Battery longevity and proper use in UPSes

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Battery longevity and proper use in UPSes

Ted Mittelstaedt-5
Hi All,

We are heading into storm season in the Northern hemisphere and now is a
good time to do some UPS maintenance.   Here's my rules-o-thumb on this:

1) When you change your UPS batteries, put the voltage/ah hour and date
of change on a sticker on the front of the UPS

2) A couple days after putting in brand new batteries run a calibration
- take the daemon offline, use apcaccess to do it.  (note a calibration
is not a self-test)

3) UPS batteries typically last about 3 years.  Run a calibration once a
year on the purchase date anniversary, for the first 3 years.  Do not
run any calibration after that or you will likely toast the batteries

NOTE ON RUNNING CALIBRATIONS

If your UPS is not a smartups you generally cannot use apcaccess to run
a calibration.   If it is a BackUPS that is reporting battery uptime
length then it may possibly be calculating uptime in which case you can
run a calibration but you cannot do it by using apcaccess.  Instead you
have to shut down your server, reboot the server to something safe like
a BIOS setup screen where it's consuming power but does not have disks
mounted, and then pull the plug on the UPS and let it drain the battery
and turn off.

4) The cooler the UPS is kept the longer the batteries last.  The UPS
should be on the floor since it's cooler lower in the room.

5) When buying new batteries chose "High Rate" versions not standard
versions.   They cost a bit more but they will last longer in UPS use.
The "long life" versions generally do not last any longer.

6) In an auto a common trick for making a car battery last longer is to
buy one with a higher CCA than the original battery.  This does not work
for UPSes and you may get worse life since the the battery may never be
fully charged.

7) Check the battery date code on any new batteries you buy.  Some
retailers will sticker a battery with a date code at time of sale.  That
is OK if they don't cover up the date code with the sticker.  NOTE that
APC covers up the batteries in their new UPSes with a sticker.  They do
this to cover the name of the manufacturer for 2 reasons - first they
don't want you to replace the batteries with aftermarket batteries and
second they want to make it harder to interpret the date code since
different battery manufacturers sometimes use different codes.

On the smaller SLAs the date code is generally stamped or
sikscreened on the top.  Usually it's black letters on a battery case
that's black so you might have to look for it.  Some manufacturers
publish the date code format such as these:


http://www.power-sonic.com/images/powersonic/literature/Misc/ReadingProductDateCodesForBatteries.pdf

http://www.batteries-faq.com/activekb/questions.php?questionid=53


Others, people have figured out:

http://esaconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-Date-Codes-Unmasked-ESA.pdf

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r22437527-SLA-Werker-Batteries-Plus-Date-Codes

https://www.jmac.com/kb_results.asp?ID=241

http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10305

http://forums.apc.com/spaces/4/back-ups-surge-protectors/forums/general/10326/battery-date-code

  Most manufacturers use the yymmdd format:
090108X = Jan 8th 2009

Here are 2 from my batteries:

Werker  - KY121010   October 10,  2012
Centennial - B160618   June 18,  2016

On the Centennial, the retailer stickered it with the date code  "K16"
this is translated to November 2016   Since the retailer did not put a
topping charge on this battery nor did the wholesaler, this battery is
very close to the end of the recommended storage life without a topping
up charge.

Ted

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Re: Battery longevity and proper use in UPSes

Mark Claussen
Great advice Ted - we owe you thanks for this.  I would take exception to no. 6 (at least for the charging systems of the APC Smart UPSs).  These charging systems will take a bit longer to recharge these slightly higher Ahr SLA type batteries, but will, in a matter of a few hours continue to keep them at float voltage.  This will eventually "dry out" these batteries - which is one of the causes of eventual failure.  I'd like to see UPS manufacturers actually put some real "smarts" in their charging systems that keep these batteries between 95% SOC (limit sulfation) and occasional "float".  Then down-rate the run time (and use the high current rate style as you suggested).  Also, design the "calibration" routine so that the SOC does not go below 40-50% would help.  Have to believe if the manufacturers can program the micros to do all the complex operating controls, including the LCDs, they can upgrade the charging system.  Gaining a 10% increase in battery life for all the UPSs in the world would be extremely "green" to our environment!

