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Why are the battery charge LEDs flashing on a Smart-

Published 01/07/2002 03:00 AM | Updated 02/16/2009 03:52 PM | Answer ID 1497
This document explains why the battery bar graph LED (light emitting diodes) lights may flash in
unison on a Smart-UPS. PowerChute plus also reports that the batteries are discharged. This is
NOT a failure indication.
When operating on line, the runtime remaining (calculated by the Smart-UPS microprocessor)
must be AT LEAST two minutes more than the low battery signal warning time. Otherwise, the
battery charge graph LEDs will flash.
Option 1: Reset the low battery signal time to a lesser value. Take for example a Smart-UPS with
15 minutes of runtime at full charge, and with the low battery signal warning time set for 7 minutes.
If runtime remaining is 8 minutes or less , then the battery bar graph LEDs will flash in unison. Try
setting the low battery signal warning time to a lesser value through the Configuration menu and
then the UPS Shutdown Parameters submenu of PowerChute plus. Two minutes is the lowest
setting option available. Please keep in mind that when using PowerChute Business Edition server
and console, the low battery signal time is set to 5 minutes and cannot be changed.

Option 2: Reduce the load or replace the battery. The firmware inside a Smart-UPS is designed to
last for years, yet the batteries are consumable items. As the batteries age, they lose their ability to
hold a charge and therefore available runtime will decrease over time. Once the runtime remaining
is within 2 minutes of the low battery signal warning time, the battery charge LEDs will begin to
flash and PowerChute software / SmartSlot accessories will report that the "UPS batteries are
discharged", even if the battery is at 100% capacity. In the case of an older unit running with a
heavy load, try reducing the attached load. If the unit is an XL (Extended Run) model, then try
adding an additional battery pack. Typical battery life is 3 - 6 years. If you have an older UPS, try
replacing the battery. XL battery packs and replacement battery cartridges are available for
purchase on our website at

Option 3: Perform a Manual Runtime Calibration. This is a manual procedure and should not be
confused with the runtime calibration performed through PowerChute software. The batteries
inside of the Smart-UPS are controlled by a microprocessor within the UPS. Sometimes it is
necessary to reset this microprocessor, especially after the installation of new batteries.

Note: Before beginning the calibration make sure the UPS has been online and charging for at leat
24 hours for just the UPS or 48 hours for a UPS with external batteries.

1. Stop the PowerChute software from running and disconnect the serial cable.

2. There must be at least a 30% load attached to the UPS during this procedure, and this
load cannot fluctuate more than +/- 5%. This process will cause the UPS to shut off and
cut power to its outlets, therefore, attach a non-critical load to the UPS and then force
the UPS on battery by disconnecting it from utility power.

3. Allow the unit to run on battery until it turns off completely. Make sure a 30% load or
greater is present!
4. Plug the UPS back into the wall outlet and allow it to recharge (it will recharge more
quickly turned off and with no load present). Once the unit has recharged, the "runtime
remaining" calculation should be more accurate. Remember that if the unit is an older
model, then the runtime will not improve significantly.

Note: Should the previous steps not resolve the issue contact APC support at 800.890.4272 for
further assistance.

Background: An APC Smart-UPS has a microprocessor which calculates runtime primarily based
on the load attached to the UPS and on its battery capacity. On the right side of the front display
panel there is a vertical graph of five LEDs. Each LED is an indication of battery charge in
increments of twenty percent: 20, 40, 60, 80, 100% (bottom to top). For example, if the battery
charge is 95%, then only four of the five LEDs are illuminated. To ensure that an operating system
receives a graceful shutdown when using PowerChute plus or a SmartSlot accessory, an alert is
generated by the Smart-UPS indicating that the UPS has reached a low battery condition. The
alert is audible (rapid beeping), visual (flashing battery LED or LEDs), and readable through the
graphical interface of PowerChute software (or a native UPS shutdown program within a particular
operating system.) In order to calculate this "low battery condition," all Smart-UPS products have a
preconfigured low battery signal warning time of two minutes (this is the factory default setting).
There are a total of four user-changeable settings: 2, 5, 7, or 10 minutes. If the low battery signal
warning time is set for 2 minutes, then the alerts will activate simultaneously two minutes prior to
shutdown. Similarly, if the total runtime for a particular UPS is 30 minutes with a low battery signal
warning time set at 10 minutes, then the UPS will run on battery for 20 minutes before the low
battery alert begins. Total runtime is primarily based on two factors, battery capacity and UPS
load. UPS load and runtime on battery are inversely proportional: as load increases, battery
runtime decreases and vice versa. When utility power is lost, the UPS begins discharging the
battery in order to support the attached load. Once power returns, the Smart-UPS will
automatically begin to recharge its battery.
What are the Smart-UPS Visual Indications (LEDs)?
Published 10/25/2002 03:18 PM | Updated 12/11/2009 04:07 PM | Answer ID 2675
This document will describe the different visual indicator lights (LEDs) on the Smart-UPS front
The front panel of the Smart-UPS is comprised of an On/Test button, an Off button, and several
visual indicator lights (LEDs). The LEDs indicate the current operating status of the UPS. These
LEDs are described below:

On-Line: The online LED illuminates when the UPS is supplying utility power to the connected
equipment. If the LED is not lit, the UPS is either not turned ON, or is supplying battery power.

