Choosing the Right Batteries for Your UPS / Uninterruptible Power Supply System to power your Business continuity

If you own a business or service practice, an uninterruptible power supply also known as a UPS system is essential to prevent downtime and data loss, especially considering ESKOM’s unstable power grid.

UPS units are available in several different technologies, the most simple and cheapest technology being an off line UPS which is designed for a small internal battery like a 7 ampere hour or 9 AH, which caters for very short run times to allow the load to be shut down when the mains supply fails. This type of unit is usually off and has a switching time of several milliseconds when the mains fails until it takes load but it is suitable for general purpose computers and DC power supplies.

The next step up in technology and price is the line interactive technology where the UPS inverter is on, but it doesn’t supply the load all the time. The inverter follows the mains supply and when mains fails it merely takes over so the switch over time is much faster than offline units. These systems usually incorporate a buck/boost system to compensate for mains variations without having to go onto the battery. This technology UPS units are usually available form 1000 VA but should be avoided above 3000 VA.

These two UPS designs will normally battle to operate when being supplied by a generator and are not really suitable for long run applications as they are fitted with a small rectifier to charge small batteries and an inverter that cannot run at its power rating continuously without overheating.

The next step up in UPS technology and of course price is the most proven and best of the lot, on line double conversion UPS. This type of UPS rectifies the mains supply and charges the battery while at the same time supplying the inverter with DC power. The inverter in turn converts the DC power to clean Sinewave AC power for the critical connected loads. Such systems provide the most reliability and load support and should be supplied along with a manual bypass above 3 kVA as then they must be hard wired and are not plug and play.

The technology of the UPS selected and its ability to recharge a battery with the limitation being on how many amps charge current the rectifier can supply will determine the type, make and back up time of the battery that it can be paired with.
Whether you are in the banking or commercial sector, have a computer room or data centre that can’t experience downtime, or need your emergency lighting or security systems up and running all the time, you will be in the market for a UPS. In addition, if you are in the industrial, medical, telecoms, or educational field, or you have a home and small office that need to be protected and powered, a UPS is the way to go.

However, when it comes to choosing the right batteries for your UPS, the options can be quite overwhelming. Let us simplify this process for you by laying out the best options available on the market as well as their recyclability which is important in today’s polluted world and the efforts to lower carbon footprints and pollution levels of earth.

When choosing a battery it is important to choose the technology product that will work properly within the UPS design and recharge capabilities, you should consider the UPS’s power capacity, output waveform, surge protection ability, and Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR). Different types of batteries are suitable for different UPS systems, such as lead-acid, lithium-ion, Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFePhO4 and the emerging nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries.

Lead-acid batteries are a proven technology over many decades with huge improvement in performance, cycling ability, high discharge rate and storage capacity within a small footprint but are being steadily outpaced by newer technologies which are much higher in cost and less proven in general as they have not been around for more than about 10 years or so in high ampere hour or AH values that are used in UPS systems. Lithium based batteries are becoming more popular due to their lighter weight, long life cycle, and high energy density but are prone to catching fire and are not recyclable in South Africa.

Another emerging contender is Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) technology. NiZn batteries deliver higher power density, which translates to a smaller size and weight for the same power output. This makes them ideal for applications requiring high discharge rates and quick recharging while maintaining thermal stability – crucial for mission-critical facility uptime. This technology is however brand new and unproven as yet with the same recyclability problems in Africa

In fact, NiZn batteries can have up to twice the power density of lead-acid batteries. Furthermore, NiZn batteries demonstrate more reliable performance with their alkaline chemistry that doesn’t sulfate over time. They also operate over a wider temperature range, tolerating high heat environments without compromising performance or voiding the warranty.

When you have identified the type of battery technology, consider the specific models. Riello UPS battery replacements or even APC BR1500G, for instance, are widely recommended UPS battery replacement packs due to its high capacity, built-in surge protection, and AVR. The brand AROS is also a flagship of RIELLO UPS, known for reliable power solutions.

Regardless of which type or model you choose, your decision should be based on your power requirements, the criticality of the equipment connected, and your business’s tolerance for downtime. A UPS buys you the time you need to shut your data center and IT load down safely, in a controlled manner and prevent system crashes and data loss, or to switch to an alternative power supply like a diesel generator for ongoing power uptime and prevent downtime.

In summary
When choosing a battery for a UPS system, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of the system, including the required runtime, load, and environmental conditions. For this reason, we recommend that you speak to a UPS specialist like Standby Systems. We have a highly skilled technical team available to answer all your UPS and battery questions. Visit Standby Systems’ website or contact us at 011 794 2541 or 011 794 3406 or WhatsApp 082 450 2361.
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