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Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) – The Backup Power Source

Hello!

The title of the post shows what I am going to tell you icon smile Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)   The Backup Power Source It’s about maintaining your UPS – the backup battery power source. Though, Uninterruptible Power Supply device has to be bought separately and is not an integral part of your PC such as CPU box and monitor, it’s still a very important unit. Am I right? In this post, I am going to cover small UPS meant for giving backup power to a single desktop computer, monitor and peripherals.


In India, the electrical power situation is bad even in metros and load shedding is a normal part of daily routine especially in Summer. The electricity situation is even more bad in small cities. In developed countries, the power situation is better but  electricity might not be available always at all times. Operating systems running on your PC’s have lot of files running in the background for smooth functioning of the PC and thus they need proper shutdown (saving and closing of the system and related files) before getting powered down. An Operating system would finally crash if the computers are repeatedly powered down without shutdown. This is where the UPS ensures that the backup power is available even if the main power goes off. The time for which the UPS gives standby electrical power (typically 10-20 minutes) is enough to close your open PC’s application, save your files and then shutdown. So, isn’t the term  “Uninterruptible” in UPS misleading! Yes if you think it as a power backup source that will continue to supply forever, then it is! But, No! if you see it as a device that doesn’t let the power failure interrupt or affect your work for few minutes, then its name is totally justified. Isn’t it? What do you say?

In addition to giving your PC and peripherals (connected to the UPS), the backup power when needed, a UPS also prevents them from spike (sudden rise in voltage for a few milliseconds), surge (sudden momentarily rise in voltages for milliseconds lasting longer than a spike), sag or brown out (sudden dip in voltages for a few seconds – sag or hours – brownout), blackout (complete loss of power or voltages below 80V) and noises in the power. So due to the above discussed reasons, it  is definitely important to buy a good quality UPS, moreover they are affordable due to  their low rates. In India, one can buy a 600 VA (Volt Ampere – the backup power capacity rating of the UPS) for about INR 1800 to 2500 (USD 45 to 63). Reverting to the main topic of Tips For Maintaining Your UPS, following are some of my ideas for keeping it fit (whether it’s an offline, online, line interactive or some other technology based UPS):

- The place where the UPS is installed must be clean – dust free, dry and ventilated. It must not be too close to the walls. Leave few inches of gap from the wall so that it can dissipate the heat properly.

- Ensure that the main board has good quality wiring, sockets and switches; get it checked from the Electrician if you are not sure about it.

- The earthing to the UPS must be there and proper, i.e., no leakage of current. To add more, the voltage between Live (L) and Neutral (N) and Live (L) and Earth (E) should be nearly same (110 V or 220 V) and the difference between the L-E and L-N voltages should not be more   than 5V. Also, the voltage between the Neutral and Earth (the top pin) should not be more than 5V. You can measure these voltages with the help of multimeter. Take care to set the multimeter correctly for measuring in AC mains and set the multimeter in the right voltage range.

- Make sure that there is no heavy electrical appliance such as microwave, heater, AC (Air Conditioner) and motor etc. in the same phase as of the UPS. The similar point has been covered in one of my post at: http://www.pctipstricks.com/?p=28 The logic behind this tip is not to let any heavy current drawing device affect functioning of your UPS.


The power cord of the UPS must be of good quality and always cuts free. It routing should be good and should not be loose, hanging in the passers way.  Preferably, the power cable should be routed through a channel or should be properly clamped or fixed. – Label the date of purchase and details of the support person on a proper place on the UPS without blocking its ventilation. This would ensure that you could contact the concerned UPS trouble shooter quickly when required. Also, when the battery is changed, note down the replacement date in your records. The expected life of battery, usually – lead acid, sealed maintenance free (SMF), is three years. - Keep a watch on the alarms and behavior of your UPS. In some of the UPS’s, a front panel shows the status of its battery and alarms etc. whereas in others the same is done by the LED’s. Some of the UPS’s from companies such as APC, Belkin, Emersons, MGE UPS Systems and Powerware provides UPS monitoring and management software that can be loaded on the PC connected to the UPS through the serial or USB port. Example: A UPS producing sudden and quick beeps on power failure despite getting fully charged, means that there is some problem with the UPS that needs to be looked into.

APC Back UPS ES for PC 650VA Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)   The Backup Power Source

APC UPS Model: Back UPS ES, designed for PC, UPS power backup rating: 650VA

- Don’t ever overload your UPS. If your UPS power backup capacity is 600 VA, then the load connected to it must be less than 600 VA.

- Don’t ignore the UPS manual; read and understand it. This will make you confident in using and understanding your UPS faults and then taking the relevant corrective action. I will also write some tips on buying the right kind of UPS soon. I am sure that these tips, if actually implemented would definitely lead to a fit and sturdier UPS. These tips will also reduce the crash outs due to a PC getting repeatedly off (whenever the power goes) because of a poorly managed UPS. Take care of your UPS and it will certainly take care of your PC icon smile Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)   The Backup Power Source Rajesh Mago

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Tags: how to keep your UPS fit, ideas for maintaining your UPS, taking care of your UPS, tips for a sturdier and well maintained Uninterruptible, tips for healthy UPS

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 at 11:55 pm and is filed under Hardware, Others - Laptop, Power. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) – The Backup Power Source”

Our APC UPS system. September 17th, 2008 at 4:49 am

We went for an APC model also, the APC 750 (see link) and I’m really happy with it. Even in the UK we get a few powercuts a year and the UPS has worked very well twice now. USP systems are well worth the investment as you could lose so much in terms of time, money and data! It just wasn’t worth the risk for us.

rajeshmago September 17th, 2008 at 6:40 am

@ Gareth (Our APC UPS system):

Good to know that APC’s UPS has fulfilled its purpose for you. I agree that installing a UPS is worth its price. Thanks for sharing your views!

