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Eaton Adds Units with Lithium Ion Batteries to 5P UPS Family

The new devices are 20 percent lighter than equivalents with lead acid batteries, and are designed to require less maintenance as well, making them a fit for distributed IT and edge computing environments. By Rich Freeman

Eaton Corp.’s power quality division has added models bearing lithium ion batteries to its 5P line of uninterruptible power systems.

Housed in a compact 1U case, the new units are 20 percent lighter than 5P devices equipped with traditional lead acid batteries, according to Kevin Lindley, a product manager at Raleigh, N.C.-based Eaton.

“This is certainly advantageous when weight is at a premium,” he says, citing edge computing use cases that require a UPS to be mounted on a wall or mobile rack as examples.

Eaton’s lithium ion batteries also lend themselves well to medical facilities, universities, K-12 school systems, and other environments that need continuous power but have limited onsite IT staff, Lindley continues, as they’re designed to provide eight years of service.

“We have the intention of using this unit more in that distributed IT type environment where someone may not see the UPS for many years,” he says.

For the same reason, the new lithium ion 5Ps are designed to require minimal management. “It’s really that set it and forget it type application,” Lindley says, adding that technicians can use Eaton’s Intelligent Power Manager application to perform any administrative tasks that are required quickly and remotely.

“This is a system that allows IT managers to be able to really spend time on the things that matter the most,” he states.

The latest 5Ps also support the Gigabit Network Card that Eaton introduced last November as an optional add-on. The first UPS network management card to be certified as compliant with the stringent UL2900-2-2 security standard, the Gigabit Network Card employs a combination of techniques, such as requiring users to boot into password-protected secure connections, to keep intruders from utilizing UPS hardware as an entry point for compromising sensitive data.

“It won’t allow access to the card if it’s tampered with,” Lindley notes.

Lithium ion 5P devices come in 120 V and 200-240 V configurations. Rails and brackets for four-post rack mounting and wall mounting are included with the units, and an optional two-post mounting kit is available separately as well.

According to Lindley, while lithium ion 5P devices cost more upfront than lead acid SKUs, their longer battery life saves companies money on replacement parts and labor over the life of the product. “You’ll find that the pricing is less than what it would be for a lead acid equivalent unit that has at least one battery change,” he says.

The new devices are backed by a five-year standard warranty on the UPS itself as well as its batteries.

Though they’re smaller, lighter, more durable, and more environmentally friendly than the lead acid cells most UPSs rely on today, lithium ion batteries are relatively new to power quality hardware, due largely to concerns among users about their flammability. “Safety is one thing that comes up a lot of times because of what you hear in the news about consumer products with lithium,” Lindley notes. Eaton’s batteries, however, utilize a phosphate-based version of lithium ion. “This is the most stable lithium ion chemistry,” Lindley says.

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