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UPS battery query

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by CurlyWhirly, 25 Feb 2006.

  1. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    I assume that the UPS battery only has a life of a few years and if so would turning the UPS off at PC shutdown help to prolong the life of the battery?

    Also when the UPS is switched off then I assume that the PC is no longer protected against power surges and brownouts?

    I have an APC UPS by the way.
     
  2. G00SE

    Gangster

    Joined: 24 Feb 2003

    Posts: 338

    Location: Doncaster

    try to find out the type of battery it uses. (e.g. Lead acid.) and that way it will be easier to find information :)
     
  3. Dureth

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 14 Mar 2005

    Posts: 2,198

    The protection against surges will be present even when its turned off, as long as it is still between the PC and the wall socket.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. just keep using it until it fails then get a new one.
     
  4. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,950

    Location: England

    Lithium based ones can last upto 15 years.
     
  5. Mole

    Hitman

    Joined: 31 Oct 2002

    Posts: 613

    It is almost certainly sealed lead acid, in which case it will last in the order of 3 to 5 years of standby use, maybe more. There is very little difference between leaving it on at the wall or switching it off, as far as I am aware.

    The diagnostics part of the management software should be able to tell you if the battery is beginning to wear out, by running a self-test (this briefly runs the system off the battery by disconnecting the mains for a short period).

    Martin
     
  6. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    According to a Google search it is a sealed lead acid battery:


    [​IMG]




    In that case I am still protected when the UPS is switched off as that is how my setup is.


    Well the only reason why I started this thread is because on another OCUK thread that I read a few days ago, a few members commented that their UPS exploded (well made a loud bang anyway) as the battery somehow shorted itself out.
    I don't fancy that happening to mine :eek:
     
  7. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    Well the UPS is over 2 years old so it is about time I thought about getting a replacement but as this is the first UPS I have ever had, I am unsure on how to get a replacement battery :confused:

    I assume you have to order it online and you can't simply walk into a place where they would stock them?
    On second thoughts, as I only paid around £50 for the UPS itself, it may work out cheaper to simply buy another UPS when the time comes for it to be replaced?


    Unfortunately I couldn't get the software to work with my PC, I think it was called PowerChute and came on an installation CD.
    I e-mailed APC and they said to use XP's UPS feature in the Power Options:

    [​IMG]


    Unfortunately the battery condition text is greyed out so I assume that there is no way for XP to monitor the battery without using APC's custom software?
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2006
  8. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,950

    Location: England

    I dont think they sell batteries for them.
     
  9. G00SE

    Gangster

    Joined: 24 Feb 2003

    Posts: 338

    Location: Doncaster

    lead acid batteries are what you find in cars. if it should short out then, Yes, It will bang!
    but as lead acid batteries get old, all that happens is the charge they hold diminishes. so no immediate danger really! if you wanna make it last a bit longer, occasianally discharge the battery by using the UPS. then allow it to recharge (every 3 months or so i reckon. but someone else may know better)
     
  10. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    This makes sense as it would allow the battery to be recharged fully as I assume that in normal use (i.e. no power cut), the battery isn't really getting a workout :confused:

    I will try this out though. Thanks :)
     
  11. Mole

    Hitman

    Joined: 31 Oct 2002

    Posts: 613

    Of course they sell batteries for them. Any standby use sealed lead acid (SLA) maintenance-free battery of the correct specification (size, position of terminals, voltage and amp-hour rating) will do.

    It is my understanding that sealed lead acid batteries built for so called "standby" use (such as in UPS's) don't really like being discharged, particularly not very much, and certainly not at a high discharge rate (such as when running your PC during a power cut). They are perfectly happy to sit there being constantly trickle charged at moderate voltage (13.7V for a 12V battery if I remember correctly) and being used only occasionally for not very long periods (10% discharge or so). These batteries last years (3-5 at least) just on standby with no real use or discharge, but will still be prepared for use after this period if needed.

    There are also SLA batteries built for "cyclic" use (such as in electric wheelchairs) that are built to withstand being deep discharged more often at high load. However, their life is probably measured in months, not years.

    As far as I know, SLA batteries do not like deep discharges, so if you do test the UPS, don't take it too low, just a couple of minutes to check it is still working.

    Martin
     
  12. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    Thanks for your feedback :)

    I haven't yet got round to testing the UPS apart from the usual test button method and everything appears to be working okay.

    The only way I know of testing the UPS out in a real life situation is to turn it off in the wall socket but I don't like the thought of doing this to be honest :eek:

    From what you say in your quote above, I don't need to discharge the battery in the first place so I won't do it!
     
  13. Mole

    Hitman

    Joined: 31 Oct 2002

    Posts: 613

    I don't mean to scare you! It isn't all that bad to run them down! It just doesn't want to be done too often.

    Switching off the AC is the only way to really test it (although the test button actually does this internally). To be honest, whilst it isn't necessary, a couple of minute long test is probably a good idea once in a while for peace of mind. Also, as you don't have the full monitoring software installed it is the only real way you'll know that it will still run for more than a few seconds (though I would hope the test button would report problems sooner than this!).

    Martin
     
  14. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    I just tried it out, I turned the UPS off in the wall socket for a couple of minutes and everything continued to work.

    By the way, the only reason why I thought about buying a UPS was a few years ago I was in the middle of restoring a Drive Image 7 backup and within a few minutes of the operation completing, we had a power cut :eek:

    It was my lucky 'escape' that made me realise how lucky I really was!
    The power cut only lasted a few minutes but I assume it could have corrupted both my Windows hard drive and the external backup drive that I was restoring from?
    Anyway, I wasn't going to risk it so I bought a UPS and when this one needs replacing, I will go ahead with the purchase of a replacement.
     
  15. Noto

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2002

    Posts: 1,892

    this post has made me think of getting a UPS now.

    /Cry everytime i log into this forum my shopping list gets bigger :D
     
  16. CurlyWhirly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 May 2003

    Posts: 1,429

    Location: UK

    Well you haven't got to spend a lot of money on one, mine is only a basic model which I picked up for around £50 but it does the job okay.


    I know the feeling :o