Load Bank Testing for Uninterruptible Power Supply

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

UPS load bank testing provides a sure-fire way to know you can keep your IT equipment running during short-term power outages. The purpose of a UPS system is to provide temporary power back-ups, such as for a few seconds or minutes. They use batteries for energy storage and address power glitches and failures affecting IT equipment.

UPS systems cannot support the heavy loads required by cooling or fire pump equipment. To put UPS system use in perspective, you need to consider its energy source. UPS systems store energy in the form of batteries. Conversely, a generator uses diesel fuel to provide its backup power. Regarding power storage, a single barrel of diesel fuel equals a large room full of batteries. So, you can see why UPS systems are only suited for short-term operation of substantial loads and why the use of a battery tester is important.

Why Conduct Load Bank Testing for UPS Systems?

UPS systems sit between the backup power generators and the IT equipment they protect. Data centers and their customers depend on business continuity. Because of this dependence, you need to use load banks to test your UPS. With proper load bank testing, you can ensure your system performs when you need it most

.Load bank testing validates the correct operational performance of the system and its batteries. Testing allows you to put your UPS system under a load without risking protected equipment in a live scenario. Consider the analogy of simulator flight training. You can test airplane operation without risking an actual crash. Load banks perform a similar function. They act as a battery tester and let you confirm operational performance without having to experience a real power outage.

You hope you never have to use your UPS system during data center operation. However, knowing it will kick into action during an outage provides peace of mind.

How to Manage UPS Load Bank Testing

You can perform UPS load bank testing during the data center commissioning process. However, you must allow the voltage across the battery blocks to equalize and the batteries to fully charge. To achieve accurate results, an experienced load bank supplier will recommend testing no sooner than one week after commissioning your UPS system.

UPS load bank testing is also performed during preventative maintenance. Load testing evaluates the condition of UPS batteries and battery strings. If any individual cell fails to hold a charge or a battery is at the end of its working life, a load test will uncover these issues. You can then replace problem batteries before they become a serious matter. Because a UPS battery set is only as strong as its weakest battery cell, load testing becomes an essential function that you must perform regularly.

Types of Load Banks for UPS Testing

A knowledgeable load bank supplier can rent the appropriate load banks to conduct your UPS test. UPS load testing is typically performed using either AC or DC resistive load banks. Although you can use reactive load banks too, they are usually larger and heavier. An AC load bank can test the entire UPS system. A DC load bank tests the UPS batteries.Because these battery testers produce heat, your supplier must accommodate heat dissipation during testing. Also, the load bank's fans used for cooling can create noise. An experienced provider will work with you to conduct testing away from sensitive alarms, sprinkler systems, and staff offices.

Proper UPS load bank testing determines system and battery performance. You can identify problems and take action before you experience a crippling outage. UPS load bank testing ensures all components within your backup power system are integrated properly and will work together as intended.

Comrent’s team of load bank experts helps ensure successful UPS load bank testing for data centers. We provide a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution to meet your requirements. Contact us today.

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