Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by chipmunkofdoom2, Mar 7, 2018.

DIY Universal Battery Backup For Your Reef

  1. tgp4274

    tgp4274 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    ok perfect thanks
     

  2. Neptune 555

    Neptune 555 Active Member

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    Thanks for the detail. After reading your article I am sure I need a standard out of the box UPS system used for computers. I have a generator for long power outages but I need an emergency system that will work if I am at work / asleep. I am not a DIY reefer.. and have no technical background. Can a fellow reefer point me to an article or recommend a UPS that would meet this criteria...

    4 foot 100 gallon reef. I need one power head (Kessil powerhead 7 watts) to run and a heater 500 watts. I would like it to be able to run for 8 hours. In that amount of time I should be able to get my generator up and running. Needs to automatically go on in the event of power outage.

    Suggestions requested on UPS systems used that could run the above system for approx 8 hours. I could be talked out of heater..?
     
  3. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    There's almost no way you're going to be able to run a heater on a UPS. Not without spending upwards of $1,500. This UPS is about $150 and has about 14Ah worth of battery power inside (according to the replacement battery size). That would run a 500W heater and a 7W pump for 15 minutes (and that assumes a 50% on/off cycle for the heater). Unfortunately, they just don't put very much battery capacity in UPSs. A UPS is designed to power a computer system momentarily so you can save your work and shut down. In the case of large server farms, UPSs are meant to only last a few minutes until automatic diesel generators can kick on.

    A UPS would likely run a pump for a while, especially if it's a 7W pump. Can you share what kind of pump it is you're hoping to run?
     
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  4. Neptune 555

    Neptune 555 Active Member

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    Thank you for helping...

    I want to run this power head: A voyager 800. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/sicce-voyager-2-stream-pump-800-gph.html . I could go with out the heater .... b/c this is really just an emergency fail safe. I have a generator - this is for the hours between me being at thee office and me getting home to start the generator.

    My other option A battery air pump. The kind you get at walmart for 8 bucks

    There's almost no way you're going to be able to run a heater on a UPS. Not without spending upwards of $1,500. This UPS is about $150 and has about 14Ah worth of battery power inside (according to the replacement battery size). That would run a 500W heater and a 7W pump for 15 minutes (and that assumes a 50% on/off cycle for the heater). Unfortunately, they just don't put very much battery capacity in UPSs. A UPS is designed to power a computer system momentarily so you can save your work and shut down. In the case of large server farms, UPSs are meant to only last a few minutes until automatic diesel generators can kick on.

    A UPS would likely run a pump for a while, especially if it's a 7W pump. Can you share what kind of pump it is you're hoping to run?[/QUOTE]
     
  5. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    Glad to help :)

    You're right, it looks like that pump only uses 7W. This UPS costs $105 and appears to have a 9Ah battery inside. If you adjust for DOD (depth of discharge) and inefficiency, your pump would only need about 0.80A to run. So that UPS would run your pump for about 11.25 hours. Of course, more capacity and run time is always better, but it looks that UPS would work.

    A battery operated air pump might also do the job. I haven't ever used one, but other reefers have and they apparently do the job of keeping the tank oxygenated. I would just look for one that is automatic. I think Bulk Reef Supply sells one that automatically kicks on when the power's out.
     
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  6. luisgo

    luisgo Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Photo of the Month Award

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    I have a APC UPS SUA1000 with pure sine wave to run two Jebao RW-8 at full power 23 watts each for three hours. Running the Jebaos in low power is only 8 watts each and they will run for eight hours. After that I have a generator. UPS.jpg
     
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  7. Neptune 555

    Neptune 555 Active Member

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    Thank you!!

    Can you explain how I shop for UPC's? To run my power head that takes 7 watts for 8 ish hours what power do I need to find in my UPC? Sorry I am not understanding the equations... I am trying to figure out if a UPC w/ 600 watts is enough? Would the one below work? Again this is for emergency until I can start my generator. I just lost a tank b/c I didn't know my power was out : ( as I was on vacation. DEVASTATED is an understatement.

    [​IMG]


     
  8. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    You're welcome :) that item you pictured in your post is actually an inverter. It takes battery power (or power from your car) and turns it into AC. This is similar to the system I describe in my article. The problem is an inverter and a battery is not automatic: you need some sort of transfer switch to go between the two, and unfortunately that's the most DIY part of the article.

    I'm sorry the math is a bit confusing. There's not an easy way to shop for UPSs. There are a lot of terms that are used in the marketing, and almost none of them related to how much power is actually inside the unit. It's really difficult to get an idea of how long a UPS will power a given load, which is why we have to do so much math and so much estimation.

