These are some general questions Review Surge Protector has received in regards to APC battery backup surge protectors. Keep in mind the information provided below does not pertain to a specific APC model but is more an overview of the standard standby APC Uninterruptible Power Supply line.
Why Do I Need An APC Battery Backup And Surge Protector For My Computer?
There is no real need for one, unless you experience power outages often. The benefit lies in having power from the battery backup when the power does go out. The APC UPS offers enough time to save any info you were working on and safely power down your computer without data loss or abruptly terminating programs. The amount of time you have to power everything down depends on the model, though. Some battery backups only permit you a couple of minutes, while other, more expensive models provide up to an hour or more. Sudden power loss to your machine can damage it and will certainly cause frustration with any loss of important work. While it’s not a necessity, it sure will come in handy at the right time.
How To Install An APC Battery Backup Surge Protector
When you decide to install your APC unit, make sure it’s in a place that is well ventilated and free of direct sunlight and humidity.
1. Connect the Battery
For the most part, APC UPS devices are plug and play. Though the battery is shipped fully charged, there is some runtime loss during shipping and should be recharged to full capacity. It will still be operational upon installation even at partial charge though run time will be limited.
In some models the battery has one wire disconnected to avoid discharge prior to purchase. In this case, simply open the battery compartment and connect the wire and the device is ready. You may experience sparks during connection. This is normal.
The battery charges while plugged in.
Do not plug your APC battery back up surge protector into another surge protector. Also, do not plug extension cords or other surge protectors into your APC backup.
2. Check the Wiring Fault Indicator
On the back of some units is a Building Wiring Fault Indicator. This lights up if your outlet is improperly wired. This could mean the neutral and “hot” wires are reversed or that there is no ground wire or your neutral wire is overloaded. Your device will still work regardless, but you may experience limited protection and it could negate any warranty. If this is a concern for you, you’ll have to have an electrician fix the wiring.
If your device comes with software, install it at this point.
3. On one side of the unit are outlets for the battery backup with surge protector and on the other are outlets for surge protection only. You want your hard drive and monitor plugged into the battery backup side. This group of outlets is what provides backup power in the event of an outage, brown out or spike. All other peripherals should be plugged into the surge protector only side. Power supply to these outlets is active whether or not the APC unit is turned on.
4. Connect any phone, fax or modem into the appropriate jacks on the back of the UPS.
5. Turn it on and test it. A green light will indicate the power is on.
6. Connect your pc and peripherals and you’re in business.
How Long Does An APC Battery Back Up Last?
How long a battery lasts is calculated as the Estimated Runtime (ERT). How much battery backup is provided will be determined by the overall power draw of your computer with peripherals.
For example, a standard APC Battery Backup with Surge Protection for Electronics and Computers with a 300W power supply will only get you 2 to 7 minutes of run time. The Plus models for the same computer will net you between 8 and 22 minutes.
As for any peripherals you want to connect to the APC device, there are outlets for surge protection only where battery backup is not necessary. This will conserve your ERT from premature discharge due to excessive load.
There are factors to determine the amount of ERT given per APC unit that will be markedly different from what is advertised on the APC website. Factors include temperature, battery age, recharge time, frequency of discharge, power draw and storage.
Broken down, it looks like this:
Temperature. The lower the temperature the less capacity to stay powered and at higher temperatures the capacity increases.
Battery Age. Not only does it take a few discharges and recharges for the battery to reach its maximum capacity, it also loses capacity as it ages as much as 80%.
*Although higher temperatures will increase a battery’s capacity, it will reduce the lifespan of the battery.
Recharging. Your battery will recharge as long as it is plugged in. Capacity can reach 90% rapidly but it can take up to 72 hours to fully recharge.
Frequency of Discharge. How often battery backup is necessary and for how long will affect the life and capacity of the battery. The more often it is called on the less effective runtime it will have.
Power Draw. How many items is needed for battery backup and how much power those items draw will affect runtime.
Storage. A battery will lose charge naturally on its own. Storing it in higher temperatures will increase the discharge. Typically it can be stored for 8 to 12 months before discharge in temperatures between 77° – 86° Fahrenheit. It will lose charge in about 4 months in temperatures over 100° F.
How Do I Recharge An APC Battery Backup surge protector?
Your battery charges while it is plugged in and connected to the UPS. Ideally, your battery will hold its charge for about six months before needing to be recharged and it takes about 72 hours to achieve full capacity again. It is important to recharge your battery immediately should it become fully discharged as this can damage the battery*.
Your UPS device will charge the battery while it is turned off.
