UPS systems are critical pieces of infrastructure. They provide round the clock autonomous vigilance against power failure, and are your first line of defence organist outages. Unknown to most UPS systems are in constant operation, with online units continuously converting and cleaning incoming electrical power. As you could imagine this eventually takes a toll on even the most robust UPS systems and its only a matter of time before they will cease to operate.
Some key points to note, due to their critical nature UPS will often fail “open circuit” style, meaning they have broken but will continue to provide power to your connected equipment. The only time you will realise something is wrong is when you have a blackout and they don’t hold up the load - and by then it’s too late. They’re not trying to be ingenuous simply trying to help.
The issue is that typically owners have no idea of what’s going on. The best way to prevent against this is to have a 24/7 electronic monitoring service enabled that will notify (text / email) somebody that the UPS is in distress. Read how to equip your UPS simply and cheaply here. To keep your UPS in trouble free condition and avoid failures all together invest in a comprehensive maintenance plan.
Don’t be concerned, maintenance doesn’t have to cost the earth in most cases will be significantly cheaper than repairing or replacing your UPS if it fails. A well maintained UPS is much more likely to not experience a hardware failure than one that is.The most important thing is to ensure your UPS is ready and able to provide backup power when you need it most - in a blackout.
At the heart of all UPS are a heap of batteries. The vast majority are sealed lead acid batteries. The type and configuration of batteries in each UPS varies greatly depending on the size.
The more sophisticated UPS systems (online UPS) typically use fans to assist in cooling power electronics. These fans have a MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) which means they will inevitably fail.
Harder to diagnose capacitor failures can cause a lot of trouble, and can also inadvertently degrade the UPS batteries. In large UPS they are usually routinely replaced as part of a comprehensive maintenance program.
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