The Core of Your Uninterrupted Power Supply System: UPS Battery Types

UPS batteries are considered to be the main component of your Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system – an essential part of your critical power infrastructure. The batteries are often overlooked even though they are the core of your UPS. Everything you need to know about these batteries including the different types available as well as the pros and cons of each will be covered here in detail over the next few weeks. You should be aware of the fact that that the ability of the batteries to store power decreases over time regardless of the type in use. But, to get the most out of your UPS system you will still have to replace the batteries on a given schedule if you stick by the usage, maintenance and storage guidelines from the UPS Battery Shop.

UPS Batteries are divided into three main types:

  • VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) Batteries
  • VLA or Flooded Cell
  • Li-ion (Lithium Ion)

VRLA Batteries

Most of the UPS units available today are fitted with Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries. The unique way in which these batteries release gas led to the inclusion of the term “Valve Regulated” in their name. The valve in the battery releases the gas once its pressure within the battery gets to a certain level. The life of VRLA batteries is shortened by exposure to any factors that lead to an increase in the evaporation rate of the battery water, as it cannot be replenished in any way.

VLA or Flooded Cell Batteries

Usually offering a 20 year service life, flooded cell batteries are considered to be highly reliable. Chunky plates made from lead are submerged in electrolyte acid in VLA batteries. Since these batteries present various chemical hazards, they need to be placed in their own separate battery room, an extra safety measure that is not required in the case of the VRLA variety. Unlike other options these batteries also come with higher installation costs.

Li-ion Batteries

The design of Li-ion batteries has been adjusted accordingly over the years to support their use in UPS systems and electric vehicles among other applications. In addition to their compact, light-weight nature and battery monitoring capabilities, Li-ion batteries also come with an inbuilt battery management feature. This added feature can help with temperature management by disconnecting one or a number of batteries whenever temperature levels rise beyond a certain point, as well as dealing with cell voltage balance control, charge current and voltage management. This feature can also send notifications or alarms to the battery cabinet monitor or UPS system respectively. High recharge, discharge and charge times are associated with these batteries. These characteristics make them suitable for use in supporting industrial process control and grid sharing among other non-conventional UPS applications. Lastly, these batteries can operate in surroundings with higher temperatures, have a longer service life and require lower maintenance costs.

To find the right UPS batteries, you need to have an idea of the requirements of the application in question, the available battery types as well as their management requirements/guidelines.

Issac Gloria

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