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UPS Batteries

UPS batteries are the energy storage device used within uninterruptible power supplies, standby power & emergency lighting systems, security & alarm panels and generator starter circuits. Most UPS systems use lead acid batteries. This type of UPS battery has a typical working life of 3-4years (5year design life) and 7-years (10year design life). Lead acid UPS batteries are also recyclable (up to 95% of materials) and can be supplied as individual battery blocks or replacement battery packs and battery kits.

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UPS Battery Services

Server Room Environments provides UPS battery testing, replacement and eco-friendly disposal services. We also supply replacement UPS battery packs from leading battery manufacturers and battery isolators, DC wiring and battery monitoring solutions.

Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries

The traditional battery in a UPS is a lead acid type of which the most commonly installed is the Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) type. This is a maintenance free battery with either a 5-year or 10-year design life. VRLA UPS batteries will require replacement earlier and the typical replacement times are within 3-4 years (5-year design life) and 7-8 years (10-year design life).

The reasons for this are that the design life is dependent upon many factors including charge/discharge cycles and ambient temperature. VRLA UPS batteries are suitable for standby power applications. Ideal applications include use in uninterruptible power supplies and emergency lighting systems where the batteries are only called on to discharge intermittently.

Ambient temperature also affects lead acid battery performance. The higher the battery temperature the better the performance but with faster ageing. For every 1°C rise above 30°C battery life halves. Lead acid batteries can work down to minus temperatures but cannot be stored for longer than 6 months without recharge. This is because the batteries have an internal discharge characteristic even when not in use i.e. stored. If a lead acid battery is left without recharge, then it can reach a point from which it cannot be recovered. This is known as a deep discharge.

Flame Retardant UPS Battery Cases

Plastic battery cases are typically made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a common thermoplastic polymer. The plastic is used as the outer case for products like batteries as it is resistant to strong impacts, abrasion and corrosive materials such as the gel electrolyte used. ABS is a petroleum-based thermoplastic. Whilst its glass transition temperature is approximately 105degC, ABS plastic is amorphous, with no true melting point but is highly flammable. The plastic will melt and boil at which point its vapours can ignite and burn.

Battery part numbers (SKUs) including ‘FR’ are base from an ABS that is flame retardant to UL94 V0. The UL94 classifications include:

  • HB: slow burning on a horizontal specimen with a burning rate of less than 76mm/minute for a thickness less than 3mm or burning stops before 100mm
  • V-2: burning stops within 30seconds on a vertical specimen, drips of flaming particles are allowed
  • V-1: burning stops within 30seconds on a vertical specimen, drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed
  • V-0: burning stops within 10seconds on a vertical specimen, drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed
  • 5VB: burning stops within 60seconds on a vertical specimen, no drips allowed, plaque specimens may develop a hole
  • 5VA: burning stops within 60seconds on a vertical specimen, no drips allowed, plaque specimens may not develop a hole

The British Standard equivalent to UL94 is BS6290 part 4 and the IEC equivalent is IEC 60896.

Lithium-ion UPS Battery

There are many types of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries available. Currently the most common application for a lithium-ion battery is in hand-held devices like smart phones due to the fast and multiple recharge/charge cycle capabilities of Li-ion batteries. This feature also makes them suitable for use in Local Energy Storage (LES) Systems and Virtual Power Plants (VPPs).

Energy storage systems take the energy to charge their batteries from either a local renewable power source such as a solar PV or wind turbine installation of the mains power supply (normally when peak tariffs are lowest=night time). The charge is relatively ‘free’ from the renewable source. The energy storage system can then be used to supplement power from the grid either to reduce electricity bills (powering core infrastructure systems) or allow the loads to run off-the-grid.

Energy storage systems are essentially a battery pack and a charger/battery management system. To provide their output as an AC (alternating current) source they require an additional DC-AC inverter.

Virtual power plants are similar in application to energy storage systems but incorporate the inverter into their design in much the same way as an uninterruptible power supply. Installed with lithium-ion batteries allows an uninterruptible power supply to work as a virtual power plant. The batteries are charged at the lowest tariffs and the stored energy is used to power core infrastructure systems during high tariff periods.

UPS Battery Replacement Projects

The Server Room Environments team are experienced in both AC and DC electrical projects and the supply of UPS batteries and replacement battery kits for uninterruptible power supplies. Please contact our projects team to discuss your battery project. We can support a wide range of out-of-manufacture legacy UPS including battery replacements, battery accessories,spares and UPS maintenance contracts and service plans.


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