PDA

View Full Version : UPS and Power outage


hobbes1
08/19/2013, 09:16 AM
Hello,

I am new to Reef Central but have had a Saltwater aquarium since 2004.

This last weekend, we had a mini disaster with our aquarium. Friday night we had several power blips and then eventually lost our power for about 10 hours. I have had an issue with our ATO which is under the tank that when we have a power blip and when the power comes back up my ATO wants to flush a bunch of water into the sump. It does this every time it turns on. Very frustrating! On top of that, the outlet pipe in the display tank started siphoning water into the sump. This probably would not have been a big deal if the ATO did not act up. I was not home when this happened. We were down the street at a store. When we got home the carpet was soaked.

My question is, is it a good idea to have your tank on UPS power for when this happens? I was thinking of just putting the ATO and my powerheads on the UPS power. Does anyone do this? If so, how long will it last and on how powerful of a UPS do you have it on?

I would like to put the lights on the UPS too since we have a lot of power blips in my area but that might be a little too much for a UPS to handle.

Thanks for any help!

Dave & Monica
08/19/2013, 01:05 PM
I would think so. An ATO can't consume that much. I doubt you'd need the pump functional. I have a few 12v tunze's, and my networking computer stuff on a Computer UPS. Pumps will run for an hour. Network is so my apex (controller) still sends messages. Apart from this, also have two airpumps that are plugged in and only turn on when the power is off. Good deal for $14 each.

dkeller_nc
08/19/2013, 05:50 PM
Actually, you need to fix or replace your ATO and overflow issues first. You can correct the back-siphon situation by drilling a small hole in the return pipe just below the water line. When the poser fails and/or your UPS runs out of juice, the small hole will allow air into the return pipe and will break the siphon.

I've no clue as to why your ATO would suddenly want to pump a lot of make-up into your sump when power is restored, I guess it depends on what type of ATO.

Regarding power backup, yeas, it's a good idea. Losing one's entire tank because of a weather event is every reefer's worst nightmare. However, what you want to back up are a power head and possibly your return pump, not your ATO. And a computer-type UPS will work, but is probably the most expensive way to get the least amount of back up power. A better option is a manual DC-to-AC inverter and a trolling motor battery, which will be enough to keep your tank alive for at least 2-3 days if all that is powered is a powerhead or an aeration pump.

MHG
08/19/2013, 06:04 PM
I run my entire system on a 3kva ups. will run for a few hours... You need to replace the batteries every couple of years no matter what size you get...

hobbes1
08/19/2013, 08:58 PM
Thank you guys. Yes, I really do need to replace the ATO. I just hate replacing something that normally works really good but happens to do something really bad every once in a while. I think I am going to go ahead and get a UPS. It was a pretty stressful night.

As far as my pipe going into the tank, I do have a hole in them but after looking at it again tonight it looks like I just had build up in it. I guess I need to make it a better habit to clean that too.

dkeller_nc
08/20/2013, 06:44 AM
Thank you guys. Yes, I really do need to replace the ATO. I just hate replacing something that normally works really good but happens to do something really bad every once in a while. I think I am going to go ahead and get a UPS. It was a pretty stressful night.

As far as my pipe going into the tank, I do have a hole in them but after looking at it again tonight it looks like I just had build up in it. I guess I need to make it a better habit to clean that too.

The unfortunate thing with reef tanks is that most all of the equipment must run correctly 100% of the time, or it nukes the tank. There are exceptions, of course - a skimmer or lighting system problem isn't going to cause an overnight crisis, but a malfunctioning heater, return pump or ATO is the cause of many a reef tank crash.

Be advised - the UPSs typically sold to consumers for computer use will probably only run a powerhead or a low-wattage return pump for 20 - 45 minutes (i.e., not much insurance from a power outage).

Sonicboom
08/21/2013, 03:40 PM
just like a computer, you only want the critical stuff on the battery side of a UPS, not a printer or monitor etc.., The main reason to use at least 1 UPS on your tank is to make sure that the return pump which has been running for months and sometimes years is not affected by being shut down for a few seconds, and prevent it from getting hit with a surge of power which can also damage electronics,. I have only my return pump on battery so in a power outage, lights, skimmer, power heads all shut off but pump will continue to run.

Most quality battery backups will have built in line conditioners, this means it will "clean" the normally irregular voltage coming from the electric company or when your AC kicks on and the lights dim, the UPS will provide a constant current.

chercm
08/21/2013, 03:44 PM
just like a computer, you only want the critical stuff on the battery side of a UPS, not a printer or monitor etc.., The main reason to use at least 1 UPS on your tank is to make sure that the return pump which has been running for months and sometimes years is not affected by being shut down for a few seconds, and prevent it from getting hit with a surge of power which can also damage electronics,. I have only my return pump on battery so in a power outage, lights, skimmer, power heads all shut off but pump will continue to run.

Most quality battery backups will have built in line conditioners, this means it will "clean" the normally irregular voltage coming from the electric company or when your AC kicks on and the lights dim, the UPS will provide a constant current.

i thought u just need to run the wave maker instead of the return pump?

Sonicboom
08/21/2013, 03:51 PM
i guess that would depend on the return pump, if the wave maker is pulling less than the return pump yes