March 2012 Cellwatch Newsletter

Stories from the field,, Battery monitoring is widely accepted as standard business practice, Operation Uptime, and NDSL strengthens it’s team with new members.

Stories from the field…

People are always asking us for data and graphs showing examples of a catastrophic failure or load loss caused by defective batteries in their UPS systems. It is very difficult for us to support these requests because unless someone is ignoring their Cellwatch system alarms, there simply are not any good examples to share. Our primary design focus is to ensure when the Cellwatch system is installed and operators are properly monitoring their batteries, catastrophic battery failures can be avoided.

However, we were able to eventually find a situation that produced very interesting battery data for everyone involved. It all began when we received a call from an installer explaining that a battery had failed over a weekend — this rarely occurs so we requested the Cellwatch data.

Following is the background information which helps fully illustrate the situation. This site had three small UPSs each with a 2 string, 16 jar battery. On the Friday before the disaster, the float voltage on two of the UPSs increased by about 7 volts. Most battery technicians dealing with high voltage batteries would consider an increase of 7 volts as negligible, but across 16, 12 volt jars, that’s almost half a volt increase in float voltage on each 12 volt jar. Clearly, immediate attention should have been given to the matter. Since this situation created an alarm, the best practice should have been to investigate the cause soon after the alarm was reported.

Get more out of your Cellwatch system with online battery monitoring service extends the functionality of your Cellwatch battery monitoring systems giving you access to the critical information from your Cellwatch system anywhere you have Internet access.

Custom routing rules provide instant notification of alarms and discharge events to different personnel. User specific settings reduce nuisance alerts while ensuring critical information is delivered to those who need it. Remote access to the Cellwatch system data reduces the need to have users continuously reviewing the status of the battery monitoring system, freeing them to focus on other activities. also makes it easier to monitor multi-battery sites and campus environments.

Easily review historical alarm logs and view data files through our File Viewer application, available to subscribers. This means any operation required to view your battery health, other than configuration, can be performed through without ever connecting to the Cellwatch system. However, we do recommend that users periodically log onto the Cellwatch system to review measurements and to look for measurement trends for each battery. uses an agent running on the Cellwatch iBMU to send email messages to our server.

These SMTP messages are a one-way (outbound) connection to a hosted server, providing high reliability and ensuring the Cellwatch system data is protected in a secure external server on a daily basis.

Since the data is stored in a server it is easy for NDSL engineers to help customers review their data via a simple web interface upon request. Please call Cellwatch Technical Support to activate your subscription. 1-919-790-7877 ext. 1.

Battery monitoring is widely accepted as standard business practice

While there continue to be some mission critical operators willing to take the risk of unplanned downtime, the implications of service interruption in today’s competitive economic environment are far too great. Every data center has some level of “mission critical” mandate and needs power protection to ensure service delivery. The only way to react quickly is to have advanced knowledge as risks increase. You wouldn’t run a major data center without some form of network management system, so why would you run the critical power protection system without a tool to monitor its performance.

Organizations around the globe from utilities to health care to finance recognize Cellwatch battery monitoring as the tool to provide the insight they need to proactively manage their data center and customer assets. Cellwatch identifies problems, improves planning and efficiency and protects your bottom line.

Have you noticed what we are noticing? More and more data center operations are specifying battery monitoring for all of their data center batteries.

The risk of not having battery monitoring

Any backup power system that does not take into consideration the condition of the batteries is incomplete, and the risk of failure is very real. Without a battery monitoring system, it’s impossible to know the health of a battery on a daily basis.

Meeting business objectives

A Cellwatch battery monitoring system requires a small initial investment of capital and training, but once installed and used properly, it quickly meets major business objectives:

  • Prevents unplanned downtime. Cellwatch ensures the standby batteries, including the UPS, generator batteries, switchgear and communications gear, are ready when needed.
  • Reduces PM costs. Cellwatch eliminates the need for monthly or quarterly onsite maintenance visits.
  • Increases operating efficiency. Remote monitoring with Cellwatch allows more effective use of time and deployment of technicians.
  • Maximizes battery return on investment. Cellwatch enables you to identify and replace only failing batteries, rather than bulk battery replacement after a few years. This extends the life of your battery and saves you money. Cellwatch can pay for itself in almost any installation in well under 3 years.
  • Helps protect the environment. Cellwatch prevents useful batteries from being prematurely destroyed or recycled.
  • Improves safety. With a battery monitoring system there is less human interaction with the battery plant. While safety practices help make it safer we would all prefer avoiding the risk altogether.

Make sure your data center is up to standard. Make sure you have Cellwatch installed. For more details on asset management and battery monitoring, visit our website.

Operation Uptime: Recommendations to ensure your mission critical operation stays in peak performance

Even with a Cellwatch battery monitoring system installed and someone looking at it regularly, we also recommend the following steps as part of your ongoing strategy for managing standby batteries:

  • Review all alarms generated by the Cellwatch system, looking for any cells that are deviating from the rest of the battery.
  • Assess the percentage of aging cells within a string that have been replaced to predict when a full string replacement is required. A general rule of thumb would be to budget for a new string once 10% of the cells of have been replaced.
  • Look at discharge graphs, if you had any discharges, again to double-check the system performance. It is likely that you had many high priority tasks immediately following a discharge and at the monthly Cellwatch check you can spend the time need to thoroughly review the battery performance.
  • Make sure to back up your system if you don’t already have this process automated.

NDSL Strengthens North American Cellwatch Sales and Technology Teams

NDSL recently added 2 new team members to strengthen our technology and business teams. Brian Wangerien, Director of Business Development and David Battle, Director of Technology add significant talent and leadership experience to the Cellwatch team. As part of the NDSL team they will contribute to worldwide expansion of Cellwatch battery monitoring solutions and promote our growth initiatives.

Brian comes to NDSL from Newbury Networks (a division of Juniper) where he managed high profile OEM relationships and was responsible for the hardware and software portfolio of WLAN applications and services. He brings a wealth of strategic and technical experience that will expand Cellwatch solutions into new industries and territories.

David Battle is an engineering executive with proven experience developing new hardware and software technologies while reducing project cycle times. He is skilled in creating engineering processes, problem solving and team building to quickly improve operational effectiveness. David’s leadership background with multidisciplinary teams will ensure timely delivery of new battery monitoring products that complement NDSL’s growth strategy.

We are excited to have these great additions on our team and know they will make major contributions to our success. We look forward to introducing them to you.