In an emergency, the power supply is interrupted and the emergency light is designed to provide sufficient lighting to safely direct the residents of the building to the exit. Emergency lights achieve this through a combination of low-power light bulbs and special emergency light batteries. During a power outage, they can provide at least 90 minutes of lighting time. After the power is restored, the built-in charger will charge the battery so that the emergency light is ready for the next power outage.
Emergency light batteries, like batteries in cars or mobile phones, begin to lose performance with age, and they usually need to be replaced after about 5 to 10 years.
In order to extend the life of the emergency light battery and ensure the safety of people in the building, here are some simple maintenance techniques that can help you maintain the good performance of the battery:
Perform annual testing
Emergency light batteries should be tested at least once a year and should be fully tested during the entire charge and discharge cycle. Not only is this a good idea to extend battery life, but in many areas, local fire or building regulations also require this.
Before performing the test, some precautions should be taken:
Do not test all emergency lights in the building at the same time, just in case there is a real power outage during the test.
Choose a few days for testing, and then divide the total number of emergency lights between these days.
For safety reasons, please select the days with good weather for testing, and only test during the day, so that there is ambient light in the building to prevent an actual emergency during the test.
After completing all preparations and having enough planes to test the emergency light battery, you can continue the actual test. For each group of lights, do the following:
Turn the function switch of each lamp to the "test" setting (if any), or disconnect the power by turning off the circuit breaker or unplugging the lamp. Emergency lights should be on.
Count the time that the lamp continues to light. If any lamps do not remain lit for a full 90 minutes, the emergency light batteries of these lamps should be checked and replaced if necessary.
After the light goes out, switch the lamp back to "Auto" mode, plug it into the power supply, or turn the power back on.
Allow the emergency light to be fully charged before using it. After a few days of charging, please conduct a currency test to ensure that it works properly.
Perform monthly tests
Between the annual tests, a test should be conducted once a month to ensure that the emergency light battery maintains sufficient power. Once a month, perform the following steps:
Switch the fixture to "test" mode, press and hold the "test" button or disconnect the power for thirty seconds.
Make sure the lights are bright enough and adjusted properly to provide the best lighting when necessary.
Return the fixture to "Auto" mode or restore power, and ensure that the battery is properly charged.
If you find any problems during the monthly test, please check the malfunctioning fixture and replace its emergency light battery if necessary.
Maintain different types of batteries
In most emergency lights, there are sealed lead-acid batteries or nickel-cadmium batteries. Different battery chemistries require different maintenance techniques to extend battery life and prevent premature failure.
Sealed lead-acid batteries or SLAs are similar to batteries in cars or trucks, except that they are small and sealed to prevent sulfuric acid electrolyte leakage. In addition, unlike car batteries in the liquid state, the electrolyte is completely absorbed by the porous membrane. This further helps prevent overflow.
In order to maintain the best performance of the SLA battery, it must be discharged to at least 50% of the full charge every month, and then it must be fully charged. This can be done during the monthly testing of emergency lights. The lamp should be on for at least 90 minutes, but not so long as to cause the lamp to dim severely. Then they should be fully charged. Operate under normal emergency conditions, if possible, turn off the lights before the battery is fully discharged. Under optimal conditions, sealed lead-acid batteries can be used for 10 to 15 years in emergency light systems.
Nickel-cadmium batteries or NiCad charge faster than lead-acid batteries, reduce weight, and the electrolyte is safer, although like SLA batteries, they are also sealed.
In order to maintain the best performance of NiCad batteries, a complete discharge and charge cycle should be completed at least once a month. Unlike lead-acid batteries, NiCad batteries should be fully discharged each month until the lamp goes out, and then fully charged.
NiCad batteries suffer from the so-called "memory effect", and if they are repeatedly discharged to a partial charge, they will soon be charged back to that charge instead of the full charge of the battery. Fully discharging and charging the battery every month can prevent this situation and eliminate crystals in the battery, which may shorten the battery life. If properly handled, nickel-cadmium batteries should be usable for 5 to 10 years in emergency light systems.
Some emergency lights may use other types of batteries, such as gel batteries, nickel metal hydride batteries, or even lithium ion batteries. Generally, gel batteries can be treated like SLAs because they are similar, but please be careful not to overcharge. The performance of nickel-metal hydride batteries is similar to NiCad, but will not suffer from the obvious "memory" effect. Lithium-ion batteries have no charge storage function, charging speed is very fast, and lighter than other batteries. Be sure to read the user manual of the emergency light to understand the maintenance requirements of the specific battery contained in it.
By properly servicing and maintaining emergency lighting equipment, you can obtain years of trouble-free performance from emergency lighting batteries.
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