If you decide to store your device, the battery should be disconnected after recharging.
*Sulfation occurs in batteries that sit for a long time without being recharged. This is where large sulfate crystals form and harden on the battery plates. This can cause the battery to overheat when charged or cause the battery to not be able to hold a charge.
When Do I Need To Replace My APC UPS Battery?
In an ideal environment, your APC battery can last up to six years. But just like ERT variations, the life of a battery is determined by how its stored while in use and how often the battery is discharged.
Below is a guide you can use to optimize battery life. Keep in mind that this is a general guide and that each model APC battery backup has a different life expectancy.
- Keep it in a cool, dry place that is well ventilated. By well ventilated, it means leaving a couple inches on each side exposed to airflow.
- Temperatures should be kept at or below 77° F. This is the ideal operating temperature. Higher temperatures will reduce the life expectancy of the APC battery. In general you can expect about 50% reduction in as little as a fifteen degree increase. So, if your battery was expected to last for 6 years, operating it at higher than 95° F will shorten the lifespan to about 3 years.
Your machine will always run warmer than actual room temperature so the ideal temperature level should be maintained.
- You should only need to calibrate your APC backup once or twice a year. Any more and you will reduce the lifespan of the APC battery.
- You should not store a battery for longer than one year after purchase. Loss of charge will occur after this point and sulfation of the plates may result in a fully discharged battery that sits for a long time.
It is not recommended to store a battery that has already been used.
- You shouldn’t allow your APC battery backup to run out its full ERT capacity. This will reduce the life expectancy of the battery.
How Much Does An APC Surge Protector Battery Cost?
It depends on your specific model, but they run as little as $30 for the APC Back-UPS 350, 120V and as high as $70 for larger models.
Why Does My APC Surge Protector Backup Beep?
The problem with having an APC surge protector and battery backup is how large they are and how much space they occupy. Because of their size they are most often placed where they can’t be seen. The problem that this presents is that it makes it much harder to check that it is operating properly at all times.
One way APC has overcome this is by installing audible alarms to indicate different issues your battery backup might be having. Here are the meanings behind the various audible alerts:
- An occasional single beep: This is normal. It indicates that your APC is protecting you normally.
- Your APC unit is on battery power: There are two possibilities here. Four beeps every 30 seconds or so or 1 beep every five seconds. This alert occurs to let you know that the backup battery is in use due to an electrical power issue.
The alarm ceases when power is restored to normal parameters.
Sometime your APC device will switch to battery power if it detects a fault in the power flow. It acts as a line conditioner to ensure reliable power flow. Any included software that came with your APC product should be able to be tweaked to accommodate this if it happens often.
If you run a generator to power wall outlets at any time, the APC unit may switch to battery power. This is because the generator is most likely too weak to maintain the power load required by the equipment running into the APC.
Constant fluctuations in power flow (dirty power) can trigger battery backup. If this happens too often, check your manual to see how to adjust the input power trigger.
- Your battery power is low: Continuous beeping. This means you are almost out of reserve power and the APC unit will shut down soon. This is a safety measure to prevent the battery from discharging too much. You have about 2 minutes to resolve any issues before shut down.
- Capacity Overload: A constant solid alert. This means you have too many items connected to the APC and it is overloaded. Unplug non-essential items. When this is done the alarm will stop.
If for some reason removing equipment does not cause the alarm to stop, try turning the APC off and unplug all equipment. Unplug your APC battery backup device from the wall outlet. Hold in the power On button until you hear a second beep. Let go of the button before the second beep stops. This will kick in battery mode and the alarm should stop.
If it still continues, it means your APC unit has been permanently damaged and needs to be replaced.
- Beeping continues for one minute and repeats every five hours. This means your unit failed a self test. Self tests are performed every two weeks (14 days) to check battery integrity. The continuous beeping means it might be time to replace your battery. To check the battery yourself, try the following:
1. Make sure the battery is properly connected.
2. Make sure the battery backup is not being overloaded (see above).
3. Disconnect any external battery pack that might be in use and make sure the internal battery is fully charged. Hold the Power ON/OFF button until a long tone sounds. If after 15 seconds the LED battery indicator stays lit, it’s time to change the battery. If it turns off, you’re fine.
4. If the product is still under warranty you can have the battery replaced by APC. Otherwise you’ll have to purchase a new battery.
5. If software came with your product you can disable the alarm through that by going to the Configuration tab and then to Notifications Configuration at Battery Back-UPS Alarm. Adjust settings to your liking.
If your battery needs to be replaced, it should be done within a couple weeks to prevent damage to your system.