General Questions About Battery Backup

A "stand-by" or "off-line" UPS directs main utility power to your equipment as long as it's available. When the utility power fails it switches to the battery as a source of temporary power. "Line interactive" designs also power connected equipment using available utility power, except they also provide voltage regulation within a limited range in order to reduce the occurrence of battery use. An "on-line" type of UPS powers connected equipment from battery power 100% of the time. Available utility power is only used to charge the battery.

SL350 is a stand-by UPS.

KIN and SBN models are line interactive.

SCV models are on-line.

VA stands for "volt-amp" which equals volts x amps. In the United States standard residential and commercial electric power is 120 volts AC . Current flows to electric powered equipment at different rates, depending on how much power the equipment uses. This measure of current is amperes, or "amps". 

The right UPS for your application is determined by several factors. To select the right UPS you will need to know:

  • The power requirement of your equipment load. How much electric current does your equipment need? This is usually measured in amps (current) or watts (power).
  • How long does the UPS need to support operation of the equipment in case of a black-out? This will be UPSs required "run time".
  • How critical is the application? Of course, any application is important if you are considering a UPS. However, since the most reliable on-line UPS models are more expensive than the simpler stand-by models it is best to match the features of the UPS with the value of the application.

The UPS models are described based on their power rating in terms of their wattage (W) rating. Match this with the power requirement of your application. The run-time of the UPS is stated for full capacity current draw and one-half capacity. The most critical applications (security or network communications) should probably be supported by an on-line model. The less critical applications (cash registers or work stations) are usually matched with a stand-by device.

The most typical application is to maintain power on a computer so that, should main electric power be suddenly lost (because of a black out, a thunder storm or some other reason), recent work can be saved before the computer shuts down. Besides computers, other important data processor driven electronics can benefit from battery support:

  • Telephone and telecommunications equipment
  • Digital signage player and display
  • Digital video recording systems
  • Digital mixing consoles
  • Access control and security systems
  • Emergency evacuation public address systems

Because the electric power provided by your local utility can suddenly be interrupted due to a black out, thunder storm or some mechanical failure. A UPS can maintain operation of critical equipment until utility power is restored or until the equipment can be properly shut down.

UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. Its purpose is to supply power to certain critical or important electronic devices whenever main electric power is interrupted. Depending on the specific design, a UPS contains one or more batteries, components to clean up the AC power provided by the utility company and a relay to switch from main utility power to the battery power in the case of a "stand-by" UPS.

PF = W / VA

The power factor is the ratio of real power (W) to the apparent power (VA) in the circuit. The higher the number, the more efficient the circuit. In most practical applications the power factor figure is between 0.50 and 0.90.

Real power is the capacity of the circuit to perform work (watts). Apparent power is simply the product of the voltage and current (volt amps) of the circuit. Due to energy stored in the load or due to a non-linear load, the apparent power (volt amps) will be greater than the real power (watts).

Why is this important? A load with a low power factor needs more current to do the same amount of work than a load with a high power factor. This will lead to higher operating  costs and may require higher capital costs for equipment with higher current ratings.

When researching UPS battery backup for a specific application, look at the specifications of the models being considered. Compare units based on the cost of work capacity per dollar (watts / $).

"Run time” refers to the amount of time a UPS will provide power once the main utility power is interrupted. Standard battery run time for a common UPS is around 5 to 10 minutes under full load and about twice that under half load. (Run times are often quoted as minutes under full and half load.)

The battery run time during a power outage is a function of the current load placed on the battery and the size of the battery. The demand for current by the equipment being powered is expressed in "amps”. The amount of "juice” stored in a battery is expressed in terms of "amp-hours”. (One amp-hour is a current flow of one amp for one hour.) If you want to know how long a given set of equipment will operate off a UPS battery, add up the current in amps that the equipment will pull and divide the amp hours of the UPS by that number. (e.g. A ½ amp load on a 2 amp-hour battery will run for 4 hours.)

So, it makes sense that the smaller the load relative to the size of the battery the longer the run time. Over-sizing a UPS relative to the load is one way to get extended run time. Some UPS models allow special external battery packs to be connected to the UPS to extend run times. Check with your supplier or the product specifications.

A battery will not provide full voltage through its entire rated amp-hour life. Some reduction in voltage will occur at the end of the functional operation of the battery, just as a flashlight becomes dim but still works. Some UPSs will provide automatic shutdown or alarm when this voltage decline is imminent. So, if you have a specific required battery run time in case of a power outage, it’s best to have a bit of amp-hour head room on top of what you calculate.

"Middle market” and top of the line UPSs have replaceable batteries. Since even continually charged batteries have a limited service life of three to five years, being able to replace them is a nice feature. UPS batteries pose no danger with normal operation. But, they should be disposed of properly.

