I very much needed to extend the running time of my backup power supply beyond the factory specification. The original batteries provided for 1 minute of power when running the machine at the maximum 1200 watts my PC is capable of consuming and 6 minutes of power when running at my normal load of 185 watts.

I live somewhat removed from any significant municipality, therefore our infrastructure is a bit neglected. We lose power about 10 times each year, each time varies from 6 hours to 5 weeks. It is often enough and severe enough (sometimes with "after-shocks" or subsequent drop-outs) that I require sufficient capacity to shut down properly every time this happens, without fail. 1 minute is not enough under any circumstance and 6 minutes is not enough if the power gives out when I am in the middle of certain involved processing tasks.

I set my goal at 15 minutes of power under full-load conditions. 15 minutes allows ample time for me to terminate any running application (such as rendering video or conducting a backup), and then fully shut down the computer properly, then fire up my generator to feed the house (and UPS) again until grid AC power is restored. I will not rely on the auto-shutdown command sent by the UPS to the PC. I am not confident that it would behave properly if a full backup or other intensive process is running when a power supply problem manifests.

Powering my computer equipment and other electronics directly from the dirty generator power seems like a bad plan. The UPS will condition the power from the generator before feeding the sensitive electronics. This avoids lost data, lost storage clusters, crosslinked files, and all the other ugliness that may happen when power has suddenly and unexpectedly become absent.

Info & Background & Et Cetera
(very TL:DR, but do it anyway)

The wattage provided by modern uninterruptible power supplies is generally adequate for the equipment we use today. However, the total energy storage of these units may not provide enough running time to properly execute a system shutdown in every circumstance.

As an example, I formerly had a UPS rated at 450 watts output while the amp-hour rating (which determines the running time) was very low. That particular unit did not actually provide 450 watts, however. In truth, it measured out at 325 watts output. The connected computer and monitor under maximum load could draw a combined load of slightly higher than 600 watts. In the event of power failure under full load, the system would immediately go down. The same system under average load would draw 280 watts. In the event of power failure under average load, the system would persist for 1 minute 40 seconds.

In the above example, we can observe that the UPS was not properly matched to the system it was selected to support. This was partly my fault, due to my misunderstanding of UPS numeric ratings.

I have been unable to find any consumer UPS that would match my current consumer computers while meeting my desired specification. In order to obtain a properly matched UPS, I would have to acquire something enterprise level or modify an existing unit.

Due to the pricing of enterprise level equipment compared to the pricing of materials adequate to modify an existing unit, I opted to modify.

Link to one unit that would provide 17 minutes of running time for my current system under full load.

The cost, with shipping, would be roughly $1900.00 US Dollars. Too pricey. In addition to the price concern, I wasn't interested in 208 volts.

My total cost for a UPS capable of providing the wattage and for the materials to increase the running time to a minimum of 15 minutes was slighly less than $300 US Dollars. It would be 120 volts input and 24 volts internal battery.

Please see the conclusion for the results I ultimately achieved.

What I have done is remove the factory installed batteries, extended the wiring because the new batteries will not fit inside the unit and must be located beyond the reach of the existing wires, re-inserted the factory batteries but did not connect them (simply for ballast and to know their location if I ever choose to revert) so the unit would not be top-heavy and likely to tip over if bumped into, then attached the wiring to two batteries of greater capacity.

I discovered that my UPS already has a fuse that is suitable. Otherwise, I would have put one inline.

From my own experience, I know that crimps aren't the best for connections that involve high current. I decided to supplement the strength of the joint and the current handling ability by including solder at the joints.

I used this chart to determine the diameter of wire reasonably appropriate for conducting the power I would be needing. Wire gets hot if too much power is flowing, more specifically amperes of current. Voltage doesn't seem to matter unless you exceed the threshold at which the voltage would arc through the insulation.

I opted for stranded wire because it is more flexible and won't fatigue as easily as a solid conductor.

