Power Sonic has been a leading manufacturer of rechargeable batteries for over 45 years. Based in San Diego, California, they manufacture many varieties of sealed lead acid batteries, or SLA batteries, as well as nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries. Their SLA batteries are used in a variety of products, including lawn equipment, powersports equipment, automobiles, motorcycles, solar systems, emergency lights, backup sump pump systems, security systems, communications equipment, scientific equipment, motorized wheelchairs and ride-on toys, among many others.
February 15, 2016
January 15, 2016
Published by Battery Plex
Lithonia is an industry-leading manufacturer of commercial and industrial lighting systems, and they are widely recognized for their full line of emergency lighting products, which include fluorescent battery packs, exit signs, and emergency lighting units. Their battery-powered emergency light products provide illumination that allows a building's occupants to safely exit the premises in the event of a power outage, storm or any other type of disaster or emergency.
They manufacture fixtures for commercial buildings, industrial buildings, hazardous locations, wet locations, and they have systems that meet the strict requirements of specific municipalities, such as Chicago and New York City.
After using an emergency light for several years, the rechargeable batteries that power it will eventually stop holding a charge. In most areas, they are required by law to provide at least 90 minutes of illumination, so that everyone can exit the building safely during an emergency, and so that emergency workers have sufficient time to respond to the incident. If the Lithonia battery in your lighting system can no longer meet the minimum requirements, it should be replaced.
Here are a few tips that can help you find the proper replacement for your Lithonia battery:
#1 Determine the Model Number of the Fixture
Lithonia manufactures dozens of different emergency light models, as well as other battery-operated products, and they all have specific battery requirements. Find the model number of your fixture by looking for a name plate on the fixture or by referencing the owner's manual. It may be necessary to remove the fixture from the wall to find the model number, but only do this with the help of a professional electrician if the system is directly wired into the building's electric supply. If it is a model with an electrical cord, you can safely do this yourself. Once you have the model number, write it down for future reference.
#2 Find the Model Number of the Battery
Once the light fixture is safely disconnected from the electrical system, open the battery compartment and find the model number on the battery. If the battery must be disconnected and moved to access the model number, be very careful not to short the battery terminals with any tools, or to let the positive and negative wires touch each other or nearby metal surfaces.
Record the model number.
#3 Determine the Capacity of the Battery
Somewhere on the battery it should list the capacity in amp-hours or milliamp-hours. The capacity of the battery determines how long the light will run on a fully-charged battery. When selecting a new battery, this number should be equal to, or larger than the current battery. Typically, due to size limitations, you will only be able to replace the original battery with one of the same capacity.
#4 Find the Voltage of the Battery
A battery that is not the same voltage as the current battery could cause damage to the fixture, the recharging system or the battery itself. It could also cause dangerous incidents like overheating or increase the risk of fire. Make sure the new battery operates at precisely the same voltage as the original.
#5 Determine the Type of Battery
Batteries come in several chemical compositions, including lead acid, nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride. They each have different charging requirements, lifespans and maintenance regimens. Find the type of battery on the battery's label. Lead acid batteries may be abbreviated as SLA, nickel cadmium as NiCd or NiCad, and nickel metal hydride as NiMH. Choose a replacement battery that is the same type as the original to avoid damaging the fixture, the recharging system or the battery itself.
#6 Shopping for the Correct Battery
Search for replacement batteries by either the model number of the fixture, or the model number of the battery. Batteries from manufacturers other than Lithonia may offer a compatibility list to make finding the correct replacement easier, or the vendor may offer one. Once a compatible battery is found, verify that it meets all the other requirements, including voltage, capacity and battery type.
Caring for the New Lithonia Battery
Be sure to install the battery correctly. If it uses a harness or plug, make sure that it is orientated correctly, so that negative connects to negative, and positive to positive. If it uses terminals, connect the positive wire to the positive terminal first, then the negative. Make sure all connections are tight, then reinstall the fixture and connect it to the electric supply. Allow the battery to charge fully before testing or using the light.
To keep the battery operating at peak performance, and to make sure the lights stay on for the at least a full 90 minutes and operate properly, test the emergency light at least once a month. Unplug the light, turn of the breaker, or switch the light to “Test” mode. Use a watch or timer to keep track of the time from the start of the test until the lights shut off. If the time falls below 90 minutes, consider replacing the battery.
