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7 Questions you must ask your UPS supplier regarding maintenance!

Posted by Christos Papakyriacou on

Even though many articles are written, by more experienced colleagues abroad on the subject of UPS, regarding the need for proper maintenance with which I wholeheartedly agree, I feel I must also repeat some basics, particularly applicable to our Cyprus market and conditions. 

It is well known by now that, the best way to keep vital electronic equipment and critical services going, no matter what the condition of the electricity supply, is by using an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.

Emergency Lights, Medical Equipment, Telecommunication, Security Services, Data Processing Centers, even our Home and Small Business Computers all depend on clean, stable and Uninterrupted Electricity Supply to do what they are supposed to do; Help us get the job done!

Understanding the importance of an Uninterruptible Supply and how easily problems occur on the electricity, should motivate us to take appropriate, preventive measures to ensure business continuity.

Natural phenomena such as bad weather, both in winter and summer, human error and accidents, such as road works and damage to underground power cables, cars crushing into electricity poles, trees falling and cutting power lines and even intentional interference can bring your entire system crushing down.


Information suggests that more than 50% of organizations in the UK, experience at least one serious power related failure every year.
Information provided by the Cyprus Electricity Authority
for 2015,recorded “no less than 695 unplanned
power interruptions all over Cyprus”.

These unplanned interruptions were beyond the Electricity Authority’s control. So, the danger is real and it can affect you! As already mentioned, the solution and protection against such supply problems, is offered by a UPS.

A Double Conversion UPS offers protection against all
electricity problems and can guarantee service continuity, 
provided the UPS is maintained properly.
Utilizing its battery bank, a UPS can provide clean and stable backup power, lasting from a few minutes to several hours. This backup time depends on how critical your application is. Whether you need enough time to shut down your system or for the generator to kick in and supply the UPS, to allow processing to continue. You may on the other hand need several hours, due to the nature of your business and the lack of a standby generator!

Having established that the UPS is essential for your business, the next step is to realize that even the best quality UPS fail. Particularly if not maintained properly. Which must be according to manufacturer recommendations and by factory trained, certified and approved engineers.

UPS are complex machines comprising of electro-mechanical and electronic components. Some having a specific design life. Such "consumable components" are for example capacitors, used to filter the supply going to the unit’s electronics and having a design life of around 6 years. Cooling fans, which depending on their use and environmental conditions, have a design life of 3-4 years. Batteries have a design life of 3-5 or 8-10 years. All these must be tracked, recorded, maintained and replaced appropriately.

This is where a good maintenance contract with your
potential UPS supplier comes in play,
to ensure your peace of mind!   
Do not be tricked into accepting that some UPS, do not need replacement of consumable parts. As implied by some "clever" suppliers in order to convince prospective buyers, that the Total Cost of Ownership, TCO for "their" UPS is lower than competitors!?

If your business depends on your computer system and therefore your UPS, it is highly recommended you take a practical approach by selecting and signing a comprehensive maintenance contract with a reliable and trustworthy UPS supplier. Part of your search should include checking the potential supplier's references and testimonials.

A good maintenance agreement reduces the risk of down time and ensures the maximum possible up time of your equipment.

Regular preventive maintenance also increases
your systems’ performance, improving efficiency
and reducing energy consumption.

Having a maintenance contract allows your supplier to follow your UPS’s performance and plan for consumable part replacements, allowing you to budget for this, well in advance.

Remember that ... you get what you pay for! So a good, comprehensive parts & labor maintenance contract, which can offer you the correct protection, can not be cheap. You can not expect a maintenance contract that costs as much as only one service visit, to include electronic parts replacement, from local stock! Or the required in depth preventive service! Or a 3 hour response time! Or 24/7 support! No matter what assurances are provided by the supplier, in his effort to secure the order! It simply is not economically viable for the supplier. Be careful in your selection. Unless you like to gamble with the fate of your system and your company!

As mentioned in our previous article (Greek) on UPS and Batteries, a good maintenance regime will allow your provider to identify failing or failed components, such as batteries.

Failure of one or more battery block identified early,
allows for their immediate replacement, preventing failure
of the entire battery bank of 30, 40 or more batteries.
This results in considerable savings.

Other problems that can be prevented through a comprehensive, in depth maintenance routine concern fans, which can cause over heating of a UPS and switching to by-pass, leaving your computers unprotected. Capacitors, also need to be checked since these can sometimes seriously damage the unit.

By now you must be wondering what questions to ask before purchasing a UPS, or when negotiating for the best UPS maintenance?

It is an unfortunate fact that in Cyprus, many import and supply UPS. But not everyone can support the UPS they sell or at least offer the correct preventive or repair service. We at Digicom are frequently asked to service and maintain UPS from other manufacturers. Something we are able to do to a certain degree, thanks to decades of experience in critical power.

Q1 ●    You may ask if a maintenance contract is required during the warranty period, which can be 1 or 2 years. Surely you are covered!