I did some shorthand math using beer and chips (I mean uh pencil and paper). Using Ohm's or Kirchoff's (I always forget which is correct) formula of potential multiplied by current equals power - extrapolating that power divided by potential equals current - potential measured in volts, current measured in amperes, and power measured in watts - 1200 watts divided by 27 volts equals a fair bit less than 45 amperes - 15 minutes of running time being one quarter of an hour - 12 amp hours of battery capacity would pretty much be close to what I needed. There are some losses due to wire resistance, inefficiency of converting DC from the batteries into AC for the output, and other considerations. I don't need a very precise 15 minutes of running time, it is simply my desired goal. My ARWAG (almost random wild-arsed guess) is good enough for me.

I don't think gravity has any measurable effect on electron flow except when applied to headphones and speakers (my stereo amplifier is hanging from the ceiling upstairs and I listen to music lying on the basement floor because it sounds better as the electrons pick up speed from falling so far before hitting my eardrums, just like the salesman promised - punchy bass and highs so crisp I swear they have been deep fried in fat FTW), therefore I won't make any estimation for the loss in power due to elevation at the location of the UPS versus elevation at the location of the batteries.

Warnings and things to Note
(more TL:DR, but do it anyway. no, really)

This voids your warranty and any equipment guarantees or insurance provided by the manufacturer. This nullifies any rating issued by safety or operational fitness underwriters. If you ever need to return it for warranty service or claim coverage, and if it is returned without the original batteries or with altered connections or with a significantly modified external housing, you will be denied. They made it, they know. If they determine that it was ever altered, they will not support it.

Deep Cycle batteries will hold up better than standard and heavy duty car batteries. They have a better electrolyte solution and are substantially more robust in construction. I have been informed that the plates are made using more material, but I have not confirmed this directly.

I recommend only modding a unit that has a cooling fan or can be equipped with a cooling fan. I noticed an increase in temperature near my UPS during testing, and was going to install an internal fan. Moments before I actually found a suitable fan in my stash, I heard a fan inside my unit spin up. Apparently, the internal fan is thermostatically controlled. Yay me.

Be advised that many of the consumer UPS units are designed for short running time and will gradually build up heat. Excessive heat buildup will destroy a UPS, possibly flaming. A good idea would be to set a power profile that uses very little electricity, therefore generating less heat in the UPS. Just in case. During testing, I constantly checked various points in the system for temperature using an infrared thermometer. Lucky me, mine was just fine.

Some units create a modified sine wave. Some units create a true sine wave. Other units I have encountered create a square wave. A sine wave will generate the least heat. A square wave will generate substantially more heat. I suggest NOT using a square wave unit.

My laser printers, inkjets, and all other non-essential life supporting appliances and fixtures will be run through surge protectors fed by my generator. Because I know why not to put them on a UPS.

Never run furnaces, freezers, refridgerators, air conditioners, humidifiers, laser printers, or other heavy appliances from a UPS. Inkjets and other small devices are fine on a UPS, but probably won't be critical during a power failure.

Some UPS units operate on 12 volts internal voltage. Mine uses two 12 volt batteries in series (which are 13.5 volts nominal). 24 volts internal voltage, per specification - 27 volts internal voltage nominal. Check before making any modifications.

When everything is finished, it is a good idea to place batteries in a plastic tub of some sort for daily use. The batteries may leak or bubble over, some day. I've never seen it happen or heard directly from anyone who claims to have witnessed such a thing. But there are people on the internet who insist in blogs that IT HAPPENS, MAN! So, it must be true.

Mostly Serious Statement
The  following process involves voltages, electrical current flows, and gasses which may cause injury and/or death, if mishandled. Some of the tools are capable of causing serious injury and/or death. Small parts are a choking hazard. Large parts are probably a choking hazard. Solder is composed of heavy metals which may lead to serious health issues some day. Friction injuries are possible due to high RPMs from the rotary tool. There may be fire. There may be even more fire. I wouldn't be surprised if I've missed mentioning something else notable.

Use eye protection. Button your sleeves. Tuck your shirt in. Keep your mouth closed. Provide adequate ventilation to your work area. Do not attempt this in low light. Not to be used internally or on sensitive areas of the skin or other jiggly bits of anatomy. Keep your limbs inside the vehicle until it comes to a complete stop. Be smart and be careful.

If you get hurt, I'll be bummed out, but I'm too far away to help you.

