Power Inverters (including solar power inverters) and UPS are good alternative to generators and affordable too. They can be used for long or short duration backup during power outages depending on how large or small batteries you are using. If your power inverter or UPS is giving low backup you may increase it by connecting larger batteries or fixing other problems that may be responsible for decline in backup. See the details below to find out why you are getting low backup and how to increase it.
Replace Old Batteries:
– Batteries have limited charge discharge cycles (500 – 1500 cycles depending upon quality of battery) after which battery performance decreases a lot. If your batteries are old change them to increase the backup.
Install Bigger or More Batteries:
– If your backup requirement is high, install bigger batteries or more smaller batteries (equal battery capacity is preferred. Do not install different capacity batteries in series) to reduce individual battery charge-discharge cycles. That will help prolong battery life and also the backup.
Quality of Battery:
– The quality of battery is chiefly responsible for how much backup you will actually get. There are scammers out there who would mention more capacity but actual battery capacity is much lower. Always try to buy batteries from renowned brands. Often people complain that they bought new batteries but backup is very low. They might have been scammed by battery manufacturers.
– Check the charger of your power inverter or UPS. You can check the charging voltage with digital multi-meter and amperes with clamp meter. If you see low charging amperes (if 3 stage charger then check charging amperes of initial stage when battery is drained) or low charging voltage (see the manual for normal charging voltage) you got the faulty charger. Get that fixed to fix the low backup issue.
– If your power inverter or UPS is malfunctioning, it may start displaying low battery, beep and shutdown at wrong battery voltage while in reality your batteries have got enough juice left to further give the backup. Get your inverter checked to make sure it is functioning properly.
Clean or Replace Corroded Battery Terminals:
– Usually copper or aluminum terminals are used to connect cables with battery posts. Copper can easily corrode if it comes in contact with battery acid. Copper corrosion will look like white or bluish substance while aluminum terminals will develop a white powdery corrosion. Change the battery terminals or clean them with the base solution of baking soda, caustic soda or washing soda. Badly corroded copper terminals won’t let the current pass through them which will eventually result in incomplete charging or no charging at all. If you feel that backup is not good, check the battery terminals also.
Adjust Charging Current:
– Some power inverters support slow and fast charging which can be adjusted from a dedicated switch. Look for a switch that can let you switch between different current (A) ratings. Only choose higher charging current if your batteries are bigger. Do not charge smaller batteries with higher current as that will result in incomplete charging, stimulate battery sulfation and prematurely damage the batteries.
Add External Charger:
– If your backup needs are high and UPS or Power inverter charger is slow, you may add an external charger to boost the battery charging speed. Note that external charge may cause conflict with internal charger and disturb the cut-off voltage which may result in overcharging or undercharging of batteries.
Use Distilled Water:
– If you are using flooded (wet) lead acid batteries, make sure to top them up with distilled water. Never use tap water as tap water has got impurities and salts that will damage the plates of batteries. Tap water will cause batteries not to achieve cut off voltage. As a result, batteries will overheat and cause electrolyte to boil and evaporate. Overheating will also shorten the life of batteries. If batteries get completely dried, they will irreversibly get damaged.