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vivienz

Generators

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Our electricity supply somehow managed to fry itself during the night.  My radio alarm woke me up with a flashing display, made the electronic equivalent of a gurgle and died.  Being a person who believes in action, I noted this and thought that we must be having a power cut then rolled over and went back to sleep until 6am.

 

I had already given a little thought to this as the new pad will be out in the sticks and very dependent upon its electricity supply; whilst having my tea and breakfast by candlelight this morning could be considered romantic by some, everything that goes with it is a PITA.  Our current power supply still hasn't been fixed and we have an SSE generator bigger than my husband's Fiat panda on the front drive right now, sounding like an idling transit van.

 

I can't help thinking that when we eventually move into the new place that we should have a diesel/petrol generator as a back up.  Is this common practice?

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We're on a rural supply, it goes off about once or twice per year, usually for no more than a few hours. I'm not sure an emergency generator is the answer !

 

Our only emergency supplies are candles and wine. 

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we put a change over switch in our design so if there is an extended power cut we can easily connect up a generator to get us back up and running.

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If fitting a generator as backup make sure you have VERY good over voltage / phase control in place. Last time I was involved with a generator the over voltage failed and did £60K damage to much of the electronics plugged in at the time.  Took a year + to sort with the generator contract insurance. 

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I've been dithering about this for a couple of years, as at our old house we get at least a dozen power cuts a year, but we have a gas fire in the living room, a gas cooker and I've made up a few battery-powered LED lights that I keep charged up specially for power cuts, so we can manage fine for a time.

 

So far the new house has only had two or three power cuts a year, but it's all-electric, so we lose everything when the power goes off.  The water supply should be OK for a day or two, because we have two 300 litre and one 100 litre accumulators, but we lose the UV disinfection system.  We also lose the sewage treatment plant, and it's a pumped system, so we only have a day or so before the level rises too high.

 

The problem is deciding what to run off a generator, or even whether to go for a battery and inverter system.  Financially, a battery system doesn't stack up, even though we could use it to save using grid power a fair bit of the time, a bit like a Powerwall, but there's more to it than saving money.  How much is being able to run the house fairly normally during a power cut worth?

 

I've come around the view that the cheapest, DIY, battery system I can come up with is probably the optimum solution, something that I can start with a modest investment, then scale up in the light of experience.

Edited by JSHarris

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Honda make a 2kW generator that can be linked to another one.  I think others make them too.

1 or 2 of them and some battery storage may be the way to go.  Or just get some jump leans on the Plug In Hydrids, seems a shame to have a decent battery system AND a petrol engine that cannot be utilised in a power cut.

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Funny how thing like this pop up - I've asked my electrician to provide the capability to plug in a generator should the power go out. Although we are only 4miles from a nuclear power station,  it's not unknown for the line up the Glen to come down. I'll keep a genny in the garage - some lights and ability to do some basics for food are enough to keep us going.  OTT maybe but it's that one time you've got people staying and the power dies...  

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1 hour ago, Onoff said:

I have one of those in the cottage that we rent as holiday accommodation. We were having almost monthly power cuts and with the current compo culture were having to compensate guests. The switch and external plug was not that expensive but a 8.1kva genny was quite a lot. 

 

Been in 18 months now and haven't had a single power cut 

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The biggest problem with having a Genny for back up is how do you separate the earthing systems , and how are you going to earth the Genny to the house, you can't use the DNO earth with a Genny, 2 totally different system types.

Needs very careful consideration.

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I'm TT!

 

This never gets old:

 

rbAo0Vc.thumb.jpg.54808250bd13546464a2a03f5d94f1ad.jpg

 

:)

 

Edited by Onoff
Same photo twice
  • Like 1

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8 hours ago, dogman said:

I have one of those in the cottage that we rent as holiday accommodation. We were having almost monthly power cuts and with the current compo culture were having to compensate guests. The switch and external plug was not that expensive but a 8.1kva genny was quite a lot. 

 

Been in 18 months now and haven't had a single power cut 

 

 

It's a bit like carrying a tool kit around in the back of your car***, isn't it?  As soon as you do, the thing magically becomes 100% reliable...............

 

 

 

***relates to cars of a certain vintage where you did have a reasonable chance of fixing them on the side of the road............

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9 hours ago, Onoff said:

I'm TT!

 


 

9 hours ago, Onoff said:

This never gets old:


 

rbAo0Vc.thumb.jpg.54808250bd13546464a2a03f5d94f1ad.jpg


 

:)


 

Ah the old "portable earth"  A classic case of having a very slight idea of what you should do, but without understanding how it might work, and how that one definitely won't.
 

