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#20969 - 03/05/12 04:43 PM CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!!
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Some electrical wiring was done in my apartment while I'm doing a renovation and by mistake a socket was fed by two different lines. The worker replacing the receptacle which was 30 years old with one ready to use for my computer apparently had the power on and touched the two live wires to each other. My UPS was connected to some new outlets that had just been installed and tested, but they were on one of the lines. There was a loud pop noise and black smoke came out of the UPS. I immediately unplugged it and turned it off, but since then have been feeling tired all day and then my friend came over and she almost fell asleep, too. So I put it in a plastic bag and we both felt a little better. Now it is in the hallway in a plastic bag. The building says they will pay for the unit, but is there something to it giving off fumes hours later? It smelled like an electrical fire for about 2 hours then the smell went away.
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#20970 - 03/05/12 04:48 PM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: slolerner]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Bummer! I hope you opened a coupl'a windows and cleared the air.
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#20971 - 03/05/12 06:03 PM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: artie505]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Yeah, and have the air cleaner on. Still feel really really tired and so did she.

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#20980 - 03/06/12 07:03 AM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: slolerner]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: slolerner
Yeah, and have the air cleaner on. Still feel really really tired and so did she.

I'm neither a doctor nor an expert in wire insulation but, if I was to hazard a guess, it may be that burning insulation emitted gases that gave your respiratory systems a bit of a whack.


Edited by ryck (03/06/12 07:04 AM)
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#20984 - 03/06/12 08:37 AM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: ryck]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
That sounds about right.

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#21008 - 03/08/12 08:27 AM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: slolerner]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
There's quite a mix of electronics in a UPS that could react in different ways to a power surge on the input. The general theory of operation is that they protect your hardware, "falling on the sword" if necessary. This is the case with your computer, I think it's fair to say your computer would be emitting the smoke if you had not had a UPS or surge suppressing power strip between it and the outlet when they popped the power wires.

Normally electrical "events" like this would be fairly brief, a bang or a pop or a buzz, some smoke, maybe a hiss or melting plastic, and would calm down in a few minutes. But since the UPS has batteries in it, it can supply "fuel to the fire" and keep things smoking until the batteries discharge. Be careful when opening it up, there are 1 or 2 lead acid batteries in there that may not be in the best of condition. They're often on their sides, which for normal lead acid batteries is a bad idea, but these are normally sealed with caps. These caps may not be in place if there's been a fault, so the batteries could leak hydrochloric acid. It won't melt your hands like in the movies, but if you DO get any on your skin, wash it off IMMEDIATELY, and don't let any get in your eyes or on your clothes for that matter.

Once the batteries are disconnected/removed, it shouldn't smoke for more than a few more minutes, assuming it's not ON FIRE or smoldering internally. I saw a video one time of a UPS sitting in a parking lot, running, providing power, and on fire but I can't find it right now. Apparently UPS (the shipper) has a lot of videos of their fires up on youtube right now. (??)
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#21010 - 03/08/12 09:15 AM Re: CyberPOWER Backups Unit Blowout!!! [Re: Virtual1]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Thanks Virtual. I ditched the unit and cut the cord off it so no one else would try to use it. I just don't feel good about using it again. My renters insurance would not cover it if there was an incident and the unit had a history of having a blowout like this that the superintendent witnessed. It was a large unit which was a gift and I really don't need something that massive with a laptop that just goes into a coma when it runs out of power, I can get something smaller just so the backup drives don't go down and disconnect without ejecting, which happened a few weeks ago when a circuit breaker went off. I have a surge protector rated for 2525 Joules and that should be ok as far as protecting the equipment when the power goes back on or gets a massive hit like this. Sad to say, I lost my hair dryer with the last incident because it wasn't connected to a surge protector!

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