How can I tell if my UPS still works?

Manufacturers claim UPS batteries typically last two to six years, depending on how often the unit's battery is used. We have seen several lose their charge after just two years. If your UPS comes with monitoring software, check its capacity regularly. Periodically (once a year), you should perform the runtime calibration using the software. If you have a smaller UPS without software, you can turn off the circuit breaker to simulate a power failure and test the battery. For small UPSs (250-400 VA) the typical running time is 5-10 minutes. Medium ones (400-700 VA) may run 10-30 minutes. It all depends on how much equipment you have connected.

If you get a quick or immediate beep, then the battery usually needs replacing. Battery replacements or trade-ins for a new UPS are available through ITS.

Never connect a laser printer to a UPS unless you have greatly oversized the UPS for your application and it is critical to your operation. UPSs under 1400 VA simply cannot provide enough current to laser printers.

Update (5/10/04)

APC recommends users keep their UPS in a cool dry location, ideally less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Runtime calibrations should be performed only once or twice per year; more often will decrease battery life. New batteries should not be stored for longer than 6-12 months; used batteries should not be stored. APC also recommends not exceeding 80% of a UPS's rated capacity to avoid decreasing its runtime and battery life.

October 2000

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