[time-nuts] UPS for my time rack

Jim Sanford wb4gcs at wb4gcs.org
Sun Oct 11 10:44:48 EDT 2015

Where I live, there are two problems.  Frequent long outages. Solved 
with a natural gas standby generator, which has run several times in 
anger for extended periods since installed.  (Vulnerable supply, low 
priority for restoration.)

The bigger problem is transients.  On a good night, my computer UPS 
activates at least once an hour.  SOmetimes you can see the lights 
blink, some times not.

In the last 6 months, I have had problems with a UPS (recovered by 
extended shutdown), an Astron Power supply for amateur radio equipment, 
a spectrum analyzer, two signal generators, a network analyzer, and an 
oscilloscope.  All were power supply failures, not all repairable.  My 
lab is now protected from the power company by a SmartUPS 2200NET.

I expect the grid to get /less/ reliable.
     -- In 2007, DOE published a grid study which said there did not 
exist sufficient generation capacity over load to maintain grid 
stability.  Insufficient additional generation was booked for 
construction, so they predicted widespread rotating blackouts by 2010.
     -- The 2008 recession greatly suppressed aggregate load, which is 
probably why the rotating blackouts did not happen.  I read recently 
that demand has not yet recovered above the suppressed levels following 
the precipitous drop in 2008.  (Which generates interesting other 
questions . . . .)
     -- I have lost track of the number of GigaWatts of generation which 
has been shut down.

If the load ever recovers . . ..

Good luck!

wb4gcs at amsast.org

On 10/11/2015 9:05 AM, Bob Camp wrote:
> Hi
> Unless you live in an unusual location, long term power outages are going to be pretty
> rare. At the house I’m now in, we had a high voltage feed that was on it’s last legs. We
> had short outages on a “many times a week” basis if the wind was blowing at all. We had
> rare outages in the > 5 minute range. The short / frequent blip stuff is what most light weight UPS’s
> are designed to handle. Not everybody has this problem. I no longer have it, they
> ripped out 10 miles of old feeder and the new one works fine.
> Indeed there are locations that experience multi hour outages on a fairly regular basis.
> The combination of bars closing late on Saturday and a long straight road with an abrupt
> turn in it was particularly hard on a feed line I once had to cope with. In that case gas turbine
> generators were the answer.
> If you have a case where long outages are common, rotary machines are often the better
> answer than batteries. In the case above, the power company was the one footing the bill
> for the gear. Fair in this case since they were the ones that *could* have moved the line.
> If a > 10 minute outage is a “less than once a year” sort of thing, and OCXO’s are your only concern,
> let them shut down. The net impact to your lab will be relatively small. The cost to fix the problem will
> be relatively large. Short blips often, are well worth fixing.
> The hidden issue with running a UPS is the relatively short life of the batteries.
> Sealed lead acid is low cost up front, but they simply do not last when charged the way
> a typical UPS charges them. Before you go into “can’t be true” mode … plug a 100W light
> bulb  load into your UPS and see how long it runs. Battery still *shows* as good on the indicator.
> Gizmo only runs for 1/4 the time it should … hmmmm …. It’s very common to go into these
> projects with a  reasonable budget, and then find out that the budget to keep it going is
> not quite so generous.
> Bob
>> On Oct 11, 2015, at 4:57 AM, Kasper Pedersen <time-nuts at kasperkp.dk> wrote:
>> On 10/11/2015 12:07 AM, Dr. David Kirkby (Kirkby Microwave Ltd) wrote:
>>> Essentially the charging circuits are not designed to run as long as needed
>>> to charge big batteries. Even on ones designed for external batteries,
>>> there's a recommended limit on the size of them. So if you think you might
>>> want to increase runtime by adding some batteries, buy one designed for
>>> that service.
>> I have gone down that route, so I have some real data to share:
>> My (soon to be replaced) backup is an old back-ups CS 500, with a
>> rewired battery pack out of an RT3000 UPS. So instead of 7Ah, the UPS
>> has 40Ah. With plenty of fuses.
>> When charging the standard 7Ah battery, the UPS delivers about 0.7A
>> (from memory) for many hours, and sits at about 14C above ambient.
>> When charging the 40Ah, the current is the same, the temperature is the
>> same, just for longer, as it should be, since the thermal time constant
>> is much shorter than the time it takes to charge the 7Ah.
>> Where this has problems is during discharge:
>> I have about 55W load on it, which in turn is at least 5A on the
>> battery. After 2 hours a timer in the UPS shuts it off, regardless of
>> battery voltage.
>> Also, if you run the UPS at high load where the standard battery lasts
>> shorter than the thermal time constant, then there might well be trouble.
>> The replacement, a back-ups pro 1500 behaves differently.
>> It has support for external battery packs, and will happily run for at
>> least 5 hours, even when the external-pack-present signal is not connected.
>> The external-pack-present signal does make a difference when charging;
>> Without it, it charges at 0.7A. with it, it charges at 1.5A, and the fan
>> is on continuously.
>> /Kasper Pedersen
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