Monday, July 23, 2012

UPS Battery

When I opened my MAC on July 12, 2012, the power suddenly flickered and the MAC powered down and up again. And my UPS decided to give a couple of beeps every few seconds. After a mad scramble I found the APC UPS manual. It told me that the battery was bad. I moved all the connected power cords to alternative sockets and pulled the battery. It was stuck. Eventually I pried the battery out of the UPS case to discover it was a pair of 12v batteries joined together.

One of the pair had a cracked case and lost its charge in no time at all. I decided to do an online search for APC RBC109. To my delight Canada Post popped up with suggested sources ranging in cost from  $90 to $68 plus shipping. at $81 including shipping (regular $106, it said) looked good since I had an account with them and found them fast and reliable.

After the weekend, I received a note from Amazon saying that shipping was delayed a couple of days. This went on for a week with a message about a delay every couple of days. Finally I sent a note asking how I could help expedite the order. I received a Whoops! response within a couple of hours. My battery was deemed hazardous material and as such could not be shipped from the USA (even though I had ordered via Amazon Canada who listed the battery as available in Canada. Amazon apologized and said the battery would be removed from their Canadian site (still there 3 days later).

I decided to browse outside Canada Post and came up with a list of sites. Most were "Canadian" in name only and shipped in "5 to 8 days plus weekends and holidays" by Courier, not Canada Post. The physical address was omitted and the 800 number gave no indication of location. One company, UPS for LESS offered an alternative to the APC replacement battery for $42.32. And they had a physical address in the GTA. I called this morning and the batteries were in stock. The $42.32 covered both batteries and the defective cells could be returned to them at no charge.

I drove over this afternoon and found them tucked away in an industrial plaza on Bentley Street in Markham. Sure enough, they had the new set. The replacement cartridge consisted of two 12 volt batteries. The representative pulled off the APC sticker on my old battery. The old and new batteries were identical in make and model (Noisia Vision CP1290 12v 9.0 AH, by Center Power Tech, Ltd., and Made in China)!

So for about double the price before shipping, APC or its agents offered 1. An APC label stuck over the maker's name, 2. a replacement cable for the perfectly usable cable connecting the original two batteries, and 3. a piece of thin foam with double sided sticky stuff to join the two separate batteries into a cartridge. I bought from UPC for LESS and I am a happy camper.