Regen Battery -To Pack Or Not To Pack

AG1500S ReGen Battery

“Do I need a battery pack to go with my ReGenerator?” is a commonly asked question. Well the answer depends upon what you’re trying to achieve. The ReGen battery allows the AG1500S to continue to provide power in the event of a mains power outage. In some circumstances this is essential and in others not so. First you need to understand how a ReGenerator operates.

Under The Hood

UPS DNA

The essence of the AG1500S is based on the very latest in Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) technology. More exactly it is based on what is termed online double conversion or VFI technology.

Schema diagram for AG1500S ReGen

The incoming AC power feeds a charger which charges and keeps the batteries maintained (if they are fitted). It also generates the DC Bus via an AC Boost Circuit. In between the AC Boost Circuit and the source is a “Backfeed Relay”. We’ll learn more about this later.

The DC bus is a high voltage positive and negative internal power supply rail that the inverter uses to create the AC output power waveform.

The microprocessor controls everything (including the inverter but this isn’t shown for clarity). It constantly monitors the incoming AC power waveform and should it find the power to go out of tolerance it will instantly transfer power from the AC Boost, to the DC Boost and open the back feed relay. Power is then drawn from the battery via the DC Boost circuit. The net result is that the inverter sees no change of any note in the DC Bus and continues to provide power as normal. There is no break, or change as far as the output power is concerned.

What if I don’t have the ReGen Battery Fitted?

In the event of an out of tolerance input power (note out of tolerance means too high, too low, or non-existent voltage, or frequency) the ReGen will switch over from AC source to DC source (the battery). It will do this extremely quickly and will not revert back to AC Power until several seconds after the source is back in tolerance.

If no battery is connected, then the ReGen will detect a low battery condition and simply switch off. Since low battery is classed as an alarm, you may hear the ReGen emit a “dying” tone.

There are power problems which are known as a micro-outages or voltage sags. These are very momentary dips or breaks in power that may not be overly noticeable, but the AG1500S will detect them and transfer to battery to prevent any loss of power. Since the unit will not revert back to AC power until several seconds after the AC power source is restored, the unit will detect low battery and switch off. In such instances it looks like the ReGen has simply switched off for no reason. But there is a reason, and that reason is that there is a power anomaly that the ReGen is designed to prevent getting through to your load. It won’t allow any break or variance from the pure waveform it is intended to deliver.

When the ReGen Battery is fitted, the unit will seamlessly transfer from AC power to the DC power and continue to power your load without any interruption at all. If it isn’t fitted, then the ReGen will switch off when the power is out of tolerance, regardless of how short that power anomaly may be.

Backfeed Relay

You might wonder why I wanted to mention the backfeed relay. This component is in the circuit primarily for safety. What is does is physically disconnect the input power conductors from the unit. This is to prevent the possibility of the output power appearing on the pins of a mains plug should you pull it from the socket – ouch!

Backfeed Relay

In normal operation the relay is closed, connecting Live and Neutral to the ReGen circuits. Should the AC power fail the unit opens the relay contacts from both the live and neutral conductors. This isolates the output from the input.

Some say, this is great for audio applications! But, sorry there is a but, it requires running the unit for prolonged period on battery. There are two issues regarding this. Firstly, if the power consumption is quite high, the length of time the batteries would last is quite reduced. For example if you had a fairly low powered system of say, 50W , you could run this for over 6 hours! However a 500W system would last just over half an hour. Perhaps not long enough!

Secondly, if you were planning on doing this regularly, then you should note that lead acid batteries as used in the ReGen Battery only have a finite number of charge and discharge cycles of 200-300, which means you could be replacing the battery pack each year. If the batteries are not fully discharged, then you will get a lot longer – typically between 3 and 5 years.

Conclusion

The AG1500S will work without the ReGen Battery pack. It will provide a pure stable output power waveform at all times. However, if the power should fail even momentarily the AG1500 switches off.

So if you need the in-built UPS capability of the AG1500S, or want to run your system truly isolated from the “real world”, then you should consider the ReGen Battery. Available on our online store.


Taking care of your UPS – Battery Service

Battery Service

Built in batteries in Uninterruptible Power Supplies are important part of the units – they keep the UPS functioning and provide runtime for your critical load. The majority of Uninterruptible Power Supplies use maintenance free, non-spillable sealed lead acid batteries. But even the highest quality battery comes to the end of it’s life one day. This can have a negative effect on the runtime of your UPS and even cause the UPS to misbehave.

For peace of mind that your critical load is protected and your UPS is in good condition, it is recommended to service the batteries after 3 to 5 years of use.  Please note that this time scale is estimated. Numerous factors have an effect on batteries’ lifetime: for example how many times the batteries have been depleted, the ambient temperature of site where your unit is installed, etc.

