In our previous issue, we raised the issue of knowing what’s normal for the batteries of your backup or emergency power system. You begin that process by taking baseline data. By “baseline data” we mean a set of measurements that show the initial condition of each battery and battery string. These measurements become the basis for condition trending and alarming.
At the very least, take initial measurements of any quantity your battery monitor is capable of monitoring. These include “as installed” (e.g., internal resistance) and “post startup” (e.g., jar temperature). Go beyond electrical measurements; record visual inspection information and take “as-installed” photos.
If you determine set points per the manufacturer’s recommendations, you’ll have a high level of uptime assurance. However, consider hiring a battery monitoring consulting firm. Such firms typically have experience with many installed systems and can probably maximize your return on this investment.
Once you have your various setpoints figured out, your battery monitoring system will vastly reduce the likelihood of a blackout by alerting you to potential failure causes so you can take corrective, preventive action. But how do you know what corrective action to take for a given alert? We’ll explore this in our next issue.