Proper maintenance of a UPS system to guarantee its durability is not difficult but requires some simple procedures to be performed regularly. White Paper 210 from Schneider Electric describes some of the steps that can be taken to ensure a UPS operates effectively and reliably across its specified lifetime.
Reliability is the most important feature of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). If it is called upon to provide emergency power in the case of a mains outage, it is vital that it performs reliably and to specification.
Maintenance of a UPS system is essential if users are to have confidence that it will perform reliably when required. Manufacturers provide estimates of the safe working lifetime of a UPS, and increasingly build in self-monitoring and auto-notification features to alert users to any potential malfunction, but nevertheless a proactive, systematic maintenance and inspection schedule helps to safeguard against vital components failing before their time.
A new white paper from Schneider Electric, Number 210 ‘Single Phase UPS Management, Maintenance and Lifecycle’, provides a comprehensive guide to prolonging the lifetime of a UPS. Far more than simply checking that the batteries at the heart of a UPS are functioning properly, a proper maintenance and inspection policy will check all essential components and take steps to ensure that they are not stressed any more than necessary.
Author Justin Solis points out an optimal operating environment helps prolong the lifetime of vital components. The life expectancy of Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries can be shortened if kept in high-temperature environments or if they are subjected to more charge-discharge cycles than necessary. Fans’ longevity is decreased if they are called upon to operate more often than necessary; maintaining a benign ambient temperature is advisable.
Electrolytic capacitors are also affected by temperature rises; for every 10C decrease in operating temperature, the lifetime of a capacitor is doubled.
The operating life of Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs), whose purpose is to protect a UPS against power surges, decreases the more often they are subjected to voltage spikes; monitoring of the frequency of such events and taking steps to reduce their number is recommended. Life expectancy of relays also decreases if they are called into action more often than necessary. Under normal circumstances, it is unlikely a UPS will cycle enough times to cause a relay failure, however incorrect or malfunctioning firmware setup could result in overuse, and an eventual failure.
The paper also discusses the likely risks associated with different UPS topologies including Line-Interactive and Double-Conversion online systems and recommends steps to take in each case to prolong operating life and guarantee smooth and reliable operation of systems if they are called into action.
Available for free download via www.schneider-electric.com/whitepapers, White Paper 210 ‘Single Phase UPS Management, Maintenance and Lifecycle’, can be accessed directly by clicking the link. For more details about please visit the company’s website.