Despite the frantic rush of new technologies, some things really don't change much over the years. Batteries are one example of this. Even with all our advances in electrical engineering, the rechargeable batteries in your Uninterruptible Power Supply are still using the same basic chemical processes as batteries a hundred years ago. So, one of these days, the battery in your UPS system is going to die. In most modern UPS systems, this is indicated with a loud beeping sound. If your battery is beeping, it's already long past time to replace it. The beeping battery your hear is already unreliable.
In fact, we recently had to rush a same-day air shipment to a client because of this. We were glad to help, but if they had contacted us a few weeks ago for a replacement, they would have saved a ton on shipping costs.
To get the best performance out of your UPS, it's important to stay on top of its maintenance and replace the batteries before they wear out. Let's look at some of factors that go into this.
Common Questions Associated With UPS Battery Replacement
1 - How long will a UPS battery last?
Generally speaking, a UPS battery will last roughly as long as any other modern rechargeable battery: around 3 years. Past the 3-year point, you're likely to start seeing reduced capacity and other issues that will only grow as the months pass. However, there are many factors that will ultimately determine its lifespan.
2 - What are the biggest factors that reduce a battery's life?
If you want to extend the life of your Tripp lite UPS battery or APC UPS battery (or any other rechargeable), be aware of these matters:
- Temperature: The ideal temperature for a rechargeable battery is roughly 77F. (Or 25C if you're metric-minded.) Significant deviations in either direction can damage the battery, although heat is worse. If stored at 92F, your battery's lifespan would be reduced by half! A climate-control system can help a lot here.
- Frequency of discharge: While modern batteries can hold a charge for long periods with little harm, whenever they are discharged and recharged, their maximum capacity drops a few percent. Every time you use your UPS, its active life decreases, and this is an unavoidable part of dealing with chemical batteries.
- Maintenance issues: The same problems that can befall a car battery, such as corroded connectors or frayed wires, can also affect UPS batteries. You should be doing regular maintenance checks on your UPS battery to ensure no physical problems have occurred. You might also consider load/voltage monitors to watch for unusual behavior.
3 - How can I know the lifespan of a particular UPS battery?
If you are in doubt, contact the manufacturer of your UPS. They'll have the most detailed information about the performance of their batteries.
However, we strongly recommend keeping track of this yourself. Include pertinent information about your UPS - such as its date of purchase and warranty info - in your overall network hardware map. Once the battery is over three years old, unless it's truly never been used, it's probably time to think about a replacement.
Don't Forget To Recycle!
Finally, we'd be remiss in an article about UPS replacement batteries if we didn't mention that they are extremely toxic and must be disposed of with care. All of the US - and most of the rest of the world - have environmental regulations covering the disposal of batteries. Failure to follow local disposal laws could bring serious legal liability, not to mention damaging the environment. If you don't have proper disposal processes in place already, contact a local network vendor or specialist. Hardware vendors will have contacts for disposal or recycling of batteries and can usually handle it for a nominal fee, or possibly include disposal as part of upgrades.
And, of course, if you have any other questions about protecting your network, feel free to ask us anything you want to know!