Data Centre Management (DCM): Capacitor Care And UPS Overhauls

We talk about capacitor care and how UPS overhauls can breathe new life into your power protection system.

Capacitors are something of an overlooked part of an uninterruptible power supply. But they play a vital role smoothing, filtering, and storing electricity.

Each UPS system contains dozens of capacitors in the AC input, AC output and DC elements, all working together. But like any other component, they can’t push back against Father Time – they degrade as they’re used.

The electrolyte, paper, and aluminium foil that makes up a capacitor deteriorates physically and chemically.

Our article in Data Centre Management (DCM) magazine goes on to explain some of the tell-tale signs a service engineer might spot during a PMV that demonstrate a capacitor is close to failure.

These include fluid leaks, deformation, or scorched wires connected to the component.

If only one or two capacitors in a bank fail, that puts greater stress on the others. Not only does this reduce effectiveness and performance, it can damage battery strings, and in the worst-case scenario a serious failure will cause the UPS to transfer to bypass.

While capacitors can last for up to 10 years of service life, general best practice suggests swapping them out every 4-8 years. This’ll lessen the likelihood of a severe failure.

Option Of UPS Overhauls

It often makes sense to combine replacing capacitors by swapping out fans at the same time.

Known as a UPS overhaul, this is a great way to squeeze a little extra lifespan out of your units. It puts of the need for a more expensive full replacement.

As our piece explains, the new capacitors and fans perform at a higher level than the aged ones replaced. This reduces the risk of fault and it also helps your UPS run more efficiently.

In conclusion, UPS overhauls gives data centre operators added insurance that their UPS will perform when needed whilst also keeping a close grip on the total cost of ownership (TCO).