AVR Trim: This LED illuminates to indicate the UPS is compensating for a high utility voltage.
While the UPS can run in this mode indefinitely without any negative impact on the UPS, the circuit
should be checked by a qualified electrician if the utility voltage is consistently high.

AVR Boost: This LED illuminates to indicate the UPS is compensating for a low utility voltage.
While the UPS can run in this mode indefinitely without any negative impact on the UPS, the circuit
should be checked by a qualified electrician if the utility voltage is consistently low.

On Battery: This LED illuminates to indicate the UPS is supplying battery power to the connected
equipment. See the APC Knowledge Base Answer ID document #2677 for help in determining why
the Smart-UPS in running on battery power.

Overload: This LED illuminates to indicate the equipment plugged into the UPS exceeds the total
capacity of the UPS. Some of the equipment (the load) on the UPS should be removed or turned

Replace Battery: This LED will illuminate when the battery in the UPS has failed the most recent
battery self-test. See the APC Knowledge Base Answer ID document # 9383to troubleshoot this

Load: These 5 LEDs represent the percentage of the UPSs capacity that the load is using. Each
LED represents approximately 16-17% capacity. For example, if 4 LEDs are lit, approximately 67%
of the UPS capacity is being used by the load.

Battery Charge: These 5 LEDs show the approximate charge of the battery in a percent. Each LED
represents approximately a 20% charge on the battery. For example, if 4 LEDs are lit, the battery
is at 61-80% capacity. If these LEDs are all flashing, see the APC Knowledge Base Answer ID
document #1497 to troubleshoot this symptom.

Some of the above LEDs are also accompanied by an audible alarm. See the APC Knowledge
Base Answer ID document #2622 for information on Smart-UPS audible alarms.
How do I troubleshoot the Replace Battery LED on a
Published 09/03/2008 10:59 AM | Updated 01/01/2010 03:58 AM | Answer ID 9383
The replace battery light on my Smart-UPS is on, what do I do?
The Replace Battery LED is designed to illuminate one to two months before the battery actually
has to be replaced.

If the Replace Battery LED is lit, then perform the following steps, regardless of warranty status:

Note: your computer should be connected while performing these tests.

1. Check the battery voltage using PowerChute software or a SmartSlot accessory. If the Smart-
UPS has been charging for 3 hours (XL models will take longer depending upon the number of
additional batteries) and have reached 100%, then the battery voltage should be around 27.6Vdc
or 55.6 Vdc, depending on the model. Approximate battery voltage can also be checked using the
battery capacity bar graph LEDs; all LEDs should be illuminated after 3 hours of charging. If they
are not all lit, confirm that all battery LEDs are working by clicking on "Test UPS Alarm" through
PowerChute or through the SmartSlot accessory interface. If the above conditions are not met, it is
likely that the battery charger is broken and the unit will need to be replaced. If the above
conditions are met, proceed to step 2.

2. If possible, charge the unit for 24 hours or at the very least, charge a standard unit for 3 hours
and an XL for 9 hours. The Smart-UPS will charge whether it is on or off. The unit will charge
whether there is equipment plugged in or not. However, in environments where the power quality
is poor, it is recommend that the unit be off during this charging period. As long as the Smart-UPS
is on and able to supply power to your equipment, it is possible that it may switch to battery
operation which will lengthen its recharge time.

3. Initiate a self-test by pressing and holding the "Test" button on the front of the unit. The Replace
Battery LED should clear.

If the Replace Battery LED remains lit, then either the battery or the UPS needs to be replaced.
Note: The battery may be bad as a result of the age, high temperature, improper ventilation,
overuse of the battery due to a poor power quality environment, non-APC battery in use, or an
internal UPS fault. If your unit is in warranty (2 years from the date of purchase)and you are
located in North America, please contact Technical Support at 800-800-4272 for a possible
warranty replacement. If you are outside of North American please visit our world wide contact
page for an APC office near you:
Please have access to the unit at the time of your call as additional troubleshooting may be
If your unit is more than 2 years old, please contact our e-Support group
( for your repair/replacement options.