FAQ

Common Questions 1:

What is a UPS and how does it work?
An Uninterruptible Power Supply is a device that sits between a power supply (e.g. a wall outlet) and a device (e.g. a computer) to prevent undesired features of the power source (outages, sags, surges, bad harmonics, etc.) from the supply from adversely affecting the performance of the device.
How does CPT calculate battery run time?
Battery run times are calculated based watts per battery measurements referred to in our product technical specifications per manufacturer.
What is an Online UPS vs. Offline?
On-line UPS implies that an electronic inverter is constantly supplying AC power to the load under all modes of operation. Off-line UPS supply input utility to the load during normal operation and revert to a battery-powered inverter during utility failures.
What is a bypass function?
In a UPS scenario, a bypass feature is in essence, a switch between the input and output of the device. It allows the routing or transfer of incoming power to the output bypassing any internal circuitry. The bypass function uses the A/C supply power as its standby source of power. This feature allows power to continue to flow to connected equipment if the UPS system encounters an internal error or overload condition. The UPS system will automatically transfer to the by-pass quickly to ensure that the connected equipment continues to operate.
What does kVA & VA mean?
The output of a UPS or Power Conditioning product is measured in volt-amperes or VA (output voltage x output current). The term kVA refers to kilo-volt-amperes or VA x 1000.
How are VA & Wattage related?
Put simply, real power (watts)/apparent power (VA) = power factor.
Is an online UPS better?
On-line UPS units provide better overall power protection to the load than off-line. This protection includes power conditioning, regulated voltage and frequency, and zero translation time to battery during a utility failure.
Can a UPS support multiple devices?
Yes, if the UPS is sized large enough for the application. Maintaining close proximity of the hardware to be supported is preferred to long distance electrical runs, which can cause unwanted ground current imbalances. Our technical staff is available to assist in the design of the electrical distribution.
Can voltage taps be changed in a UPS?
Lugs inside the UPS module should only be changed by a qualified CPT Services Field Engineer.
What is "MTBF"?
"MTBF" stands for "Mean Time Between Failures". To calculate MTBF: 8760 hours (= 1 year) -------------------------------------------- No. of power disturbances in 1 year MTBF, for most UPS systems, is 25,000 hours and higher. When deciding whether to use one facility UPS or multiple smaller systems keep in mind the following: If one UPS has an MTBF of 25,000, then two UPSs will have a combined MTBF of 12,500 hours. Extending this logic to a medium size data center with 10 UPSs, they will have a combined MTBF of 2,500 hours (or 2 months) between failures. The failure may only become apparent when utility power is lost and the supported system crashes.

Common Questions 2:

How are VA & Wattage related?
Put simply, real power (watts)/apparent power (VA) = power factor.
Is an online UPS better?
On-line UPS units provide better overall power protection to the load than off-line. This protection includes power conditioning, regulated voltage and frequency, and zero translation time to battery during a utility failure.
Can a UPS support multiple devices?
Yes, if the UPS is sized large enough for the application. Maintaining close proximity of the hardware to be supported is preferred to long distance electrical runs, which can cause unwanted ground current imbalances. Our technical staff is available to assist in the design of the electrical distribution.
Can voltage taps be changed in a UPS?
Lugs inside the UPS module should only be changed by a qualified CPT Services Field Engineer.
What is "MTBF"?
"MTBF" stands for "Mean Time Between Failures". To calculate MTBF: 8760 hours (= 1 year) -------------------------------------------- No. of power disturbances in 1 year MTBF, for most UPS systems, is 25,000 hours and higher. When deciding whether to use one facility UPS or multiple smaller systems keep in mind the following: If one UPS has an MTBF of 25,000, then two UPSs will have a combined MTBF of 12,500 hours. Extending this logic to a medium size data center with 10 UPSs, they will have a combined MTBF of 2,500 hours (or 2 months) between failures. The failure may only become apparent when utility power is lost and the supported system crashes.

