UPS Battery Resources (Battery Recalls/Technical Service Bulletins)

Status
Not open for further replies.

aikon2963

Member
Location
Columbia, MD
Good Day - I am a program manager supporting a team of CET's maintaining a number of small, but high density data centers for a large client. We have encountered an issue with two separate strings of batteries (140 ea.) at two different locations. The batteries are out of manufacturer warranty, but less than three years old (VRLA). The batteries are labeled from the UPS manufacturer, but our third party UPS support vendor has stated that these batteries are private labeled for the UPS manufacturer from an OEM in Asia and have exhibited an abnormally high rate of premature failure.

I've queried the third party vendor for "official" documentation on their assertion, checked the UPS manufacturer website and have done a number web searches (based on UPS manufacturer, Battery OEM name, etc.) and have found nothing indicating that this may be a known or widely known issue.

I am trying to gather information so that our client can go back to the UPS manufacturer with data/technical service bulletins, etc. and request replacement, if these are substandard batteries. So I am not necessarily looking for an answer as to why the batteries failed, but whether someone may have resources or specific sites they may be able to point me to, so I can do further research.

Apologies if this is the incorrect venue for my question, I realize my question may not be completely on topic for this forum. I've been intentionally vague about the parties involved, as I don't want to cast aspersions with nothing but "tribal knowledge". Your help would be greatly appreciated.
 

ron

Senior Member
That stuff is kept very "tight to the vest". You will not likely find something on the web. It took a long time for a major UPS manufacturer to publish capacitor problems in older UPS's, until after they already went to the clients it affected. Even then it had to be dragged out of them.
 
The batteries are labeled from the UPS manufacturer, but our third party UPS support vendor has stated that these batteries are private labeled for the UPS manufacturer from an OEM in Asia and have exhibited an abnormally high rate of premature failure.
FWIW, and I don't have a citation for this, my understanding is that almost all vented and sealed lead-acid batteries come off only 2 or 3 production lines in Asia. There are quality (and price) differences between both the production and product lines, of course.

As for finding the info you're looking for, all I can say is to keep asking around.
 

aikon2963

Member
Location
Columbia, MD
That stuff is kept very "tight to the vest". You will not likely find something on the web. It took a long time for a major UPS manufacturer to publish capacitor problems in older UPS's, until after they already went to the clients it affected. Even then it had to be dragged out of them.
Ron - I went into this research assuming that "tight to the vest" would be the order of the day. That's why I am branching out to forums such as this one, which I might not normally visit. My background is more IT related than facilities management or electrical per se. Thanks for your comment.

Aikon2963
 

aikon2963

Member
Location
Columbia, MD
FWIW, and I don't have a citation for this, my understanding is that almost all vented and sealed lead-acid batteries come off only 2 or 3 production lines in Asia. There are quality (and price) differences between both the production and product lines, of course.

As for finding the info you're looking for, all I can say is to keep asking around.

zbang - Thanks for the information, even if it is tribal knowledge. I have the alleged OEM manufacturer name, but hard "official" data seems to be lacking (or my search terms are lacking) on the web. I'll keep poking around. If you think there may be other EE type forums my question may be more appropriate for please PM me.

Aikon2963
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Good Day - I am a program manager supporting a team of CET's maintaining a number of small, but high density data centers for a large client. We have encountered an issue with two separate strings of batteries (140 ea.) at two different locations. The batteries are out of manufacturer warranty, but less than three years old (VRLA). The batteries are labeled from the UPS manufacturer, but our third party UPS support vendor has stated that these batteries are private labeled for the UPS manufacturer from an OEM in Asia and have exhibited an abnormally high rate of premature failure.

I've queried the third party vendor for "official" documentation on their assertion, checked the UPS manufacturer website and have done a number web searches (based on UPS manufacturer, Battery OEM name, etc.) and have found nothing indicating that this may be a known or widely known issue.

I am trying to gather information so that our client can go back to the UPS manufacturer with data/technical service bulletins, etc. and request replacement, if these are substandard batteries. So I am not necessarily looking for an answer as to why the batteries failed, but whether someone may have resources or specific sites they may be able to point me to, so I can do further research.

Apologies if this is the incorrect venue for my question, I realize my question may not be completely on topic for this forum. I've been intentionally vague about the parties involved, as I don't want to cast aspersions with nothing but "tribal knowledge". Your help would be greatly appreciated.
My guess is the "third party UPS support vendor" has only anecdotal information. That does not mean a whole lot. A bunch of batteries that failed prematurely at one site could be all kinds of things.

It seems to me that the best thing for your client to do is request they be replaced out of warranty at the UPS manufacturer's cost and see what happens.

Since they are out of warranty, the manufacturer would appear to have no duty to replace them.

They might replace them if there really is a known problem.

Has anyone actually talked with someone at the UPS manufacturer beyond the tech support line?

just how is it you got involved in this mess? It would appear to be well outside your scope of work. meddling outside one's scope of work rarely ends well for the meddler. Just saying.
 
Last edited:

aikon2963

Member
Location
Columbia, MD
Petersonra- We are the primary preventative maintenance and break/fix support vendor for this bunch of data centers. Boots on the ground for the facilities so to speak. We use third party vendors for some operations such as battery replacement. So while bird-dogging down supplemental information may not necessarily be in our scope it's near the wheelhouse. We are attempting to provide some value add without completely owning the problem. The ownership is really with the end-user and we are trying to advise.

As to the information provided by our third party vendor, my guess is that it is anecdotal or first hand experience as well. We have reached out to our UPS manufacturer rep. but have not received much in the way of response. I agree with your other statements concerning the UPS manufacturer not wanting to replace batteries out of warranty. With the two known failed strings there are some extenuating circumstances that may compel the UPS Manufacturer to step up and help.

It's the anecdotal information that is leading us down this path. If true, (some portion of the batteries are substandard) then we want to try and get ahead of the curve and get all parties to the table so we can find some sort of resolution. If its not true I've only burned a little time and effort. And haven't burned bridges by naming names publically without actionable information. That's why I am being a bit cagey with the details.

Thanks for your comments.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
It is pretty hard to get involved in this kind of thing and stay out of it at the same time. :)

I can understand wanting to help a customer but you know what happens - once you get involved you start having to accept ownership of at least part of the problem that really belongs to someone else.

It might be interesting to get periodic updates. But, my guess is part of any deal that involves getting new batteries for free will be some kind of gag order.
 

aikon2963

Member
Location
Columbia, MD
It is pretty hard to get involved in this kind of thing and stay out of it at the same time. :)

I can understand wanting to help a customer but you know what happens - once you get involved you start having to accept ownership of at least part of the problem that really belongs to someone else.

It might be interesting to get periodic updates. But, my guess is part of any deal that involves getting new batteries for free will be some kind of gag order.

Agreed a little bit pregnant leads to larger concerns. Going to your last statement, I'll provide updates if possible.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
It is pretty hard to get involved in this kind of thing and stay out of it at the same time. :)

I can understand wanting to help a customer but you know what happens - once you get involved you start having to accept ownership of at least part of the problem that really belongs to someone else.

It might be interesting to get periodic updates. But, my guess is part of any deal that involves getting new batteries for free will be some kind of gag order.
The principle of "You touch it, you own it".
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top