winter emergency power sources? Any ideas guys?

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gewecke

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The idea of ice/ wet leaves weighing down the power lines gives me the chills!
So... has anyone used/ explored the use of
1. a UPS to power selected devices when ac goes down?
2. a gel cell / sealed lead acid battery and charger combo?
3. Maybe a 1000 to 1500 watt generator?
Costs involved, maintenance, run times?

I NEED ideas! Anyone ?
This might even make a good sticky?

Thanks tons! ;)

73,
n9zas
 

n9mxq

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I have all three..

1 is good for power "blinks" (short term outages) if you can stand the UPS beeping while it's on battery..

2 is great for portable, or backup when 1 fails (I keep mine in a small tackle box with assorted RF adapters and a fused cigar outlet permanently mounted, battery maintained with a 12 float charger)

3 is the best, I have 1500 and 5k generators.. Runtime is dependent on fuel supply..Maintenance depends on manufacturer specs (oil change every XX hours) I've run 12 hours with the 5k on a light load (2 Field Day stations) on 5 gallons of gas.
 

rescue161

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We have an 8K generator here. It'll run our whole house (less air conditioner) for about 24 hours on 5 gallons of gas. We got to use it during hurricane Irene this year and didn't miss a beat. Of course the cable was out, so no internet or cable.

I've also used a car battery (if I could have afforded a marine battery at the time, I would have bought one) to power radios in the past during hurricanes. It was on a trickle charger that I got at Walmart years ago. When the power went out, the radios never skipped a beat. We were without power for almost two weeks (Fran & Bertha in 1996). I did have to swap the battery out with my car battery a few times so I could keep it charged. Those two weeks were not fun to be without power.

If you're going to go with a generator, make sure to get some Stabil fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel from gumming up the carburetor and other engine components.

Also, if you go with a generator, please make sure that you have a generator cut-off switch installed, so you don't back-feed power to the grid.
 

gewecke

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Thanks guys,

Because of my neighbor hood I'm considering using a deep cycle marine battery with a 750 watt 110 ac inverter with a 1 amp trickle charger.

73,
n9zas
 

rescue161

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Just remember, that battery will not last very long if you're going to use it to power a heater. The generator would be the better choice.

If your only concern is staying warm, then a better choice would be a wood or a pellet-stove.
 

mdulrich

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1 is good for power "blinks" (short term outages) if you can stand the UPS beeping while it's on battery..
Just an FYI, all the UPS I have used can have the beep turned off using the software that comes with the UPS. Connect the UPS to a computer, turn off the beeps, and disconnect it from the computer if being used separately.

Mike
 

n9mxq

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Just an FYI, all the UPS I have used can have the beep turned off using the software that comes with the UPS. Connect the UPS to a computer, turn off the beeps, and disconnect it from the computer if being used separately.

Mike
Mine are a bit older, to shut off the beeps, you have to open the cases..hehe:twisted:
 

davedaver1

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If you want to power electronics with a generator, be sure to get an inverter generator for clean power.

As for UPS or generator - I ended up doing both. I have the TV and Tivo on a UPS, and if the power goes out I just go get the generator, fire it up and plug the UPS into it and everything continues seamlessly. A pellet stove is on its own UPS to allow it time to shut down, or I can power it with the generator also.

The generator is a Yamaha EF-2400IS (2000 watts) - it's super quiet.

I also have a Generac 6500 watt generator for powering a well pump - it's just brute force and danged noisy. I've only used it twice in 12 years - pain in the butt to hook up. I need to get a transfer switch for it, but it's hard to justify - having only needed it twice in 12 years. :) And yes, I know how to isolate it from the line when it's in use!

BTW- I don't keep gas in the Generac, I store it dry. Much easier than managing fuel in it. I take it out once a year and run it for about 30 mins - until it starves, then I drain the carb bowl. The Yamaha gets exercised twice a year but gets a bit of Sta-bil.

For you radio heads (that would be me too!), this is a great way to do batteries for powering ham rigs and scanners:

West Mountain Radio - Super PWRgate PG40S

One side has the battery, the other side a 12v supply and the power switches seamlessly from one to the other. It has a built in charger (high amp - but you can select the rate). Combine this with an AGM battery and it's perfection (AGM batteries need a higher voltage - 14.5v to stay charged, so you need a power supply that is adjustable to use them)
 
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gewecke

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Just remember, that battery will not last very long if you're going to use it to power a heater. The generator would be the better choice.

If your only concern is staying warm, then a better choice would be a wood or a pellet-stove.
Nope, just a couple fluorecent lights, radios and a 12vdc color tv, cell chargers to keep in touch.
We have natural gas for heat. :wink:

73,
n9zas
 

hertzian

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If you want to keep that new deep-cycle battery in good condition, check this out:

Deep Cycle Battery FAQ

Depending on the size of the battery, your 1 amp charger may take way too long to charge, and sulfation can build up faster than the charge rate if it is too small. Of course, you don't want to pump too much current into it either - check the specs.

