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The best customer is an informed customer. Below is an overview of batteries and the various factors that can help you prolong your batteries life.
UPS manufacturers recommend replacing UPS batteries every 3-5 years. But your UPS batteries could have a much shorter life span if you don’t follow the recommended settings. The environment in which you place your UPS and batteries plays the greatest role in determining whether you will get full use of your batteries. Manufacturers recommend placing your UPS and batteries in a temperature controlled environment, avoiding areas near windows or areas where moisture, dust or corrosive fumes could affect the environment. A UPS and its corresponding batteries come with specific requirements for the tolerated temperature and humidity the equipment could be stored in. It is critical to follow these requirements.
The rated capacity of your UPS batteries is dependent on how closely you follow the specified conditions. UPS batteries are specified to have an ambient temperature of 77°F. By keeping your batteries and UPS in an area below the recommended ambient temperature, you will maximize the life and performance of your UPS and batteries. Your UPS and batteries will still operate above the 77°F mark, but it will come at a cost. According to Schneider Electric, for every 15°F above the ambient temperature, battery life will be reduced by 50%. Clearly, it is critical to keep your UPS and battery system in guidance with the specified ambient temperature.
Knowing the charge cycle of your batteries helps predict the life span of your batteries. Each time utility power is lost, the UPS switches to the batteries to power the load. When utility power is restored, the batteries will begin recharging. Batteries can only go through so many of these recharge and discharge cycles before they are no longer usable and need to be replaced. When batteries are first installed, they will have a rated capacity of 100%, but each recharge and discharge cycle will slowly diminish the capacity of the batteries. The duration of the discharge cycle plays a major role in the life span of batteries. Batteries also have an end voltage and if the batteries are discharged below the end voltage, they are usually unrecoverable and need to be replaced. A battery is considered to be at the end of its life span, when it can no longer provide 80% of its rated capacity. At this point, the deterioration of the batteries performance intensifies. Swapping your battery out with a new one before reaching this point is critical. Once the battery loses 20% of its rated capacity, the performance of the UPS is put at risk.
TransPower Testing provides spare UPS batteries for our customers to keep on site in case a battery needs to be replaced urgently. We also provide a charging kit for our customers to keep their batteries charged and healthy in case they need to be put in use. Batteries that are not stored in some charging mechanism, will have shorter life cycles. Lead acid UPS batteries will discharge on their own and a battery that is stored without any charging will permanently lose its capacity as soon as 18 months. Spare batteries that have no way of being charged, are recommended to be stored in an environment 50°F or less to delay the degradation cycle of the battery. Storing batteries beyond 6 months without any charging mechanism is questionable and not recommended.
You might think that unlike wet-cell batteries, your lead-acid batteries don’t need to be maintained, but lead acid batteries still need to be consistently maintained and monitored closely. Sometimes batteries just go bad (even new ones) and it isn’t uncommon to have one battery out of hundreds that doesn’t perform like the others. Using a calibrated battery tester, one can test for voltage and the internal resistance of the battery. These values provide valuable insight on the individual health of each battery. Besides testing the batteries, its important to conduct consistent visual inspections of the connection leads and terminals for signs of corrosion. Also, the leads that connect the batteries to one another must be fully tightened. Loose connections can generate excessive heat at the terminals which will damage the batteries. An infrared camera can be used to check for any hot spots caused by loose connections. A calibrated torque wrench should be used to tighten and verify the tightness of bolted connections to each battery.