Large UPS system suppliers, provide warranties covering replacement of parts, including labor costs, but generally do not specify the speed of response and replacement. That can cause you serious problems. Remember that the correct contract, through proactive and speedy corrective action, will increase your system’s reliability and even the lifespan of the UPS.

Q2 ●    The next question is what is the emergency response time?

In general suppliers may replace parts immediately or within several days. At Digicom we guarantee response within 3 hours in an effort to resolve the situation within a few hours from receiving a call. Visit our website for details.

We also offer a 24/7/365 service (option) for all our customers protected by maintenance agreement. Such customers are also entitled to a significant discount on accessories, parts and labor.

Q3 ●    A question you must ask is if the supplier’s engineers are fully certified by the manufacturer. The number of certified engineers is also important!

This in order to receive speedier response in case of multiple emergencies at different customer sites. It is not wise to only accept statements by the local supplier assuring you of their engineers training. Ask for factory training certificates, on the UPS make and model of interest to you. After all you would not allow a dentist to perform a major organ surgery on you. Would you?!

We’ve heard horror stories of electricians or even junior technicians presenting themselves as UPS engineers, sent to repair a mission critical UPS?!

Digicom’ s engineering team has been certified
by GE as “Critical Power Experts”.

We confirm Digicom Ltd specializes exclusively on Critical Power. This includes UPS, Rectifiers, Inverters and Batteries. Our engineers undergo rigorous training, both at the factory and locally on every aspect of a UPS installation, maintenance and repair. They’ve proven their competency over many years and during numerous high pressure, emergency situations day and night. Reassessment is also performed by GE every two years, for certification renewal for each engineer.


Q4 ●    Do you keep spare parts locally? Another important question.

For most applications, interruption of services can be very expensive. That is why we endeavor to keep recommended spare parts in stock for immediate repair. Our experience of over 35 years has help identify required parts for stock purposes. In the rare event a part is not immediately available locally, this can be sourced from GE’s European factory, within 72 hours. UPSs are also available locally and can be used as temporary replacements in emergency situations.

Maintenance contracts generally do not include consumables such as batteries, capacitors or cooling fans. Digicom’s maintenance agreements for parts and labor include capacitors and fans, which have not concluded their factory stated service life. This is something worth investigating with other suppliers.

Q5 ●    How many preventive visits does a maintenance contract include?

One annual preventive visit is recommended as a minimum. Of course unlimited emergency visits are included in Digicom’s agreements, as well as visits for hardware and firmware upgrades-updates, as recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures optimized performance and high reliability, since updates are the result of a continuous effort by the manufacturer to improve UPS performance, based on past experience.

Q6 ●    Does the maintenance agreement offer a remote monitoring option?

Most definitely. GE’s iUPS Guard is an “anytime”, “anywhere” concept in UPS status monitoring and alarm notification, with new “predictive capabilities”, for any GE and third-party UPS. Read more here:

Q7 ●    Finally, you must inquire how comprehensive the preventive service offered is, under such an agreement.

We have witnessed competitor “engineers”, claiming to have performed preventive service on large 3 phase UPS, by simply attaching their laptops and downloading parameters. Declaring that all is well with the UPS within only a few minutes!? We call this “unacceptable, if not dangerous”.

Even though sometime in the future and as technology advances, such in depth and detailed UPS component monitoring and logging will be possible, at an added cost may I add, we are not there yet!

Current UPS technology allows basic monitoring and should only
be used in addition to normal preventive service. Proper,
indepth preventive service must include the following.

In addition to the cleaning necessary for the local environmental conditions in Cyprus, a detailed visual inspection of components for signs of leakage, overheating, corrosion, marks of arching must be made. Measurements of parameters for key components, as required by the manufacturer, together with load battery testing, with individual block parameter measurements is also a must. Filter cleaning and battery pole cleaning and re-torquing/ greasing must also be done, where applicable.

Finally, a review of the log file to identify parameters that may need adjustment must be included in any service program, but not as a replacement of proper maintenance.

Perhaps requesting a detailed service report from your provider, will help you determine whether you are getting proper service or not, to allow you to act accordingly.

By applying such procedures approved by GE and GNB/EXIDE,

Digicom has managed to keep GE’s UPS systems
operating without any loss of service, in major as well as
smaller organizations in Cyprus, for nearly 20 years.

They were able to delay replacing their UPS, resulting in serious savings. By general consensus, Digicom offers professional UPS Preventive & Repair Services in Cyprus.

Just see what some of our other customers have to say about us.


If you need to discuss the replacement of an existing UPS, or the purchase of a new one, which will have the correct maintenance contract, throughout the unit’s design life, contact me Christos J. Papakyriacou at 22765432, for a chat or to set up a time to meet.

Visit our website for information on our range of UPS and our e-shop, to directly purchase your 1-phase UPS unit up to 10kVA and we will have it delivered to you the following day.

Looking forward to talking to you soon. 

Christos J. Papakyriacou, BSc., MSc., Electronics Engineer, Critical Power - UPS Expert.

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