CashAdvances March 14th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

was here with real smile pls send it back 4 me thx :)

payday loans March 15th, 2009 at 2:06 am

Info is great. Be happy.

varun kumar May 24th, 2009 at 8:53 am

Hey, this post was really usefull for me,
i was googling bout my UPS problem and found this.
im running the APC ES 500 ups
recently i got one of the best GPUs frm nvidia GTS 250
and it worked well on a 450Wsmps
but then i went and bought a 500W smps,
but everytime i game(in high graphics ofcoz)
the over load light n sound goes off, unless i close the game it doesn stop.
wic other UPS should i buy?

thnx-Varun

rajeshmago May 24th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Hi Varun – Nice to know that one of my post on UPS was of help to you. Since the PC in gaming mode is withdrawing close to 600 W or may be slightly more, the overload alarm of UPS is getting activated. You have correctly diagnosed the problem of UPS getting overloaded to be only happening in gaming mode (PC UPS reaching 600 W). In gaming mode, the PC requires more resources as compared to normal usage and hence the UPS is crying as it’s reaching maximum power support limit of 600W.

Either call an Electrician OR APC UPS Engineer and tell him before calling that you want to get the power withdrawing capacity of your complete PC checked. They have a power measuring meter that can calculate the power withdrawn by your complete PC when you are playing game. He will let the power wires of computer and monitor etc. (depending on what all you use on your gaming PC) pass through his meter when all of them are in use at the time of gaming activity.

Depending upon the maximum power withdrawn by your PC, its monitor and peripherals (if you use), you can then go for the UPS of power rating slightly more (50-100 W) than that is needed by your complete gaming setup.

Or, you can check approximate power consumption at:

http://www.journeysystems.com/psu.php

(For the above utility to produce close power consumption results, you need to know the exact models of your CPU, video card etc. and moreover, the above site doesn’t has all the models. But, yet, you can get a fair approximate idea of power consumption of your PC by choosing the models close to yours. Also, you need to checkout the power consumption of your monitor and other parts not added by the above tool yourself from the manual etc. and then add them to the power consumption found by the above tool).

Also, check this URL too -

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-4_102-0.html?threadID=130066

Hope that it helps.

raghu June 10th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

sir i need help from u …

i have a ups 600va connected to system . my problem is whenever power supply goes ups also goes off in few seconds ….. but intresting thing is the same ups wen connectd to other place or points it works correctly … input voltage from mains is 200v …

plz help me to solve this problem

rajeshmago June 11th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

@ Raghu: I am not a UPS expert :) But yet, I can suggest you to try few things:

At the place, where the UPS gets off in few seconds, is the load connected to UPS more than its limit?

Do you have more than one UPS and PC? If yes, then you can try swapping UPS1 (that gets off in few seconds) connected to PC1 with another UPS2 connected to PC2 and check if it is a problem of the PC1 drawing more load or some problem with the UPS1 – PC1 – Mains1 setup. I am assuming that the UPS2 is also of 600 VA.

Also, you can try this – 1). Charge the UPS1 (that gets off in few seconds) for few hours at some other mains point (not Mains1) 2). Connect and power ON PC1 with UPS1, UPS1 not connected to any AC mains (PC1 gets power from UPS1 battery, no AC mains).

If in the above case, the PC boots and works for 5-10 minutes, not seconds then you can connect it to Mains1 and then after few hours (done to charge UPS1 again), power off the Mains1 to check what happens.

I hope that you get some clues from here. Maybe, the UPS1 is not getting properly charged at Mains1 point or, maybe the PC1 connected to UPS1 withdraws too much load. This is what I can say from my experience.

Hope that helps.

danjo May 11th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

;-) hi,

i would like to ask, is shutting off of UPS can minimize its battery life or the device it self? I am saying everyday turn ON in the Am and turn Off in the after office? how much electricity is consumed in an overnight UPS like this model Back UPS ES with all of the PC and other device are OFF connected to it?
many thanks
danjo

rajeshmago May 15th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

@Danjo: My advice: Switch OFF the UPS when not in use rather than keeping it ON just for charging purposes. If the battery/ies are charged, then keeping the UPS ON won’t consume almost any electricity but keeping the UPS ON with devices attached to it not using it would heat up the device unnecessarily.

manojtumuluri March 28th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

sir, 2 months back i purchased a assembled p.c with ups.my ups is beetel not giving backup but green light blinks while charging takes place.when power cut happens my system gets off even it is charged for so many hours.please mail me what is the problem?for how many hours should the ups be charged?thank u.

rajeshmago March 28th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

@ Manoj: There is a problem with your’s UPS – either with its battery charging circuitry or battery. Most probably, there is a problem with battery. Call Beetel UPS Service Centre and lodge a complaint; keep the S.No of the UPS and the purchase date noted before calling them. Typically 6-8 hours of charging should be OK for the UPS battery to get recharged but in your UPS case, the UPS battery is not getting charged at all which means a problem with it. Hope that the problem is sorted out and your Beetel UPS provides the needed backup at the earliest.

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