Where To Place Emergency Lights
Standard emergency lights should be placed in common corridors, stairwells and individual rooms that are open to the public. They should be placed high enough to illuminate a large area, and where they will be less likely to be disturbed. Adjust each light properly so that the amount of light is maximized in the targeted area. Place illuminated exit signs at each emergency exit, and use directional signs along the path to the exit to lead occupants in the correct direction. Combination signs are available with both an exit sign and emergency lighting.
Emergency lights are critical to the safety of any publicly-accessible building. Keeping the lights operational with regular testing and battery changes can prevent injuries, property damage and other liabilities, and it takes only a few minutes of maintenance a month.With these tips you can be sure that your
December 16, 2015
Batteries are present in so many of today's gadgets, both high- and low-tech, that we often take them for granted. When used properly, they are a safe and efficient method of storing electrical energy for long periods of time, as well as for delivering the correct amounts of power to our devices when we need them.
Without proper maintenance and care, however, a battery's lifespan can be significantly shortened and, when used improperly, rechargeable batteries can present several safety hazards, including a risk of fire, burns or health problems.
Here are a few tips that can help you to get the most out of your Power Sonic battery, and do so in a way that is safe and prolongs its useful life:
1. Choose the Correct Battery for Your Application
There are many types of batteries available today, with vastly different chemical compositions, including sealed lead acid, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride and lithium ion. Each has specific charging and maintenance requirements, and selecting the wrong battery for your device could lead to premature failure of the battery or even premature failure of the device itself. To make sure that you are getting the correct Power Sonic battery for your device, read the owner's manual carefully and select proper formulation, model and size recommended for your device. Some batteries, like nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium may be interchangeable in certain devices, but, in general, you should select the same type of battery as the one currently installed.
2. Install the Battery Correctly
Installing a Power Sonic battery incorrectly could potentially damage the battery or your device. Before installing the battery, be sure that you have correctly identified the positive and negative poles on the battery. The positive pole will typically be denoted by a “+” character, a “Pos” label or the color red. The negative pole will feature a “-” character, a “Neg” label or the color black. Likewise, identify the negative or positive leads in the device, or the negative and positive contacts, which should be similarly labeled. Connect the positive pole of the battery to the positive lead or contact, and the negative pole to the negative lead or contact. Reversing the battery could potentially cause a short circuit, leading to battery damage, device damage or a risk of fire.
3. Connect the Leads in the Proper Order
In some applications, like with lawn mowers or motorcycles that have chassis grounds, it is very important to install and remove the power cables in the correct order. Otherwise, it is possible to get shocked, cause sparks or damage sensitive electronic systems. In negative ground systems, which are common in the United States, the negative cable should always be disconnected first when removing the battery, and connected last when installing it. If the positive cable is removed first, and it contacts a grounded metal surface, it will arc and create sparks. In positive ground systems, the positive cable should be disconnected first.
4. Do Not Short The Battery Posts
When working around a battery, be careful with metal objects, such as wrenches. It they fall and accidentally contact both the positive and negative posts of the battery at the same time, they could cause the battery to short circuit or spark. This could damage the battery and also create a fire risk. If metal tools must be used to connect or disconnect the battery cables, cover the opposite post with non-conductive material, such as plastic post covers, a piece of rubber or electrical tape.
5. Don't Overcharge the Battery
Overcharging a battery can shorten its lifespan significantly, and could cause the batteries to leak, catch fire or explode in extreme scenarios. If you are charging a battery manually, such as a sealed lead acid battery, use a charger with an automatic charge controller so that it does not overcharge the battery like a manual version can if left unmonitored. For devices with integrated charging circuits or separate chargers, have the devices repaired or replaced if they seems to be overcharging or appear damaged.
6. Avoid Charge Memory
Some batteries, such as nickel cadmium or nickel metal hydride formulations, can develop a condition known informally as charge memory, which reduces the battery's usable capacity. When batteries susceptible to this condition are recharged too early or not fully discharged, they may fail to reach their full capacity in subsequent recharging cycles. To avoid this, fully discharge the batteries before recharging them, and when recharging, wait until the charging cycle is complete before using them.
