Battery operation of CPAP devices for sleep apnea treatment
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Battery Operation of CPAP Devices for Sleep Apnea Treatment, Part 4--Safety Warnings

by Jerry Halberstadt with Gary Collins, Charles Woodson; and Shane Finn and others at ResMed.

Safety warnings


This document provides information only. Reasonable efforts have been made to obtain accurate information, however the reader is warned that the information may not be correct. This information is intended only as a general introduction and does not replace the advice and services of health care professionals or electrically qualified professionals. Furthermore, the use of lead-acid storage batteries and electrical circuits is dangerous. Therefore, unless you are trained in their use, you should obtain the services of a qualified, trained electrician.

You should review your plan and get approvals from your physician, the home care company providing your equipment, and the manufacturer of the CPAP equipment.

If Oxygen therapy is part of your treatment, this backup system is not safe or acceptable because of the danger of a spark causing an explosion. You should have your doctor or home care company provide an appropriate backup solution.

Avoid possible damage to or shortening the life of your CPAP equipment; your warranty may not apply if you use an electrical input not approved by the manufacturer. You should confirm the selection of any inverter with the manufacturer of your CPAP equipment.

Before attempting to implement a battery system for your CPAP, you should verify the electrical information with a person competent in electrical device power supplies, and confirm with the manufacturer of your specific CPAP device that your device will not be harmed or the warranty voided by the proposed setup. You should have a qualified person help install your system and instruct you in the safe and proper use of it. Follow carefully the instructions and cautions of the manufacturers of the CPAP, battery, battery charger, and inverter in addition to normal cautions when using electrical current.

The lead-acid battery produces hydrogen and oxygen; this is an explosive mixture and you must take care to clear out the accumulated gas and avoid sparks when changing battery connections.

Batteries contain sulfuric acid which can cause serious burns and blindness. WEAR EYE PROTECTION AND NEVER LEAN OVER THE BATTERY. In case of splashing on to a person with battery acid, wash off with copious amounts of clean water and get medical attention. Neutralize spills with baking soda.

Before measuring the specific gravity, disconnect the battery from the charger and inverter, open the cell cover and and use a large piece of paper or cardboard to fan away any gas. Avoid splashing or spilling the fluid. Wear eye protection. Avoid smoking, flame, or sparks.

A short-circuit (any direct electrical connection between the poles of the battery) is capable of drawing a massive amount of electricity from the battery, resulting in white-hot wires, the danger of fire and burns, and possible explosion of the battery. This can happen in an instant, there is no time to react. Therefore, to avoid the danger of short circuit and a possible explosion, you should install a fuse in the + line to the inverter or other device BEFORE connecting it to the battery. (For example, I purchased a battery clamp connector/cigarette plug receptacle adapter. However, it was defective--one of the connections had failed inside the plug and the wire was loose and could have touched the other wire, creating the possibility of a short-circuit of the battery that could not have been protected by the inverter's fuse. It could have caused a battery explosion the first time I connected the system.)

Do NOT attempt to run a heated humidifier from an inverter or battery backup system.Warning against using heated humidifier


The technical information which helped me create my battery back up system and this newsletter is based on correspondence with CPAP users: Gary Collins, Charles Woodson, and Lawton Mullins; and Shane Finn and others at ResMed ResMed Home Page . Their materials are used with permission. Gary lives on a mountainside and is plagued by frequent power outages. His electrical knowledge and creativity have been important inputs for this article. Charles enjoys camping and travel and is able to use his car battery while he sleeps. Lawton is determined to enjoy his canoe camping trips. I appreciate the advice and information provided to me but warn the reader not to rely solely on this information. Reference has been made to manuals of manufacturers including Schumacher, Power-to-Go, RadioShack, and EverStart, and to Phantom of the Night.

Appropriate use

Copyright © 1997 New Technology Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.The reader is responsible for any uses or interpretations made of the information provided, and is urged to obtain the services of a qualified electrician before purchasing, assembling, or installing a battery backup system or any device or system discussed herein.

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