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Entries for month: December 2012

You and Your Emergency Light Battery

December 11, 2012

Written by: Randy Walker

Emergency lighting refers to a building’s system of lighting that allows people to safely evacuate a building during a power outage or other emergency. Old emergency lighting systems operated on simple batteries, but new systems can be either maintained, which means that they are wired into the regular electrical grid as well as battery backup, or non-maintained, which means they only come on when the power fails. These emergency lighting systems are powered by various types of battery systems that should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are operating correctly. Here are some tips for evaluating your battery system, and finding a replacement emergency light battery when necessary.

To check your emergency light battery, you should locate the compartment on the emergency light that contains the battery backup. For exit signs, the compartment is near the top of the sign. For larger lights, it may be located under or behind the light, or the system may be wired to a generator. If the system is hard-wired, always seek a qualified electrician to address problems.

If the Battery has a Wire Harness, Remove It

Some batteries simply have wires attached to the terminals that can be easily removed. Be sure to note which wire is positive and which is negative; many newer wires are coated with colored plastic to make this distinction easier. If the wires look similar, be sure you tag or mark them in some way so you do not become confused when you hook up the new battery. Hooking up a battery incorrectly can cause damage to the battery, the light, or even harm to you.

Choose the Right Battery for your Emergency Lighting System

Not all batteries work with every light. Emergency lighting batteries come in different sizes, voltages, and configurations. Only use the type of battery approved by your lighting system’s manufacturer. This information can be found in the literature included with the lighting. If you no longer have that information, remove the battery from one of your emergency lights to match it to a new battery. When choosing batteries, be sure you read some reviews of the model you are considering. The internet has made it possible to quickly identify companies and suppliers that give less-than-perfect products to their customers, so do a little research before you invest in a quantity of emergency lighting products.

Test the Battery

Always test the batteries you replace to be sure they are working. Most emergency lights have a “test” button on the side so that you can easily test your new lighting battery to be sure it is working. You can also use the test button for a quick test for non-maintained lighting systems on a monthly basis or even more often.

Maintained vs. Non-Maintained Systems

Understand how your emergency lighting system works. If you have a maintained system, it will operate differently than a non-maintained system. Part of a maintained system is hardwired into the AC electrical system that normally operates the rest of your electrical lights and appliances. The other part is a non-wired, battery operated backup that runs on direct current from stationary power sources. It is also possible in larger buildings that your emergency lighting system may be wired into a generator. Be sure that you understand exactly how your system works so that you can safely replace your batteries without the risk of electric shock. Replacing emergency lighting batteries is a job that must be done on a regular basis. However, it pays to examine the best deals on emergency lighting and to understand your system so that you can replace these batteries safely.

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AGM Battery 101

December 10, 2012

Written by: Randy Walker

AGM batteries have become popular for boats, motorcycles, jet skis, golf carts, and other vehicles. Do AGM batteries really have an advantage over other types? How can I choose the best AGM battery for my needs? Here are a few facts and tips about choosing the best AGM battery for your vehicle.

What Is An AGM Battery?

An AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat battery is a form of the lead acid deep cycle battery that offers a better storage rate than other batteries although the instant available energy is less. This means that AGM batteries are better suited for vehicles that do not require a great deal of cranking energy but need better long-term performance, like a golf cart or a boat. For any small vehicle that sits in storage for some time, an AGM battery may be a better choice than a traditional battery because AGM batteries tend to hold their charge longer under non-operating conditions.

AGM batteries use thin plates to allow for more effective recharging. However, they are considered very safe batteries and there is little risk of explosion with these devices. AGM batteries typically cost twice as much as other types of batteries, but manufacturers assert that their long life makes up for the greater cost. AGM batteries may also be called Sealed Lead Acid or SLA batteries, or they may be referred to as Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries.

How Do I Choose the Right AGM Battery for My Needs?

Choosing the right battery size is very important. A battery that is too big can overpower and overcharge and one that is not big enough will not support the vehicle’s needs. There are several ways to choose the right size AGM battery for your boat, ATV, or motorcycle:

Firstly, contact BatteryPlex as you purchase your battery, and we can look up the proper size battery for your vehicle. Dealers have access to databases for all the batteries they sell that allow them to quickly identify the correctly-sized battery for your vehicle. Look up your own size if you are ordering online. You may also find that these websites will direct you to dealers for purchase who can answer your questions if you are still unsure of the size battery you need.

