Case Study

Case Study #108 | “Maintenance-Free” Batteries

May 23, 2016 | Battery, Case Study

Product “Maintenance-Free” VRLA Batteries
Application Business Electrical Room
Synopsis Customer had called for a trouble-shoot and possible shut-down of the UPS
Preliminary Actions The Nationwide Power engineer was on-site to trouble-shoot a UPS unit that was in alarm, and to remove leaking/cracked batteries.
Resolution The UPS was being used to power emergency lighting for 3 buildings and had been running in alarm with batteries shorting to ground for a long time. Upon arrival, the engineer found the UPS with an active rectifier alarm and concluded that the UPS needed new AC and DC capacitors, new fans, and a full battery replacement. The DC link would not return to nominal voltage with batteries being disconnected and the logic was showing other rectifier alarms, signifying potential rectifier issues or logic problems. There were also multiple battery contactor alarms active. The UPS was put into internal maintenance bypass with logic turned off until it can be replaced or repaired. The system may need to be completely replaced.
Root Cause “Maintenance-Free” does not mean that the whole Uninterruptible Power Supply does not need to be maintained. To have maintenance-free batteries simply means that you do not have to add water (as with flooded cell batteries). Some might contend that you do not have to re-torque connections either, however most VRLA battery manufacturer maintenance instructions state they should be re-torqued annually. Regular inspections where voltages and ohmic readings are taken would have electrically identified the battery as trending bad prior to the battery visually indicating the swelling, cracking, and leakage.

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