Question about Tripp Lite Lite SmartOnLine SUINT3000RTXL3U UPS System

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Tripp-Lite UPS (SU1500RTXL2Ua) indicating GENERAL FAULT (Battery Voltage Too High). Batteries are new and good (13.1 volts x 4 = 52.4 volts open circuit). Measures 54.5± volts when charging in UPS. However, Tripp-Lite USB software reports battery voltage at 57.6± volts when General Fault occurs. Suspect the circuit which monitors the battery voltage has a bum component. Any info regarding the specifics of the circuit welcome.

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  • Michael Hammett Sep 24, 2009

    Thanks for the response but no help found on the two (2) sites referenced. Both were APC UPS's. Mine is a Tripp-lite and less than three (3) years old.

    There are three (3) Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) in this Tripp-Lite.

    1) The smaller (7" x 3") is the CONTROL-COMM board (OEM MDL # GES102R100003-B, REV: 09, CODE: 00, PN: 2933036109, DATED: 04/10/2007). This PCB controls and monitors everything. All the I/O comm ports are located here (USB, RS232, RJ11 Phone Modem, etc). There are two (2) Digital Microcontrollers (MC9S12E64CFUE & ST72F63BK4) on board. Four (4) ribbon cables connect it to the other PCBs ( one to the Front Control-Display-14 conductor; two to the Main Power-Inverter PCB - 24 & 26 conductor; one to the Ethernet PCB - 10 conductor).

    2) The Ethernet PCB (OEM # 660657LFA2) is an option board that provides external remote network control and monitoring. This PCB is strictly for communications as disconnecting it does NOT affect UPS operation.

    3) The main PCB is the Power-Inverter PCB (OEM DELTA MDL # GES222R100003-A; P/N 2933047100; REV: 00; CODE: 00; DATE: 06/29/2006). This board is large and contains all the power supply, battery charger, inverter, power switching relay, etc circuits. It's 100% analog (no digital ICs). The batteries (four (4) series sealed lead acid 12V, 7AH) and AC Input power both connect here and the UPS AC power output(s) are generated and switched here. The two (2) ribbon cables from the CONTROL-COMM PCB connect here. This PCB is multi-layer and highly complex (not easily reverse engineered). There are two (2) large heatsinks with multiple high power semiconductors devices attached. This PCB is 14 inches x 8 inches and weighs about 10 lbs.

  • Michael Hammett Sep 25, 2009

    The CONTROL-COMM PCB both controls and monitors the UPS operation. The Tripp-Lite software (PowerAlertVer12 for WindowsXP) allows PC control & monitoring via USB port. All controls and monitoring functions work. This PCB has two (2) microcontrollers. One 72F63BK4 is the COMM port controller. The other 80 pin QFP MC9S12E64CFUE microcontroller controls and monitors all UPS functions. All functions (A/D, D/A, PWM outputs, Alarm, Interrup Trig, Timing, Memory, etc.) firmware are integrated in this device and software controlled. There are multiple peripheral ICs (current drivers, op amps, comparators, voltage regulators, etc.) which are located here and service the assorted alarm, I/O, modem, buffering, etc. functions of the microcontrollers. I lack documentation to troubleshoot deeper into the myriad of circuits.

    It is my hypothesis that the monitoring of the battery charger voltage is the root of the problem. The battery charger is located on the power board and is (according to my VOM) working correctly providing a charging voltage of nominally 54 volts to the batteries. However, the microcontroller is digitally reporting a higher battery charger voltage and setting a battery over-voltage alarm condition. The software reports a battery voltage over 57 volts and declares a GENERAL FAULT (front panel indicator & internal beeper) shutting down the battery charger. All the other UPS functions continue to operate normally. My engineering training leads me to believe that the battery charger voltage (measured at 54V) is likely being pre-scaled by an analog resistive divider network before being applied to the microcontroller whose internal A/D then converts it to digital for the software processing. Since the software reports a higher voltage (57 volts) I suspect a problem with the analog pre-scaling resistive divider network. Unfortunately, I don't even know which PCB contains this circuit much less what the component values are supposed to be. CAN YOU HELP ME?

  • Michael Hammett Sep 26, 2009

    It resets when powered down as per the manual. When repowered it self tests fine and operates fine for a short peiod but will FAULT again after an indeterminate time period as the battery charger voltage (as reported to the software) gradually creeps up to the 57± Volt value. The software is working fine - I've tested it 9 ways to Sunday. The problem is the software sees 57V when the battery charger is actually making 54V. I've double checked the input power - it's perfect (120V, 60Hz). The UPS software also checks the input power and would set a different fault if it was a problem.

  • Michael Hammett Sep 28, 2009

    raklein62 - Thanks for the comment and, yes, I did check the line power since that was on the manual's troubleshooting list as possibly contributing to a GENERAL FAULT. Line power checked out fine. However, the Control Panel indication (Fault light + blinking 100% load light) was identified as BATTERY VOLTAGE TOO HIGH in the manual. The fault first occurred with the original (3 year old) batteries which I replaced with new. The fault cleared for a couple of days as the new batteries slowly charged and shortly after reaching 100% charge (per the software) the battery voltage (per software) edged up over 57V and the FAULT occurred again. I checked the battery voltage (pre-fault) at 54V and 52V post-fault using my digital VOM. The manual didn't say but it appears the software shuts down the battery charger in concert with setting the FAULT. I've never yet measured any voltage near 57V which the software is reporting at the time of FAULT. The unit resets by powering down and self tests fine upon restart but faults again after a few minutes as the battery voltage (per software) again creeps up over 57V. You mentioned this being a SMART unit and it is if your definition of SMART is Microcontroller (i.e. software) controlled. The down side is there is NO work-around for bad data, in this case, a bad voltage reading. If I can't fix the built-in monitoring circuit, this unit is just 50 lbs of junk. It was designed to operate autonomously under remote control. The fact that it continues to output power to the load after the FAULT and shuts down the battery charger to presumeably prevent damage to the batteries indicates it was designed to allow remote intervention and troubleshooting while continuing to make power to the load. I've worked on lots of computer controlled hardware and this is about as sophisticated as it gets. There's even a remote shunt trip connector to allow fire personnel to shut the unit down in an emergency by contact closure from a central (fire) control panel. I contacted Tripp-Lite and their response was "we don't fix them but will exchange the unit at a discount", if you consider $500 for a $700 box a discount. Their response to my obtaining (i.e. buying) schematics and/or sevice manual was "sorry, no schematics, per direction of the CEO". Their service department doesn't even want the defective unit back - "just throw it away" was what I was told. I'm not sure schematics even exist.

