How to use Verizon FIOS Battery Backup for Internet Connection

With your FIOS service, Verizon installs an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) which takes the fiber optic signal delivered to your house and converts it to electrical signals that traverse the copper coax in the home. The ONT is responsible for delivering your TV, data, and phone services. With the ONT Verizon provides a battery backup unit (BBU) and I have read that there are different versions of the ONT and BBU so this hack might not work for you. My BBU is the CPL28U12 model. If something goes wrong Verizon will likely not be happy, this will not be my fault, proceed at your own risk (or peril).

The Verizon provided BBU by default protects only the Verizon-provided phone service, which does me no good since I use Ooma. The BBU cover slips off downward with a single screw holding it in on the right above the wire connections.

As you can see this is a fairly sizable battery at 7 amp hours and a shame that it was implemented to only protect one of three possible FIOS services! I suppose they legally erred on the side of caution to keep the phone open in case of emergency but they should still offer to protect the other services if you don’t subscribe to the phone service. Anywho… there is a way to remedy this.

Next to the primary 12v feed there is a wire bundle attached to a pinned module that plugs into the bottom of the BBU. Take note of the wires that plug into the “on battery” and “battery missing” slots, we will switch these in a minute. Mine were blue and grey, yours may not be.

Pull the blue module gently straight down, it will come off in one piece.

The wires are simply pinched down in this module by the clear doors that cover them. No need to strip the wires. There are 3 clear doors that open from the bottom where the wires enter the module. Gently lift up from the areas indicated below. The doors will raise slightly and release the wires in their slots.

With the doors open, switch the “on battery” and “battery missing” wires. The image above shows mine already switched. Reseat the wires and lock the doors down. Make sure they click securely at the bottom from where you first swung them open. Carefully plug the blue module back into the base and you’re done. Now if the ONT looses AC power it will draw from the battery protecting your internet and TV streams. Test to make sure this works.

Props to vzguy71 on broadband reports who discovered this back in 2007. The reason why this works is because in an AC power outage, the ONT now sees the battery as missing but nothing wrong with the AC power (being fed from the battery). Before it could see that it was running off of the battery and would limit the power to the phone service only. This is a very cool and easy change to make use of your FIOS BBU especially if you do not subscribe to Verizon phone service.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for the instructions. I had a different model but the all the instructions were pretty much Identical. I made a blog post about instructions to my specific model and linked you in it (http://bit.ly/KlmErR), just in case they have this model. Thanks again!

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  2. Awesome Dustin, glad it worked for you too!

    -Peter

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  3. What markings (manufacturer, model#, etc?) are on the clear connector block? Newer BBU/ONT models use a fixed Cyberpower cable (seen here: http://i.ebayimg.com/t/CyberPower-E313087-AWM-Style-2464-80-300V-VW-1-/00/$(KGrHqZ,!g4E3uEYdsHbBOCs)LfOkw~~_12.JPG”) to deter this mod, so I’d much like to purchase two of these and fashion my own cable.

    Thanks,
    Bob

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  4. The connector says "Buchanan 22-24 AWG". There are a few of these with different "POS" number but all dimensions, measurements and contacts appear to be identical. It looks like this is the part you need:

    http://www.pdfdoc.ru/interconnects/terminal-blocks/pluggable-terminal-blocks/pluggable-terminal-blocks-13pos-3-5mmpivot-blk-blue-pbfr-1-1776279-3-571-1-1776279-3

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  5. This is a cool hack.

    Another option (good for those less technical and also requiring no rewiring) is to plug your FIOS BBU into your own UPS. The FIOS BBU will think AC power is ok and will keep on working just fine.

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  6. I have a different BBU as well, and had no trouble following your guide. The one I was using has a green wiring harness which is exposed by sliding a cover off the bottom right corner of the unit. Thanks for writing this up I can keep my server online now in power outages.

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  7. AWESOME...
    Been banging on the thing for 2 days. Added my own AC addapter to by pass the battery but still didn't allow internet. Dam verizon repair can't make it out to fix for a week. life saver..
    Thanks,
    Paul
    Flower Mound, TX

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  8. Your results may vary! My same model has a screw block connection and all but the 48v wires from the power supply are clipped. TV and internet works fine with a 6 year old battery. Unplugging the power supply sounds the alarm and the battery kicks in. I wonder what function I am missing...

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  9. With the bbu failing, why are all three fios affected? I thought that the bbu was for the phone only. I am waiting for the new battery coming by UPS, so in the meantime I have been charging the existent battery with a car charger. That charge only lasts for about 3 hours and then I have to recharge the battery.

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  10. Thanks for the info. Mine has the Cyberpower connector that you can't rewire. The connectors are Eurostyle 5mm 7 position. I used Mouser 158-P075EHDVCH-E and 158-P075ESDVP-E to make a cable extension to cross the wires. Little tight getting it in but worked fine. The 158-P075EHDVCH-E is intended for PCB mount. I soldered wires to it then coated the pins with liquid electrical tape to prevent contact. I didn't see a non solder version in my short search.

