Tips For Maintaining Your UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) – The Backup Power Source
The title of the post shows what I am going to tell you 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 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 Rajesh Mago
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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.