Whether you have a fairly standard data center, or one that is designed uniquely for your business, you still need to have a plan in place for regular maintenance of the uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Without proper and regular UPS maintenance, your system has a higher potential to fail, leaving you stranded without power, jeopardizing your data and hampering your company’s productivity for what may become a significant period of time. Depending on what kind of system you have, it may be beneficial to get a plan customized specifically for your needs.
What you require in your data center maintenance plan will often depend on the design of your data center and your power needs. Some of the most common things that regular UPS maintenance can address include UPS battery failure, exceeding the power supply capacity, equipment failure, and water- or heat-related failures. Your needs will be different from another business based on what your facility looks like, how much power you use on a regular basis, and how you are storing your equipment.
There are three basic phases that are crucial for UPS maintenance—physical examination as a preventive measure, calibration and checking the protection settings, and complete load testing. These procedures should be conducted at least every six months, more often if you believe that you may have a problem.
If your system is more prone to equipment failure, your plan may include more emphasis on maintaining the actual unit to identify areas where excessive heat or other factors could jeopardize the unit. One of the best indicators of a power problem is a higher-than-normal temperature in the unit. Your customized plan may include the use of infrared scanners that can show you the areas where your UPS is experiencing higher temperatures. While you are examining the unit, some additional work may be required to check for loose connections on the power supply and other components, and make sure there is no swelling, leaking, or pressure in the capacitor.
A system that is at risk for exceeding capacity may require checking the protection settings on your unit and calibrate it so it’s prepared in the event of an emergency. In order to check these settings, a UPS maintenance technican can simulate the emergency conditions that would trigger the alarm, then monitor all the settings and alarms to ensure they function properly.
This type of plan may also involve load testing to ensure the ability to handle any capacity you need. Testing things like input and output voltage, input and output current, output frequency, input current balance, and output voltage regulation are all part of this process. In addition, testing the system at different load volumes is important, for example, at 0 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent load.
Finally, a system at risk for battery failure (one of the most common reasons UPS systems fail) should include a battery check. Identifying a degrading battery early can help you properly plan for and replace it before it shuts down the entire system. Checking things like the temperature, voltage and currents can help you identify potential problems early on.
Proper UPS maintenance is essential for an effective and long-lasting system, and a customized plan can benefit any company looking to maximize its effectiveness and minimize costs in the long term.