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Users Claim Two CyberPower UPSes Pose Fire Hazard

CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD
CP1500PFCLCD (Image credit: CyberPower)

According to user feedback on Reddit (opens in new tab), CyberPower’s CP1500PFCLCD and CP1350PFCLCD uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes) can potentially cause a fire hazard. Unverified analysis seems to point the finger at a specific adhesive that may eventually become conductive, can short out some components, and could cause a fire.

The current concern about CyberPower’s units first arose in January on the Canadian RedFlagDeals (opens in new tab) forum. The thread starter cited a YouTube video (opens in new tab) from a year ago where computer engineer Mark Furneaux discovered that at least the first and second revisions of the CP1500PFCLCD and CP1350PFCLCD used the everyday yellow glue. The adhesive, which can come in other colors, is common among electronics as manufacturers typically employ it in their products to glue bulky components down to the PCB to prevent their movement. 

The usage of yellow glue in electronics dates back to the 1970s. The problem is that the adhesive seemingly grows corrosive and conductive over time. In addition, the lifespan of the glue varies and depends on the environment’s temperature. When the color turns from yellow to brown or black, it’s a sign that the adhesive has changed its properties.

A couple of RedFlagDeals forum users reported that their units stopped working but didn’t provide any explanations on how the UPSes died. However, once the news made it to Reddit (opens in new tab) and Hacker News (opens in new tab), more user reports of the failure came to light. One Redditor (CP1000PFCLCD) provided a video (opens in new tab) of smoke coming out of his unit shortly after replacing its battery as per CyberPower’s recommendation.

It appears the units catching fire isn't entirely uncommon among CyberPower UPSes. Multiple user comments on Amazon (opens in new tab) (some dating from 2017) claim that the CyberPower units are a fire risk. One owner reported seeing smoke from the unit and a burning plastic smell, while another spoke of hearing a bang before the UPS went bad.

CyberPower Responds

We reached out to CyberPower and a company representative told us that it cannot identify the problem from the Reddit video due to the lack of information. However, CyberPower recommends that the affected user or users send in their units to identify the root of the problem. Regarding the yellow glue, CyberPower ensured us that it has thoroughly tested the adhesive, and the results fall in line with industry and UL standards, deeming it safe for usage in the brand’s UPSes.

The CP1500PFCLCD and CP1350PFCLCD have been around for a while, so they’re on the third revision now. Thus far, the user reports correspond to the first and second revisions; it’s uncertain if the latest revision utilizes the same yellow glue. At any rate, it’s not likely a widespread issue as there have been positive reports from other owners with CyberPower units, some with multiple years of operation under their belts. Nonetheless, CyberPower should investigate the claims, since obviously, the potential to start fires, is a serious matter.

You can read CyberPower’s official statement in response to our questions below:

We are aware of the video.

We take all product inquiries regarding appropriate operation and safety seriously. All CyberPower products and components are UL listed and tested for safety. More broadly, it is our intent to bring safe, high-quality power protection products to our customers around the world.

In the case of the video provided, it is not possible to exactly confirm the user’s claim as it does not offer full explanation of usage, analysis of failure, any testing results, or condition of the unit. Currently, we are unaware if this user has contacted us directly or opened a case with one of our technical agents and welcome them to do so as a complete analysis is the only means to validate root cause.

Regarding comments about the adhesive, we have thoroughly tested the adhesives we use, and our results are aligned with industry and UL standards. We conducted a full laboratory study of the adhesive being used in our products and deem it safe for this application.

We encourage all CyberPower customers with product troubleshooting, questions, or concerns to contact our Technical Support team at 1-877-297-6937. Our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for product support and assistance.

Sincerely,

Cyber Power Systems (USA), Inc.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    I have three of these, either first or second revision, so hopefully they'll just recall them...
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    I had a CP1500something that deep-fried its battery pack: the battery had a couple of shorted cells bringing the pack under 20V and the UPS keept pumping over 1A into it indefinitely. Software monitoring reported 24V pack voltage regardless of whether the pack is connected dragging actual voltage across the battery wires under 20V or open-circuit at 27V. The battery was getting quite warm from dissipating 30+W all of the time and I was really surprised it never reported any anomaly besides instantaneously cutting off when going to battery power.
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    I have two CP1500PFCLCDs. But I've found they last longer than APC.
    Reply
  • vern72
    I have two CP1000PFCLCDs so I'm not affected but I was thinking of getting a third one. I guess I won't be looking at one of the bigger units for now!
    Reply
  • speedingcheetah
    Never had any issues with CyberPower UPS.
    Have over a dozen of those UPSs in service at various locations for several years now, including my home...not a single issue.
    That glue is used on many other things, emergency lighting, industrial electronics, robotics....even other UPS brands.
    I see no evidence of a wide spread issue in regards to that glue being used.
    The discoloring, i suspect would be due to heat.
    I suspect the small amount of users that had their unit fail, used generic, cheap battery replacements from third party sellers.

    I have nothing but issues with APC, never had a APC unit last more than 2yrs, one even caused a small fire at a previous workplace. APC denied there was a fault, and refused to honor their warranty or pay for damages. The business had to sue them, i never found out how that went though.
    CyberPower is local to me here in MN, their headquarters.
    I can just walk into their headquarters and deal with them direct if i should have any issues.
    APC, is overseas.
    Reply