Give Your Standby Power Practices a Jolt

It’s important to establish an annual preventive maintenance program that includes regular battery replacement and complete load testing of each device attached to single power supply.

In today’s landscape of security integration, standby power requirements can vary drastically based on the type of system being installed. Organizations rely on these standby power systems to protect and secure their premises during man-made or natural disasters.

During the design process, integrators are often directed to follow strict federal and state regulatory compliance requirements, or must adhere to additional, minimum standards of operation set by presiding local authorities when primary power sources are not available. Standby power systems must be transparent and allow seamless operation from primary to secondary sources to avoid any interruption in service.

Standby power supplies are designed and specified based on the maximum draw specifications of each device connected to an individual power supply. As a general rule, most engineers only specify an 80% load ratio per supply to avoid overloading issues, taking into account additions or changes during future expansions.

Preventive Maintenance Can Pay Dividends
So when and how do things go wrong? Organizations often discover during a power outage that some or all of the expected standby time has been greatly reduced, causing systems to lose power and collapse much sooner than expected. This can create a serious potential breach of security – with intrusion systems unable to report alarms to the central station or dispatch center; magnetic locking devices or fail-safe electric strikes no longer being secure; and life-safety platforms unable to detect or report life-threatening situations.

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In most cases, a lack of preventive maintenance is the root cause. Most commonly, issues are reported because the backup battery itself is out of date and needs to be replaced, or problems arise involving devices that are directly attached to the power supply itself. It’s very common to find magnetic locks or electric strikes that are still completely functional but drawing three times the normal current load. These are often signs of future component failure and should be replaced as soon as possible; each defective device may reduce the original engineered standby time by 30% per device operating outside the OEM specification. Campuses should institute annual preventative maintenance programs, including regular battery replacement and complete load testing of each device attached to single power supply.

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