UPS systems are a fantastic investment to protect hardware against a power source failure, but you must ensure correct electrical termination during UPS set up & installation.
What is Electrical Termination?
Electrical termination is the specific point where a conductive device, such as a wire or cable, begins or ends. A wire typically terminates at a terminal block, where the electricity can be passed onto the terminal connectors. All UPS systems have electrical termination points and it’s important that these are checked regularly.
UPS Systems’ Set Up
If you have invested in an uninterruptible power supply, you will need to take practical steps to ensure the UPS system is correctly installed for optimum UPS function and electrical compliance. Part of this is checking the electrical termination points are properly connected. To achieve this, here are a few technical aspects to consider.
1. UPS Termination Cables
The cable routing and entry, particularly for medium-to-large sized UPS systems, must be carefully installed. If there are solid floors, then you would need either a UPS plinth or cable trench to run the power cabling and termination underneath both the UPS and UPS battery.
In a specialised IT facility, it is likely there will be raised floors to accommodate the various data processing and communications’ equipment cabling and cooling systems. The floors however, would need to be designed to accommodate the weight of the UPS system and battery which can be quite heavy. You may have to mount the UPS on a steel plinth, ensuring accurate alignment of the UPS system with the flooring. Many UPS unit are designed for bottom cable access and have facilitated for cable access and termination where raised flooring or cable trenches are not present.
When carrying out UPS system electrical termination, it’s also vital that you choose the correct cable size, a suitable cable type as well as the correct mechanical connection for the termination in order to carry the required rated current. Terminations may be by means of lugged cable or a crimp type terminal. The incorrect sizes will result in a connection malfunction or Circuit Breaker tripping.
Smaller UPS units have plug n play type terminations that have specifically limited current carrying capacity that needs to be adhered to.
As with the UPS system’s termination cables, the circuit breaker must be the correct size for your particular UPS type. In addition, when connecting UPS systems, ensure each one has its own circuit breaker rather than ring wiring, so that in the event of a device fault, only the local circuit breaker will trip, instead of the wider distribution network. An external bypass switch for UPS systems will allow for the system to be electrically isolated during an upgrade or maintenance work.
3. Lugs for UPS Termination
Mechanical lugs are used to connect cables together and they provide high-quality electrical termination. When the UPS system is set up, you need to check that the lugs are clamped on properly as any loose connections can result in vibrations and system deterioration.
4. Routine Checks for all UPS Terminations
Once your UPS system has been set up according to all the necessary requirements, you will need to perform periodical checks of the electrical termination. This means ensuring the cabling is not corroded, the circuit breaker is fully functional and all the lugs are clamped correctly. Thorough maintenance of your UPS – as with any electronic equipment – will ensure maximum performance and enhanced durability.
What happens if the UPS Electrical Termination is Faulty?
If your UPS system’s electrical termination has a loose connection or suffers from repetitive vibrations over time, then your UPS is likely to experience hot spots. These will eventually corrode the termination and decrease the longevity of the UPS. Bad terminations can also cause a fire.
The electrical set up of a UPS system is specialised and best be undertaken by experienced UPS suppliers or contractors. The UPS will need to be set up according to the supplier’s instructions as well as local installation regulations such as correct UPS earthing.
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