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Uninterruptible Power Systems

What is the difference between a gel and an AGM battery?

A gel battery is powered by a gelled electrolyte in a sealed container, rated non-spillable by the IATA (Air Transport Association) and the DOT (Department of Transportation), making it possible to ship it by air without restrictions. A gel battery is rated for operation at over -40 to +600 C, making it an ideal battery for outdoor use. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries run off of electrolytes absorbed in sponge-like mats between plates. They are typically rated for use between 0 to +400 C, which is not suitable for outdoor conditions.

Why is your outdoor UPS rated at 450 C when some other manufacturers products are rated at 600 C?

TSi Power's outdoor UPS products are rated typically at over -20 to +450 C outside air temperature. Most use a thermostat-controlled fan to keep the temperature inside the cabinet no more than +500 C, which is well below the maximum operating temperature limit of the gel batteries inside the cabinet.

Why don't you provide outdoor UPS systems in NEMA 4 or NEMA 4X cabinets?

The worst-case scenario for the VRLA (valve-regulated lead acid) batteries that are most commonly used in outdoor UPS units is when a battery charger's regulator circuit fails and it is no longer able to regulate charging voltage. When that happens, oxygen and hydrogen gas production increases dramatically, which opens the safety valve and emits a substantial amount of oxygen and hydrogen. This scenario is also known as "battery out-gassing". When a sealed NEMA 4 or NEMA 4X cabinet is used, the trapped mixture of oxygen and hydrogen can explode when a spark ignites the gases. This creates a highly dangerous situation with flying metal shrapnel that can cause severe personnel injury. Because of this, free-breathing NEMA 3R is the correct cabinet to use whenever VRLA batteries are housed inside an outdoor UPS cabinet.

Which is the better choice, AC output UPS or DC output UPS?

It depends on the output capacity in watts. If the load is less than 200 watts, DC output UPS systems are about half the size, weight and cost substantially less than an AC output UPS. This is because an expensive DC to AC inverter circuit can be eliminated and there is no power conversion loss associated with DC to AC inversion circuit, resulting in substantial battery size reduction as well.

However, if the load is more than 400 watts, then the size/weight/cost penalty of AC output UPS is offset by the need for expensive, continuous-duty high powered AC to DC converter in a high capacity DC output UPS. If the UPS must power a load of 800 watts or more, AC output UPS is by far the smaller, lighter, more energy and cost effective solution.

Can an outdoor UPS be powered by street light circuit which is ON for only eight hours per day?

Yes. An extra-large battery bank will be required to power the load for a minimum of 24 hours, with expected battery lifetime of about 1.5 years (note: use of a 36- to 48-hour rated battery is strongly recommended if a battery lifetime of three or four years is desired). Also, this application needs a temperature-compensated, high-capacity battery charger which will ensure full charge of the battery after eight hours of overnight charging.


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    Ashish Mittal

    (Vice President)

    TSi Power (P) Limited

    Waghodia, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

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