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American Power Conversion
American Power Conversion (APC) Schneider Electric My Doggies Were Subjected To Over 3 Hours of Torture Because Of A Product Sold By APC (www.apc.com)
15th of Jul, 2011 by User980661
My Doggies were subjected to over 3 hours of torture because of a product sold by APC (www.apc.com), owned by Schneider Electric! Let me back up to the beginning of the story. Our electricity goes off pretty regularly around here, sometimes for hours, sometimes for just a second or two, but usually without ANY warning! After dealing with the frustrations of having the electricity go off and shut down my computer while I was in the middle of something, I began reading in computer magazines about possible solutions. Since I have absolutely no control over the electric company (who say that they are just turning off one generator and turning on another one, even though it may make a blink which is not noticeable to people but is very noticeable to machines), I thought that perhaps a battery backup unit might solve my problem. And it did, at least for a while. Over a period of a few years, I found that these batteries would only last about 2-3 years at most, so I had to spend roughly $30 each to replace 3 of them on a regular basis - I had 2 computers, 2 printers, a FAX machine, some land-line phones, and some other minor electronic equipment that I was attempting to protect from surges on the line (Ive since added a laptop and another separate monitor). I found that a surge protector might do some good, but when the electricity went completely off and back on again, a backup battery kept my computer running long enough to make a normal shutdown possible. Often, no shutdown was necessary, as the battery backup would keep the computer running for a few minutes, and many times the electricity would come back on before I could shut down the computer! For a few years, I was pretty happy with this arrangement. As I got older, I got interested in playing music and movies through my computer. I had an old Wollensak tape recorder from the 1950's that used reel-to-reel tape, but one of my doggies ate the cord, chewing into the soft rubber and doing enough damage that I had to throw the cord away. I searched all over the United States, and later the world, on the Internet and off, but I never found a cord that would fit. One company even sent me a cord that they thought would fit, but cords, like everything else electronic, have diminished in size tremendously since the 1950's, and even their cord didnt fit, being way too small, of course. I found that, when I would call a new company and tell them I needed a cord to fit a Wollensak tape recorder, that most of the people answering the phone had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I was talking about, except that they understood that I needed some sort of a cord! But, thats another story. Anyway, over a period of a year or two or three, I downloaded a lot of the kind of music that I liked, which many people said put them to sleep! Much of it was from the era when I grew up, the 1940's and 50's, and some of it was even from the 1930's and earlier. I eventually acquired over 30 hours of music, all on my hard drive. I found that Windows Media Player would occasionally find a song that it couldnt play, mostly because it didnt have a license, whatever that meant. I grew very tired of WMP pretty quickly, and I did a search on the Internet and found some other players that would play just about everything and anything! Later, I took some music that I had bought and paid for, and converted it with some FREE programs I downloaded, so that Windows would play it, but overall, I liked some other players better. Anyway, back to the original story, now that you have the background. I found that most Windows Updates required a reboot, so I usually waited on downloading them, at least until I figured I was going to reboot anyway because of some other reason. In the meantime, I played my music, loud enough that I could hear it in most rooms of my house, both day and night, 24\7 like the younger generation says! I had turned my computer into a FREE music machine, so it didnt matter that I had most of the same music on an old Wollensak - I didnt need a cord any more! I figured out how to keep Windows from automatically rebooting my computer, thus turning off my music machine; I figured out how to keep the computer running, even through a thunderstorm (although I usually turned it off if a real bad thunderstorm came along, with lightning and all the fireworks)! I would go off to run some errands, to church, to a doctors appointment, and elsewhere, and come back in a few hours, and my music machine would still be running. I was entertaining my 6 doggies along with it, at no extra cost to them! They were usually asleep in their little kennel, anyway, as this was their dog house and their home. Then one day I went to an appointment with my Chiropractor in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. The Internet weather report said possible thunderstorms, but it didnt give any percentage of a chance, so I didnt think much about it, as it usually said something vague like this during the summer, when 101 F. temperatures were expected for highs. I didnt give a second thought about turning off my music machine. While at the Chiropractors, a very loud thunderstorm developed, and his office was about 5-7 miles away from my house, so I remember remarking to someone that my doggies would probably be afraid, but that they would be OK, even if the electricity went off briefly, as it did at the Chiropractors office. There was a lot of rain, a lot of very loud thunderclaps, a lot of intense lightning, but it was all over in 30 minutes or so, and I waited it out and drove off after the rain let up. I had left my windows open a few inches, so that the inside temperature of my car would be tolerable, and I got some rain inside my car, but it all