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Facility Maintenance Decisions

SIDEBAR: Backup Basics-Testing, Testing



Understanding applications can help managers ensure power system reliability.


By John Lutz   Power & Communication

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Understanding Backup Power, Generator ApplicationsPt. 2: Understanding Backup Power, UPS ModulesPt. 3: Understanding Backup Power, Effective TestingPt. 4: This Page
SIDEBAR: Backup Basics-Testing, TestingDeveloping a high level of confidence in an electrical infrastructure can lead to a stronger sense of system ownership and trust that it will respond as designed.

While a comprehensive list of recommended testing steps for generators and UPS systems in institutional and commercial facilities requires a major commitment of time and energy, basic testing of these essential systems can be beneficial.

For generator systems, minimum testing should include:

  • complete visual inspection of generator and auxiliary system components
  • full-load, transient-response testing with power quality analysis
  • startup timing and engine-ramp rate testing and full-load burn-in with infrared thermography
  • full warning and shutdown testing, locally and at the building management system or electrical power monitoring system
  • auxiliary system testing, including redundant starter testing
  • testing required by the National Fire Protection Agency or other local authorities.

For UPS systems, minimum testing should include:

  • complete visual inspection of components, including battery systems and maintenance-bypass components
  • full-load, transient-response testing while on inverter with power-quality monitoring powered by the utility and the generator
  • full-load burn with infrared thermography
  • rectifier walk-in timing and verification
  • complete battery discharge with battery monitoring
  • bypass transfer sequence and interlock testing
  • full alarm and status indication testing, locally and at the building management system or electrical power monitoring system
  • power-saving and efficiency-mode testing and failure response.

Specifying these tests can give managers a basic level of confidence in generators and UPS systems. And while comprehensive testing of these systems at the component and system level requires a greater commitment, managers and facilities should at least consider its benefits, which include increased energy efficiency. But even basic-level testing can help managers understand and trust system capabilities, and it can minimize risk and protect critical loads.


posted on 6/20/2017

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