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  11. How long does the power at the central office last? In the POTS days they had backup batteries and charging generators at all the COs.
    Is this still the case with fiber?
    thomasgraham@optonline.net

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  12. heres a video to make it easier

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qcfh7MZ7zc

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  13. When we out with Superstorm Sandy, our area was without power for 9 days. Our copper land line continued to work the entire time. If it is important to you not to be without a telephone, do not accept FIOS phone service.

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  14. Hello Dear,It was a beneficial workout for me to go through your webpage.

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  15. I concur with the Superstorm Sandy comment. The COs in NYC have generators that provided phone service (Non Fios) the whole time. I had Fios phone service (with 4 batteries - SMB ONT), and my ONT was powered for 2 days, but it didn't matter since The Fios network itself failed after 4 hours.

    So that good old copper network pulled through and did what Fios can never do. That said, unless you have a basic landline that's powered by phone line voltage (ie not a cordless or fancy office phone) or a battery backup for your phone, those 9 days of constant phone service were worthless.

    Thankfully, my doorman bldg still uses plain ole POTS with a dumb handset. I was able to periodically call and check in on the outage situation. I just hope Verizon doesn't force people to convert like they have been doing in other affected areas.

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  16. Thank you, worked great. My BBU is slightly different but colored wires were the same. The wiring harness was different but not too difficult to understand, similar in concept. did this modification when I changed the battery. However, the battery was located separate from the wiring harness, which required removal of a bolt to access. Very helpful.

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  17. Hi I have ONT1000-PS-SFU-VZ (P\N539162-002-00) Model: DBBU-1238, but I threw out the battery connector wires: Red/Black wires going to the terminals on the battery, plus a white connector on the other side that plugs into the inside of the unit. Does anyone know where I can get a replacement?

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  18. I had an issue where my Internet and cable went out because my bbu must have failed after a lightening stor or something. The issue is the ont would only get power via the battery. After speaking with customer support they said my battery was the problem so I got a new one at Frys and everything worked for about 6 hours and then I lost everything again as my bbu would would not power my ont normally, only via the battery. Customer support said it would be 8 days before they could send a tech due to the Frontier conversion. this is not acceptable but there is no way I can get a tech here sooner. After reading these blogs and learning more about this I then went to Frys again and bought a battery charger comparable with the replacement battery I already bought. 24$ each. I then put the battery back in and removed the plastic covers on the cable to the battery and hooked up the charger online with it and problem.was fixed but only for about 5 minutes at a time until I followed the instructions above on the hack of swapping the blue and gray wires on the ont plug.. after that it ran perectly while I waited the remaining 7 days for the tech to show up and replace the bbu

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  19. That's cool article, but why yo use all this stuff, cables, hardware ...

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  20. Genius. Works like a charm. Just switched blue and grey and now TV and internet stays on longer than just 5 mins. Thank you! (Note I'm using a 12v charger connected across the battery to keep it going. The transformer that supplied power to the BBU got fried.)

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  21. An update to your original work. Verizon's newer GPON (I-211M-L) no longer come with a battery backup. The power supply unit has an auxiliary port to which a 12-18VDC @ 1A power can be supplied. As with before, this only provides power for POTS. The new power supply (CyberPower CA25U16V2 and equivalents) use a 9-pin type B mini-din. Pin 4 is normally held low when on AC power. Pins 8-9 are +ve 16V while pins 1-2 are -ve. You can wire a mini-din socket to ground pin 4 with pins 8-9 to bypass the on-battery signal. The instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/I-211M-L-ONT-Enable-Data-While-on-Battery-Power/ provides an easier mod, but is specific to the ONT and power supply described.

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  22. Oops.

    I got it reversed.

    Pins 1-2 are +be. Pins 8-9 are-ve. I got it reversed.

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  23. If you have the anti-tamper connections that don't let you switch the wires you can still make this work. You just need to provide 12V+- to the two 12V+- pins and also provide a connection from "signal return" to the 12V- (i.e. car battery negative). The low TTL on the other 3 connections may not be 0V during regular operation but will register low TTL with 0V so you can leave those pins bare. Working for me right now since the 48V power supply failed in my BBU.

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  24. Thank you Peter!

    As this article from Peter is from 2012, for those wondering about newer 2018-era FiOS hardware = this BBU hack works on my brand new FiOS install, April 2018! I have only internet service with Frontier FiOS - no TV, no phone. My home was fitted with an Arris ONT1000GI4-FTR (the ONT), and an ONT1000-PS1-2G-SFU (the ONT power supply). The ONT I was given is an "interior/desktop" version. I wanted to perform this "keep internet connection alive" hack, so I requested the install tech to use a BBU to power the ONT, not the default non-BBU power supply. Here is a somewhat similar hack for those of you that have the default non-BBU power supply ("ReadyPower" unit or equivalent required...) = http://www.instructables.com/id/I-211M-L-ONT-Enable-Data-While-on-Battery-Power/. The power supply cable for my ONT1000GI4-FTR looks the same as the I-211M-L, and the install tech made up a male-to-female cable for the "module" type of connectors = the "module" connector which allows this hack.

    Before I performed the hack as prescribed by Peter, I performed a test = upon pulling the power plug on the BBU, the ONT ran on battery, and my internet connection stayed up for about 10 minutes before dropping. After performing the hack, I performed the test again = after 60 minutes on battery, my internet connection was still up! Yay! Success!

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