Battery Backups

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Capm
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Battery Backups

Post by Capm » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:23 pm

I just thought I'd see what you guys thought, I've noticed we've had more problems with APC's 2200 series of battery backups vs 3000 or 1500's

Have any of you seen this or use something different for power standby? I lost another one tonight (2nd one in 8 months, which is to me a higher than normal failure rate) and I get the feeling I'm going to be recommending some kind of something soon. We mostly just have them in there to catch the load before the generator kicks on, and keep the power clean going to our equipment.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:30 pm

You may want to read this forum thread. The question wasn't completely answered or solved either, but there are some backyard "fixes". Sounds like a couple of the internal resistors are undersized, overheating and frying. Don't know if APC has fixed the problem in later units either. I've got the APC 1500 and have had no problems with it fortunately, cross my fingers.

http://www.apc-forums.com/thread.jspa?t ... 5&tstart=0

Maybe Krom, or someone else can answer a question for me. How long do the batteries last in these units and can they or should they be replaced if needed? And if APC's quality is going into the toilet, is there another brand option to turn too?
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Grendel » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:53 pm

Batteries should be replaced every 2 years if you want reliability. I use Tripp-Lite 1000s scattered around the place for power shaping and safe shutdown in case of power loss. Costco has them for $99.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Krom » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:37 pm

2 years of float service is a reasonable expectation for battery life.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:19 pm

Where's the best place to get replacement battery cartridges and where should the old one be recycled? Sorry to steer your thread off course Capm. :mrgreen:
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Krom » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:34 pm

I take my old batteries to a nearby Ace Hardware store, they will take them for free (because recycling lead acid batteries is profitable for them). Just about any place that sells car batteries or other sealed led acid batteries will take them off your hands.

I bought my replacement batteries online at a fruity looking site called batteryspec.com, so far the Tempest batteries they sell have performed as well or even better than the manufacturers batteries in my units but for half the price. The original manufacturer batteries I got in these units lasted about 18 months before they died, and these Tempest batteries managed to beat that by a few months. I have two backups, one set lasted a bit over 2 years and the other gave out about 3-4 months later. Although some of that may be because I purchased higher capacity batteries than the originals (9 amp-hours vs 7.5).
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 pm

Thanks. I'll check them out. My APC 1500 is almost 2 years old, so I'll start looking for a replacement. By the way, do these batteries ever leak when they die, or even before that?
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Krom » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:27 pm

I've never personally seen a UPS battery leak or explode from normal use or abuse. If they did leak, I would assume your UPS or its charging circuit is defective and I wouldn't use that unit ever again.

Like any other battery technology SLA batteries are ultimately energy storage devices and gross mishandling could lead to catastrophic failures. But basically don't burn, overcharge, short circuit, or smash them and you should be fine. :P
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Thenior » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:20 am

Does getting wet count as misuse? :) We had a bad rainstorm at work a while back, and the accounting office had water soak in from the wall - when I opened the battery up, it was very swollen.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by snoopy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:26 pm

Thenior wrote:Does getting wet count as misuse? :) We had a bad rainstorm at work a while back, and the accounting office had water soak in from the wall - when I opened the battery up, it was very swollen.
It probably shorted somehow. Theoretically an SLA is a sealed lead acid battery, and would be immune to exterior liquids, as long they don't short the terminals or attack the casing.

People into RC submarines will regularly submerge their SLAs, which seems to be okay in typical fresh water.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:48 pm

Question? Does the UPC give some kind of forewarning when the battery starts going bad?
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Spidey » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:53 pm

Most all electronic devices that use and charge lead acid batteries warn you if the battery is going…but they are also very unreliable in this regard.

My stupid GMS alarm system was reporting a perfectly good battery…when if fact it was completely gone…

The problem is, most chargers use a trickle charge…disconnect at some intervals…and check the voltage…but this is not enough, and very few companies will spend the money to apply a load to the battery, and cycle it, which is the only way to truly tell if a battery is weak.

Some batteries will look fully charged with the trickle charge removed for days…but as soon as you load them…fail.

So bottom line…the only way to know if your batteries are good, is to do regular maintenance on them.*

*Cycle…
Equalize the cells…
Desulfate…

etc
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:36 pm

Spidey wrote:Most all electronic devices that use and charge lead acid batteries warn you if the battery is going…but they are also very unreliable in this regard.

My stupid GMS alarm system was reporting a perfectly good battery…when if fact it was completely gone…

The problem is, most chargers use a trickle charge…disconnect at some intervals…and check the voltage…but this is not enough, and very few companies will spend the money to apply a load to the battery, and cycle it, which is the only way to truly tell if a battery is weak.

Some batteries will look fully charged with the trickle charge removed for days…but as soon as you load them…fail.

So bottom line…the only way to know if your batteries are good, is to do regular maintenance on them.*

*Cycle…
Equalize the cells…
Desulfate…

etc
Yeah, I do that with automotive batteries, they tend to sulfate up sitting on a float charge. But how does one do it with a UPC battery? Run the computer on battery power for a bit every now and then just to discharge the battery?
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by snoopy » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:56 pm

tunnelcat wrote:
Spidey wrote:Most all electronic devices that use and charge lead acid batteries warn you if the battery is going…but they are also very unreliable in this regard.

