Best Maintenance Practices for Backup Power
Almost every data center’s objective is to have an uninterrupted power supply, mainly to deal with the critical load involved. To achieve this goal, it is imperative to maintain the power path and conduct a thorough test. Though maintenance is disruptive and costly, regularly scheduled maintenance is essential in achieving maximum equipment reliability and enhancing critical load-up time. There has to be a certain level of redundancy built into the power chain to accomplish this, allowing concurrent operation as maintenance is still ongoing. If there is room for redundancy that allows for maintenance, the following are some critical components and practices for backup power maintenance.
Key Components & Best Maintenance for Backup Power
The main power utility panel is the first integral component in the data center power supply path since it supplies power to other parts in the whole facility. The main power panel is rarely touched during regular operations, but it is recommended to have it thermally and visually inspected regularly throughout the year.
Data centers are regularly checking and testing their backup generators as part of the maintenance process. The installed ATS can conduct automated routine checks, although the staff must be present during all scheduled maintenance and inspections. Whether physical or virtual testing procedures, there is a need to have constant supervision. This is meant to ensure a successful load transfer and that the exposed failures and exposure are effectively dealt with. During the maintenance, listen for distinctive sounds and look out for fluid leaks. You should also take some voltage measurements and rpm frequency readings. If you are using a diesel engine, check for quality regularly when need be.
In sites that have multiple generators, there’s a need to have parallel switch gears. The presence of the extra equipment increases the complexity of the data center’s systems, basically because the generator needs to synchronize its controls with the parallel switch gears. Regularly checking and inspecting the power backup should align with the generator’s physical maintenance. The generator, ATS, and similar equipment must be maintained by the same person who can familiarize with the system and recommend changes when necessary.
Most switchgear typically remains in a static position and remains untouched during the entire service time. The ATS is frequently used to make, break and transfer power under load. This means that it must be closely observed for proper management and maintenance procedures. The ATS needs to be de-energized and have an isolated path for uninterrupted power during maintenance.
Why Maintenance is Important for Backup Power Systems
If maintenance is avoided, you could risk exposing data centers to downtime from your IT personnel. From a diverse range of undetected malfunctions that go unnoticed while on average power, it is crucial to conduct proper training, supervision, and documentation to ensure that a regularly scheduled event doesn’t result in a downtime mishap.