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Planning for Power

uninterruptible power supply, battery maintenance

This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is maintaining an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS.

For an organization to obtain the maximum benefit from a UPS investment, maintenance and engineering managers must select an appropriate system for a facility's critical load and then maintain it to ensure it’s in proper operating condition.

First, consider battery maintenance. An effective battery maintenance program must include regular inspections, adjustments and testing of UPS batteries, with thorough records of all readings.

Only trained personnel should perform maintenance on UPS batteries, which generate voltages that are dangerous and can be lethal. Battery racks and cabinets often provide little working space for connecting probes or tightening bolts, and unintentional contacts easily can happen. Sealed UPS batteries look similar to the more familiar and benign car batteries, which can make the danger easy to overlook.

Now let’s go beyond batteries. UPS modules are designed to provide maximum power in minimum footprint; consequently, maintenance spaces are generally cramped. UPS design varies considerably among manufacturers, and specialized knowledge is necessary to identify inspection and maintenance points within the unit.

Routine UPS maintenance consists of a variety of inspections, measurements, calibrations and preventive actions. Selecting a UPS and developing an effective maintenance program is a complex endeavor that requires detailed analysis, specific knowledge of available systems and equipment requirements, and a thorough understanding of facility goals and constraints.

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