If you are not experienced in the proper use of the tools and materials required, you should not work alone or with a partner that shares your inexperience.

Most of us can probably pull this off in under 30 minutes without even getting dirty. But I could be wrong.

Proceed beyond this point at your own risk. There is no life-guard on duty and here there be dragons.

Small Screwdriver - combination philips and regular head
Wire Strippers/Crimper
Flat Nosed Pliers
Butane Torch
Soldering Iron
Electronic Multi-Meter
Dremel Rotary Tool
Dremel Flex-Shaft
Dremel Fiberglass Reinforced Cutoff Wheel

Crimp Connector Eyelets - 10 AWG (American Wire Gauge) - diameters to match battery terminals
Crimp Connector Inline Spades - Male - sized to match existing UPS connections
Crimp Connector Inline Spades - Female - sized to match existing UPS connections
Shrink Tubing
8 Feet Red Insulated Stranded Copper Wire - 10 AWG
8 Feet Black Insulated Stranded Copper Wire - 10 AWG
Oogoo or Polymer Clay such as Fimo or Sculpey

(1) CyberPower 1350AVR Uninterruptible Power Supply
(2) Stowaway ST27DC180 Deep Cycle Batteries - some units require two in series, some units require one.

The UPS cost me $149 plus shipping. I've seen it on sale for $99 every few months at CompUSA online.
The atteries cost me about $100 each at Tractor Supply in-store. I've seen them on sale for $89, but rarely.
Miscellaneous connectors, solder, shrink tubing and wire cost me maybe $25 at Ace Hardware and Harbor Freight. I had much leftover when everything was finished
. I already own the tools. If I had to buy them again, it would be perhaps $200.

(* I could purchase the whole thing with materials, tools and all, for roughly one third what a retail unit goes for.)

Step 1: Disconnect From Power

Separate the unit from the source of power that supplies it - unplug it from the wall.

Step 2: Open the Unit to Access the Batteries and Wiring

Open the unit by removing the front, side, or bottom panel - mine is the front panel.

There is a set-screw on this unit which prevents the front panel tabs from sliding into the "free" position. The screw is located left of center underneath the front edge of the bezel.

After the screw is removed, slide the front downward and then pull it forward just a bit. There is a cable which feeds signal to the LCD and connects to the switches. You don't want to stretch the cable assembly, it is held on by friction and is perpendicular to the direction needed for removal. Remove the cable by gently pulling it toward the top arch of the bezel.

The front is now completely free of the chassis and can be set aside.

I used a piece of tape to prevent the screw from rolling off the table and becoming lost. It will be used for re-assebly.

Step 3: Remove Original Batteries

Remove original batteries. (my UPS has batteries that the user can replace, other units likely do not because many manufacturers want to sell to you repeatedly).

There are two wires connected to the UPS via spade connectors. It requires a firm pull to separate them. Be careful not to jerk it off your work surface when the connectors release.

The batteries are securely taped together and slide forward out of the chassis. They are heavier than they might appear. Be careful not to drop them.

Step 4: Determine the Voltage

Determine the internal operating voltage of the UPS.

I did not have a hand available to operate the camera for photographing this step. I recycled a photo from a previous step.

Temporarily restore the front panel connector to the front panel.

Connect the UPS to wall power and power it on by pressing the round button near the top of the front panel.

Apply the probes of a multi-meter to the chassis wires that were connected to the batteries and select "DC Volts" of an appropriate range (this varies from meter to meter, I chose 200 volts DC). Observe the voltage that the UPS would deliver to the battery cables during charging. You will need this value in order to properly select a battery or batteries to install.

Press the power button to turn the unit off, then disconnect the power supply cord from the wall.

Remove the front panel cable and set the front panel aside.

Step 5: Cut Some Wire

No photo is included with this step.

Cut wires to desired length.

You will need a wire from chassis positive to battery positive, a wire from chassis negative to battery negative, and (if using two batteries) a series jumper wire to connect one battery positive to the other battery negative.

The wire lengths will vary, depending on the relative location of the batteries to the UPS. Cut your wires to a length a bit longer than you measure. A small amount of slack is very helpful. I cut an extra six inches for each wire I needed.

