Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) provide alarms (audible and visual) to alert operators to faults or changes in operating conditions. The primary function of uninterruptible power supplies is to monitor the power supply and respond in the event of a power failure or fluctuations outside of specified limits. However, the essence of alarms is that they are only useful if there is someone to hear and respond to them. Monitoring the UPS and responding to alarms should be an important part of a power maintenance plan, as inaction reduces the resilience of the system.
For example, a complex installation across multiple sites presents a number of challenges for monitoring uninterruptible power supplies. Each unit has local, network, and remote monitoring and control facilities. That use a combination of integrated communications ports in the UPS itself. In addition, the UPS monitoring system consists of other components, including hardware (cables, connectors, sensors) and software. The monitoring software is designed to detect certain predefined conditions and can be configured to respond in a specific way, such as to perform a monitored sequential and priority shutdown of the protected equipment in the event of a fault or power failure.
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Why monitoring should be part of a UPS plan
Modern uninterruptible power supplies contain microchips that allow detailed analysis of line voltages and currents and operating conditions. They can even be automated to respond in a specific way within preset parameters, shutting down all or part of the system. But the technology is not there yet, and as with most critical equipment, human intervention may be required at some point in the decision-making process. Classic examples of inadequate monitoring include failing to notice that a UPS is running in bypass mode or that it did not pass a battery test a week before a power outage.
Uninterruptible power supply manufacturers now offer a wide range of monitoring and management packages. Ranging from simple installation and maintenance programs to complete network packages. That enables cross-platform communication and off-site management via the Internet or other gateway. Service monitoring packages can also offered to complement emergency calls and remote site monitoring.
Simple UPS installation software designed for laptops, PCs, and PDAs can configured. In the field to query alarm logs and histories, display information (bar graphs and readings), and perform test procedures. UPS monitoring and control software is more sophisticated and can provide all of the above functions as well as graphical display of UPS operating conditions, sequential and priority shutdown of computers and file servers, scheduling of events to power up and shut down the system in a timely manner, management of alarm messages including email, fax and SMS, and monitoring via a WAP server on a handheld device or an Internet browser.
In addition to UPS software features, on-site monitoring should also include regular and consistent. Physical and visual inspections of all uninterruptible power supply equipment, especially UPS batteries and battery cabinets. In addition to the UPS equipment itself, it is important to inspect cables and connections for wear or damage.
Remote monitoring allows signals and other information from the UPS to sent to a remote service center via a modem. And telephone line (landline or cellular). This type of platform provides two-way communication; in addition to receiving information generated by the power protection equipment. Service center personnel can also reach the UPS or generator(s). To query their status and generate alarm logs and other reports. They can also run a self-diagnostic to determine the cause of the problem. And perform certain tests that identify problem areas or potential problems, such as a dead battery.
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