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I have a UPS made by Israeli company - Advice. I read somewhere that every few months, UPS should be checked for operability by disconnecting it from the mains, then plugging mid and high powered devices to it and testing, but for how long exactly is what I don't know.

I use a desklamp of 25 Watts and an 85 Watts fan, each running for 30 seconds, but the question is, should I test for more than 30 seconds for more precise results?

Additionally, I was given a 1 year of warranty on accumulator, but since it is only after 2 years that UPS accumulators start to malfunction, I was wondering if I should ask company to change accumulator before warranty expires to get as much from 1 year warranty as possible?

UPDATE: Here is a screenshot of options in UPS management software:

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After power failure, Windows has 300 seconds until hibernated, but why would I need shutdown delay for UPS after laptop entered hibernation state? Why for UPS to work 2 more minutes?

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You should have some management software to check status and maybe command some test from it. Take a look on your manufacturer website to see if there isn't any specific software to do this. –  Diogo May 24 '12 at 19:59
    
Yes it is. When accumulator died first time, I wasn't using such software, hence could not receive early notification to prevent accidental laptop's shutdown. –  Boris_yo May 24 '12 at 20:49
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Is "accumulator" your (mistranslated?) term for "battery"? –  sawdust May 24 '12 at 23:44
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not really mistranslated, but somewhat old fashioned term for a rechargable battery –  Journeyman Geek May 25 '12 at 15:24
    
@sawdust Yes it is. –  Boris_yo May 26 '12 at 8:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

UPS Battery life expectancy

  1. UPS battery (accumulator) is a consumable. The company you bought the UPS from is no more likely to replace a still good battery than a printer vendor to replace a half-empty toner or ink cartridge. You are expected to go through a couple of sets of batteries through the life of your UPS (electronics should last much longer than the batteries).

  2. Excessive heat reduces life of the accumulator significantly. E.g. if your UPS is in a closed busy rack, you'll need to replace accumulators much more frequently than if it is in a well-ventilated open area.

  3. You don't need to buy replacement batteries from the same vendor you bought your UPS from. They are in a standard size, mostly. Ask your local battery store, they might have such batteries, and cheaper than from the UPS vendor.

Battery testing

Connecting artificial loads in no way simulates real-life conditions. Light bulb is completely passive, and AC motor (in a fan) has very high reactive load, and high start-up currents. They are very different from a typical PC power supply load, even if a power rating (wattage) is similar.

Test with your real load. E.g. save everything on your computer, and yank the power plug from the wall outlet. The amount of time your computer should stay on depends on its power and UPS max power rating. Never connect higher load than your UPS is rated for.

PC power consumption varies wildly. E.g. idle computer consumes very little, playing modern computer game places high load on both your CPU and GPU, and power consumption can raise several times. Test under load if this is important for you.

UPS battery deteriorates with time. E.g. if it was able to hold 10 minutes when new, and after two years only holds for 3 minutes, it is normal, but means you need to replace it soon. UPS will only alert you when the battery is dead or nearly dead.

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Thanks for answer. But what if I have laptop and more importantly, how to test with real load if I don't want to lose unsaved work? –  Boris_yo May 26 '12 at 8:01
    
If you have a laptop, and only need a UPS for your secondary equipment (router, display, etc.) then what I said still applies, but you don't have a chance to lose your unsaved work at all. For testing, just disconnect the UPS from the mains and wait till it shuts down (and your laptop will simply switch to an internal battery then - no unsaved work). –  haimg May 26 '12 at 13:33
    
I always keep laptop on mains. –  Boris_yo May 26 '12 at 14:12

According to your your equipment specifications you have a USB interface able to send envents to your computer showing informations about:

Detect battery low, schedule UPS on/off, AC input/output power status display

History record of power failure events

Back up battery status, power status display by software

Probabilly it's software also have alarms about problem from UPS or even tests that you can do assisted by the software to test your equipment.

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I guess first time accumulator died without any notification is because I didn't want to install software that came with it because it required buying USB extension cable, messing with wiring and software's installation on OS. –  Boris_yo May 24 '12 at 20:51

Rather than testing them with high-power devices (which will reflect an unlikely situation), I consider you should test them with real loads, i.e. the equipment you are actually using on the UPS.

As for the accumulator, it has a lower warranty because it's considered a consumable, and its life will depend on the operation conditions (e.g. running the UPS in a harsh environment, where power fails often or it's hot and wet, might reduce its life). But the company might not want to replace the accumulator if it doesn't show signs of failure other than those caused by normal use.

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I could try but shipping will cost me almost $40 which is better to add to buy new UPS or accumulator, but then again, not only I am qualified to handle accumulators, laboratory won't give me warranty because of doing this. –  Boris_yo May 24 '12 at 20:54

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