Step 6: Preparing Your Wires

Strip black wire 1/4 to 3/8 inch.
Tin the ends of the wire.
Slide shrink tubing onto wire.
Crimp spade of proper gender onto wire - on the chassis end, one spade is male and the other is female.
Solder wire to crimp collar.
Position shrink tubing and apply heat using micro-torch or heat gun.
Slide Shrink Tubing onto wire.
Crimp eyelet of proper aperture onto wire.
Solder wire to crimp collar.
Position shrink tubing and apply heat using micro-torch or heat gun.

Repeat the above instructions, substituting red wire for black.

Cut series jumper wire to length - you can choose whatever color you prefer. Mine is red.
Strip wire 1/4 to 3/8 inch.
Tin the ends of the wire.
Slide shrink tubing onto wire.
Crimp eyelets of proper apertures onto both ends of wire. One should be large and one should be smaller diameter.
Solder wire to crimp collar.
Position shrink tubing and apply heat using micro-torch or heat gun.

Step 7: Cut Notches or Slots in Chassis

Using the rotary tool and cutoff wheel, cut two notches in the front and wrap the cuts around the side of the UPS 1/4 inch. I simply extended the existing notches where my UPS spade wires were already recessed by the factory. I cut far enough around the side to allow the front panel to be re-attached without pinching the wires.

Step 8: Making Battery Connections

Connect the series jumper wire to the positive terminal on one battery and then connect to the negative terminal on the other battery. Do not connect both ends of the jumper to the same battery.

Connect eyelet on red wire to the empty positive terminal on one of the batteries that now has the jumper wire attached.

Now it is time to connect the eyelet on the black wire to the empty negative terminal on one of the batteries already attached to the jumper wire.

If my explanation is not clear, please study the photos for a visual example. The locations of the wiring are very important and must be correct.

Step 9: Closing the Unit

Position the wires into the notches/slots that were made in the side-front of the UPS earlier. The wires should recess sufficiently to prevent the front panel from not being fully closed.

Insert factory batteries for ballast but do not connect them. The weight of the original batteries will provide stability. They are no longer  significant power storage containers.

Replace the front panel and set-screw.

Connect the spaded ends of the battery wires to the spaded leads protruding from  the UPS.

Connect the unit to a supply of power - plug it into the wall.

Step 10: Test, Charge, Enjoy

Test unit for voltage and charge.

Allow the batteries to charge up normally - I precharged mine using a 7.5 amp car battery charger to 80% before wiring them and then connecting to the chassis.

Enjoy the extended running time and peace of mind.

Step 11: An Incomplete Step

There is no photo for this step.

A step not shown because I have not performed it yet - use the Oogoo or clay to cover the bare connections on the batteries. Doing so will prevent a short circuit condition if you drop your unsheathed katana (in which case you deserve the shower of sparks as punishment) or any other conductive material onto the top of the batteries.

Step 12: Conclusion

In actual truth, I overshot my target by a tremendous amount. I don't know if this was influenced by a beer related anomaly in my math, or if I should have been deemed a Sesame Street dropout. The true duration of my modified UPS under full load, in fact, exceeds 600 minutes.

I fully charged the batteries and disconnected the unit from the wall outlet (the mains). I then booted the system and proceeded to render some videos in Sony Vegas for a couple of hours. I got a bit bored and decided to switch to something more entertaining. 4 hours of StarCraft II at 1920x1200 ultimate settings through my home entertainment system. The neighbors about 50 yards down the road suggested it was a bit late for all the noise. They have farm animals that were getting a bit unsettled. So, I switched over to running a full backup while browsing the web. That completed in just under 3 hours. I then killed some time on benchmarking my SSD and video card until I reached the 10 hour mark from time at the start of this evaluation.

My batteries were still at 17% charge when I plugged the unit back into the wall outlet. However, I am not certain that the UPS was finished recalibrating itself to the new batteries. This UPS does recalibrate but many do not.

My batteries being deep cycle, intended for marine and recreational vehicle use, have a reserve capacity of indeterminate quantity. I really don't know what my new maximum running time is. Yet.

My original intention of simply operating my main computer from this UPS and not connecting any other devices to use the UPS has been altered a bit. The additional capacity will now be used for other purposes, as well.

