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Thread: Battery Back Up Questions (and... recycling for old ones?)

  1. #1
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    Default Battery Back Up Questions (and... recycling for old ones?)

    So....... My trusty Mac Pro 3,1 has been randomly shutting down. Needless to say, as I believe it says in Leviticus somewhere, "that doth sucketh."

    My Mac is 11 years old. The UPS battery back up is about 5. Recently, the computer started shutting down randomly while plugged into the battery back up side of the UPS. So, I switched it over the "filtered power" side.... but no battery backup. Problem seem solved for a while. Then it started shutting down randomly again.

    Some background. I live in a 60 year old (more or less) apartment with a power supply that involves three 20 amp circuit breakers. That includes two window A/C units..... fridge.... microwave... electric teakettle.... and a Mac... and two monitors (the old Apple LCD displays.... one 20 incher and one 17 incher). And a cable modem, router, and speakers with subwoofer. And two printers.

    Years ago, I got this "Monster Power Center" kind of thing that's supposed to be for audio equipment.... but.... that's another long story. I don't use it for that intended purpose anymore (stereo system temporarily on sabbatical). So.... I've got half of the Mac plugged into the UPS and the other half (the monitors) plugged into the Monster Power gizmo.

    After the random shut downs, I tried plugging the Mac into the Monster Power Center. Still randomly shutting down (oh.... did I mention that half of the Monster Power Center no longer works due to a bolt of lightning that struck about 10 feet away from my house one day?).

    So..... I plugged the Mac itself..... nothing else...into another outlet. Still randomly shutting down. "Crap-o-la" I thought to myself.

    So.... I really don't have much money these days, but.... I do have a little room left on my first credit card in 10+ years, and went to a local big box retailer, and what I could afford was a 650 VA / 360 Watt thing. Before purchase, I looked up the specs at Every Mac on the 3,1.... but surprisingly, the watt usage on the power supply is not listed. My gut tells me that 360 watts is not enough. But here's the thing.

    So..... I ran an extension cord across the living room floor (not really my idea of a great look when guests come..... LOL), and I plugged the Mac Pro and the 20 inch LCD display into the new battery back up. The idea was that the plug across the room is on a different circuit breaker than what I've got the rest of the Mac plugged into.

    Knock on wood. 48 hours later, I've been having no problems (Phew!).

    So...... the old battery backup (which I got from Costco) is apparently just too funky for words. Can they be repaired? Or recycled? Is it of any use? Knowing Costco's legendary return policy, would anyone here have the temerity to take it back after 5 years and say, "here, it doesn't work....." LOL (that was more rhetorical than anything).

    I was looking up specs on watt usage of Mac Pro towers later that day (I decided to wait to reboot until the new battery backup had charged up sufficiently), and I saw figures from 600 to 900 to even 1000 watts.

    So..... is this new battery backup... the 360 watt one...... likely to not be any good in case of a real bona fide power failure (which again, knock on wood, are fairly rare where I live)? Should I take this one back and save my pennies for a bigger model? And again.... what to do with the old one.... other than use it as door stop?

  2. #2
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    Pull the batteries out of the old UPS and replace them. Be good as new. I ordered online from a place relatively nearby in Washington State, last time I replaced batteries in our UPS. I then used a felt pen and in pretty large letters wrote the date I replaced them. Seems it had been like 9 years since they were last swapped out. I bought the UPSes in 2004, so they have been refreshed a few times. 9 years is waay too long. UPS units are hugely dependent on quality batteries. You can get them online, or even at your local NAPA.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    And don't forget to change out the battery on your Macpro's motherboard!
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  4. #4
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    Oh thank you! This is so very helpful!!! And..... oh dear. It had not occurred to me to replace the battery on the Mac Pro MB (although I am certainly aware there is one)...... an 11 year old Mac. Gotta be toast by now....

  5. #5
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    My bet is you get back up and running. Good Luck!
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #6
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    Found a place that had a pair of replacement batteries for $32 (includes shipping) vs. $99 to buy a whole brand new unit from Costco and vs. the $65 I paid at another place for a much smaller powered one. I'm a happy camper, and the $65 one can go back... as for the battery replacement on the Motherboard of the Mac Pro, not really looking forward to taking the graphics card out, but other than that, sounds pretty straightforward.... Thanks Ricks!

  7. #7
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    Easy peesy. Don't forget that lock shaft has to be shifted back to unlock the graphics card. Other than that, no problemo.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  8. #8
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    Got the batteries in, and... yup. Good as new. Hoo-ray. Have not replaced the battery on the motherboard.... but will maybe try to get to that later in the week. Truth be told, I'm not having any issues with the clock not being right etc..... but after 11 years, surely it needs replacing.... thanks again for the tip on replacing the batteries. Glad I didn't have to toss another plastic brick into a landfill somewhere..... (as for recycling the old batteries from the backup unit, still trying to figure out where they go... but I will!).

  9. #9
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    I take my extra batteries to the local NAPA store and add them to their pile for recycling.

    Glad you made it back up. (pun intended)

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  10. #10
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    I did! Thank you!

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