Common Questions 3:

Why do I need a UPS?
A UPS is the life support system for your computer installation. It protects against the combined risks of data loss and hardware damage resulting from daily power fluctuations and losses. These events are routine and uncontrollable, and without a UPS will affect your operations and bottom-line costs.
What is "SNMP"?
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a family of protocols that provide a means for monitoring and controlling networked devices. Computer vendors have built into some network devices, including some UPS models, network management capabilities so that you can query their status remotely, as well as allow the sending of alerts when a certain type of event occurs. These devices are usually referred to as "smart" devices.
How much battery run-time do I need?
This can vary greatly depending on the critical load. Do you need just enough time to save files and shut down the computer, or is this a 24/7 site where no downtime is acceptable? For a typical PC or workstation, you need at least 5-10 minutes of battery backup to complete any work in process and gracefully shut down your system during extended power failure. For more mission-critical systems, extended run-time batteries or emergency generators are required. A JT Packard representative can help you determine the correct solution for your unique application.
How do I determine how much battery run time I need?
Battery backup time is a non-linear function dependent on the battery type, battery age and the load. There are two ways to determine the actual time: 1)Contact CPT with the battery and load information. We have detailed battery discharge curves for most battery systems to provide the calculated hold-up time. Keep in mind that a UPS battery, like any battery, is a consumable and weakens with age. You may have considerably less hold-up time with a three year old battery system than when new. 2) Perform a discharge test. Call CPT for the procedures or to arrange for a battery service professional to perform this test for you.

Sizing a UPS for a PC or workstation can be simple. As with any electrical device, a computer has a rating plate that will give the power consumption, usually listed as "amps". A UPS is sized by VA, or Volt Amps. To determine the VA, multiply the amps by the 120 (volts) to determine the VA (Volts x Amps = VA). Be sure to allow for at least a 20% growth factor. Configuring a larger UPS is more complex with many more variables such as interaction between devices, different voltages, growth planning, and distribution. Contact a power professional at CPT for assistance.

Common Questions 4:

Do I need software to run my UPS?
For most UPS functions the answer is no. But remember, if a power outage lasts longer than the battery hold-up time, the UPS is only postponing the inevitable crash. For prolonged outages, a shutdown utility must be installed on the protected computer. This utility will communicate with the UPS and, after a set period of time which you determine, take control of the computer and shut it down gracefully, avoiding a system crash. Depending on the UPS and manufacturer, these utilities can also perform a variety of environmental monitoring and management tasks. Which UPS and software package we recommend is based on your unique requirements and environment.
A UPS is sized by VA - what is "VA"?
VA is short for "volt amps". This is a measurement of the power consumed by any given piece of equipment. For larger installations, you will see the term kVA (kilo volt amps). One kVA is equal to 1000 VA. For example, a computer that draws 5 amps from a 120 volt source is using 600 VA of power (120 V x 5 A = 600 VA).
I have a number of workstations in one location, do I need to buy multiple UPS's?
In most cases, it is more cost efficient to simply buy one, larger UPS to back up your critical load (see FAQ answer #11). As UPS systems get larger, the per kVA purchase and maintenance costs go down significantly. Additionally, larger "data center" systems will typically provide a higher level of protection against power anomalies, as well as support more sophisticated monitoring capabilities.
When do I need new batteries?
UPS batteries are typically rated for 5 years or 200 complete full-load discharge cycles. This assumes that the batteries have been maintained within specifications. The only true way to determine remaining capacity is to perform a battery discharge test. CPT can provide this service or provide you with the information if you wish to perform it yourself.