7. Keep the Contacts Clean
The contacts of some batteries, especially sealed lead acid varieties, may develop a layer of corrosion over time. This can reduce the performance of the battery, leading to improper charging, reduced capacity and connection issues. Clean the contacts according to the recommendations from the manufacturer. Typically, this involves using an abrasive, such as sandpaper, steel wool or a steel brush, to remove the layer of corrosion, sometimes in conjunction with a cleaning solution like baking soda.
8. Discard Damaged Batteries
You should always toss out any batteries that:
- Leak fluids
- Have cracks
- Have swelled or expanded
- Show any other visible signs of damage
All can pose a fire risk, leak corrosive fluids or cause damage to the device in which they are installed. Use proper gloves and eye protection when handling and disposing of damaged batteries.
9. Dispose of Batteries Properly
Batteries contain dangerous chemicals and materials that could harm your health or the environment if they are disposed of improperly. Instead of putting the batteries in the regular garbage, where they will likely end up in a landfill and cause pollution, take them to your local recycling center or wait for an electronics recycling event in your area. Materials such lithium and lead are easily recycled, and the process is often more environmentally-friendly than finding new sources for the material.
By following these tips you can extend the life of your Power Sonic battery, use it more safely, save money and get more enjoyment from the device in which it is installed.
November 15, 2015
Published by Battery Plux
During an emergency that disrupts the power, emergency lights are designed to provide ample illumination to lead the occupants of your building to the exits safely. Emergency lights do this through a combination of low-power bulbs and special emergency light batteries that can provide at least 90 minutes of light during a power outage. Once power returns, a built-in charger recharges the batteries so that the emergency lights are ready for the next power outage.
Like the batteries in your car or your mobile phone, emergency light batteries will begin to lose performance as they age, and after approximately 5 to 10 years, they will typically need to be replaced.
To extend the service life of your emergency light batteries, and keep the occupants of your building safe, here are a few simple maintenance tips that can help keep your batteries performing well:
Perform an Annual Test
At least once a year, your emergency light batteries should be fully tested through their entire charge and discharge cycle. Not only is this a good idea to extend the life of your batteries, it is also required in many jurisdictions by local fire or building codes.
Before performing the test, there are some precautions you should take:
- Do not test all the emergency lights in the building at the same time, just in case there is an actual power outage during the testing period.
- Select several days for testing and divide your total number of emergency lights between those days.
- To be on the safe side, choose days with good weather for testing, and test only during daylight hours, so that there is ambient light inside the building in case there is an actual emergency during testing.
Once you have made all the preparations and have an adequate plane for testing your emergency light batteries, you can proceed to the actual test. For each set of lights, do the following:
- Turn the function switch to the “Test” setting for each light, if it has one, or disconnect power by shutting off the breaker for the circuit or unplugging the light. The emergency lights should turn on.
- Time the duration that the lights remain lit. If any of the fixtures do not remain lit for the full 90 minutes, the emergency light batteries for those fixtures should be inspected, and replaced, if necessary.
- Once the lights shut off, switch the fixture back to the “Automatic” mode, plug it in, or turn the power back on.
Allow the emergency light to charge fully before using it again. Once it has been charged for several days, test the light monetarily to make sure it is working correctly.
Perform a Monthly Test
Between annual tests, a monthly test should also be performed to make sure the emergency light batteries are retaining a sufficient charge. Once a month, perform the following steps:
- Switch the fixture to “Test” mode, hold the “Test” button or disconnect the power for thirty seconds.
- Make sure the lights are sufficiently bright, and adjusted correctly to provide optimal illumination where it is necessary.
- Return the fixture to “Automatic” mode or restore power, and make sure the batteries charge correctly.
If you notice any problems during the monthly test have the malfunctioning fixture inspected, and replace its emergency light battery, if necessary.
#3 Caring for Different Types of Batteries
In most emergency light fixtures, there are either sealed lead acid or nickel cadmium batteries. Different battery chemistries require different maintenance techniques to extend the life of the battery and prevent premature failure.
Sealed lead acid batteries, or SLAs, are similar to the batteries in cars or trucks, except that they are smaller and they are sealed to prevent the sulfuric acid electrolyte from leaking. Plus, the electrolyte is fully absorbed into a porous membrane, unlike car batteries, where it is in a liquid state. This further helps to prevent spills.
