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Frequently Asked Questions

What are SLA batteries?

SLA are Sealed Lead Acid batteries with basically the same chemistry as a wet (flooded cell) battery. The batteries' electrolyte is in a gelatin form and is absorbed into the plates and the battery is sealed with epoxies. These batteries may be used in any position and the batteries are exceptionally leak resistant. Battery uses are UPS, emergency lights, Telecommunications, and camcorders. These batteries are 2 volt per cell so the common batteries are 4, 6, and 12 volt.

What should I look for in buying a new battery?

Ampere-Hour  (Reserve Capacity) Rating

The most important consideration in buying a deep cycle battery is the Ampere-Hour (AH) or Reserve Capacity (or Reserve Minutes) rating that will meet or exceed your requirements. Most deep cycle batteries are rated in discharge rates of 100, 20, and 8 hours. The higher the discharge, the lower the capacity due to the Peukert Effect and the internal resistance of the battery. Reserve Capacity (RC) is the number of minutes a fully charged battery at 80°F (26.7°C) is discharged at 25 amps before the voltage falls below 10.5 volts. To convert Reserve Capacity (RC) to Ampere-Hours at the 25 amp rate, multiply RC by .4167. Within a BCI group size, the battery with higher ampere-hours (or RC) will tend to have longer lives and weigh more due to thicker plates and additional lead.

What is a battery cycle?

A cycle of a battery is a discharge plus a charge. For example, if your battery is fully charged, and a load is applied discharging the battery, and then the battery is again re-charged; that is considered one cycle. Cycle life is the total number of cycles a battery yields. The cycle life is very important in battery applications such as, UPS systems, DC Power Plants, Emergency Lighting, Laptop Computers, and Camcorders. 

What are deep cycle batteries?

Deep-cycle batteries typically feature thick plates with a high-density active material. The thick battery plates allow for reserve energy to be stored deep within the battery plate and released during slow discharge such as trolling or electronic instrument use. The high-density active material remains within the batteries' plate/grid structure longer, resisting the normal degradation found in cycling conditions. They are typically used where the battery is discharged to great extent and then recharged. Examples of this can be found in Telecommunications Switches, and even in trolling motors on a fishing boat.

What is sulfation of batteries?

Sulfation is the formation or deposit of lead sulfate on the surface and in the pores of the active material of the batteries' lead plates. If the sulfation becomes excessive and forms large crystals on the plates, the battery will not operate efficiently and may not work at all. Common causes of battery sulfation are standing a long time in a discharged condition, operating at excessive temperatures, and prolonged under or over charging.

What types of batteries are there?

A few types of batteries are: Sealed Lead Acid, Valve Regulated Lead Acid, Flooded (or Wet Cell) Lead Acid, Ni-Cad, Alkaline, Silver Oxide, Lithium, Manganese-Dioxide, Zinc-Air and Ni-MH.

What is a UPS?

A UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply, is a device that contains batteries to provide back-up power to critical power equipment in the event of a loss of power. It connects between a power source (Alternating Current, AC, or "street power") and an electronic device (computer, telecommunications equipment, server, etc.) to prevent power losses and disturbances that would adversely affect equipment performance and data loss.

What types of UPS systems are available?

  • Off-Line: Sometimes called Standby type. This type UPS allows a transient break in the output (transfer time) while a load is detected and the inverter is turned on. The transfer time for most standby UPS systems is in the 2-4ms range; however some units have much longer transfer times. Both standby and line interactive topologies (physical design) can exhibit off-line characteristics.

  • Line-Interactive: Line-Interactive UPS systems are similar to Standby UPS systems, however the unit provides a voltage boost and/or decrease without accessing the batteries when power supplies dip or increase. Some Line-Interactive units provide minimal protection from power spikes and surges.

  • On Line UPS: A type of UPS that provides a continuously filtered, no-break output to the protected load. By definition, an on-line UPS has zero transfer time; the output to the protected load never sees an interruption.

  • Double Conversion UPS: Double conversion systems are characterized by their topology. In these systems the incoming line is converted to DC and is provided to the input side of the inverter. The inverter then converts to AC which is used to power the load.

How long can equipment run on a UPS?

This is determined by the quality, efficiency, amount of batteries, and the features of the UPS system; as well as the amount of equipment (load) connected to the UPS.

What is the lifespan of a UPS system?

When maintained properly, UPS systems can last for 15-20 years. We recommend replacing them around the 12-15 year mark to ensure you have the best technology and the unit is still supported by the OEM. 

What is the lifespan of UPS batteries?

Standard UPS batteries last 3-5 years depending on use, environmental conditions and maintenance. 

What is a Preventative Maintenance visit for a UPS system?

A Preventative Maintenance visit is a visual and physical inspection of the UPS system. The technician will ensure all electrical components and connections are sound. They will also check for hot spots and functionality of the unit. 

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