Batteries are the essential component of any Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), providing an independent source for switchgear control, engine generator starting, signal and communications systems, laboratory power, emergency lighting, and other critical applications. Yet for many sites the battery room is a forgotten chamber.
The true measure of the battery’s condition is how it performs under load. Industry standards recommend the replacement of a battery when it reaches 80% of its rated capacity. Undercharged batteries will not perform as expected — when they are needed. And the overcharging of batteries can result in the breaking down of the electrolyte into gases, that if allowed to accumulate may result in an explosive mixture.
The environment around the batteries is what really dictates their life. Batteries cannot operate in an environment that is too hot or too cold as this compromises the ability to store and dissipate energy. Therefore the temperature recommendation from a manufacturer should strictly be followed. If the effectiveness of one battery in the UPS battery stream is compromised, this presents a great risk in a downtime.
Load testing is the only accepted way to determine where the battery is on the capacity vs. time curve for the particular cell or unit. Weak or bad cells can then be identified and replaced.
Periodic battery maintenance is essential to reliability. The term "maintenance free" battery is a misnomer these batteries still require cleaning and regular functional testing. Quarterly, semi- annual and bi-annual maintenance should be performed including cleaning and tightening of connection, monitoring room temperature, and measuring voltages, resistance and conductance.
Battery systems present a risk of electrical shock; therefore, the following precautions should be used when maintaining battery banks:
For assurances of battery reliability it is crucial that periodic maintenance be performed. Routine inspections and maintenance help determine the gradual degradation of the system capacity as well as detect individual battery abnormalities that may impact reliability.
When was the last time your batteries were tested? BET offers Preventative Maintenance Services including:
Is your site NFPA 2021 compliant? Is your staff "qualified" or "unqualified" to work on electrical equipment?
Burlington Electrical Testing conducts onsite Arc Flash Hazard Awareness training which provides an understanding of the federal laws (OSHA), potential dangers, as well as the accepted safety practices when personnel are to be exposed to electrical hazards.
This includes defining an arc flash and its effects on the human body, complying with Arc Flash labeling, and the selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The Arc Flash Hazard Awareness class is to be part of your overall electrical safety program; therefore, your staff will require a working knowledge of the electrical equipment at their facility, along with the tools, test equipment and available PPE.
The one day class is presented by an instructor certified by NFPA, and the NJACT / NECA to instruct Electrical Safety Related Work Practices based on NFPA70E 2018. Curriculum follows the accompanying Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices text modules and will focus on:
1. Electrical Safety Culture
2. Electrical Hazard Awareness
3. OSHA and NFPA 70E concepts
4. Electrical Safety Program
5. The Control of Hazardous Energy
6. Arc Flash Hazard Analysis
7. Personal Protective Equipment
8. Existing Electrical Equipment
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Burlington Electrical Testing is a testing and verification firm with more than 35 years of experience in electrical maintenance testing, acceptance testing, electrical certification, and engineering evaluations of electrical distribution equipment.