Batteries - the most critical part of UPS Systems
Introduction : Battery is the weakest but the most important part in all types of UPS systems. Various battery types are available in the market with their own merits/demerits. An understanding of various operating parameters, maintenance requirements and cost is vital in choosing the most advantageous battery for the application. The following paper is a comprehensive analysis of various types of batteries, the factors affecting their life and merit & demerits of each type of battery. In UPS applications mainly three types of batteries are used namely: Vented / Flooded Lead Acid batteries Sealed maintenance free batteries/Valve Regulated Lead Acid (SMF/VRLA) Nickel Cadmium (Ni-cd) batteries For UPS applications SMF/VRLA batteries are the most popular and hence are widely used. Hence, in this detailing, mainl emphasize has been put on these type of batteries. Vented / Flooded Lead Acid Batteries: There are two types for lead acid batteries namely tubular and Plante. The difference between the two is the construction. For tubular battery normal life is 8-10 years. The Plante battery is both mechanically and electrically more durable. The normal life for Plante batteries is 15-20 years. Because this type of battery generates corrosive fumes when charging and because the sulfuric acid electrolyte does evaporate to some extent, these batteries must be used in a special room, which is well ventilated to the outside and kept away from delicate electronic equipments. It needs separate room/racks with acid proof tiles for installation. Because of evaporation, it needs regular maintenance to check specific gravity, to add water and acid. These batteries can withstand high temperature, voltage, and deep discharge with minimum damage to itself. A notice should be exhibited in the battery room prohibiting smoking and use of naked flames. These batteries cannot be transported in charged condition and therefore need charging at site. Typical initial charging of the battery will take about 55 to 90 hours. Nominal cell voltage is 2V/cell. The charger for this battery should be able to provide the first charge at 2.6 to 2.7 V/cell. These type of batteries are typically used for UPS Systems of very high rated capacity, typically engaged for plant application, wherein maintenance and space is not really an issue. Sealed Maintenance Free batteries (SMF): These are also known as Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries. These batteries are the most popular for usage with UPS systems for computer or commercial application. Being Sealed, these batteries do not emit any fumes and hence can be very well installed next to electronic equipment. These batteries also can be housed in a close enclosure if necessary. These batteries are also maintenance free and avoid any hassels of checking specific gravity, adding water or acid, etc. These batteries have a relatively lesser life of approx. 3-5 years. The life expectancy typically depends on the number of charge/discharge cycle experienced by the batteries and the ambient
) of rated capacity per month. This means that a 12 V battery (with 6 internal cells) has a float voltage of 13. The life of the battery is reduced significantly if the batteries gas. The batteries may get partially or fully damaged due to SULPHATION if charging does not start within 72 Hrs from totally discharged state. Therefore warranty of the battery should be ideally reduced to 50% for every 8. 3) SMF batteries are designed to have a float voltage of 2. When there are more cells (generally >120) in series.67 V/cell for high rate of discharge (<30 minutes). Most of the battery manufacturers recommend float voltage of 2.25 to 2. the life of the battery is reduced by 50%. the longer is the cyclic life. 7) SMF batteries are equipped with a safe. low pressure venting system. the self-discharge rate is 3-4% (approx. the depth of discharge. 5) In normal float / equalize use (2. which operates at 7 psi to 10 psi (can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer). cool place. At lower temperature they have longer life and lower capacity while at higher temperature they have higher capacity and lower life. but using within an operating range 5 C to 35 C will extend service life. Below . Thus electrical capacity is not lost because of this recombination. and return to water content of the electrolyte.35V/cell). The self-discharge rate varies with ambient temperature.temperature in which the batteries are used. A freshening charge must be given to the batteries every 6 months. The Performance and service life of these batteries can be maximized by observing the following guidelines: 1) Permissible operating temperature range of SMF batteries is 15 deg C to 50 deg C. gas generated inside battery is recombined into negative plates. 2) A good rule of thumb when determining battery service life in relation to temperature is that for every 8. 3 mV per cell per deg C above 25 deg C.8 Volts. At a given discharge rate and time. At ambient temperature of 20 deg C (68F). It should be increased by the same amount when operated at a temperature less than 25 deg C to avoid undercharge.3 volts per cell. and the manner in which the battery is recharged.25 . float voltage should be decreased by approx. the shallower the depth of discharge.15 deg C.40 deg C. You will enjoy longer service life. the battery changes its chemical composition and cannot hold a charge. These batteries are primarily the most popular for commercial applications due to "Install and Forget" approach.8 V/cell. Batteries should be kept in dry. 8) Cyclic life of the battery depends on ambient operating temperature. to compensate for higher temperatures. For low rate of discharge it is recommended to change it 1.75V/cell or even higher to 1. the discharge rate. if batteries are operated in ambient temperature range of 20 deg C to 25 deg C (68F to 77F). Sulphation is the formation of lead sulphate on negative plates which acts as an insulator and has a detrimental effect on charge acceptance. but due the corrosion of the electrodes battery will eventually lose capacity.3 deg C (15F) average annual temperature above 25 deg C (77F). There is no need to add external water.3 deg C (15F) increase in operating temperature above 25 deg C (77F).3 V/cell. automatically releasing excess gas in the event that gas pressure rises to a level above the normal rate ensuring no excessive buildup of gas in the batteries. the shelf life of batteries is 5-6 months only.2. The Cutoff voltage is 1. if needed to be stored for longer periods. 6) At ambient temperature of 30 .