    Here's a good example of marketing-in-action: this APC UPS is rated for 1000VA/600W. That 600W figure would lead you to believe that there are 600 watts of power inside that unit. Unfortunately, that's not the case. 600W in this case refers to how much equipment it can run at once. It can run a 500W computer and a 100W speaker system at the same time, for instance, or a 100W laptop and a 500W laser printer. How much equipment it can run at once is a totally different number than how LONG it will run that equipment. And unfortunately, UPS manufacturers are not very forthcoming with that information.

    If you look at the Amazon listing for that UPS, the unit will supposedly power 100 watts of equipment for 45 minutes. In terms of watt hours, a measurement of how long the unit can produce a certain amount of power, this unit looks to be closer to 130Wh. Nowhere near the 600W advertised on the product listing. My point is not to say that manufacturers are being dishonest with their marketing. That UPS will power up to 600W of equipment at one time. My point is that it's difficult to discern how much run time any given UPS will give you in any given situation, especially with the APC UPSs because they use proprietary batteries.

    Perhaps if someone else knows a bit more about UPSs, they can chime in and shed some light on how to best divine runtimes without seeing the specs of the batteries inside. Unfortunately, that's the only way I know how to do it.
     
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  9. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    That's definitely a nice UPS. And a nice enclosure too. Unfortunately, that model is out of production. Do you know which model replaced it? One site said the APC SMT1000 is the next best model, but I can't be sure of that. Again, APC is not very forthcoming with how much capacity is inside these things, so it's tough to do an apples-to-apples comparison.
     
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  10. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    Hm okay, I did some digging. Apparently the APC SMT1000 is similar the SUA1000. They have similar 100% runtimes (6.1 minutes). @Neptune 555 this UPS would likely work for you. @luisgo says this will run two 8W powerheads for 8 hours. If that's correct, your 7W powerhead would run for around 16 hours or so on this. It's a bit pricey though, $360.

    You might be able to get away with something cheaper. Maybe some others will chime in with UPSs that work for them and average runtimes.
     
  11. Neptune 555

    Neptune 555 Active Member

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    OK I am understanding way more now! TY TY TY. YES if someone has a UPS that could work in this situation please share model and price. I also have 2 reefs in my house so @ 360 a tad to pricey.

    Option B: the $7.00 battery air stone is sounding better and better? I just need to keep to the tank w Oxygen until I find out I am out of power and can get home to remedy.
     
  12. luisgo

    luisgo Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Photo of the Month Award

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    I purchased my UPS used at ebay. You can find some deals there. It's important to know that some pumps will not work with regular UPS's. You may need what is called "pure sine wave". Is the wave form of electricity. Not sure how to explain the different types of current. Another thing good to know is that there are some inverters that have a charger integrated in the unit and also some will have a transfer switch. They are ideal for this kind of application. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1000W-2000...569498?hash=item3ae2d2ceda:g:nC8AAOSwBLlVBl5r
     
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  13. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    The only example I can think of where a pump would not run on MSW (modified sine wave) is Rossmont's controllable AC pumps. According to company reps, the pumps are controlled by altering the sine wave coming from the AC power source before feeding it to the pump. A dirty sine wave might not perform as well, if at all. Other than that, almost all aquarium pumps should run without pure sine wave (PSW). PSW is undoubtedly better, but I don't think it's necessary in the context of aquarium backups.

    The reason MSW (modified sine wave) is harder on AC motors is because it's not a smooth waveform. The motor's natural movement relies on a smooth up and down sine wave. When you feed an AC motor a jerky and sharp modified sine wave, it's not going to run as smoothly and will produce extra heat. The heat is not a huge concern in our applications, as the motors are immersed in a liquid coolant (our aquarium water). That's not even considering that a lot of pumps today are powered by an AC/DC power supply. The only effect the MSW might have on DC pumps is the AC/DC supply runs a bit warmer.

    Over time, the lack of a smooth sine wave could shorten the life of AC pumps. But remember, this system is only going to be running the pumps during a power outage. If you're only running your pumps on this inverter for 10 - 20 hours out of the entire year, how critical is it that the pump be run on pure sine waves? If you have a lot of outages and very expensive AC pumps in your system, a PSW inverter might be worth it. I personally feel very comfortable using a MSW inverter.

    On the topic of inverter/chargers, they're certainly an option. I'm not a huge fan of them for the same reason I'm not a huge fan of UPSs. Capacity is fixed, and if anything breaks, you have to throw the whole thing out and get a new one. Plus, they're relatively expensive when compared to a DIY solution. Additionally, the manufacturers usually don't share exactly how the charger charges the battery. If it just floats the battery instead of using a multi-stage charge (which I suspect most inverter/chargers do), that's not going to be great for the batteries long-term. When batteries are likely the most expensive part of the system, I don't like the idea of not knowing they're being properly charged. Inverter/chargers certainly work though, and they may be a good option for some.
     