I generally prefer to use five-percent of the battery capacity in amps as the minimum needed for an effective charge during the bulk charge stage, and then rely on either float or pwm techniques from the charger for the top off. The key issue is to beat sulfation by getting a decent charge back into it in a reasonable amount of time if you don't want to sacrifice the battery.
 
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LesWurk

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"If you want to power electronics with a generator, be sure to get an inverter generator for clean power.

As for UPS or generator - I ended up doing both. I have the TV and Tivo on a UPS, and if the power goes out I just go get the generator, fire it up and plug the UPS into it and everything continues seamlessly. A pellet stove is on its own UPS to allow it time to shut down, or I can power it with the generator also.

The generator is a Yamaha EF-2400IS (2000 watts) - it's super quiet."


I have a Yamaha EF-3000iSE and it puts out a horrendous amount of RFI, the AM broadcast band is unuseable when its running. It was back to the dealer and they contacted Yamaha for a fix and Yamaha said that is the way they are. Honda inverter generators seem to have a lot less RFI. The Yamaha is good on fuel and has a very low noise level.
 

gewecke

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Has anyone tried using a 350-400 watt ups as a power source when the ac goes down? Maybe powering a pro-197, charger for a ht, cell phone ? Besides this, a deep cycle everstart marine battery and 750 watt inverter would be my other choice.
Thanks! :)

73,
n9zas
 

Rob_K

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Has anyone tried using a 350-400 watt ups as a power source when the ac goes down? Maybe powering a pro-197, charger for a ht, cell phone ? Besides this, a deep cycle everstart marine battery and 750 watt inverter would be my other choice.
Thanks! :)

73,
n9zas
Battery is the best choice but skip the inverter. Get cigar plugs and a splitter. No sense going dc to ac then back to dc.

You could probably use the battery out of the ups to run all that. Just keep ups plugged in to keep battery charged. If power goes out, remove battery and hook up a cigar plug (or even 3). Check out eBay for splitters. Some even have USB ports for iPhone/cell/etc.

Edit: not sure how long ups battery would last...maybe a couple hours (test it!). Marine battery would last for days...minimum.
 

davidmc36

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I have 7K generator and three UPS's. When the power does it's usual 5AM flick--flick--flick--------off---------on every day, ALL my sensitive electronics are buffered. That power flicker thing killed the Sat PVR in about 12.1 months (read: a split second after the warranty expired) The new one has been fine for nearly four years. The UPS's will keep everything going for a short time, including internet as long as the battery at the DSLAM lasts, and if it is going to be out for longer then the generator gets fired up and the UPS's plugged into it.

I would like to have Gas for heat and a direct vent appliance for simplicity when power is out but the Oil Furnace plugged into the generator is the next best thing.
 

davidmc36

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Just an FYI, all the UPS I have used can have the beep turned off using the software that comes with the UPS. Connect the UPS to a computer, turn off the beeps, and disconnect it from the computer if being used separately.

Mike
Ah yes. That is what I need to do with the little one upstairs in the bedroom that does not have a beeper shutoff button on the front. I never even attempted to figure it out since there is no computer up there to hook to. It's just protecting the other PVR and TV.
 

W2NJS

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Just so the fact gets said, if your house has natural gas you can use it to power an emergency generator. The genset's efficiency will suffer by about ten percent but you'll never have any worries about fuel, or gumming a carburetor, or having to use Stabil in the tank. Where I live the code requires either natural gas or Diesel power for any emergency generator. Gensets running on natural require a high-pressure gas service and usually a one-inch feed pipe, so there may be some setup costs involved, but after you're setup you have no fuel concerns.

Getting into details, if you can find a four-pole alternator on a genset you'll see that it needs a motor speed of 1800 RPM which makes for a relatively quiet installation. The more common type of alternator is the two-pole, which needs a running speed of 3600 RPM and can be pretty annoying compared to the 1800 RPM units. Four-pole units are harder to find and cost more.

If you're doing a permanent installation you will need a transfer switch, preferably one that operates automatically when the power fails.

Lots of additional detail on this subject is available online from sites run by companies such as Generac, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, and many others.
 

radiowave15

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We finally set up a generator this year. I put it off for a very long time but after several storms over the past four or five years it was time to do it. When Irene plowed through here many in our neighborhood were without juice for a week or more; we were lucky and were out for only a couple of days. But that experience was the shove I needed to get a generator.

Harbor Freight had a 7000 watt gen with electric start (and included the wheel kit) for $599.00. The engine is made my Honeywell and has a good track record. We also had a dedicated transfer switch put in and an exterior junction box. I also got an outdoor shed to house the generator and gas.

The generator will run eight circuits. We set it up to run the bathrooms, bedroom lights, kitchen lights, microwave, fridge/freezer, basement lights, water heater (to be cycled as needed - have to be careful with the load), and basement plugs that run tv/Roku/DVD and modem/wifi (just because the power is out doesn't necessarily mean the cable would be down).

Two quick videos on the install:
This one is the generator:
Harbor Freight 6500 Watt Generator - YouTube

This one is the shed enclosure:
Suncast Generator Utility Shed - YouTube


Dan
 
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