Tuesday, June 12, 2007

APC MX5000 Battery Acid

In the past, we have had several battery acid spills from the old APC Matrix 5000 Smartcell XR battery units. These units essentially use automotive type batteries in the XR cabinet that are sealed and set on their side. If one of these batteries fails, they often overheat and will leak acid from the sealed caps. In fact, we have had a couple that blew the caps out and created a serious spill.

The best way to prevent a serious acid spill is to check these units at least once per day for excess heat. A quick check can be done by simply running your hand over the front of each unit to detect any raise in temperature. The temperature raise is quite obvious from the "normal" room temp. It is important to disconnect a overheating battery as soon as possible to prevent an acid spill. The bad battery led indicator on the front of these units is pretty much useless as they do not detect most of the battery problems so don't rely on it.

If you detect heat, do the following:
  1. Unplug the input and output cables from the back of the unit to drop it off line from the main electronics therefore removing the load.
  2. Do not open the front cover until the unit temperature returns to room temp.
  3. Replace all 4 batteries - Replacement battery set - APC Part# RBC14 which costs around $500.
If one of your battery units has started leaking, do the same procedure, except make sure that you use eye and hand protection when removing the old batteries.

If you open the front cover of a unit with suspected bad battery, you can identify which of the four batteries is bad by it's bulging sides and/or leakage from the caps on the connector side.

So if you detect a battery acid smell in your data center, check those old XR battery units!

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