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  14. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    Agreed, a battery powered air pump may be the best option. Like I said, I haven't used them, but other reefers have with good results. As I said before, I would just want to make sure I get one that senses power failure and only starts pumping air if the power goes out. Bulk Reef Supply has one.
     
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  15. D_Nyholm

    D_Nyholm Active Member

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    What about using something like a marine grade deep cycle battery? I believe they are meant to be discharged much lower than the standard lead acid batteries? You might be able to buy a smaller battery and still get the same run time out of it?
     
  16. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    Marine deep cycle and AGM batteries, the type I use and recommend for this type of setup, are both "deep cycle" batteries. "Marine deep cycle" actually doesn't mean much in terms of battery technology. In most of the cases I've seen, a "marine deep cycle" battery is just a flooded lead acid battery with thicker plates to accommodate deep cycling. While these work, they have a few downsides. First, they're not sealed, so they will release hydrogen gas. Second, while they can be discharged as deep as 75%, they will have longer lives if the DOD (depth of discharge) is limited to 50%.

    AGM batteries, on the other hand, are sealed. They don't release hydrogen gas and won't spill electrolyte if tipped over. Additionally, AGM batteries can be routinely discharged to 80% and not lose any significant capacity. AGM batteries will actually experience similar wear to a standard flooded deep cycle battery, even if you discharge the AGM battery to 80% and only discharge the flooded battery to 50%. So you'd actually get more life out of an AGM battery as opposed to a standard flooded deep cycle battery.

    Some good info on deep cycle batteries and AGM batteries:

    Wikipedia: Deep-cycle battery

    Battery University: Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM)
     
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  17. D_Nyholm

    D_Nyholm Active Member

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    Ahh, good info. The only experience I had with deep cycle batteries was when I did mobile detailing as a kid. We had 2 deep cycle batters a d a huge inverter to run a vacuum and electric pressure washer (plus polishers and stuff). The batteries would last the whole day and then start to die off. I figured they were almost fully discharged.

    We would just charge them overnight and do it again the next day. They would have to be replaced every year or so but with the minimal use the backup for an aquarium would need, I would think they would have been sufficient (not realizing they weren't sealed).
     
  18. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    You're probably right, marine (flooded) deep cycle batteries would likely work fine if you could vent them properly. If your power only fails a few times a year, does it really matter that you might only get 50 cycles out of them as opposed to 100 for an AGM? Probably not. They'll still last many years, even if the capacity drops a bit. The big problem is venting the gas.

    Also, shipping. AGM batteries are a lot cheaper to ship because they are spill proof and much less of a hazard. You could probably get a flooded deep cycle battery locally, but even they're pretty expensive why you buy them at a brick and mortar store. At least they were around me. I looked when my power was out. They were close to double what the AGMs were on Amazon.
     
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  19. truepercs

    truepercs Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Lithium batteries is the way to go...
    4K+ of stored energy that fits neatly in a drawer... safe no gassing.

    48v battery packs...

    0E419149-DCB2-431F-88C4-A141BCBA921A.jpeg

    69144013-9B96-47B2-8898-72A187DEFD31.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  20. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    Lithium batteries certainly are superior in many ways to lead acids. I definitely think lead acid batteries are a better choice for aquarium emergency backup though, for several reasons.

    First, you're only going to be drawing from the batteries when your power is out. Unless you have extraordinarily unreliable power, this is likely only going to be a few times a year. Lithiums might give you a few thousand charge cycles as opposed to the 100 - 200 of a lead acid, but if you only discharge the system two or three times a year, in 10 years you'll only burn through 30 charge cycles. Paying more for charge cycles that you'll never use doesn't make financial sense to me.

    Second, size and weight are definitely an advantage of lithium batteries. But, again, most reefers are likely setting up a battery backup in a closet and leaving it alone. It doesn't need to be light or especially compact, nor does it need to fit in a drawer (although that is nice if space is tight).

    Third, accessories for lead acid batteries (lead acid chargers, 12V inverters, etc) are all over the place and are reasonably cheap. The stuff for lithium batteries is harder to come by, and is usually a bit more expensive.

    If you have an application where you're going to be charging and discharging your batteries a lot, lithiums are critical. The same is true where space or weight is an issue, like with Tesla's Power Wall or electric cars. If you already had some Li-ion batteries, that's great, and they would certainly work for this purpose (I am truly envious.. the most I've ever done is played around with some 18650 cells. I'd love to get my hands on some larger-capacity Li-ion batteries). However, when you're going for cheap and the system doesn't have to be deep cycled that often, I still think that lead acids (AGMs in particular) are the way to go.
     
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