6:42 AM, Daniel said:

I noticed you have not mentioned contacting APC support directly, perhaps they would be able to shed some light on disabling this particular feature (if that's even possible) or a product that they make which can function silently under those conditions.

I did but they haven't answered yet. I will contact the official distributor here since they offer the 3 year warranty and support.

rpgmaker_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


On 4/2/2015 4:02 AM, Terry said:

If you are using a "cheater" to plug a 3-prong plug into a 2-prong receptacle, this will trigger the fault indication on the UPS.

I'm using a regular 3-prong receptable.

On 4/2/2015 4:02 AM, Terry said:

A GFI will not fix the fault, unless it is a wiring error in the existing receptacle itself which you fix when you switch it to a GFI (for example, hot / neutal reversal). A GFI will not provide a ground if there isn't one in the wiring it is connected to - it is designed to trip if the current on the hot and neutral wires is not the same (meaning leakage via some other method, possibly through a person). 

Thanks for clearing that out. I wonder, could the wiring issue just be in my apartment or could it be in the entire building? If it's in the entire building, could I fix it just in my apartment? Might be stupid questions but I am very ignorant when it comes to electric matters.

rpgmaker_apc
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Re: Building wiring fault led is on - can replacing power outlet with a GFI one fix it?

This was originally posted on APC forums on 4/2/2015


Guys, something weird has happened. I installed the powerchute software (I'm on linux usually so that's why I had not installed it yet) and I started to see if there was something I could do by disabling the notifications. It did not work, but when I changed the "sensitivity" to "low" instead of "medium" the clicking sound got turned off. At first I thought that it was just now that the disabling of the notifications worked but then I enabled the medium sensitivity again and the internal clicking sound started again. I can really live with the red led on all the time, I mean, it's not like the UPS is going to explode because the red led is on right? RIGHT?? 🙂 The UPS is going to be on a separate room where my NAS is (the reason for which I bought this for) so the led won't bother me, it was the clicking sound that was my problem since it was very annoying and could be heard from everywhere. I'm still curious as to why the sensitivity disabled the clicking sound though, does anyone has a clue why?

In true third world fashion I can now relegate the building wiring fault fix to another time smile. Just kidding!* I will contact the family electrician and see if he has a clue of what the problem is and how it can be fixed. I will try to buy one of those receptacle testers so I can show him what the exact problem is since I may not be able to explain it very well. Thanks everyone!

*I know this is a serious and potentially fatal issue and I will deal with it accordingly, I'm just glad that it won't get in the way of me using my UPS in the meantime. It is a very expensive equipment (I could've gotten a regular UPS here for 10% of the price, but I needed the "smart" part) and I want to start getting the value out of it (I know I started getting it the moment it told me I had a building wiring fault in my house but you get the idea).