To keep SLA batteries performing optimally they must be discharged to no lower than 50 percent of a full charge at least once a month, and then they must be fully recharged. This can be done during the monthly testing of the emergency lights. The lights should be turned on for at least 90 minutes, but not long enough to cause serious dimming of the bulbs. Then they should be fully recharged afterwards. During normal emergency operation, the lights should be turned off before the battery fully discharges, if possible. Under optimal conditions, sealed lead acid batteries can last 10 to 15 years in an emergency light system.
Nickel cadmium batteries, or NiCads offer slightly faster charging than lead acid batteries, reduced weight, and a slightly safer electrolyte, though like the SLA batteries, they are also sealed.
To keep NiCad batteries performing at their best, they should go through a complete discharge and recharge cycle at least once a month. Unlike lead-acid batteries, NiCad batteries should be fully discharged each month, until the light shuts off, then fully recharged.
NiCad batteries suffer from what is known as the “memory effect” and if they are repeatedly discharged to a partial level, they will soon only charge back to that level and not the full capacity of the battery. Fully discharging and recharging monthly the battery prevents this, and removes crystallization in the cells that could shorten battery life. When treated correctly, NiCad batteries should last 5 to 10 years in an emergency light system.
Some emergency lights may use other types of batteries, such as gel-cell, nickel-metal hydride, or even lithium-ion batteries. In general, gel-cell batteries can be treated like SLAs, since they are similar, but take care to not overcharge them. Nickel-metal hydride batteries perform similar to NiCads, but do not suffer from a pronounced “memory” effect. Lithium-ion batteries have no charge memory, they charge extremely quickly, and they are lighter than the alternatives. Be sure to read the owner's manual for your emergency light to learn the maintenance requirements for the specific battery it contains.
With proper care and maintenance of your emergency light fixtures, you can expect years of trouble-free performance from your emergency light batteries.
October 26, 2015
12 Products Where a Power Sonic Battery is Often Used
Rechargeable batteries are ubiquitous in today's world, providing portable power for everything from cordless phones and flashlights to telecommunications equipment, vehicles and even entire buildings. Power Sonic has manufactured rechargeable batteries for more than 45 years, and is an industry-leading manufacturer of sealed lead acid, or SLA, batteries using either gel-based electrolyte formulations, known as gel-cells, or absorbent glass mat technology, commonly called AGM batteries. For smaller applications, they also manufacturer both nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries, known colloquially as NiCd and NiMH batteries, respectively.
Power Sonic produces batteries for hundreds of applications and its products range in capacity from a few hundred milliamp-hours to over two hundred amp-hours.
Here are some of the most common products that often contain a Power Sonic battery:
#1 Cordless Telephones
Power Sonic makes several NiCd and NiMH batteries that can replace the most common types of batteries used in cordless phones, including multi-cell packs. Cordless phone batteries are typically designed to have a large capacity that for lasts several days of standby time, along with several hours of talk time, and they must stand up to numerous partial or complete charge cycles, as well as being left at a partial state of charge often.
Flashlights, especially the plug-in versions designed for emergency household use, often use rechargeable batteries to ensure that they always have power, and to reduce the expense and environmental consequences of using disposable batteries. Many use custom battery packs, which can be either NiCd or NiMH, while others use standard AAA, AA, C, D rechargeable NiCd, or NiMH battery packages.
#3 Emergency Lights
Often found in commercial and industrial buildings, but also some residential ones, emergency light fixtures contain a large battery that can power integrated LED or incandescent lights for long enough during a power failure for occupants to find the emergency exits and leave the building safely. Between blackouts, an integrated charging circuit recharges the battery from standard AC power, so that the fixture is ready for the next power failure. Emergency lights typically use AGM or gel-cell batteries, though some smaller models can use NiCd or NiMH cells.
#4 Photography Equipment
A Power Sonic battery is often used in photography equipment, such as cameras, external flashes, light meters and portable studio lighting, to provide power where it is needed during a shoot. Typically, either NiCd or NiMH batteries are sued, with the NiMH batteries being more popular in high-drain devices such as cameras.
#5 Power Tools
NiCd batteries are often used in portable hand-held power tools, including those used in the construction industry such as circular saws, trim saws, sabre saws, drills and reciprocating saws. They may be found in other types of tools, as well, including hedge trimmers, lawn mowers or impact wrenches. With multiple, quickly-replaceable batteries, cordless tools can replace corded tools in many applications, eliminating the hassles of extension cords and the safety problems that they can create, such as the possibility of electric shock or tripping and falling.
