UPS Battery Service
UPS battery service is a vital part of maintaining your critical power system. It can reduce downtime and improve uptime, save money, and increase safety standards.
A typical UPS battery set has a 5-year lifespan, but it will decline much faster without regular preventative maintenance and monitoring. A proactive approach will extend the life of your UPS batteries and allow you to avoid costly downtime.
Most UPSs use batteries for power storage, which is why it’s important to keep them in good condition. UPS battery service professionals can inspect and test your backup power system for damage. They can also ensure the ambient temperature of the cabinet and individual batteries is appropriate to extend their lifespans. They can also check critical components such as capacitors to prevent internal degradation.
Batteries degrade over time, even when all guidelines for storage, use and maintenance are followed. This can lead to reduced capacity, premature failure and potentially hazardous situations involving your facility or employees. UPS batteries that are prone to thermal runaway or fire can be replaced during preventative maintenance inspections. This may involve removing the existing batteries and installing new ones, installing new interconnects, cleaning and verifying the torque of the terminal connections.
Preventative maintenance services can also include visual inspections of the battery storage area for UPS battery service signs of damage such as leaks, swelling, corrosion and other issues that can shorten battery life. The technician can also perform a manual test on the batteries to determine their remaining capacity by measuring their Midtronics readings and comparing them to the OEM allowable specifications.
Many battery manufacturers require that their products be professionally maintained in order to validate warranty claims. A qualified UPS battery service provider can provide this support as well, including submitting the internal resistance measurements and other data needed by the manufacturer.
UPS battery maintenance is a large part of the equation when it comes to maximizing your UPS runtime. But in many cases, small installation and commissioning errors can have a major impact on battery performance over time, increasing the risk of an unexpected failure and costly downtime.
While a battery testing service and regular preventative maintenance is a must, many clients also opt for a real-time UPS battery monitoring system like Eaton’s FirstLine BMS battery management device. This easy-to-use UPS battery monitoring system mounts to the top of any UPS cabinet and monitors each individual battery at the “cell level” so that potential issues are isolated and repaired before they lead to a catastrophic failure such as thermal runaway.
This UPS battery monitoring system can compare each battery’s internal resistance against the OEM allowable specifications to predict and alert the client of existing or potential battery failure trends. In addition, the system can monitor battery string voltages, internal resistance, temperature, and more to provide a continuous snapshot of each battery’s state of health.
The result is a much more proactive approach to battery maintenance that can drastically reduce your UPS battery replacement costs and downtime. Aside from providing proactive warnings of impending battery failure, this type of UPS battery service can also provide valuable insights that will help you plan for future capital expenditures and avoid unwelcome surprises in the future.
Symptoms of Battery Failure
Getting stranded with a dead battery in the middle of nowhere is inconvenient, but it could be very dangerous. Thankfully, batteries often give us warning signs that they are UPS battery service nearing their end of life and need to be replaced. UPS batteries are no different. A UPS field service technician can look for several telltale signs that a battery is on the verge of failing during a preventative maintenance inspection.
One of the first signs that a UPS battery is reaching the end of its useful life is when it can no longer supply at least 80% of its rated capacity in ampere hours. When a battery reaches this point, the aging process rapidly accelerates and it should be replaced.
Another way to measure a UPS battery’s health is by performing a run-time test. The result of this test will show you how long a battery can remain operational in the event of a power outage. Typically, a battery that is nearing the end of its life can provide about three to four minutes of run-time at full load.
It is also important to keep in mind that the standard life of a valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) battery that does not require maintenance is three to five years, while lithium ion and wet cell batteries can last 10 years or more. A single battery failure can reduce the autonomy of a UPS and leave your critical equipment at risk.
UPS batteries are the heart of any uninterruptible power system. They save energy that is then released in the event of a power failure, preventing data loss and hardware problems. They also provide line conditioning, ensuring that computers and servers receive clean, pure power no matter the quality of commercial power in your building.
Unfortunately, no battery lasts forever, and at some point you will need to replace your UPS batteries. The key is to proactively replace them before they fail, which can prevent expensive downtime and lost data. The best way to do this is to schedule regular UPS battery maintenance visits with your service provider, who can compare the battery Midtronics readings with the manufacturer’s allowable specs to help you determine the right time to replace the batteries.
Your service technician will also monitor the performance of your battery-based UPS system to identify any weak cells or failures. This can be done using any monitoring system that your UPS includes, or by installing an additional third-party UPS battery monitor that can measure the internal resistance of each cell and alert you to potential problems.
As part of any maintenance visit, your technician will inspect the interconnects between the UPS and the batteries to ensure that they are secure and free from corrosion or damage. They will also check that the batteries are properly sized for your UPS system, which is important in terms of maintaining uptime. The UPS will also be tested and reset after the service visit, ensuring that it is ready to deliver when you need it.