Here at Power Inspired we understand the importance of well functioning batteries and offer Dual Battery Service for VIX and VIS products.

When you order a service, we will assign an RMA number for you and advise on our warehouse delivery address. It is your responsibility to securely wrap the unit and get it delivered to our warehouse. Please ensure you use reputable courier to avoid damage in transit.

Once the unit arrives, our qualified technicians will undertake functional checks, they will perform minor repairs if required. They will clean the unit, replace the batteries and test the unit for electrical safety.  We care about our environment and will take care of safe and environmental disposal of used batteries.

Once our technical team finish the process, we will return the unit back to you. It is that easy! Taking care of your equipment is important – order UPS service from our webstore for peace of mind.

Case Study: 2.3KW 8 hour UPS Solution

Brief:

We were asked by a customers to come up with a UPS solution that will provide 8 hours of runtime for a load of 2300W to provide power for essential services at a new construction project in the Midlands.

Construction Site

The requirement was to deliver, position, install and commission the system and as requested we handled the project from Concept through to the Execution.

The first part is to ensure we have a UPS powerful enough for the load and make the decision on extra battery cabs or a bespoke battery solution. We could use one of our VFI3000T units, a 2700W unit – so powerful enough – and fit extra cabinets to this. The problem is we would need 19 additional cabinets to hit this amount of runtime! Clearly another solution was needed.

Our B16 cabinets (BCAB-B16) are very flexible and can support up to sixteen 100Ah blocks. Looking at the UPS requirement the best solution would be the VFI3000BL. This is a extended run UPS system, meaning it does not contain internal batteries but has a larger charger for connection to a large external cabinet. Most UPS only have a charger rated at around 1A, so connecting a 100Ah battery string would then require around a week to recharge following an outage, with the possibility that the battery would never get to 100% charge. The VFI3000BL has a massive 12A charger so will not suffer from such consequences.

The UPS has an input battery voltage of 72V, which is 6 blocks in the battery string. We can fit 2 strings in the B16 cabinet and this would give us a 72V 200Ah battery. Even with this capacity the runtime was still too short at only 4 hours. A second B16 cabinet would do the trick. With a further two strings added the achievable runtime was now calculated to be 9 hours and 48 minutes. Not only does this provide some overhead in the 8 hours requirement, it extends the working life of the installation as the batteries degrade with time and so 8 hours will still be achievable years from now. As longevity is an issue, the batteries used were our 100Ah deep cycle blocks, with 10 year design life (6FM100E-X). Not only that, but these blocks are rated at 100Ah when discharged at 10% of capacity, rather than lower cost blocks which are rated the same but at a 5% of capacity discharge (this is 10hour vs 20hour rating for those who know about such things).

So now the design of the system was finalised we had to plan the install on site.

Installation:

First thing was to get our Wall mounted Maintenance Bypass Switch installed on site. This was sent to site in advance for the site electricians to install. This would allow ongoing power to be connected to their systems if they so desired and we can connect the UPS into play without affecting ongoing operations should this be required. 

The B16 cabinet comes as a flat pack assembly which delighted the client. Previously for another site he had a battery cabinet delivered that weighed over a ton and had to somehow get this maneuvered into place. Not only did this prove to be extremely difficult, but the physical toll of this caused injuries to some personnel. In our case the two B16 cabinets and 24 batteries came on a pallet in the back of the company van and these were fork lifted off and placed just inside the building. We then decanted the pallet in manageable loads onto a trolley and wheeled these into position.

Battery cabinet install b16 cabinet

Note the finished B16 cabinet on the right, the second cab under construction and the wall mount bypass switch.

As usual, something unexpected does crop up and we try to plan for the unexpected. The client’s preferred position for the cabs was in the centre of the room but some ducts that was supposed be on the far left happened to be placed directly under where the cabs were supposed to be. However the footprint of the cabs and the UPS is so small we were able to put the cabs adjacent to the ducting and in a more preferred location. Once this was decided the first cab was assembled, followed shortly afterward by the second cabinet. For safety reasons we only have one person making connections to the cab at any one time. Here our qualified technician Ray (complete with ECS approval) did a sterling job.

Each cab is fitted with a DC breaker / isolator and the configuration is such that individual strings or the cabinets can be isolated to allow for relocation or service, not only maintaining power to the system (as you would with a bypass), but also maintaining UPS support.

