Blog: APC

As a part of a recent data center move we had to reconfigure several APC management cards. The first thing that I did to each of these NMCs was to reset to factory defaults and update the firmware.

This is a fairly simply process normally. Connect the appropriate serial cable, connect to the comm port, press the reset button a couple of times, and log in with the default credentials ( Once logged in, you can use the command to factory_reset or format the card and bring it back to factory settings.

In one case, however, the card didn't survive the factory reset. In fact, it appeared the card had started to boot, but never finished the booting process. By changing the baud rate around in my settings, I was able to connect to the BootMonitor using 57600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, no flow control. It was also at this point that I saw an error related to the checksum of the AOS firmware which was preventing the card from booting. We had another NMC that I could swap to if I needed to, but I wanted to see if I could simply reload the firmware onto the card and get everything working again. Fortunately, APC has an article for that:

Using TeraTerm and XMODEM, I was able to upload the bootmon, AOS, and application module firmware files (in that order) to the NMC. Once that had finally finished, simply rebooting the NMC brought everything back online.

This also had the positive side effect of updating the firmware on the card because I wasn't able to download old firmware files from APC's support site. From there, I could complete my setup process and bring everything back online.


Since the Poodle vulnerability resulted in SSL v3 to be disabled in web browsers, it broke connectivity to APC devices configured to use SSL. [more]

Using Firefox, you can type in about:config in the web path to enter an advanced configuration mode. The default value of security.tls.version.fallback-limit and security.tls.version.min is “1”. Setting this to “0” will allow you to be able to connect again, but be careful about having SSL connectivity enabled.


A customer called a few weeks ago saying they did not have Internet access and could not access the network. A storm had gone through the area the night before, so I started by having them check to make sure the Internet equipment was online. There were no problems with the network equipment, so I asked the onsite IT person to check the server rack. Upon walking into the server room, I could hear alarms going off. He said it was the UPS that was beeping.

Their DHCP, DNS, WPAD, and File Server is all on one server, which is plugged into this UPS.  I went onsite and bypassed the UPS for power to their servers. The UPS would not turn the outlets on and referred to an overload error. I called APC tech support and they said this error meant that there was an internal fault in the UPS and it would have to be replaced. A replacement UPS was sent and installed. It appears that an electrical event occurred during the storm the night before and messed up the UPS. Since then, the company has purchased an additional UPS so that one power supply from each server can be plugged into each UPS. Hopefully, if this ever occurs in the future, one of the UPSs will remain online.


I came across a Smart UPS 1500 that needed a battery replacement recently.  After the replacement battery was installed, I ran a self-test like I normally do to clear alarms on the unit.  I noticed that the self-test reported that the battery had a runtime remaining of 0 minutes and a 20% capacity.   I decided to let the battery charge up to 100% and then try a runtime calibration.

Later that evening, the UPS was reporting that the battery had 100% capacity and a runtime of 3 minutes with a very minimal load.  I ran the runtime calibration and the runtime dropped immediately to 0 minutes with a 20% charge.  I thought that the battery might be faulty at this point. 

The customer happened to have another battery there to try.  We put the battery in and testing showed the same exact symptoms.  Therefore the problem must be with the UPS and not the batteries.

APC's forum quotes "The battery constants give the battery status via their life expectancy. If the battery ages and is 'exhausted', the constant is overwritten. The management software calculates the runtime of the UPS with these constants.  If the battery is now replaced, a self test must be done with the new batteries. Through it, the red battery replace indicator goes out and the battery constants should be reset to the standard settings. This does not occur in some cases. Therefore, the constants must be reset manually in order to correct this situation."

Through research, I came across this article which describes how to reset the battery constant manually.  The only problem is that this has to be done by physically connecting the serial cable to the UPS, so I was not able to try this out yet.  Since each UPS has different constant variables, you will have to call APC support and ask them what to set it to. [more]

Here are the steps listed using Hyperterminal from the hyperlink above:

In order to successfully reset the battery constant, all accompanying devices (SmartSlot Accessories such as Interface Expander, Web/SNMP Management Card) must be removed from the SmartSlot or from the Com port of the UPS.