#6 Vehicle Batteries
Power Sonic batteries are often used to replace standard lead-acid batteries in motorcycles, or for use in electric vehicles, such as scooters, electric bicycles or even electric motorcycles. AGM technology can provide similar capacities and performance as regular lead-acid batteries without the need for constant maintenance.
#7 Power Sports Batteries
For motorized off-road and recreational equipment such as ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, boats, personal watercraft and lawn equipment, Power Sonic gel-cell or AGM batteries can provide plenty of power to start the engine and run accessories, without the maintenance requirements of lead-acid batteries. Also, because there is no free liquid electrolyte, AGM or gel-cells batteries can be used in any orientation without spilling dangerous battery acid, which makes them perfect for demanding and rough off-road applications.
#8 Ride-On Toys
Sealed lead acid batteries are commonly used in children's toys, such as ride-on cars and trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and other equipment. Gel-cell or AGM batteries provide the power needed for plenty of play time, while minimizing the amount of maintenance needed and improving the safety over other types of batteries.
#9 Alarm Systems
AGM batteries are often installed in home or business alarm systems to provide a source of backup power if the main power goes out. This keeps the home or business protected during a blackout, or if someone has deliberately shut off the power, allowing emergency services or the alarm company to be contacted when necessary.
#10 Backup Power
In some homes or businesses, banks of AGM or gel-cell batteries can be used as a backup power source to provide electricity to critical systems during a blackout. This typically includes the refrigerator, heating system and specialized systems, such as critical medial equipment. Additionally, some buildings may have a separate backup system for a particular piece of equipment, such as a sump pump that prevents the basement of a building from flooding.
#11 Telecommunications Equipment
In remote areas, AGM or gel-cell batteries may be used as backup power sources for cell-phone towers, emergency radio equipment or other critical communications systems. When the power goes out, the batteries automatically take over, providing power that keeps the critical systems running. When the power returns, the batteries are recharged and kept ready for the next power failure.
#12 Solar Power Systems
Solar power systems often incorporate either conventional lead acid batteries or AGM batteries. In off-grid solar systems, the batteries are used to store power for use after dark, and in grid-connected systems, the batteries can be used as either a backup source of power or as a way to reduce demand during peak times, when grid power is more expensive. AGM batteries tend to be more expensive than standard lead-acid batteries, but they often last a bit longer and they require much less maintenance. Power Sonic manufactures several types of AGM batteries that perform well in solar power systems.
These are just a few of the many products in which a Power Sonic battery can be found. Power Sonic manufactures a wide range of batteries in both industry-standard sizes and custom packages. They offer high-reliability, low maintenance, and plenty of power for just about any application.
October 14, 2015
Shopping for replacement emergency light batteries is easy with some basic information and these tips. For all your battery needs, visit BatteryPlex today.
September 22, 2015
Even excluding national disaster area situations, there are dozens of brownouts in the U.S. every single year, and these sudden snap-offs of the power source can pose a danger to the health of your laptop, desktop, and other electronic equipment. For this reason, most businesses, as well as many individuals who use their computers heavily, rely on an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system to prevent data loss and protect their machines.
Surge protectors shield computers effectively against power surges, but they offer no protection when the power is suddenly shut off during a thunder storm, during intense summer heat, or for some other reason. Both unsaved data and all information on a computer can be lost when a brownout strikes. Worse still, the kind of stresses that outages put on electronic devices is the number one cause of hardware failure, meaning that expensive computer repairs or even total device loss could very possibly result.
In order for a UPS backup to work, however, it requires an American Power Conversion (APC) battery, and that battery will have to be periodically replaced. Choosing the appropriate APC battery, treating it right, and knowing what to expect from it are critical to a successful UPS system.
Ten of the most important factors to take into account when buying or changing out an APC battery pack include:
1. Choose an APC with sufficient wattage.
There are small UPS systems designed for only one or two home computers that require relatively low-watt batteries. There are also APCs that can power the backup system of large, corporate servers. The latter are often the size of a walk-in freezer, but business data centers can make do with nothing less. The former may only be capable of giving a 10-minute outage delay for a home PC, but that is enough for many users.
