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How to maintain Maintenance Free Battery? Tech Focus 5


“My UPS is not giving sufficient back up”. This is the most common complaint raised by PC users. It is not the fault of the UPS, but is due to the poor maintenance of its battery. Sealed batteries are used in UPS, Emergency lamps etc do not require water and acid top up. There is no water loss in these batteries during the charge/discharge cycle and it can be positioned in any direction like vertical, horizontal etc. These sealed batteries are known as SMF (Sealed Maintenance Free) or VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) batteries and they work on the oxygen recombination principle. SMF battery is totally maintenance free and has longer cyclic life, thus compensating the initial higher cost. One of the important aspects of battery life in relation to the use of equipment is the cut off voltage set in the equipment. If properly maintained, the sealed battery can give sufficient back up time. Let us see the tips to increase the life of UPS and Inverter battery.
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Why Emergency Lamp is not doing well? Fact File 18


It is not its fault! But ours. We search for the emergency lamp only when power fails frequently. Otherwise it will be a dust depositor somewhere. To make the emergency lamp in good condition, proper care is needed. The emergency lamp battery is SMF (Sealed Maintenance Free) type and need not require water topping and can be placed in any position. It is rated 6 volts @ 4.5 Ah backup current.

 

The electrolyte of most SMF battery is a gel of Sulphuric acid mixed with Silica fume which makes the resulting mass gel like and immobile. This gel electrolyte reduces the electrolyte evaporation, spillage etc. One important feature of Gel battery is that the lead plates contain Calcium instead of Antimony to reduce water loss. Because of the presence of calcium, the gel battery charges very slowly compared to other batteries. Another important feature is its thermal sensitivity so the battery is vulnerable to thermal run away due to abusive charging. Over charging leads to its premature failure.

The Emergency lamp battery requires equal charge and discharge cycle. That is, it should be charged and discharged daily or once in two days. If it is always plugged in for charging, overcharging occurs leading to its permanent damage. If the battery is kept without charging for few days, self discharge takes place and the battery develops Memory Effect so that it will not charge fully. Deep discharge is another problem that can affect battery life. When the emergency lamp is kept switched on till it completely shut down, two adverse effects happen. The battery will not charge fully in recharging and the ends of tubes turn black due to filament damage. So it is better to switch off the lamp, when its light intensity drops.
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SMF Battery


Sealed Maintenance Free batteries are widely used where minimal maintenance and space requirements are the main considerations. In UPS systems, it is used because of its maintenance free and eco friendly features.

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