Eaton UPS Review

Prevented us from having downtime through blinks and power outages


What is our primary use case?

We use them for our data center backup and our telecommunications equipment room (TER) and our TER backups for our data systems. We use Centralized UPS for all of our telecom rooms and in our data centers and TERs, as well as throughout our facility and hospitals buildings.

We currently have four units and are getting ready to swap out a GE unit, putting an Eaton in, then we will have five units in total.

We are using both the 9395 and 93PM versions.

How has it helped my organization?

In our new hospital building, the compressors went bad in one of our MRI units. The vendor who is under maintenance contract for those claimed that the compressor failures were due to power surges into the facility, but we didn't have any data logs of this anywhere else except for in the UPS. The log data for the UPS is fed from the same branch system as the compressors for the MRIs, so we were able to go back and look at all the Eaton data logs of whenever they said that this event occurred. It did not show any information there. We were able to use that information to argue against the vendor that we did not have any bad power coming into the building. We also had our power company provide documentation saying that they did not report any bad power coming to us, as well. We have a direct circuit from our substations, so they are able to monitor from the substation. Between the two of them, we were able to save our facility $40,000 in service costs that the vendor was trying to make us pay for.

What is most valuable?

We have been able to get the data logs from them, which has helped us in dispelling some rumors (or accusations) that we have bad power by different vendors throughout the hospital. This has occurred several times for us. The logs have helped us a lot. 

The product is reliable. We previously used individual UPSs in every telecom room. By moving to Centralized UPSs, it is lower maintenance. We have just one guy (one of our supervisors) who oversees all the UPSs. He is the system supervisor. Through our Cellwatch system, which is connected to all of them, he is able to see what the status of all those UPSs are. Then, he is able to monitor the battery conditions. Because they are all the same, it limits the training and everything that you have to know between the different systems. This has helped us on the manpower side of things by lowering the manpower needed to maintain them.

We like the touch screen functionality. I have not personally had a lot of experience with it, though my supervisor has. He likes to be able to navigate through it, while our older GE system does not have this functionality. The GE system is very plain with just a few buttons, and it's very difficult to get information out of it. Eaton's touch screen functionality was something that was very quick to impress everybody with its ability to get to everything.

We use the touch screen functionality to monitor for battery life, the amount of usage that the UPS is being supplied, and how much energy is being supplied through it for our backup time period. We even look at the incoming power to see what the condition of our incoming power is. Therefore, we are using it more as a tool to monitor feeding power, not just the power that of what it's feeding. We use it to see how we're balancing our loads across circuits, because we're using 240 UPSs. Thus, we are trying to balance the loads when splitting the power down to 120 volt circuits, keeping it balanced across the legs of the power.

We run dual battery bank systems. Therefore, if we are doing maintenance on one side, then we can maintain the other side and still have the battery backed up. In our data center, we have redundancy in all of our racks. When UPS feeds one half of the rack, the other feeds the other half of the rack. We have dual power supplies to everything. We have a lot of redundancies because of that. Luckily, with Eaton dual Battery Cabinets, we can maintain the systems at all times (short of a transformer issue), even while we're doing the maintenance on them. Our IT department loves this, because we don't shut them down at all.

What needs improvement?

The battery life of the older batteries is the only thing that has been our issue up to this point. Luckily, the Cellwatch system that is on there identifies it and notifies us ahead of time when we should get them changed pretty quickly. This may be addressed with the lithium-ion batteries, but it is too early in our ownership of a UPS with a lithium-ion battery to know.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our first installation was in 2008.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The UPSs are very stable. 

It has prevented us from having downtime because we have UPSs to get us through blinks and power outages. It prevented us from having downtime with all of our medical record systems and other data systems, which would include our telephone system since it is voice over IP. If we didn't have UPS in place during a downtime incident, it would have crippled our organization pretty quickly. We would have had to go to our downtime procedures, which would have slowed everything down. Most of our clinic visits and other outpatient functions would have been shutdown because they would not have had access to all the electronic medical files. Based on our downtime procedures, for every hour down, it usually takes around three days worth of time to recoup the backlog of information and get it back into the system. Eaton UPSs have saved us a lot of potential headaches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been pretty good. We were able to increase the battery. We only installed one battery cabinet, then we added a second one for additional capacity later on. That was a nice feature that others haven't been able to do.

As of right now, we don't plans to purchase additional UPSs. However, that can change in the company depending on many factors. We have a Centralized UPS in all of our buildings.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used tech support from time to time. My supervisor has called them. I have not had any direct dealings with tech support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The only other UPS solution that we were using was our GE UPS, which is still in place right now.

What about the implementation team?

Blackmon Agency helped with the deployment. Our experience with them has been excellent. It's been a great relationship.

They typically have two technicians here when we deploy and hook it all up. Then, we have several of our folks who are our subcontractors there, just to make sure everything goes smoothly in the connections over there.

What was our ROI?

It is by far the best investment that we have made.

The UPSs are saving us approximately $50,000 a year.

It has been more of a cost of doing business and maintaining our systems. We use it more as an insurance policy to ensure that our medical records stay up and running. The loss of revenue would have a bigger impact to our organization if our systems were not up and operating. An outage over a 24-hour period could easily be in the $300,000 range, which would be pretty substantial. We are a three million square foot hospital with 380 beds, so it would impact us quickly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have a service plan through Eaton. A local vendor, Blackmon Agency, who is a third-party, helps manage it for us. I don't get into it everyday. Our supervisor manages it with the local reps. I just helped orchestrate their initial agreement, then they have managed it since then.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The design of GE system was the biggest difference, specifically the maintenance bypass system. The way it was designed was very poor. In order to take the UPS off the system to do the main work for anything on it, you still have to have a blink on all your systems in order to do that. Whereas, the Eaton UPS has an ability to not blink, even though you bring it offline.

With the Eaton UPS, we are able to do the service work and not have to maintain them, but yet we can keep the systems up and operational. However, with the GE system, that was our first UPS that we put in. We realized quickly that we can't maintain them and keep the systems up and operating. We've had to do some other modifications just to be able to do maintenance to that unit.

What other advice do I have?

I would strongly encourage you to evaluate the Eaton UPS just because of its reliability and ease of maintenance. It has been very reliable for us. The relationship and reliability of the unit made it a great purchase and selection for us. The service has been great too.

The unit's footprint is a bit larger than some of the others, but it is nothing that we haven't been able to manage. Most of the areas that we have installed them have been in new areas which have been renovated. We just designed around that size footprint and filled it, building the room to allow for the size of a footprint. Because of the footprint and cabinets sizes, it seems to be easier to maintain, even though it is a slightly larger footprint, as they are a GE unit. It is also easier to maintain because the cabinets are designed differently.

Only one of the units has lithium-ion batteries, the others currently do not. However, they are looking at changing this when our battery replacements come due. We will be replacing the GE product with an Eaton that has a lithium-ion battery.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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