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Replacing Your UPS Battery

December 07, 2012

Written by: Randy Walker

Do you know how to tell if your UPS battery needs to be replaced? How can you find the best new UPS battery replacement if you need one? What are the steps you should take to find the right battery for your power supply and replace the existing battery? Here are some tips to help you diagnose UPS battery problems as well as find the best deals on a new battery and replace your old one.

Understand Your UPS Configuration

Do you have a single UPS or more than one in tandem or a parallel configuration? Some large servers have more than one UPS backup just to be sure that the server will never risk a power loss. Check your configuration to be sure you know how to identify all UPS batteries connected to your system, and begin installing a UPS battery replacement

Identify the UPS Battery that Needs to be Replaced

You can check on your battery periodically by updating the calibrations on the UPS battery. This is a process that should be included with your UPS’s software. If you are unsure of how to recalibrate your UPS’s battery sensor, you can check with the battery’s manufacturer for instructions or software. The battery sensor will tell you when the UPS needs to be replaced, usually by flashing a light and making a sound While there is no standard battery that fits every UPS battery, most are gel-cells in formats such as 12.0 V and 7.2 amps. However, even if you know the voltage and amperage of your UPS battery you may also have to choose between a standard use, cycle-use, or high-current use battery. The one you choose dependents on the conditions under which you operate your UPS. Standard batteries are most often used to power minor low-energy backups such as alarms or emergency lights. UPS batteries that power servers or other important and constant-use systems may need a high-current battery. Be sure you know what type of UPS you are using before you purchase a replacement.

Locating the UPS Battery

Most UPS batteries are located on the bottom side of the unit. There should be a button you can push to release the battery and slide the replacement into place. If there are positive and negative wires to be connected, be sure that you have them on the right terminals to avoid damaging the unit or the battery.

Replacement and Disposal of the UPS Battery

Choose a time for replacement when there is little risk that your server or system will shut down. If your system shuts down while you are replacing your battery, it could cause damage. If you have more than one UPS backup, replace batteries one at a time. Be sure to check the replacement schedule for your battery. Most UPS batteries require replacement every two years for those supporting critical operations and every three to four years for non-critical backup systems. Batteries cannot be thrown away; they must be recycled. Contact your local recycling coordinator for instructions on disposing of these batteries.

Replacing a UPS battery can be very simple if you follow the manufacturer's directions and observe basic safety precautions.

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The Importance of a Battery for Laptop

December 06, 2012

Written by: Randy Walker

It is very frustrating to lose power in your computer and lose all of your work, pictures, and music. While you cannot always prevent this from happening, there are ways to make it less likely by knowing the signs of a dying laptop battery and replacing your battery when necessary.  Here are some of thing you should know about your battery for laptop and how you can prevent problems with your computer’s performance.

Understand the basics of your computer’s battery system. Your computer actually has two batteries: A CMOS memory chip which keeps up with things like date and time even when your computer is shut down for a day or a week; and your rechargeable laptop power battery that enables you to take your computer on the go and plug it in when you return.  The first thing you must do if your computer experiences problems is to decide which battery for laptop is causing the problems. If your computer is giving you continual error messages, it is probably because your CMOS memory chip has died and should be replaced. If your computer works for a bit then dies, or does not hold a charge for very long, it is probably your rechargeable battery. You can replace either of both of these batteries by ordering them online and replacing them yourself or by taking them to a computer store.

If you choose to replace your CMOS battery yourself, open your computer case and look at the large green board inside.  This is the motherboard.  Somewhere on your motherboard is a button-shaped metallic battery. Write down the information on this battery so you can order the correct CMOS battery. When it arrives, remove the old battery and install the new one.

If you choose to replace your rechargeable battery, turn your laptop over and look on the bottom. You should see the battery compartment that is rather large. Find the button that releases the battery and pull it out of your computer. The nice thing about replacing your rechargeable is that your computer will still work as long as it is plugged in, so you can use your computer plugged in until your new battery arrives.

A CMOS battery usually lasts about ten years but cannot be recharged. A rechargeable battery’s life can be greatly affected by usage patterns and environment. Always keep your laptop clean and free of dust and debris. Dim your screen’s brightness when you are using your battery to extend its life. You can also turn off some devices that are battery drains when you are operating in battery mode, such as an external hard drive or your Wifi or Bluetooth.

Be pro-active, especially if you need your laptop on a regular basis.  If you travel often and need your laptop to do your job, it might be a good idea to invest in an extra battery and keep it in your laptop bag. Do not order a new battery too far in advance, but as soon as you notice any problems with your computer you should take the initiative to get a new battery and keep it handy. While you cannot preserve your laptop battery forever, with wise use you can extend its life and be prepared for any battery emergencies.

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