dried out pretty quickly. I noticed that the temperature had dropped about 25 or so, as it had been 101 when I arrived for my appointment, and it was about 76 when I left, so it was much more pleasant! I stopped by a store on the way home, then I went to a restaurant for a salad and cold drink. I expected to be greeted with a lot of barking from my little friends, as I had been gone almost 4 hours! When I walked in the door, I didnt hear my music, but I did continue to hear a very loud beeping sound. I figured the storm had knocked out the electricity for a while, but the air conditioner was still running, so I figured that the computer was down. Sure enough, upon checking the source of the loud beeping noise, I found the computer to be completely turned off, one of the electric clocks showed that the electricity had gone off about 3 hours earlier, and the very loud beeping sound was coming from the battery backup unit! To a dog, with his\her very sensitive ears, this very loud beeping sound must have really been torture, and I began to realize that they had endured it for over 3 hours. They had probably barked for me, or somebody, to get rid of this very loud beeping sound, but nobody responded! I felt sorry for them, as I tried to imagine what it would be like for me, if I were in a little plastic box that I couldnt get out of, and there was a very loud beeping sound going on for over 3 hours. It reminded me of some of the stories from World War II, where the Japanese put American Prisoners of War in a hot box that was too small for them to stretch out in, and left them out in the hot sun of the Pacific for hours on end. The prisoners would be drained, physically, mentally, emotionally, and every other way one can imagine! They would be more than willing to do whatever their captors wanted them to do, whether it was forced labor to build a railroad, or simply to just sit down and bend forward a bit, while some Japanese officer would decapitate them! I can see why the old-timers even older than me, would never want to buy a Japanese car, but thats another story, too. Before this incident of torture of my little friends by APC\Schneider Electrics little black box, I had an unsatisfactory experience with their company last year. I called in on their Toll-Free Number, mainly to order another battery. The gal (I wont say lady, as she wasnt) who answered the phone, couldnt seem to find my file. She didnt act like it mattered to her, but I remember telling her that I had ordered from them periodically for about 5-7 years or so, so my file should have been around there somewhere. She couldnt tell me the size or model number or price of the battery I had or needed, and she didnt seem to care. This was almost the exact opposite of the kind of service I had been receiving over the years. Usually, a man would answer, and he could pull up my file very quickly on his computer. This gal wanted me, an old man of 72 years, to get down on my hands and knees and look underneath the battery backup black box to get some numbers, which I told her I didnt think I could do. I told her that in years past, the man had always been able to come up with those numbers when I gave my name and other pertinent information, but she insisted that she needed the numbers on the black box. In frustration, I hung up. In a few days, APC\Schneider sent a survey to my E-Mail Box, and I gave them the biggest black eye I could, fully explaining the situation, and stating that I have bought the last product from their company that I ever intend to buy! Then I got on the Internet and researched battery backup systems, and I found quite a few companies that offer competing products that will probably fit APC\Schneiders little black box, some at a better price! APC\Schneiders advertising makes one think that they are the ONLY company selling these battery backup systems, but I found out differently! I may have to buy another companys black box if it is a different size, but Im willing to do this. I am now much more disappointed with APC\Schneider than I ever was after talking to the gal on the phone, as my little friends didnt need to be subjected to the black box torture. I vowed to do like my parents used to do: they would turn off EVERYTHING electric upon leaving their house, whether it was for 30 minutes, 30 hours, or 30 days! Yes, even the air conditioning! I was surprised at how cool their house stayed sometimes, although there were other times when it would be very hot after having no air conditioning for a few hours! My mother, God rest her soul, would always mention that there was a house behind them that got hit by lightning one day when the young couple was at work, that the resulting smoke killed their car, and that eventually it was determined that the lightning had struck the air conditioning unit. So, that was why she wanted to make sure the air conditioner was off before she left home. She was the same way with her toilet: she would always stand and wait for the tank to fill up AND STOP, before she would go out and get in the car. Being much younger, I was usually in a bigger hurry, but she would always tell me that I would probably come home to a house filled with water one of these days, as toilets do overflow, and they dont always quit running! As Ive gotten older, Ive begun adopting my parents philosophy, and Ill be sure to turn off my music machine from now on, before I go out and get in the car! But what was the purpose of the loud beeping noise? It must have been to warn the owner that the computer was down, right? Why couldnt APC\Schneider have put in a periodic beep, followed by 10 minutes of silence? This would have served the same purpose, wouldnt it? I decided after working on the computer a few hours afterward, that the battery had not been run down; the computer had just shut down, and that was it! So, why was a CONSTANT 3 HOUR LOUD BEEPING NOISE necessary? Answer that one, APC\Schneider!

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