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Power Your Uninterruptible Power Supply with an RBC7 Battery

April 30, 2013

Written by: Randy Walker

An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is a battery-powered form of back-up power similar in intention to an auxiliary or emergency generator, and is necessary when working with delicate, important, or critical technology and information.  A UPS with an RBC7 battery can mean the difference between a mildly inconvenient power failure and disaster.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

In an event where the main input power to a load – such as a computer – is cut off, an uninterruptible power supply will provide power previously stored in its batteries.  UPSs are generally used with computers, network devices, servers, data centers, and telecommunication centers: generally, in any place where a sudden loss of power could have dangerous, expensive, or otherwise harmful consequences. In addition to protecting from total blackouts, UPSs can negate the effects of severe voltage surges (a surge protector can also do this) or reductions (a surge protector will not protect against power drops), and counter instabilities and distortions in power frequencies. Uninterruptible power supplies, as powered by a RBC7 battery, are available in a wide range of capacities and can power anything from a single computer, to industrial plants, to the entire city of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Though a UPS is like an auxiliary generator in that it is an emergency power source, it differs from generators in three major ways.  A UPS can turn on almost instantly, is battery powered, and typically only supplies a few minutes of power, depending on its battery capacity, while a non-battery powered generator takes longer to get started up, but can operate for much more extended periods of time.  While a power supply that only runs for a little bit might initially appear useless and only delays the seemingly inevitable, the moment or two of power that the UPS provides is often long enough to save important data, shut down equipment properly, or turn on another power source. 

There are two different types of uninterruptible power supplies – off-line UPSs and online ones.  Each type works in slightly different ways: overall, an off-line UPS is generally less expensive, but will often take six or seven milliseconds to get power flowing; an on-line UPS will provide power instantaneously, but is more expensive. 

RBC7

Battery powered UPSs need, of course, batteries.  American Power Conversion, or APC, is one of the leading producers of uninterruptible power supplies and batteries.  The RBC7 (Replacement Battery Cartridge, No. 7) is a 24-volt battery that can be used with multiple APC UPS devices and has a lifetime of three to five years if used normally not drained or overused.  The RBC7’s versatility, reliability, and relatively inexpensive price (it costs about 180 USD if bought directly from APC, slightly less from sites like atbatt and Amazon) make it a popular choice for many UPS owners.

Battery Safety

Many UPS batteries, including the RBC7, are lead-acid based.  They are safe if used as instructed, but can cause massive amounts of damage – to both people and the environment – if disposed of improperly.  Some suppliers, like the American Battery Company, and many technology and office supply companies offer free recycling programs; Battery Solutions is another option for safe disposal, but their services are not free.

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