Data Centre Review (DCR): Get The Best Out Of Your UPS Batteries

Sharing some top tips to get the most out of your UPS batteries and reduce the risk of premature failure.

UPS batteries are the beating heart of any uninterruptible power supply, storing the vital energy that kicks in if there’s an issue with the mains electricity.

But up to 80% of UPS failures are attributed to problems with the batteries. And if the battery system doesn’t work when required, the UPS itself is practically useless.

For the first 2022 edition of Data Centre Review (DCR) magazine, we share some advice for operators on how to maximise the lifespan of their critical UPS batteries.

Our article begins with an explanation of battery design life and how it differs to the actual service life. It explains why it’s best practice to swap out 10-year design life UPS batteries in year 7 or 8.

Next up are the factors that can reduce a UPS battery’s lifespan, such as depth and frequency of discharge, operating voltage, ripple current, and poor initial alignment of the separators.

Of course, the biggest influence on battery service life is temperature. It’s a well-known fact that for every 10oC above the recommended operating temperature of 20-25oC, VRLA batteries’ service life will halve.

Top Battery Testing Tips

The article goes on to outline the importance of battery monitoring, maintenance, and testing as the holy trinity of maximising UPS battery lifespan.

Note that most data centre UPS systems will probably incorporate sophisticated battery care systems. But there’s still a need for regular physical inspections and more in-depth maintenance and testing.

We explain some of the most proven types of battery testing, from non-intrusive impedance testing through to using load banks to test the blocks at full and partial loads.