HOW OLD ARE YOUR UPS BATTERIES?

We got a shock the other day—a very unpleasant one.  Our UPS crashed.  I guess it was that “Perfect Storm”.  The UPS detected an open cell on one battery during an automatic Battery Check. A brown out occurred on Utility right around the same time, and the remaining batteries failed to pick up the load.  The result is everything on the UPS including 4 servers, routers, firewalls, and 20 work stations went down.  To add insult to injury, the Server which holds all the work stations’ information failed.  It would not reboot.  Luckily we were able to copy the data over to a new server, but the process has been going on for 5 days now and we have not completely sorted it out.

What could we have done differently?  To our amazement the batteries that we swore were installed last year, were actually over 5 years old.  Some batteries were even older.  This contributed to the overall problem as the older batteries were pulling down the “newer” batteries.  Had we practiced what we preach and had our own UPS on the quarterly maintenance schedule we promote, we would have picked up the disaster that was brewing.

We took 22 batteries out of our UPS and installed 8 new ones.  Our run time didn’t change.  It remained at 129 minutes with our average load.  Having done this a year or more ago would have saved us a lot of grief and expense.

If you have not checked the age of your batteries within the last year, it is time to do so.  Batteries that are over 3 years old, or 5 years if you have Active Battery Management (Eaton ABM), don’t owe you a thing.  They are only a problem waiting to happen.  If your UPS is in a non-air conditioned room, you may not even get 3 or 4 years out of them.  Lead acid batteries lose half their life for every 10 degrees C (14’F) temperature rise.  So a battery that should live 4 years in a 77’ F room will only last 2 years in a 91’F room

Check the date that your batteries were installed.  Run a manual Battery Load Test and see what the condition of the batteries is.  A battery that passes load test means that it does not have a short and holds some power.  It does not mean it is necessarily reliable.  You need consider the age of the battery in the overall analysis of the UPS health.

If you are unsure of what to do, call Parts & Power today at 494-2830 and speak to Dan, Kelly or Tom.  We will schedule someone to stop by and check out your UPS. 

We have scheduled our own UPS maintenance now!

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About partsandpower

Parts & Power is the premier supplier of Marine and Industrial equipment and spare parts in the Caribbean.

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