Common Questions 5:

Why won't my unit run on generator power?
It may be possible that your unit needs to have a generator set-up performed to make it less sensitive to fluctuations common to most generators. If this is a problem, please contact Best Power for information.
How often should I change my batteries?
You can expect to change your batteries in 3-5 years under ideal circumstances. There are variables that could shorten the life expectancy, such as bad site comercial power, hotter temperatues where the batteries are stored and improper maintenance procedures. There are more circumstances that could also lead to premature battery failure; please contact Best Power for more information.
Can I change the batteries in my UPS while it is running?
Several Best Power UPS's allow for hot-swappable battery replacement: the FERRUPS 800 Series (2kVA to 7.5kVA); Fortress tower, Fortress Rackmount and Fortress.TeleCom models (750VA to 2250VA); and Patriot Pro II (400VA to 1000VA). Hot-swappable battery replacement results in reduced maintenance and service costs.
Where can I find the Serial Number?
On the rear of the FERRUPS units, there will be a data plate with a bar code and the serial number will be below the bar code. On 4.3KVA and larger units, behind the locked door will also be a second data plate containing the serial number.
How can I get the cover off of my micro-FERRUPS (500-3.1KVA)?
Remove the grounding screw on the top of the unit toward the rear, then on the front of the unit, behind the BEST decal loosen the captive screw by turning counterclockwise until you can hear a clicking sound. Then slide the entire over off of the front until completely removed.

Common Questions 6:

Can you monitor and control UPS(s) remotely?
Yes, by using remote hardware, customers can monitor and view remotely. This can also be done with a network management software package, and network adapter products. Explain gel batteries v.s. SLA Gel or sealed lead acid batteries are basically the same chemistry as a wet (flooded cell) battery. The batteries' electrolyte is in a gelatin form and is absorbed into the plates and the battery is sealed with epoxies. These batteries may be used in any position and the batteries are exceptionally leak resistant. Battery uses are UPS, emergency lights, and camcorders. These batteries are 2 volts per cell so the common batteries are 4, 6, and 12 volt.
Can I use a 208VAC with a Make-Before-Break Bypass Switch?
A FERRUPS or UNITY/I Single Phase installation using a Make-Before-Break bypass switch will not work with a 208 VAC input.* In this configuration, the phase angle difference between the FERRUPS output and the bypass A/C circuit will cause equipment damage if switching the bypass switch from the UPS to the LINE position. It may cause the input breaker to trip, or possibly, weld the switch contacts together permanently. Recommendation: For all installations of a Make-Before-Break bypass switch for which the input to the UPS is 208 VAC, a single-phase linear isolation transformer must be installed to step the input voltage up to 240 VAC. The linear isolation step-up transformer should have a kVA rating equal to or greater than the UPS- rated kVA, with a 208 VAC primary winding and a center tapped 120/240 VAC secondary winding. A Buck/Boost type transformer is not compatible for this application. *208 phase-to-phase has a 120-degree phase angle difference derived from a Three-phase power source. The output of the FERRUPS is a single-phase derived output with a 180-degree phase to phase relationship. Since the neutral is bonded to ground on both systems, the phase relationship is referred to as a common point, therefore the phase difference will cause problems. This 60-degree phase difference will cause a large current impulse through the contacts of the bypass switch, leading to arcing and premature failure of the switch.
How often does my unit need preventive maintenance?
At a minimum, Best Power recommends preventive maintenance once a year to extend the life of your batteries, as well as to ensure trouble-free operation. Contact Best Power for details including some attractive maintenance contracts that can save you both money and time.
What should I do if I find that I have a circuit reading 88 VAC?
On FERRUPS units with hardwired outputs where the actual output connections are made, you will find that one of the wires have been fastened to a terminal that has 88VAC there (necessary if one of your circuits are to be 208VAC Single-Phase) instead of one of the 120VAC terminals. Verify with a true RMS multimeter at the proper terminal and reconnect the correct wire in accordance with your Installation Manual
Why is the runtime displayed on my unit different from the actual runtime?
Runtime is only accurate when the unit is runnning on inverter power and has been in that state for several minutes.