  • Michael Hammett Sep 28, 2009

    Ancestor_22 - Already tried (for sevice manual) from Tripp-Lite. Told NOT for sale per CEO policy. This is still a current product and the "state-of-the-art" in UPS. If it is a calibration, I'd have thought Tripp-Lite would have said so in my dialogue with them. They told me they don't fix them, just replace them..for a price. If you have manuals on this unit I'll be very pleased. Let me know.

  • Michael Hammett Sep 28, 2009

    alenorm - Thanks for the comment. Have reset again and again. Only temporarily clears the fault. Once the battery voltage creeps back up to 57V (per software) it FAULTS again. When NOT in FAULT the unit works flawlessly including ON LINE and BATTERY modes. All software monitoring and control functions check out fine (with the exception of the reported battery voltage). Have checked input power - it's perfect (120V, 60Hz, NO ground faults, NO glitches, NO noise). Time to FAULT directly proportional to time in BATTERY MODE. Everything points at the bogus BATTERY VOLTAGE reading coming from the Microcontroller (software). Need a schematic or service manual to troubleshoot further. The embedded microcontroller make the usual "divide and conquer" troubleshooting techniques useless. Even knowing which pin of which ribbon connector has the BATTERY VOLTAGE feed to the microcontroller or which of the eight (8) analog inputs to the micro. is BATTERY VOLTAGE would be of value.

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I would like you to go to this site where they replaced a capacitor. Notice they have the same problem as you except they have a RS system, and I believe yours' is a smart.

http://www.heime.org/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=17

Next, go to the buttom of this link, where it is suspected a resistor problem but, doing the same undesired fault.

http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=33435

Go to these two links, I hope it may help you. If you have any question please let me know. I have a B.S. in Electro- Mech Engineering and would be glad to help inform you with these matters. I really hate sending you to these site, because we're not suppose to just leave you out there. But, I will give you special instructions afterward if you need it.
Also, be careful to know that meter readings may look different but, it may be the same. It depends on how the meter makes such a reading. Some sample and hold, some may be giving the reading indirectly and some do a approx answer. Hope this helps.

Posted on Sep 24, 2009

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  • Richard Klein
    Richard Klein Sep 26, 2009

    Can't believe my information hasn't help you. I'm going to take it that it has and if you need any further help, just add a comment. In which I'll get an instant email and respond. Your problem isn't rare, that is why I referred you where I did. They all had the same problem and got it fixed.

  • Richard Klein
    Richard Klein Sep 26, 2009

    Sorry your further comments didn't appear until afterwards. Something is off after 3 years use. You seem to be knowledgeable, and it is kind of hard for me to test and examine directly the components and it may be needed here. I think your wrong on the different systems, they all follow the same principles they just do it in a different way. A lot of times we have to find out how things are working indirectly and you may know that. Just the fact you explain a voltage divider to me told me a lot. However, tonight I will see about getting the information, I need to figure this out.

  • Richard Klein
    Richard Klein Sep 26, 2009

    General fault is to vast, I could be wrong on this, could mean problem with incoming line or a short circuit at output and like you think overload and overheating. I think what it comes to is what is the shape of the component after 3 years use. So, internally like the voltage divider, say that when one component looses resistance it changes mainly supply of current being delivered which the other circuitry senses as a problem. What is need is a was to compensate for the wear of the components after 3 years. What I'm saying is, I don't think it is just one component your looking for, that is why your going over the limit.

  • Richard Klein
    Richard Klein Oct 08, 2009

    Seems like you have no feedback loop. More likely component wise than software even though, I'm not to sure about firmware. I really wonder about them sometimes. I wonder if the batteries used makes a difference. They may have changed to an improved type. You know how batteries when you charge them, and when you stop the charging the batteries they will continue to increase in potential, made by the internal energy excitement not stabilizing until a passing of time. I kind of wonder how they bleed that off. I don't know if I would have cut my losses, and made the upgrade or trade. I think this is a matter of control circuitry. I write my own though some have the computer to do it. Were not going to get any help from the maker, and it makes me ask why? I think I know. They all want to say ISO 9000 standard or what ever. I've been to a lot of companies and watched them brag only to find out later their technology was stolen. That's the problem when you don't do your own work. Can you write your own integrated circuitry? It really seem to me the only way to actually know what is going on here. I realize my thread is over, just think of what I said. They can be asimulated.

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I don't think the circuit is the problem. You probably need to recalibrate the control board. The calibration procedure is in the service manual. Unfortunately, I misplaced the Tripp-Lite UPS service manuals. I remember hooking up the serial port to the PC and enter a key sequence to get to the service menu. If I find the service manual, I will post the procedure. Or you could just order one from APC.

Posted on Sep 26, 2009

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I know that you tried and it is hard to get it without opening one...did you try to reset the unit or test it in another location? if the batteries are good and new it may be the software...just an idea...let me know

Posted on Sep 25, 2009

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