Once the cab was assembled and tested, the UPS was connected and configured as per the clients requests. Positioning of the UPS is important to ensure adequate air flow and ease of operation and it was decided to be placed behind the cabinets in vertical orientation. This allows all cables to be neatly out of the way whilst allowing ease of viewing of UPS status. However this site was still a building site and so the floor was not yet finished and there was excessive dust that would be sucked into the UPS causing problems down the line. As a result the leads connecting to the UPS were made long enough for the UPS to sit in horizontal orientation on top of the B16 cabinet whilst work was completed and to be moved into position at a later date.

Finished project:

Install complete - b16 cabinet

Once we’ve confirmed correct operation all was done and the client was then ready to connect his data cabinet up complete with UPS support.

Not only did Power Inspired provide a technically sound electrical solution, the physical properties were also a bonus to the customer, coupled with an ease of installation and a job that was completed in well under a day – including the all important ‘site inductions’.

A successful Project delivered with top-rate communications from our customer. Thank You R.

 

The Big UPS System Misconception – Runtime.

Runtime

Runtime

I have had to deal with many customer enquiries to help them select the right UPS System for their application and again and again I keep getting hit with the same misconception around the runtime of UPS Systems, so let’s clear this up straight away:

Runtime has nothing to do with the rating of the Uninterruptible Power Supply, but everything to do with the battery.

Got it? Well to help that sink in think of it this way – when running from the battery the UPS has to get the power from somewhere -right? So it follows that the bigger the battery it has the more power is available and therefore the longer the system will last. Don’t get confused with the fact that a high capacity unit can deliver more power. If the power requirement is 1000W, then a 1500W rated unit with 12 battery blocks will deliver more runtime than a 3000W unit with 6 battery blocks. But if your load is 2000W then obviously the 1500W unit won’t cut it, but I hope you get the point. 

It is true, however, that higher powered UPS Systems tend to have more batteries than the lower powered one’s. This is where the misconception has arisen, in that by using a larger UPS for a given application or load, you would have tended to have got more runtime due to the increase in battery capacity, not the increase in power capability.

The moral here is, in order to get the longest amount of runtime for your given application, the best solution is not necessarily to opt for the highest powered UPS within your budget, but to opt for Extended Run UPS Systems that meets your load requirements and add in batteries to support it. 

For example, let’s assume you have a small office, and you want to run a computer with some peripherals and some lights and the total loading will not exceed 250W (just an example). If we opted for the 1KVA/900W (more than enough to power our 250W load) VFI1000T, this gives a healthy 30 minutes runtime. However, if we opted for the VFI3000T then we get an impressive 72 minutes. Now both units use the same battery block, but the VFI1000T has 3 of them and the VFI3000T has 6, hence supporting the misconception we’re trying to educate you about. 

So let’s do something else, let’s add on a battery pack to the VFI1000T. Now we get 2 hours runtime. Why? Because now the VFI1000T system is now supported by 9 batteries. And the real benefit of this – the VFI1000T plus a cab is cheaper than the VFI3000T!

How To Calculate How Long Your UPS System Will Run For

UPS calculator
Try our online UPS calculator – click at the image to be redirected to our UPS selector

 

Well, we’re here again to answer the question of how long will a UPS actually last in the event of a power cut, but first, let’s clear up one of the biggest misconceptions…

Runtime has nothing to do with the rating of the Uninterruptible Power Supply, but everything to do with the battery.

Got it? Well to help that sink in think of it this way – when running from the battery the Uninterruptible Power Supply has to get the power from somewhere right? So it follows that the bigger battery it has the more power is available and therefore the longer the system will last. Don’t get confused with the fact that a high capacity unit can deliver more power. If the power requirement is 1000W, then a 1500W rated unit with 12 battery blocks will deliver more runtime than a 3000W unit with 6 battery blocks. 

It is true, however, that higher powered UPS Systems tend to have more batteries than the lower powered one’s. This is where the misconception has arisen, in that by using a larger UPS for a given application or load, you would have tended to have got more runtime due to the increase in battery capacity, not the increase in power capability.

The moral here is, in order to get the longest amount of runtime for your given application, the best solution is not necessarily to opt for the highest powered UPS within your budget, but to opt for an extended run UPS System that meets your load requirements and add in batteries to support it. 

For example, let’s assume you have a small office, and you want to run a computer with some peripherals and some lights and the total loading will not exceed 250W (just an example).

The VFI3000T, rated at 2700W, will provide around 72minutes of runtime.

The VFI1000T+Cab, rated at 900W, will provide 2 hours of runtime.

Simply because the VFI1000T+Cab is a higher battery capacity.

The conclusion is, the UPS rating is to ensure it is powerful enough to drive the load, the battery is what gives you the runtime.