My stupid GMS alarm system was reporting a perfectly good battery…when if fact it was completely gone…

The problem is, most chargers use a trickle charge…disconnect at some intervals…and check the voltage…but this is not enough, and very few companies will spend the money to apply a load to the battery, and cycle it, which is the only way to truly tell if a battery is weak.

Some batteries will look fully charged with the trickle charge removed for days…but as soon as you load them…fail.

So bottom line…the only way to know if your batteries are good, is to do regular maintenance on them.*

*Cycle…
Equalize the cells…
Desulfate…

etc
Yeah, I do that with automotive batteries, they tend to sulfate up sitting on a float charge. But how does one do it with a UPC battery? Run the computer on battery power for a bit every now and then just to discharge the battery?
Probably the most effective way to do it would be to use electronics dedicated to the task, such as this: link
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:15 pm

snoopy, I've got a basement with a sump pump. We installed a battery backup pump in case the power fails, which it has in the past, during rain storms when it's needed most of course. We bought a charger years ago similar to the one you posted, which was made specifically for maintaining marine deep cycle batteries AND which acts as a power supply to the pump when there IS power available.

But what we ran into was that the unit we bought had too high of a float voltage and would cook the battery. So after contacting the manufacturer and talking at length with the tech guy, we were able to add one little resistor (thank you Radio Shack) on the circuit board to tweak the voltage down slightly. Wouldn't have been able to do that with a modern sealed unit either. We still have the same Optima Deep Cycle battery after 15 years (still holds a charge) and we don't have to babysit the charging maintenance constantly. We monitor it several times a year though.

It looks like maintaining the correct float voltage for a particular battery is most important for long life. Deep discharging is what shortens battery life.

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/arti ... dern_times
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by snoopy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:46 pm

I have the same. Installed the whole system after the hurricane this last summer flooded me with a couple of inches.

No idea how the system handles the battery. Yes, float voltage is the most critical factor. They like to push it up because it crams more charge into the battery, but it sure does a number on its life.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Capm » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:16 pm

From the original topic, I got that unit back from repair (2200va rack mount apc), they found the inverter board had gone bad. Good as new now.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 pm

Krom wrote:I take my old batteries to a nearby Ace Hardware store, they will take them for free (because recycling lead acid batteries is profitable for them). Just about any place that sells car batteries or other sealed led acid batteries will take them off your hands.

I bought my replacement batteries online at a fruity looking site called batteryspec.com, so far the Tempest batteries they sell have performed as well or even better than the manufacturers batteries in my units but for half the price. The original manufacturer batteries I got in these units lasted about 18 months before they died, and these Tempest batteries managed to beat that by a few months. I have two backups, one set lasted a bit over 2 years and the other gave out about 3-4 months later. Although some of that may be because I purchased higher capacity batteries than the originals (9 amp-hours vs 7.5).
I hate to dredge this one back up, but my UPS batteries have now been running 6 years under float, so I'm thinking of replacing them before they die a horrid death or let me down in a power failure. I've already bought from BatterySpec.com and have been pleased with the one battery I purchased for a smaller UPS with a single battery that failed. I want to ask you Krom, have you ever dealt with Duracell brand UPS batteries? A Batteries Plus Bulbs store recently opened in town and they have in stock Duracell brand batteries that will fit my UPS unit. I've been leery of Duracell ever since I bought new batteries and found them DOA out of the package, or they've leaked inside some product before the expiration date. I'm not sure about their lead acid UPS batteries. If you know of any caveats with Duracell Krom, I will gladly order Tempest replacements from BatterySpec instead.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Spidey » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Yea, it’s time.

You might get enough time to shut down, but I would doubt you would get anything near the rated time, after 6 years on float.

In fact, you might not even get that, sealed lead acid batteries are so damn unpredictable.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:23 pm

Oh, I know it time. All I want to know is if Duracell makes a decent UPS battery, or should I order something online?
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Spidey » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:48 pm

They probably all come out of the same Chinese factories, I know for a fact many of the ones on Amazon under various names do.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Krom » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:59 pm

Being held on a float charge 100% of the time annihilates lead acid batteries in only a few months, if they are 6 years old then your UPS probably has a smarter charging circuit that only tops off the batteries at regular intervals instead of floating them the whole time.

As for the Duracell brand, sealed lead acid batteries are pretty old technology and there is only so much that can go wrong with them. If one arrives DOA odds are it was improperly stored in the first place. The reason your car battery which is also a lead acid battery has such a long warranty is because it is treated exactly how lead acid batteries like to be in order to last the longest. It is recharged immediately after usage and isn't held at a float charge for any significant length of time.

I've bought batteries from http://batteryspec.com/ before and had reasonable results. Again SLA batteries are pretty low tech on the scale, so its rare to see any brand really fail on them. The main thing that would lead to a dead on arrival battery would be improper storage at the warehouse/store, if they hold it at a float charge too long or store it completely discharged you could end up with problems, otherwise the technology is pretty reliable.
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Tunnelcat » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:09 pm

I'd buy from batteryspec.com, but since there is a store in town that has my dual battery pack in stock for the same price as batteryspec, it will save me on shipping and possible shipping damage and/or DOA issues. Thanks for the info. Krom. :)
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Re: Battery Backups

Post by Capm » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:05 am

We've been buying ours from atbatt.com, and have had good results. I'd love to be able to buy local, but out here in BFE we don't get fancy battery stores. :P
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