Power Supply, Interrupted

Perhaps you remember my numerous computer problems.  My server died in 2007.  Shawn graciously replaced it with the donation of a freaking awesome machine that I honestly haven’t had the time to prep, but I will.  My latest build crapped out in like Feb 2008.  I replaced most every major component in the box, some twice, and eventually it rose as a Phoenix from the ashes of my desire to mess with it anymore (but, no, it wasn’t literally a bird on fire… or was it?).  Well, weekend before Christmas we trekked up to Carlinville for the Schuette family early Christmas and upon returning, the computer was off.  This actually happens relatively often… power outages generally overextend the capacity of my UPS, so I turned the UPS back on.  It’s nothing special, a CyberPower brick from Best Buy.  Well, after a few seconds, it started chirping, so I switched it to the other plug in the outlet (the non-battery surge strip that I swapped with worked fine in both), and no joy.  I figured the battery had completely discharged, so I let it charge up for a few hours.  Now when I turned it on, it would go about 5 seconds, chip, then turn back on.  Did that probably 10 times in a row before it turned itself off.

Now, I’m sure I’m crazy, but my thought is that a battery backup could certainly degrade into a simple power strip in the event of “battery no chargey”.  I mean, it gets power from the wall, it has six (or eight?) outlets… figure it out.  Oops, battery is out, let’s bypass that circuit and just send the juice through the line filter and to the plugs.  Nope, try as I might, I couldn’t get it to be any more or less than a hefty and super annoying outlet tester.  My guess is the battery is shot.  My guess is the battery is the single most expensive component there… power strip – $5, UPS – $60, and UPS = power strip + battery.  My guess is I won’t be that interested in fixing a low-end UPS.  Found a simple, unassuming power strip and all is well.

So, if anyone reads this and cares… is it odd that a UPS sans battery can’t function as a power strip?  I suppose if you had servers attached to it you wouldn’t want it NOT complaining if the battery were shot.  It’s not like this is something a huge operations center would (should) use, though.  At least give me a “y’know what, I’m gonna chance it” switch to bypass the “without a battery I’m nothing” circuitry.  Anyone looking for an Interruptible Power Supply?  An Uninterruptible Lack-of-Power Supply?  A paperweight?  A flail?  A good time?  Wait, what?

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1 Response to “Power Supply, Interrupted”


  1. 1 dan December 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I completely agree–it’s pointless for a UPS to stop working when the battery dies. However, you may be surprised that replacing the battery is rather inexpensive–as long as you don’t buy the battery from the manufacturer of the UPS. Open up the UPS and you’ll find a 12V Sealed Lead-Acid battery. Most likely, it will cost about $20 if you order from the right place. You can go to Batteries Unlimited locally, but it will be about $35. As always, solve the Time, Money, Hassle equation for your own values.

    I got a good price from here: http://www.apexbattery.com/. Home Depot also has a few SLA batteries near their humidifiers and outdoor lighting section.


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