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How to prevent an acid spill APC MATRIX 5000

A battery acid leak or spill in the data center is not a good thing. The APC Matrix 5000 UPS SmartCell XR is prone to leaks.

These units essentially use automotive type batteries in the XR cabinet that are sealed and placed on their side. If one of these batteries fails, they often overheat and leak acid from the sealed caps. In fact, I have seen a few that blew off the caps and created a serious acid spill.

The best way to prevent a serious acid spill is to check these units at least once a day for excess heat. A quick check can be done simply by running your hand across the front of each unit for any rise in temperature. The temperature rise is pretty obvious from “normal” room temperature. It is important to disconnect an overheated battery as soon as possible to avoid an acid spill. The bad battery LED indicator on the front of these units is pretty useless as they don’t detect most battery problems so don’t rely on it.

If you detect heat, do the following:

1. Disconnect the input and output cables from the back of the unit to disconnect it from the main electronic unit and therefore remove the load.

2. Do not open the front cover until the temperature of the unit returns to room temperature.

3. Replace all 4 batteries – Replacement Battery Kit – APC Part# RBC14 which is around $500.

If one of your battery units has started to leak, follow the same procedure, except be sure to wear eye and hand protection when removing the old batteries.

If you open the front cover of a unit that you suspect has a bad battery, you can identify which of the four batteries is bad by the bulging sides and/or by leaking connector-side caps.

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

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