Common Questions 7:

What are deep cycle batteries?
Deep-cycle batteries typically feature thick plates with a high-density active material. The thick battery plates allow for reserve energy to be stored deep within the battery plate and released during slow discharge such as trolling or electronic instrument use. The high-density active material remains within the batteries' plate/grid structure longer, resisting the normal degradation found in cycling conditions. They are typically used where the battery is discharged to great extent and then recharged. For example, a battery powered trolling motor on a fishing boat.
What is a battery cycle?
Battery cycle: A cycle of a battery is a discharge plus a charge. For example, if your battery is full charged and you apply load (use) the battery and it discharges some (maybe completely) and then recharge to full battery charge; that is one cycle. Cycle life is the total number of cycles a battery yields. The cycle life is very important in battery applications such as laptop batteries and emergency light batteries. A Ni-cad battery has a cycle life of 500-1000 or more cycles.
Reserve capacity
battery rating: RC is the number of minutes a new, fully charged battery at 80 degrees F. will sustain a discharge load of 25 ahps to a cut-off voltage of 1.75 volts per cell (10.5V on 12V battery). This battery rating measures more of a continuous load on the battery.
Cold Cranking Amperage
battery rating: CCA is the discharge load in amps which a battery can sustain for 30 seconds at 0 degrees F. and not fall below 1.2 volts per cell (7.2V on 12V battery). This battery rating measures a burst of energy that a car needs to start on a cold morning. This rating is used mainly for rating batteries for engine starting capacity and does not apply to NiCad batteries, NiMH batteries or Alkaline batteries.
Explain battery ratings and how battery ratings are used?
Some of the common battery ratings are: Amp-Hour battery rating: This is a common battery rating of batteries. Amp-hour rating of battery capacity is calculated by multiplying the current (in amperes) by time (in hours) the current is drawn. Amp-hour battery rating is commonly used on sealed lead acid batteries used in UPS systems, emergency lights and camcorders. For example: A battery which delivers 2 amperes for 20 hours would have a 40 amp-hour battery rating (2 * 20 = 40).

Common Questions 8:

Can UPS Battery Life be extended?
Any doctor will agree that exercise is the key to a long and healthy life. Believe it or not , the same advice holds true for the batteries in your UPS units. Before you go out and buy a "Thigh Master" for your UPS…read on. The batteries in the UPS are Sealed Lead Acid (SLA). The reaction between the acid and the lead produce electricity that is used by the UPS in the case of a power outage. However, there is a dark side to this chemical reaction: Sulfation. As time goes by, and the battery is not used, a white powdery substance starts to adhere to the plates of lead in the battery. This is called sulfation and is a by-product of the lead-acid chemical reaction. If enough sulfation occurs the acid can no longer make contact with the lead and the battery can no longer produce electricity. There is a way to prevent sulfation. You guessed it, exercise! If the batteries are regularly exercised, the build-up of sulfates is minimized and the battery life is extended. Here's what you do. Two to four times a year (I suggest when you change your clocks), cut the power to your UPS by simply pulling the plug. Make sure you are not in the middle of any processing on your computer. Let the UPS run on battery for about 3-5 minutes. As the battery heats up the sulfates will release from the plates and fall to the bottom of the battery case. Now the battery has clean lead for the acid to react with, so as to obtain the maximum output.
List the types of batteries
A few types of batteries are: Sealed Lead Acid, Flooded Lead Acid, Ni-Cad, Alkaline, Silver Oxide, Lithium, Mercury (not mfg in US any more), Manganese-Dioxide, Zinc-Air, and Ni-MH.
How does overcharging damage batteries?
Overcharging a battery occurs when the total capacity removed has been replaced by recharging and the battery remains on charge. This overcharging creates excessive heat which can cause the battery plates within the cells to buckle and shed their active material. The battery will react to the overcharge by producing an excessive amount of hydrogen and oxygen. These gases are the result of the breakdown of the water molecules within the electrolyte. The water that has been displaced by overcharging can be replaced in a serviceable (non-sealed) battery, but, in the maintenance-free sealed batteries, permanent capacity loss will result. Excessive discharging a battery can also damage a battery. The amount of discharge a battery can have without damage depends upon the chemistry of the battery, but in general a lead acid battery will not tolerate as deep a discharge as a Ni-cad battery or Ni-mh battery. Sealed lead acid batteries function best if they are discharged to only about 85% of nominal voltage (10.2V on 12V battery).

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