Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 15:14:43 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: Emergency Action Plan for science labs
In-Reply-To: <607d.7f32f5b7.396cb147**At_Symbol_Here**>

If you're looking simply to bridge the gap between the outage and when the building generator kicks in, small systems can get by with smaller and cheaper UPS deployed on individual equipment.  These are the same things you would use on your computer at home, for example.  For a piece of lab equipment, you probably want something with a longer runtime than the ones you can get locally.

I use these for my web servers: rod/apc-back-ups-rs-1500va-lcd-120v-865-watts-8-outlet-br1500lcd-apc-back/ q/loc/101/204113455.html.  Running a Mac mini (very low power draw), they will go for 2+ hours, running a big tower computer and some switches/routers I get about 30 minutes.  That's plenty of time for us to manually switch over to generator power.

If the protected systems are not on the building backup generator, then a UPS this size gives you enough time to do a graceful shutdown assuming you are there to respond.  In addition, these systems can shut down computers automatically, condition the incoming power (prevents voltage spikes and brownouts), and are surge/lightning protectors.   They are rather cost effective when you have one protecting, say, a $60K piece of benchtop equipment.

Note, however, that the batteries on these usually give out after about 3 years or so and will need to be replaced.  Most manufacturers charge so much for replacement batteries that it's almost (but not quite) cheaper to buy a whole new UPS.  Part of their finely tuned sales model, one would suspect.  Fortunately, you can get third party replacement batteries rather easily and much cheaper. 

Rob Toreki

On Jul 12, 2010, at 1:56 PM, ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM wrote:

This is the best option for immediate power restoration as far as I can tell.  But a number of these have been recalled over the years.  They can suddently decide to heat up and burn!   While this is uncommon, it happened to me.  They will replace the unit without cost, and it doesn't even interrupt power when it start to burn!  I was just lucky I was there when it started and could unplug it.

So keep abreast of any problems with the brand you purchase and follow all the installation recommendations faithfully.  It's a great system.


In a message dated 7/12/2010 12:50:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time, erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH..LACOUNTY.GOV writes:

Most emergency power generators typically don't service the entire building, just the critical systems, and those are the ones with the red plugs or otherwise hard-wired into the building grid.  Even that might not suffice for your needs, a typical emergency power generator requires 6 or 7 seconds before it actually restores power.  But as we all know, that kind of power interruption can disrupt hundreds of sensitive automated laboratory analyses that took hours to set up.  As Arnold would say:  Beeeg Problem (especially if you have insufficient samples for re-runs!). 
That's where the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) comes in.  It's basically a bank of several dozen continually-charging car batteries that will provide sufficient continuous AC power for 10 - 15 seconds to ultra-critical systems until the emergency power generator kicks in.  And there are no moving parts.  There are lots of different kinds out there.  We happen to use the Eaton Powerware 9390 - actually two of them, set up side by side. 
One more thing about the UPS.  Don't forget to report the lead and sulfuric acid on the annual Community Right To Know forms AND tell the local fire department about them and show them where they are! 

Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM
Safety &Compliance Officer
Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory  

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