You will notice, in one or more of the photos, that there are two UPS units which seem identical. They are not identical. One is the modified unit and the other is standard factory.

The standard unit powers two cable modems, a 5 port switch, an 8 port switch, six wireless routers, two VOIP boxes, and four separate cordless telephones. These are low power consumers, so the stock batteries are sufficient for several hours of running time.

The modified UPS will now power a quad core PC, an octo core PC, a dual core HTPC, three 28 inch LCD monitors, two 19 inch LCD monitors, a 500 watt home theater system, three cable DVR boxes, a 13 watt fluorescent floor lamp, five external hard drives, a 150 watt powered subwoofer, the chargers for three Palm PDAs, the chargers for five laptop computers and two netbooks, the chargers for three cellular telephones, a charger for AA and AAA batteries, three LED alarm clock-radios from the 1970's, two XBOX 360s, two Sony PS2s, one original XBOX, one Nintendo Game Cube, a Water Pik, an electric razor, and an electric tooth brush. Obviously not all of these will be in use concurrently (I have not mastered simultaneous tooth brushing, Water Pikking, and shaving). As previously mentioned, I do not yet know exactly the running time of this unit under what I consider full load at 1200 watts.

To achieve all the connections necessary for plugging in so many devices, I will attach  a multiple outlet power strip into each of the outlets on the back side of the unit.
I did something like this with my UPS. I have some big sealed lead acid batteries from a monster industrial UPS I got for $2.50 in an auction. The rest of it was dead but batteries still good. I also have a standard "15 minute backup" UPS circuit and transformer that had no batteries. Combined them for a run-time in excess of 4 hours at full load. Can go for days if I use my laptop and just run the modem/router setup.
Having an extended duration helps one feel more secure about my data and my equipment, don't you agree?
Yep. Sadly my old setup finally died. Batteries finally quit on it. So instead of getting new batteries I just bought a APC XS 1000 for $80 from FleaBay and it can run my desktop, modem, and router for around 45 minutes with stock batteries. Plugs in through USB and PC picks it up like a laptop battery. No external drivers or software needed. If I go to laptop and just use it to run modem and router I can get around 3 to 4 hours out of it right now. Depends on how much load I put on the satellite. I plan to upgrade the 7.2 ah batteries to some heavy duty deep cycle 110 ah units eventually. But at $220 each and needing 2 that will take awhile...
Great Instructable. I am considering a similar setup but using a dedicated circuit from the basement (and ups) to the computer in the den so that the batteries are not in the living area.
<p>i think you are better off having an electrician install romex(house mains wire) and extending the AC output than separating the bat from the invert er by a great distance. your resistance losses will succccck the battery dry and wire will get hot. wouldnt you rather that power went to your devices than heat?</p>
Thank you. <br> <br>This particular UPS (and many others) can connected to a PC via interface cable (USB/Serial/Proprietary). If you want to use that option for monitoring the UPS stats within your operating system, you will need a long interface cable or a long set of wires running to your battery(ies). <br> <br>If you use longer battery wires and place them farther from the UPS, you will probably want to increase the diameter of the wire from 10 AWG to 8 AWG or possibly even 6 AWG. <br> <br>I personally chose to leave the UPS and the batteries far away from my equipment. I purchased a 25' USB cord and 25' of 3 conductor AC extention cord, male on one end, female on the other. I then &quot;snaked&quot; the USB and AC cords to the sockets on the UPS and up to my devices. A 6 plug power strip from the extension cord to several devices, and the USB to my primary computer. <br> <br>If you do implement your idea, post another comment with any tips or mention any trouble spots you encounter.
<p>Would you mind telling me, on this setup, how long does it take the UPS to recharge the exteded batteries?</p>
<p>From completely depleted and using the internal UPS charging system, it <br>takes just a bit less than 3 full days to completely recharge them. <br>After an extended outage that causes total depletion, I disconnect them <br>from the UPS and charge them separately at 10 AMPS each using a standard <br> automotive battery charger. When doing so, I always make certain that <br>the batteries are NOT wired in series and when charging is complete they <br> are re-wired in series before re-connecting to the UPS. Charging <br>separately is much faster than the internal charging system.</p>