But seriously, if your DNO can provide a genny that can power your whole house free of charge, and installed the same day, I would not bother.If yours is an isolated failure (i.e your neighbours still have power) then it's probably a cable fault.


 

the only times we get a power cut is during a storm when trees come down (all overhead here) and then the outages are measured in thousands of homes (then there's not enough DNO generators to go round)  the longest we were off was 3 days, and we just kept the WBS goiong 24/7 for heat, cooked on gas, and used the camping gaz lights. Frankly I would not want a generator thundering away and having to keep re fueling it for several days.

 

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27 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Frankly I would not want a generator thundering away and having to keep re fueling it for several days.

You would with 4 kids and no bloody wifi. 

?

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3 minutes ago, Nickfromwales said:

You would with 4 kids and no bloody wifi.

?

the tiny amount of DC power a router needs, connect it to a battery..
 

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16 minutes ago, ProDave said:

the tiny amount of DC power a router needs, connect it to a battery..
 

 

 

I've already done this, and it was pretty easy to put together.  I have a second hand industrial UPS battery, a 100 Ah sealed lead acid one, connected to a current limited switched mode power supply that is set to 13.4 V.  The battery supplies some small switched mode DC-DC converters that supply power to the modem, router and switch, so our home network can run for a few days with no mains power.   Overall, it's usually slight more energy efficient than running three wall wart power supplies, as the single supply charging the battery is more efficient and doesn't really supply any significant current to the battery once it's charged.  Efficiency drops a lot if the  mains goes off and the battery needs recharging afterwards, but I like having the ability to keep the internet connection going for a while.  There is a limit, in that the battery back up in the local cabinet only lasts a few hours, so the internet connection does still go down during a prolonged power cut.

Edited by JSHarris

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17 minutes ago, ProDave said:

the tiny amount of DC power a router needs, connect it to a battery..
 

9_9

and what do you connect the Xbox, PS4 and gaming PC to? ?

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Don't forget charging the laptops, tablets and phones when their batteries run out.

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1 hour ago, Nickfromwales said:

You would with 4 kids and no bloody wifi. 

?

We stayed in a hotel last year that had no wi-fi, my good god it was the like the end of the world as we know it so I know what you mean.

  • Like 1

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The internet connectivity problem isn't one you can fix for long, if you live somewhere where there is no generator back up to the cabinets.  I know that Virgin Media deploy vans with generators to keep their cabinets going for more than the couple of hours or so that the backup batteries last (because we're unfortunate to have one of these cabinets just down the road from us and have to endure the noise from their bloody generator every time we get a prolonged power cut), but it seems BT Openreach don't do the same with rural broadband cabinets, so once the cabinet backup battery goes down, the connection goes down with it.  Certainly the FTTC cabinet we're supplied from is like this; we have two or three hours of internet connectivity in a power cut, after which the cabinet shuts down until mains power is restored.  This annoyed me when I found out about it, as I'd already installed a battery backup system that would keep the house network going for a couple of days or more.

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My WiFi router is my phone, can charge it in the car. Another good reason to ditch a landline.

 

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On 17/02/2017 at 09:17, ProDave said:

the tiny amount of DC power a router needs, connect it to a battery..
 

Or just use a Smartphone hotspot.

 

Unless you live in a hotspot blackspot :-).

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20 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

Or just use a Smartphone hotspot.

 

Unless you live in a hotspot blackspot :-).

 

 

Sadly I can't even get a decent voice mobile signal at the new house, much less data!  I did fit a repeater and a high gain yagi mounted on a pole above the roof, pointing at the nearest mast, but even then I can only "just" get a weak signal within around 10ft of the internal repeater antenna.  Not good enough for a data connection and illegal to use, anyway, so now the landline is fitted I've turned the thing off.  I've left it installed, so if we lost the landline phone we could at least have an emergency mobile, but frankly it was never that reliable when I was using it every day during the build.

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There will come a time when everywhere gets a good signal, Cornwall has improved massively over the last decade.  Even got 4G in St. Ives.

 

I am still perplexed as to why we have locked ourselves into the internet access model we currently use.

There is a project going on in New York that is trying to free up the access (https://nycmesh.net/)

I would have thought that with the advent of very cheap computing and components that the general public would have just got on with setting up meshes.

If every car had a mesh network device fitted, we would have a fantastic network without central control.

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