2. Take into account all peripherals.
A core system may only be, say, 400-Watt, and it may use about 300 Watts during startup and, perhaps, 250 Watts during normal operation. However, peripheral devices such as monitors, routers, printers, fax machines, and external hard drives, will add to the total. It is not necessary to plug all peripherals into the UPS system, but since one cannot effectively save and shut down without an active screen, at least the monitor must be calculated into the Wattage requirement.
3. Don't over-pay.
While an under-powered APC is the greater of two evils, an over-powered one is simply spending extra money on "overkill" protection. The price range will vary greatly, but there is no need to purchase two, five, or 10 times what is needed.
4. Always keep a backup APC on hand.
It is imperative to regularly verify that the APC still has enough power to do its job. That is not something that should be discovered when the power goes out. Be ready with an extra at a moment's notice.
5. Be sure the replacement is correct and brand-new.
APC batteries generally range from 6-12 volts and may look similar to one another, but they will only be compatible with specific UPS systems. Check the replacement battery cartridge (RBC) number and/or the model number to be sure. Never buy a used battery to back up a system, but cables, trays, and connectors can be safely reused.
6. Also look for high amperage.
The amperage number indicates how long of a time window there is between power outage and the backup system also shutting off. The longer the buffer, the better. It can range from a few minutes to more than an hour, and it is always safer to have a few minutes extra than a few minutes too few.
7. Don't overload the battery by using too many outlets.
Many UPS systems have as many as 10 distinct plugs, but using them all at once may not be a good idea. Essentials and those devices most often used should be given priority, but overloading the system will shrink the amount of time available to save work and properly shut down.
8. Don't plan to use an APC as a "replacement" for a bad laptop battery.
While it may be acceptable to use an APC on a very temporary basis to make up for a dead laptop battery, it is not a good permanent solution. Repeated plugging and unplugging of the UPS is a hassle and won't do the system any good.
9. Use caution when installing a new APC.
When replacing an APC battery, there is a chance of getting a shock. Using a screwdriver with an insulated handle, removing all metal objects from one's body, and standing on wood instead of carpeting will lower the risk.
10. Protect the APC by minimizing its use.
Use weather alerts--be it by email, radio, or smartphone app--to allow a shut-down prior to a big storm whenever possible. Working through a storm is an option in extreme situations, but be sure the reward is worth the risk.
An APC can power a UPS system that is capable of giving an outage delay, putting a computer into hibernation until the outage is over, or even working through a storm. Even in the absence of the user, many such systems can safely shut down computers. In offices where computers must run nearly 24/7 and for private individuals who make near-constant use of their computers, these devices and their accompanying APC batteries are essential. They cannot automatically save work in progress, but they can give the user a chance to do so.
For those shopping for an APC battery for their UPS backup system, one of the widest selections available is found at Batteryplex.com. Here you can find over 3,000 types of APCs, offered at discounted prices, with convenient online ordering, and delivery of most products in 24 hours or less. Using a reputable provider that can quickly deliver the exact battery type needed greatly simplifies the process of replacing APC batteries or outfitting a newly acquired UPS system.
August 27, 2015
Written by: Randy Walker
Power outages or scheduled lighting system maintenance is rife in many commercial and residential facilities. In such instances, emergency lighting is crucial, especially in facilities that rely heavily on illumination power such as hospitals, plants, and data centers. The emergency lighting system switches on either automatically or manually in such scenarios. This requires an integrated supply that cannot be interrupted--such as batteries.
The primary purpose of emergency lights is to provide illumination until primary power is restored, or until occupants can safely exit the facilities. To achieve this purpose, it is important that the system have a reliable source of power in the form of batteries. Self-contained units typically consist of a battery and lamp heads, usually incandescent or LED lights. With the primary power fully functioning, the backup system is usually off, with the battery remaining fully charged.
The system activates immediately after power loss for between 30 and 120 minutes. The duration depends on the capacity and number of battery units. There is an installed system to charge the batteries when the AC power is back. For units that charge a number of remote heads, especially in large buildings, a high voltage is required to overcome the losses in the external wiring.
The following are the primary factors to consider during emergency lighting system acquisition and sourcing:
Location requirements: The lighting system should be conveniently located for easy access during outages and other emergencies. Many building owners are often confused about the right placement areas. Key areas include exit points, hazardous areas, chief occupancy areas such as offices, and accommodation.
