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Everything you need to know about UPS batteries in South Africa

UPS batteries, or Uninterruptible Power Supply batteries, are critical components of any power backup system. They ensure that power is supplied to essential devices during power outages, which can prevent data loss and protect critical infrastructure. In South Africa, where power outages are common, UPS batteries are even more important. In this blog, we will explore what a UPS battery is, how to maintain it, why it’s important to maintain it, the best battery for a UPS, and whether a car battery can be used in a UPS.

What is a UPS battery?

A UPS battery is a backup power source that provides temporary power during a power outage. UPS batteries are used to power essential devices, such as computers, servers, medical equipment, and telecommunications equipment, that cannot afford to lose power. A UPS battery is typically used in conjunction with a UPS system, which is a device that provides power conditioning, surge protection, and voltage regulation. 

UPS batteries come in various sizes and configurations, and they can be installed in a variety of settings, including data centers, offices, medical suites, production lines, and retail stores, to name a few. 

How to maintain a UPS battery

Maintaining a UPS battery is essential to ensure it is always ready to provide backup power when needed. Below are some tips on how to maintain a UPS battery:

1. Regularly check the battery status

It’s important to check the battery status regularly to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. Most UPS systems come with monitoring software that can be used to check the battery status.

2. Keep the battery clean 

A dirty environment can cause the UPS system to overheat, which can damage the battery. It’s essential to keep the battery clean to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating on the battery and blocking the valve in a VRLA battery which can cause it to explode.

3. Perform regular battery tests 

Regular battery tests can help identify any issues with the battery before they become more severe. UPS systems often come with built-in battery tests, or you can use a battery testing device to measure internal impedance. An increased impedance measurement is a good indication that a battery is ageing and starting to fail due to use age

4. Replace the battery when needed 

UPS batteries are a consumable item. They have a limited service-life expectancy and will need replacement from time to time. It’s important to replace the battery when it’s no longer functioning correctly to ensure that the UPS system can provide reliable backup power.

Why is it important to maintain a battery?

Maintaining a UPS battery is essential to ensure that it can provide reliable backup power when needed. Failure to maintain the battery can result in the battery not functioning correctly, which can lead to UPS failure or inverter loads been dropped when the power fails. If your UPS or its battery fails, it can lead to data loss and damage to critical infrastructure. By maintaining the battery, you can identify any issues early on and try to prevent more severe problems from occurring. Regular maintenance also extends the battery’s lifespan, which can save you money in the long run.

What is the best battery for a UPS?

The best battery for a UPS depends on the specific needs of the UPS system. There are various types of batteries available, including lead-acid, lithium-ion, and nickel-cadmium batteries, to name just a few. The most commonly used UPS battery is a high rate sealed valve regulated lead acid or VRLA using absorbed glass matt AGM technology. Each battery technology has its own individual advantages and disadvantages.

Lead-acid batteries are the most commonly used battery technology used in UPS system applications. They are affordable and reliable, making them an excellent choice for many applications. However, lead-acid batteries require regular maintenance and have a limited lifespan of 3 up to 15 years, but generally are not high cycling products and will depending on how deep they are discharged each time only last between 50 and 500 discharges until they need replacement. However a lead carbon battery will last between 2000 up to 5000 discharges

Lithium-ion and Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries  are becoming increasingly popular in UPS systems due to their high energy density and long lifespan. They are also maintenance-free, making them an excellent choice for applications where maintenance is challenging. They do come with a very high initial cost and require com-lex built in battery management systems or they will catch fire.

Nickel-cadmium batteries are also an option, but they are less common than lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. They are more expensive but have a longer lifespan and can withstand more extreme temperatures than a lead acid battery but they are very expensive and not readily available.

Can I use a car battery in a UPS?

Using a car battery or semi sealed battery in a UPS system is not recommended. While a car battery may seem like a convenient and inexpensive solution, it is not designed for use in a UPS system. Car batteries are designed to provide short bursts of high current to start a vehicle, while UPS batteries are designed to provide a continuous flow of power for an extended period of up to 30 or 60 minutes.

Car batteries are also not designed to withstand deep discharges, which can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan. In addition, car batteries may not be compatible with the charging system of a UPS, which can lead to overcharging or undercharging of the battery, which can cause it to fail. It’s always best to use a battery that is specifically designed for use in a UPS system to ensure reliable backup power.

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.  View our batteries here.

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