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APC Matrix 5000 Hack

by on Jul.19, 2009, under Hardware

I use a lot of power in my office, so much that the four 1500 VA UPS units I have only last me a few min. I needed something bigger so I went on eBay and found two APC Matrix 5000 UPS units for $450 each including shipping. There was only one downside, there were no batteries and new batteries would have cost me several thousand dollars.

The solution? I picked up 8 marine batteries at the auto parts store and wired them up (yes with fuses) into two 48 volt strings connected in parallel.


Note: If you try this, you want to use Marine or better yet Deep-Cycle batteries rather then car starting batteries. Car batteries are designed to give very hight bursts of current and should only be discharged to about 5%. The very thin plates would destroyed over a few hundred discharges rather then the thousands you would get from deep cycle.

P.S. Yes, I built a cover for it!

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7 Comments for this entry

  • Brian

    What’s the runtime on these compared to the normal Matrix cells?

  • admin

    It is about 20% longer.

  • Bechara

    how did you get out of communication between batteries and the control board.

  • admin

    I started with a battery controller board from a old battery box, but ended up just not using it. The Matrix does not actually care if it has battery communication or not.

  • David

    Watch out on marine/auto batteries.

    Every battery that I have seen in bigger UPS systems have been Gel sealed batteries. Normal acid batteries, like those in cars, are a fire hazard and I believe are against fire codes to have stored in homes/business.

  • admin

    You are correct with car batteries, they are designed for quick starting current and have thin plates that can not deal with full discharge well. Marine batteries are deep cycle batteries and have MUCH thicker plates and can be discharged over and over.

  • Prashant Lamba

    I have done a similar setup in the past. I just realized that since the APC Matrix-UPS 5000 does not have communication with the batteries, there tends to be an issue with the charging cut off. Then the other issue is, while there is charge in the batteries even after 1 hr use, the APC LCD displays “0%” and starts to beep continuously and eventually shuts down. Any solution for that?

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