Protecting against UPS battery failure

Your UPS systems exist to prevent loss due to unexpected power fluctuation or loss. As with any other emergency system, you need to ensure they are working as they should.

Protecting against UPS battery failure

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Again, like most other systems, UPS systems can develop issues over time, usually related to battery life and capacity. These can occur when systems are operating at incorrect temperatures, the batteries have developed a ‘memory’ for a lower level of charge, or the batteries or some other part of the system have developed some sort of fault.

How can you ensure that your UPS system is operating properly, and how can you keep it at peak performance to avoid any nasty surprises when a crisis strikes?

Ensure correct operating temperatures

Most standard batteries have an extremely narrow temperature window in which they operate properly, outside of which their performance will be reduced and they could even suffer some damage. Typically, the correct operating window is between 19°C and 22°C.

If your UPS is otherwise operating correctly but is outside the ideal operating window, you can consider replacing the batteries with some other types from Eaton UPS specialists such as Nickel-cadmium and gel batteries are available for UPS systems, both of which can safely operate within a much greater temperature range.

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Be aware of battery memory

Battery memory, also known as the memory effect or voltage depression, is a phenomenon that occurs when rechargeable batteries are partially discharged and then recharged. They begin to ‘remember’ the partial discharge level as being the ‘empty’ level, thereby reducing their capacity over time.

There is no way to avoid or mitigate battery memory – it is simply something that will build up over time in any rechargeable battery and reduce the overall capacity, potentially below the point of being usable over a long period.

Test and replace UPS batteries regularly

In general, the best way to ensure a long functional life for your UPS system is to test regularly and look for signs of overheating or severe capacity loss from battery memory.

Conduct impedance testing to determine the actual system capacity, and replace batteries aggressively. The advertised lifespan of batteries is in optimal conditions, with partial discharges or bad temperature having the potential to seriously reduce this period. Pay attention to testing results when looking to replace batteries.

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