Check Your UPS Batteries!

Every now and then it’s a good idea to check your UPS batteries, right? Sure, we all know that. But who really does it? In well run environments UPSes are monitored, internally and/or externally but in a small machine room with only a couple racks, the individual UPS systems may not be monitored. These machine rooms (closets?) might also not be frequented by people very often or may not even get a visit, ever unless something goes wrong.

The reason you want to check your UPS often? Well, there are a few but here’s mine:

I found that one day in the UPS supporting our firewall/passive gateway device. Notice the top two battery packs. The UPS wasn’t monitored and was still happily putting power through but I really wonder what would have happened had we experienced a power loss and the battery was actually called upon… would it just have lasted much shorter than it was supposed to or was there a real fire/safety hazard here? I don’t know for certain, but I know when your batteries start bulging and being misshapen, it’s time to replace them.

The scratching on the battery pack labels is a result of trying to remove the battery pack tray from the UPS shell and having it just barely fit by the edge. Any more bulging and the tray wasn’t going to come out, complicating the fix as I swapped this battery tray for another, all online. If I wasn’t able to remove the battery pack, I would have had to shutdown the firewall device as it only has one PSU, I couldn’t “move” it to another UPS online.

So yes, please be sure to check your UPS system and battery packs, especially if they are 3+ years old like this one was!

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