This is just my opinion and I realize is anecdotal, however, this is how I keep my "testing" battery cages running for years.  These are mainly 48, 96, and 120  VDC cages with the "small" SLA batteries - SU, SUA. SMX, SMT, SUM, SURT, SRT (have them all),  I certainly agree that "calibration" (any deep discharge)  is likely the most destructive affect - but that is what the UPS is designed for!!  

What do you think?

On Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 4:05 AM, Ted Mittelstaedt <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi All,

We are heading into storm season in the Northern hemisphere and now is a
good time to do some UPS maintenance.   Here's my rules-o-thumb on this:

1) When you change your UPS batteries, put the voltage/ah hour and date
of change on a sticker on the front of the UPS

2) A couple days after putting in brand new batteries run a calibration
- take the daemon offline, use apcaccess to do it.  (note a calibration
is not a self-test)

3) UPS batteries typically last about 3 years.  Run a calibration once a
year on the purchase date anniversary, for the first 3 years.  Do not
run any calibration after that or you will likely toast the batteries

NOTE ON RUNNING CALIBRATIONS

If your UPS is not a smartups you generally cannot use apcaccess to run
a calibration.   If it is a BackUPS that is reporting battery uptime
length then it may possibly be calculating uptime in which case you can
run a calibration but you cannot do it by using apcaccess.  Instead you
have to shut down your server, reboot the server to something safe like
a BIOS setup screen where it's consuming power but does not have disks
mounted, and then pull the plug on the UPS and let it drain the battery
and turn off.

4) The cooler the UPS is kept the longer the batteries last.  The UPS
should be on the floor since it's cooler lower in the room.

5) When buying new batteries chose "High Rate" versions not standard
versions.   They cost a bit more but they will last longer in UPS use.
The "long life" versions generally do not last any longer.

6) In an auto a common trick for making a car battery last longer is to
buy one with a higher CCA than the original battery.  This does not work
for UPSes and you may get worse life since the the battery may never be
fully charged.

7) Check the battery date code on any new batteries you buy.  Some
retailers will sticker a battery with a date code at time of sale.  That
is OK if they don't cover up the date code with the sticker.  NOTE that
APC covers up the batteries in their new UPSes with a sticker.  They do
this to cover the name of the manufacturer for 2 reasons - first they
don't want you to replace the batteries with aftermarket batteries and
second they want to make it harder to interpret the date code since
different battery manufacturers sometimes use different codes.

On the smaller SLAs the date code is generally stamped or
sikscreened on the top.  Usually it's black letters on a battery case
that's black so you might have to look for it.  Some manufacturers
publish the date code format such as these:


http://www.power-sonic.com/images/powersonic/literature/Misc/ReadingProductDateCodesForBatteries.pdf

http://www.batteries-faq.com/activekb/questions.php?questionid=53


Others, people have figured out:

http://esaconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-Date-Codes-Unmasked-ESA.pdf

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r22437527-SLA-Werker-Batteries-Plus-Date-Codes

https://www.jmac.com/kb_results.asp?ID=241

http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10305

http://forums.apc.com/spaces/4/back-ups-surge-protectors/forums/general/10326/battery-date-code

  Most manufacturers use the yymmdd format:
090108X = Jan 8th 2009

Here are 2 from my batteries:

Werker  - KY121010   October 10,  2012
Centennial - B160618   June 18,  2016

On the Centennial, the retailer stickered it with the date code  "K16"
this is translated to November 2016   Since the retailer did not put a
topping charge on this battery nor did the wholesaler, this battery is
very close to the end of the recommended storage life without a topping
up charge.

Ted

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engaging tech sites, SlashDot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
_______________________________________________
Apcupsd-users mailing list
[hidden email]
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