Recent advances in battery technology provide choices in battery designs for various applications and price points.  Lead acid  batteries are heavy and are the most common type used. A 600 watt UPS weighs around 30 pounds. A 2200 watt unit weighs around 80 pounds.  

Simple and sophisticated UPSs alike have warning indicators for loss of main utility power and for low battery power. A warning will also indicate when the battery is reaching the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. In some UPS models the battery status can be remotely monitored over RS232 or Ethernet communication links.

From Alkaline to Zinc, there are many types of batteries. Some have practical application. Some are only experimental. All are used as a means to store electricity.

Since the beginning of the Space Program and, now, with development of electric cars and solar power, battery technology has evolved in general and in certain specialized applications.


Most UPSs in support of computers and other digital processing equipment rely on lead acid batteries. Those use the same technology as the battery in a gasoline powered car. Invented in 1859, the lead acid battery is reliable and inexpensive. Unfortunately, it is heavy and large for the amount of power it  can produce compared to several other battery types. Some lead acid batteries require maintenance to keep liquid electrolyte levels up. Batteries in UPSs do not require maintenance.


Recent rapid growth in the use of lithium iron batteries began in 1991 when Sony commercialized that technology.  By many comparisons to advancing technology, this is a well developed and mature battery design. Lithium iron is a low maintenance, high energy density type of battery technology. Most of today's mobile phones run on a single LiFe cell.

The most economical lithium iron battery in terms of cost-to-energy ratio is the cylindrical 18650 (used in the Juice Goose SL-350 UPS). The name derives from its dimension,18mm x 65mm (0.7" x 2.5"). Picture a larger AA battery. This is a very adaptable and reliable battery design. It's a truly amazing fact that the Tesla "battery" is made from strings and bricks and layers of over 6,800 of these individual 18650 cells. 

Like all battery technologies lithium iron batteries call for proper application and management. They require a protection circuit to limit the peak voltage during charge and to control voltage and current on discharge. In addition, the cell temperature should be managed to avoid extremes. Storage and/or use in a temperature controlled environment will increase the life of the battery.  But, LiFe battery technology certainly provides a small, economical and powerful alternative to lead acid and other existing options.


These products are designed and assembled for a commercial market that demands high levels of reliability. There are no published recommendations regarding portability and use in a mobile application. Naturally, we recommend protecting the UPS in a padded or shock-mount case. In this manner the UPS should be able to withstand normal static shocks associated with travel. A UPS should always be plugged into electric power to keep the batteries charged when not in use. 

Recharge time is stated as the time to bring a completed depleted battery back to 90% of its charge capacity, once main AC power is restored. This time is typically about 5 hours after complete discharge into 100% capacity load. This time will be greater when charging additional external battery cabinets used with the larger UPS models. Of course, much less time it required to recharge the battery when it has only been partially discharged. Note: connected equipment will be operational while the batteries recharge.

Additional battery time can be added to the XPRT and NXRT models.

The battery charger will maintain a float-charge on the battery whenever utility power is available so that the battery will have a full charge when needed. Battery condition should be checked periodically. Typical battery life when being maintained on utility power is 3 to 5 years.

To keep the batteries in best condition it is recommended that the batteries be recharged every 4 months when being stored. If the batteries are stored for 6 months or more without being recharged there is a risk that they will not be rechargeable and will need to be replaced.

All models have battery test or status data output capability which can be monitored on the front of the UPS or remotely by way of a Standard Network Management Protocol (SNMP) communication connection and Windows based graphical interface software. (Accessory components are required.)

The UPS designs presented here plug directly into the wall. Your equipment then plugs into the UPS.

The amount of time the battery power will last (known as "run time") depends on the relative amount of power being used by equipment connected to the UPS. This is usually stated as a time if half the UPSs capacity is being used and a time if all the capacity is being used. For example a  SCV 10001 model has a run time of 10 minutes at half load and 3 minutes at full load. Using a larger UPS than the load requires will increase the battery run time. Further, additional batteries can be added to the SBN or SCV Series series to extend the UPS run time. See the Juice Goose catalog or contact Juice Goose for additional details. 

Service & Warranty

Warranty for the SBN and SCV Series UPSs is three years on electronics and batteries from the date of manufacture.

Download full SBN and SCV warranty policy statement.

Warranty for the KIN Series is two years on electronics and one year on the battery from the date of manufacture.

Download full KIN warranty policy statement.

Warranty for the SL350 is three years on electronics and three years on the batteries from the date of manufacture. 

Download full Juice Goose warranty policy statement.

Warranty service is provided by the manufacturer of the UPS. However, Juice Goose provides direct technical support and customer service for all UPS products it sells. For information or assistance contact Juice Goose: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 713-772-1404.

Most UPS models are designed to allow the user to replace the battery when necessary. That should always be done by a qualified technician experienced with servicing electical equipment.

Consult the operating manual before attempting battery service. Contact Juice Goose for additional assistance as needed.

Dispose of used batteries properly.