  1. Please shut off all connected load, switch off the UPS, pull the power plug of the UPS.
  2. Switch off the UPS once again till you hear a click.
  3. Remove all accompanying devices.
  4. Turn on the UPS again and connect a computer with Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT 4.0 or Win 2000, which runs on Hyperterminal using one of the cables mentioned under the requirements.
  5. Close Powerchute plus-Server. With Windows NT/2000, the UPS service must be stopped. If you are using PowerChute Business Edition, stop the Agent *V service.
  6. Perform a Battery Constants check.
  7. Start a Hyperterminal session with the UPS.  Note: Ensure that there are no accessories plugged into the UPS. (Web Management cards, IO Relay cards etc)
  8. Start Hyperterminal by going to Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Hyperterminal.
  9. You will be requested to enter a name and a symbol. Enter a favourite name and click on OK. When a message that a modem must be installed appears, you can ignore this message.
  10. Select the serial port to which black serial cable is connected to.  The correct settings for the COM-connection are 2400 Baud, 8 data bits, 1 Stop bit, no parity, protocol Xon/Xoff. In this window, click on Advanced and make sure that the option FIFO activated is unchecked. Click twice on OK.
  11. Check if there is a connection (Type Shift + Y, should return **SM** ). Do not enter any other characters via Hyperterminal other than that described in these instructions because this can cause irreparable damage to the UPS
  12. Type **1**, wait 2-3 secs and type **1** again (Should return **Prog**)
  13. Enter a **0** and the UPS reports the present value of the battery constant.  If this value does not correspond to the default value that was given to you by RM Support or APC , it must be changed.
  14. If this value is not correct, press **+** or **-** until the correct value is returned.
  15. Press **R** to close the session. (Should return **Bye**)
  16. Enter **<Shift> Y**, the UPS reports again with **SM**.
  17. Enter **0** once again and check if the UPS reports back the standard setting that has been set.
  18. Close Hyperterminal, start the UPS again and check the UPS runtime in the management software.


A customer had a problem with a server’s network connection disconnecting and reconnecting often.  When I got onsite, I checked the event log and noted disconnect/reconnect messages occurring quite frequently.  I checked the NIC properties and noted the server was set to 100/full.  I noticed the server, and another server, were both directly connected with new cables, to gigabit ports on a switch.  I also noticed the presence of APC Ethernet surge protectors being used on both server’s network connections.  I removed the surge protector from the server I was working on and ran some ping tests.  The NIC was no longer being disconnected.  I set it to autonegotiate and it went to gigabit speed. [more]

I then checked the NIC properties and event log on the other server. It too was getting disconnected regularly.  The NIC was set to autonegotiate, but was only running at 100/full.  I removed the APC Ethernet surge protector from that server’s network connection.  The NIC autonegotiated to gigabit and was no longer getting disconnected.


APC's PowerChute Business Edition 6.x must be upgraded to 7.x. PowerChute software manages the UPS system (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

If you are still using any version of PowerChute Business Edition 6.x, you may experience various computer issues. The most common symptom is that servers are hanging or booting slowly. Other symptoms may be a delay while trying to access the Control Panel or an inability to stop the PBCE Services.

Due to expiration of the Sun Java Runtime Environment certificate, versions 6.x of PowerChute Business Edition will cease to operate normally as of July 27, 2005. Failure to upgrade will result in PowerChute Business Edition no longer providing monitoring and graceful shutdown of your system. In order for PowerChute Business Edition to remain functional, users must upgrade to any version of 7.x. [more]

CoNetrix recommends customers take the following steps to ensure they are not affected by possible problems resulting from the expiration of the Sun Java Runtime Environment certificate:

  • Logon to your servers as an administrative user.
  • Goto: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
  • Check the list of services for APCPBEAgent and APCPBEServer

If the services exist:

  • Right click on the service name and goto Properties
  • On the General tab, change Startup type to Disabled
  • Click OK and close the Services window
  • Upgrade to PowerChute Business Edition 7.x

For more information regarding this vulnerability, please visit:
CRITICAL UPDATE REQUIRED PowerChute Business Edition - Customers Using 6.x Must Upgrade to 7.x due to Java Runtime Environment expiration