Thanx, I thought as much but wasn't sure exactly how long it would take. <br><br>Have you considered putting the charger on a relay, so it all stays permanently connected? I want to build something for my aunt, for her to watch TV, have a few lights one and charge a mobile phone but don't want her to be swapping out batteries &amp; chargers the whole time.
<p>Personally? No I had not considered what you suggest. Well, until you suggested it. Then I thought it over. I won't be doing it. I keep my charger out in the workshop. I take the batteries to the charger (they do vent gasses). But it wouldn't be hard to implement. If my UPS were primarily used in the shop, I'd be more likely to do exactly as you say. I'd get some relays and a microcontroller. Devise a way to automatically detect when grid power is restored - disconnect the series wiring - switch over to a parallel wired system - and then kick in the charger until X% charge achieved or maybe just a simple timed charge for X number of hours.</p>
<p>get yourself 3 solid state (normal will work but these SS is faster). Two should trigger with 120ac, the other ideally triggers at your MCUs 3.3 or 5v. on the other side of the mains triggered device, go from Vcc on your micro through a current limiting resister, to the other side of the relay back to a GPIO configured for input. Now you can loop and watch for it to go low. When it does go low raise another pin high, this will trigger the series configuration of the batteries to connect. With solid state relays it should happen faster than your gear turns off. for the P charging config use 2 standard coil based relays on one bat and join the charging sets (+ and - from both)after installing the relays mid line/before they join on one set of leads.... you only need to disconnect one battery on both positive and negative (you dont need 4 if you think it through). These should trigger at the 3.3 or 5 of your mcu/micro and be high when wall power relay loop/signal is high is there low when wall signal goes low. </p>
<p>I'm a bit confused. I have a Cyber UPS also and have replaced the battery once. You are should two 12v batteries is series giving 26.2 volts, but as I remember the UPS's stock battery was a lead-acid 12v battery. Why are you feeding the UPS 26v ?</p>
<p>He is feeding his with two batteries because that's what it calls for.</p><p>Not all UPS units use the same input voltage. With higher input voltage the inverter (the part that converts from battery to AC) has less work to do. Less expensive units use 12V input have very short stated run times and get very hot if you try to run them longer.</p><p>Usually units that have higher operating wattages (700 or more watts or 1500 or more VA) will use 24V input instead of 12V to reduce the heat issues cause by converting from 12V.</p><p>I have an enterprise grade 2700 watt unit here that uses two banks of 60 volts each. That's 5x12V batteries per bank. I don't recall if the two banks are combined internally to be 120VDC input or if the inverter uses 60VDC.</p><p>I have another, 1500 watt unit here that operates on 48VDC.</p>
<p>A ups could be your life savior. Most of the time, unexpected power failure could happen and result to loss of important data. Investing will surely benefit you and your pc. For ups needs just visit &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.panther.ph/&quot;&gt;http://www.panther.ph/&lt;/a&gt; and be satisfied of the products they offer.</p>
<p>this is a sweet instructable. I did the exact thing with a ups some years ago.</p>
I've converted a pair of UPS's to portable power inverters (simply adding an external battery, but putting a 12V cooling fan inside to cool the power transistors.. Yes, they DO generate some heat. I over-loaded an old Belkin 300Ah unit once, to the point of smouldering. (the power transistors literally cooked!) so also be careful of the load applied. I ran a desktop sewing machine off a deep cycle gel-cell &amp; a 1200Ah, doing repairs at a renaissance faire which had no electrical outlets in the field. I would take the clothes into the back of the tent, out of site, run them through, then come back out to see if they were assembled right.. A friend &amp; I became known as the Magic Sewers. Ah, but if they really knew our little secret.... What? Oh.. Secrets out, eh? <br>
Why not use gel cell batteries? No fumes, no fuss, no muss. I use 28 ahr batteries. Works good. But I use APC's units and run my TV and stereo and satalite on one and my computer and related equipment with another. 350's and 500's
Gel cells would be just fine. I opted for the marine deep cycle type because they were conveniently available nearby, store a lot of electrons, and seem to be priced more reasonably than any gel cells I have seen.

About This Instructable




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