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Location: DIY UPS Checklist

UPS Parts & Equipment Checklist

Need parts to build a UPS from scratch? We have everything you would need to build a UPS system right here. Just get your seat, get comfortable, and spend a few minutes letting your mouse determine what is right for you. When you are ready, we are too, we'll take your order 24/7 via our website. Have a question before your order? Click on the UPS contact form here to let us know what issues you face! We are ready to help you get the parts you need.
Parts will show up at your door in the coming days for your battery backup project to take shape.
Then the power is yours, any time YOU want!
Below we have broken the parts required for your new custom battery backup system into 7 distinct sections. Click on each for more information:

1 Kill o Watt Meter (measures power consumption before you start)
2 Wire (get the right size -- calculator below products, < 2% loss)
3 Lugs and Wire Connections (connect it right)
4 Bus Bars (bolt lugs together)
5 Battery Chargers (2 Stage to safely Charge Batteries)
6 UL Listed, AGM, Deep Cycle Batteries for Battery Backup Systems
    - Chairman Batteries -- Sold For Wheelchair and Deep Cycle Applications
    - SunXtender Batteries -- Sold For Solar and Green Power Applications
7 Inverters with Chargers built in (eliminates #6, can backfeed to power grid, just add solar panels).

We have tried to throughly cover the aspects of each, but know that this is not a complete dialog about any of them. Please follow all safety precautions, read the literature, manuals, and safety notices that come with your power equipment. This IS dangerous if you don't know what you are doing.

1 Kill o Watt Meter (measures power consumption before you start)
The first question everybody has, "How Much Power do I use?" There isn't a graph, a table, or any other thing we can use to determine your power usage. You have to do it. The more accurate the measurements you take, the less money you will spend. Simply put, sizing the system to your usage is the MOST ECONOMICAL way to do it. If you buy too much power, you don't use it. If you buy too little, you use it really hard and it breaks early. Either way, you are cranky about it. Instead of dealing with the headaches, start with real numbers. Your numbers!
Click here to buy a Kill O Watt Meter Now!

This little dandy, called the Kill O Watt, simply plugs into the wall. Plug your stereo, computer, tv, or other items into it one at a time, or via a power strip to get the total. Let the thing run for a week of normal use to see actual usage numbers. This information is critical to the process, and it only costs you $50. Consider it a cheap electrical usage survey.

2 Wire (get the right size -- calculator below products, < 2% loss)
Wires are funny, they heat up if you push too much power through them. This doesn't just cause fires, but drops the voltage too. The dropped voltage makes moot the purpose of building a battery backup. Now that you have real numbers, do the math, and buy proper wires.

For instance, Johnny Blue Computin is setting up a battery backup to run his computers. The system runs 1500 w/h, based on his usage, verified with a Kill O Watt. The peak usage is 2700 watts from the same device. We size the wires for the peak usage, in this case 2700kw/h.

First for 110v; 2700w / 110v = 24.55 amps
Next for his 12v dc side; 2700w / 12v = 225 amps

Now we know what amps, volts, and based on your install, the wire distances. Simply choose bigger wires until the voltage drop goes below 5% for code, and 2% for efficient installations.
DC Connection Wire, and Wire Calculator on bottom of page

3 Lugs and Wire Connections (connect it right)
It never ceases to amaze me. Somebody will spend thousands of dollars on a battery bank, inverters, and wires. Then when it comes down to connecting it all, they will not use wire lugs, and proper connections. When building something to last, the details aren't little, they are often the most important. Buy quality copper terminal connectors, crimp or solder them to your wires securely, and then know they will last. Click here for a selection of wire lugs and terminal ends.

4 Bus Bars (bolt lugs together)
Now that you have wires, and proper ends on them, you can bolt them to something. Bus Bars are used to terminate, or join multiple wires together. Simply bolt them tight.
Click here for a selection of electrical bus bars.

5 UL Listed, AGM, Deep Cycle Batteries for Battery Backup Systems
There are several types of batteries available today. However most are not used in a home for obvious hazardous material, safety, flammability, or combustion reasons. There is a single exception to this rule for battery banks over 100 Amp Hours, AGM Lead Acid Battery Technology. High Quality AGM deep cycle batteries are similar to the battery under the hood of your car, being made up of sulfuric acid, lead, and plastic predominantly. However, this is where the similarities cease.

Quality UPS systems have batteries which are Recombinant Gas, Advanced Glass Mat, thick lead plate designs. Let's go over each characteristic individually. Recombinant Gas: Today's high quality AGM batteries actually take oxygen, hydrogen, steam, and other gases that typically escape the battery under your hood, and recombine them to creat electrolyte. This not only keeps the acid out of the living room, it eliminates the need for watering the battery. The added bonus is the near elimination of the explosive gases as well. Advanced Glass Mat is where AGM batteries derive their name. The AGM matting holds the electrolyte via capillary action, and is installed 95% full, able to absorb 5% more electrolyte. By leaving the AGM matting a bit "Starved", the battery can be broken open, and will not leak. Again, this keeps the acid out of the living room. Finally the thick plates in these batteries allow the power to be drawn off over hours, not the seconds it takes to start an engine. Should you try this with your car battery, it will die quickly, as it doesn't have the thick plates. When you select American Made Batteries, you can get UL certifications for insurance purposes too. Mil-Spec, AGM, Deep Cycle, American Made Batteries are here:

    - Chairman Batteries -- Sold For Wheelchair and Deep Cycle Applications
These AGM Deep Cycle Batteries are PERFECT for the application!

    - SunXtender Batteries -- Sold For Solar and Green Power Applications
These AGM Deep Cycle Batteries are PERFECT for the application!

6 Battery Chargers (2 Stage to safely Charge Batteries)
The battery charger replaces the power in the battery. Use 2 cycle battery chargers (bulk and float stages) to safely charge batteries that are under load. Use a 3 stage charger (bulk, absorption, float) to fully charge batteries not under load. To continuously charge a battery safely, use the single stage float setting on advanced chargers. Now to find a charger that can do all this: the Xantrex Tru Charge 40 and 20.. Simply hook up your DC loads directly to the batteries and away you go...

7 Standalone Inverters or AC-DC / DC-AC units with Both Chargers and Inverters
Inverters with Chargers, generator call, battery exercise function, and more, built right in. When you decide to just do this right, you find that you need to have a brain for the operation. The brain is found in today's battery enabled inverter systems. Often running at 24v to 96 volts DC, these systems not only eliminates a battery charger (unless you want one for other reasons), can backfeed to power grid (selling solar or wind power), and even excercise your batteries, all while keeping the computers running, the freezer frozen, and the clocks at the right time. When your whole house runs on a battery backup, you have no excuse for being late, cold, hungry, or out of touch!
Click here for a variety of complete, scalable, UPS Parts Kits with Inverters, Chargers, and batteries!