. The most important factor is the depth of discharge. 4) It is recommended that SMF batteries should not be left in totally discharged state more than 72 hrs. Resealing is automatic once the pressure is returned to normal.
200 charge/discharge cycles at 25 deg C (77F) and 100% depth of discharge. 14) The term "B" (Bend of useful life) for a UPS battery refers to the fact that these batteries do not require fluid. 12) If two or more battery groups are to be used. 13) The normal life SMF battery will support approx. all the above discussed types of batteries have their own merits and demerits. When battery reaches 80% of its rated capacity. connected in parallel. These batteries occasionally demand boost charging and typically find their applications wherein UPSs support critical equipment in hazardous environment such as chemical. 2) Life is higher than SMF batteries. cables or busbars that have the same loop line resistance as each other. Some UPS/ Battery manufacturers define "B" (Bend of useful life) for a UPS battery when battery capacity reaches 50-60% of its rated capacity. Normal service life is 20-25 years. Nickel Cadmium Batteries(Ni-cd): Ni-cd batteries do emit hydrogen and oxygen gas. Initial cost may be approximately three times that of lead acid battery depending upon their AH capacity. 11) Mixed use of batteries with different capacities. so these can be installed near electronic equipment. Water consumption is relatively low and so therefore maintenance is low. Nominal cell voltage is 1. Merits/demerits : As spelled earlier. the aging process accelerates and the battery should be replaced. But preventive maintenance like checking for cracks and deformation of the container & lid. The relationship between AH capacity and runtime time is not linear. Let us now look at them individually. A) Vented / flooded Lead acid batteries: Merits : 1) Most economical among three types of batteries.9) Failure mode at the end of life includes a) Capacity decrease b) Internal short circuit c) Damage to container/lid d) Terminal corrosion e) Reduced open circuit voltage.2 V/cell. These batteries do not experience the severe shortening of life when operated at elevated temperatures and perform better at low temperatures than do the lead acid batteries. different makes should be avoided as it will cause accelerated aging of the whole string. fertiliser. they must be connected to the UPS through lengths of wires. cement industry. a 20% reduction in capacity results in a much greater reduction in runtime. 10) The IEEE defines "B" (Bend of useful life) for a UPS battery as being the point when it can no longer supply 80 percent of its rated capacity in ampere-hours (AH). This makes sure that each parallel bank of batteries presents the same impedance to the UPS as any other of the parallel banks thereby ensuring correct equalization of the source to allow for maximum energy transfer to the UPS load. but there are no corrosive gases as lead acid batteries. electrolyte leakage/spills tightening of the connection etc. These are most expensive of the various types of batteries previously discussed. particularly for higher AH capacity batteries should be done to prevent any damage. The battery chargers and inverters have to be designed to operate with low end cell cutoff voltages and higher recharging voltages needed for such batteries.
. products of electrolysis.
The IEEE defines "B" (Bend of useful life) for a UPS battery as being the point when it can no longer supply 80 percent of its rated capacity in ampere-hours (AH). 3) User friendly. 3) Needs special battery room with acid proof tilling. Cyclic life of the battery depends on ambient operating temperature. 5) Needs specially trained persons for handling due highly hazardous sulphuric acid.twice a month. the discharge rate. and the manner in which the battery is recharged . the depth of discharge. 2) Very sensitive to temperature 3) Service life lowest among the three types 4) Costlier than flooded / vented lead acid battery C) Nickel Cadmium (Ni-cd) batteries : Merits : 1) Moderate maintenance 2) Higher service life 3) less sensitive to temperature 4) Fumes not corrosive so can be installed near electronic equipment Demerits : 1) Most expensive among three types 2) Cannot transported in charged conditions 3) Need to consider compatibility with charger and inverter. certain factors which are directly affecting the life of the battery. 2) Emits corrosive fumes. Demerits : 1) Leaving batteries in discharged state for longer life will reduce life significantly or can damage them permanently.not much sensitive to temperature. Shelf life of SMF batteries is 5-6 months only for ambient of 30-40C. 2) Can be shipped in charged conditions so ready to use. initial charging takes 55 to 90 hours. should be given proper attention.
. 4) Cannot be transported in charged condition.3) Robust. B) Sealed maintenance free batteries/Valve Regulated Lead Acid (SMF/VRLA) Merits : 1) No maintenance as far as water filling. Demerits : 1) Needs periodic maintenance. specific gravity check etc are concerned. Summary: As UPS battery replacement is expensive and it is the most vital part in UPS reliability.