Your UPS system is one of the most crucial components in your critical power infrastructure, and for your UPS, the batteries are really the “heart” of that system. Even though your UPS needs that heart, batteries are often neglected. We’ll go into more detail about each type of battery that can be used in a UPS system and the advantages and disadvantages for each type. It should be noted though, that regardless of the batteries you choose, all batteries decrease in their ability to store and deliver power over time. However, if you follow all guidelines for storage, maintenance and usage, eventually you will still have to replace UPS batteries on a schedule to get the best usage out of your UPS.
UPS maintenance category on the Quality Power Systems blog, information about how to take care of your UPS system.
Our fourth and final entry in our series on understanding field service reports looks at deciphering the results of thermal image scanning. The thermal image scan is important enough that QPS believes that every preventative maintenance check should have one performed. Thermal image scanning is one of the most reliable ways to predict impending UPS component failure, and if components, or the entire UPS, needs to be replaced.
Our third entry in our series on field service reports concentrates on understanding balancing UPS loads. Before we dive in, let’s start by defining what it means to balance UPS loads. The definition of balancing UPS loads means to distribute loads evenly across the total output of the UPS.
Balancing UPS loads is normally recommended in order to avoid overuse on any one phase of the UPS equipment. In an example with a 3-phase UPS, the UPS puts out a certain amount of amperage, which can be separated into thirds of the total kVA rating across the three phases. When properly executed, balancing UPS loads avoids overuse and increases the useful life of the UPS by maximizing its output. Continue reading “Understanding Field Service Reports Part 3: Balancing UPS Loads” »
In part 2 of our blog series on field service reports we will cover capacitors, what they do, and what to look for. The capacitor in a UPS is used to store an electric charge, as well as smoothing out and filtering voltage fluctuations. UPS systems vary significantly in design and technology, and as a result, the quantity and size of capacitors changes as well. In addition, because a capacitor replacement typically requires a shutdown of the UPS system for replacement, your UPS service provider likely will recommend and replace the cooling fans in the system at the same time. Both capacitors and fans are critical to keeping the UPS running, and both are just as susceptible to failure as the other components of a UPS. It is critical to understand how each component can be damaged, and what to look for in your field service report (FSR) regarding the health of your capacitors and fans. Continue reading “Understanding Field Service Reports Part 2: Capacitors and Fans” »
As much as 65% of all UPS back-up system power failures are battery related. That’s a staggering number, but is easier to understand when you consider all the potential issues that can affect UPS batteries. Power anomalies, overheating, improper charging or low electrolyte levels for certain types of batteries can all cause serious issues for the UPS.
The second battery on our “get to know you” list is the Wet Cell, or Flooded Cell battery. UPS Systems are used in a variety of applications and, as a result, may require a wide variety of run time requirements or discharge characteristics. The battery cell is comprised of a hard plastic enclosure, typically Polycarbonate or Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) Plastic, lead plates and an electrolyte that allows the flow of current. Continue reading “Getting to Know Your UPS Batteries II- Wet Cell Batteries” »
Now that we have a better idea of our UPS battery options from our previous article, we can take a look at these options individually in more depth. We will start with the most popular option currently, the VRLA UPS battery.
VRLA, or Valve Regulated Lead Acid UPS batteries, are also sometimes called “maintenance free” batteries. This term is a misnomer, as VRLA batteries still require cleaning and regular functional testing. The term “maintenance free” comes from the fact that you are not able to add fluid to the battery. The term “valve regulated “means these batteries limit the inflow and outflow of gas to the cell.
In a standard UPS configuration, VRLA batteries are typically set up in internal or external strings that can range from 1 to 40 batteries, depending on the application they are being used for. You may also see either single or multiple strings running in parallel to each other.
VRLA batteries are the most popular UPS battery type currently. Why the popularity? There are four easy reasons: Continue reading “Getting to Know Your UPS Batteries: VRLA” »
We previously discussed what you should look for when reviewing a proper service contract for emergency back-up power systems maintenance. When you hire a qualified firm to perform maintenance inspections on your equipment, you need to have total confidence in that firm’s level of knowledge and level of execution of inspection and testing. But how do you know what is most important to look for when that firm shows up at your office, ready to perform maintenance? We will briefly discuss what you should be looking for, and also what to watch out for with these inspections. Please be aware that this is an abbreviated list and should not be considered comprehensive.
You are feeling good about your negotiations with your new service provider. The discussions about your equipment have been excellent, and your rep really seems to understand your needs. You have a service contract in hand and are ready to sign.
Before you put pen to paper sealing the deal, it is very important to review your service contract carefully before moving ahead. While you think you know what your costs will be for services, you need to beware of potential “hidden costs” that can trip you up and cause headaches in the future. Here are some things to look out for when you are doing that review: Continue reading “The Hidden Costs of Your Service Provider” »
Many of us who deal with emergency back-up power are often asked to manage a number of complicated systems that require specific attention to parts, efficiency and power quality. It’s a lot to deal with, and it always helps to have some guidance for understanding the basics of these systems. Here are four main things that you need to understand about UPS systems as an overview.