The installation of emergency lighting is governed by local and national codes. As part of the safety and precaution requirements, building owners and safety officers are required by law to provide secondary sources of illumination. The codes, stringency, and requirements depend on the nature of the facility or business. Industries that deal with hazardous materials have more stringent regulations than residential areas.
Scheduled testing: It is crucial that the secondary system is in working condition at all times. Do not wait until the primary system fails, lest the secondary system fails, too. To ensure maximum working condition, perform scheduled testing. The initial tests should be done at the installation time, followed by planned testing. Institutions such as hospitals require more frequent testing.
This should be accompanied by proper personnel and occupants' training on system operation. The testing should also include frequent drills, especially in industries that feature hazardous materials.
Benefits of Emergency Lighting
An uninterrupted power supply is crucial to institutions such as hospitals, fire stations, etc. The presence of power can save lives, whether for critical patients, or evacuations during emergencies. In the same vein, continuous supply results in reduced downtime, equipment, and worker redundancy and guaranteed continuous productivity in factories and other businesses.
The law, depending on the nature of activities, requires installation of emergency lighting systems.
Compliance ensures adherence to the required laws, therefore avoiding penalties, fines, and the distress and inconvenience associated with playing hide-and-seek with the authorities.
In any one facility, there is a myriad of matters to attend to. It is, therefore, important to keep the stressors on the low.
Possession of a working emergency lighting system with a reliable battery pack offers peace of mind.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Emergency Lighting Systems and Batteries
Power requirements and protection: The emergency batteries utilize the primary AC power to re-energize through an integrated inverters circuit. This presents the biggest challenge--over-current and heat damage.
This significantly reduces battery longevity, as well as present risks such as leaks and chemical corrosion. The emergency system unit should include an over-current protection circuit to regulate the junction temperatures, operating current and voltage.
Compatibility: As with other electronic systems, compatibility is crucial. Batteries must be a match for the lighting system, both in fitting and operation. This allows for easy installation, as well as a replacement. Fortunately, the system usually has indicated battery specifications. With such information, procurement from the supplier is easy.
Compatibility rests on unit design. Innovations in the field mean that the units are increasingly becoming more compact and discrete. Furnish the supplier with the necessary details of the system, point of installation, and the required features.
Cost: Compliance with set codes requires predetermined installation and placement of emergency lighting. For large facilities and places with high tenant turnover, the cost of system installation and battery purchase significantly rises. Perform thorough research to ensure that you get value for the investment.
The areas to look into include optimized placement and orientation, energy efficiency, and mode of lighting. The latter depends on the power source and operating principles.
Longevity: For areas with a reliable primary power supply, emergency power lighting systems experience long hours of inactivity.
However, it is crucial that the batteries remain fully charged. Procure batteries with a proven longevity for both functionality, and cost reduction. Most reputable suppliers offer approximate lifetimes.
Operating conditions: The operating environment dictates the type of emergency lighting and battery you need. Note that temperature and humidity affect battery discharge and longevity. Most operate optimally at room temperature. However, industrial environments often maintain abnormal temperature setting.
Here, we often encounter high temperatures, humidity, water and gas, and hazardous chemicals. Include the information during the equipment specification document. The national electrical code should come in handy as a point of reference. Proper unit isolation and protection are vital.
Manufacturers provide different units for residential and various industries to accommodate the inherent environmental conditions. Other than the electrical code, include additional information such as the building codes, and any special usage conditions. Highlighting the codes is especially vital when sourcing from regions that adhere to different standards.
Warranty: This is crucial to protecting the purchaser from costs associated with manufacturing mechanical defects. Ensure a comprehensive warranty accompanies the battery supply. However, to enjoy the benefits related to the warranty--such as free replacements--proper operation, maintenance and testing as per the manufacturer's directive is important.
Failure to comply nullifies the warranty. A point of note is to go through the fine print to decipher the terms, as well as the conditions that void the warranty.
The efficacy of the emergency lighting system relies on the ability to energize fast, followed by low discharge with optimized illumination. High-quality batteries provide between 1.5-2 hours of illumination. This allows ample time to attend to the primary system outage, and safe evacuation in case of an emergency. This requires proper battery selection and system maintenance.
July 15, 2015
Visit BatteryPlex to learn about the 10 steps to take now to protect yourself after a bad storm rolls into the area and to get a replacement APC battery.