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Caution: Don't let this happen to you...

Posted by Christos Papakyriacou on

Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr (1918-1990), an American aeronautical engineer declared in the early 90’s that, “if something can go wrong it will”. This has become to be known as Murphy’ s Law. He said that, in order to alert people to expect the worst in a given situation. I do think he intended this as a warning for people to do everything possible to “prevent the worst from happening”.

In that spirit we operate as a company. Specializing in a rather “hazardous” profession, installing, maintaining and repairing Uninterruptible Power Supplies, UPS, we place utmost importance in preventing bad things from happening to UPS systems. The goal is not only to secure the safety of our Technical personnel in their work environment, but also to try and ensure zero downtime for our clients’ UPS, which can affect their computer operations and cost them loss of revenue.

Broken_BatteriesWe therefore adhere to the letter, to manufacturer recommendations regarding preventive maintenance procedures (Infographic), including the necessary consumable spare parts replacement. Consumables are such components as capacitors, fans and batteries, which have a specific design life given from the component’s manufacturers.

Note: A capacitor is an electrical component which absorbs and stores electric energy, releasing it at predetermined times. Capacitors can be found in almost all electronic circuits, line filters and power supplies. Industrial installations make use of large capacity capacitors for energy saving purposes.

Postponing or even not replacing these parts after their design life is reached, with approved, original parts, entails serious risk, with dire consequences, as witnessed by the recent capacitor explosion and subsequent fire, at the Nicosia SOPAZ factory, as confirmed by the EAC Press Representative.

Please note that this is not the first and only case we have come across this year. A similar incident, fortunately without the outbreak of fire, occurred recently at a Government building housing a Ministry. Capacitors in a UPS, which should have been replaced since these exceeded their design life, had not, for various reasons. These overheated and exploded and generated smoke, activating the room’s safety and fire prevention sensors. Panic prevailed since the UPS supported and protected mission critical servers and PCs’. Fortunately the by-pass circuit within the UPS was activated, preventing power interruption to the load. The users were lucky this time. No fire and no computers switched off.

Capacitor_explodedWe are witnessing many such mindsets and rather frivolous disregard of safety when it comes to preventive maintenance and consumable parts replacement. Apparently users do not fully comprehend the serious consequences such decisions may have. We often hear excuses such as “we will replace it when it breaks down” or “other UPS suppliers said this replacement is not necessary” or “no budget at this time let us wait until later”.

Remember, Murphy’s Law is omnipresent.

Our experience has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that “prevention is always safer and less expensive than cure” and that “electricity and electrical equipment should be treated with care”.

After 33 years of experience in the field of Critical Power, we whole heartedly advise all those who delay or postpone such actions as preventive maintenance and consumable part replacement to a) cooperate only with qualified and certified technicians with training on the specific equipment, b) use only original and approved spare parts and c) that they proceed as soon as possible in the maintenance or replacement of the parts, in order to save themselves all types of ills and avoid a similar incident as at SOPAZ.

Have any Questions? We are at your service! Simply leave your comments below and we'll be happy to assist you.


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