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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently begun worrying about power loss and I was just curious how some of you guys who live in apartments prepare for power failure?

If I had a house with a garage or basement I'd just get a nice big generator...but I can't really do that in an apartment (nor can my budget...which is why I live in an apt lol :p)


so....how do you guys prepare for power failure?
 

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My father has a small gasoline generator to run his refrigerator and AC in case of power failure (he keeps it on his terrace though), and a small kerosene heater can really heat up a room in the winter as long as you keep a window nicely cracked open.
 

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You don't have to crack a window if you have a kerosene heater w/ k-1 kerosene and the wick is fine. I think the good kerosene heaters are around $130 and i just got 10 gal of k-1 kerosene for $40 yesterday. If the wick isn't clean they tend to smell a little though. If you don't get the right kerosene they smell pretty bad.

My father has a small gasoline generator to run his refrigerator and AC in case of power failure (he keeps it on his terrace though), and a small kerosene heater can really heat up a room in the winter as long as you keep a window nicely cracked open.
 

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I use battery backup power strips on my fish tanks. If you only have one or two essential things plugged into them, they provide power for 1-3 hours or so. Here we never have power outages that last longer than that, so this works well for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Azriel: living in southern california I used to think the same thing, but for some reason in my current apartment over the past year we've had 4 power outages that lasted 6+ hours

my apt is oddly situated on the hot water line, so its ALWAYS 70F in here, which is kinda nice...but as my collection is growing I need to start preparing for the long run


EDIT: I currently DO use the battery packup plugs for my lights and my computer...but I just don't trust it as a "serious" solution. Trying to find something smaller/not as noisy as a generator, but more consistent than the power strips...

I was imagining a solar battery maybe?
 

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@Azriel: living in southern california I used to think the same thing, but for some reason in my current apartment over the past year we've had 4 power outages that lasted 6+ hours

my apt is oddly situated on the hot water line, so its ALWAYS 70F in here, which is kinda nice...but as my collection is growing I need to start preparing for the long run


EDIT: I currently DO use the battery packup plugs for my lights and my computer...but I just don't trust it as a "serious" solution. Trying to find something smaller/not as noisy as a generator, but more consistent than the power strips...

I was imagining a solar battery maybe?

Just an FYI all solar systems are battery based. Just like your battery backup. Battery backup's are referred to in the electronic industry as UPS (Un Interruptable PowerSupply).

If you have not had "consistency" with one then the battery is most likely dead. Most UPS have a warranty of 1 or 2 years. They guarantee to immediately switch to the backup without power loss. Lights don't even flicker.

Some UPS's that you buy at Best Buy or Office max have a VERY small battery. Anything under 550 VA is not even really worth it. 825 VA will keep most lights and small fans etc running for an hour or two. But if you have serious power issues then look on amazon and you can get them up to 2,000VA and lasts for hours.

You can calculate how long it will last if you know the amperage of your devices plugged in. Wattage for lights which in some cases is VA or 120V* the Amperage of the device. Add these up and they must be less than 60% of the UPS VA rating. Otherwise the device wont run long and will likely overload and die immediately.

For example if you had a 200 VA UPS and two 60 watt lights hooked to it then you have 120VA (60 * 2 V*A=watts in most cases). If you look at the chart that comes with your UPS it will tell you how long your UPS will last for I looked at mine and this situation would last about an hour.

I recently used a solar system on a pumpstation at work. It was 2500 VA however cost close to 2 grand and had an 80lb battery.

Just food for thought. I'm an electrical engineer by trade and I love this stuff...almost as much as frogs. Let me know if you have any questions!

Robbie
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Rob: sorry if my post was poorly termed; i'm familiar with the science behind it, what I meant by "consistent" was that I can only trust those tiny UPS's to hold for a few hours at best, and if my power is down for 24hours+ I'm in trouble.

A generator could keep power going for as long as I feed it gas/fuel...but its big and noisy.


Just trying to find something in between....I would do a few solar panels to a large enough battery, but I live in apt housing AND I face north (ONLY!) grumble...grumble...


If you enjoy this stuff Rob, might I pick your brain over IM/PM sometime on some design concepts I'm playing with for this UV LED light I'm working on? I'd love any and all technically-indepth feedback
 

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Hand warmers in an emergency. Just be careful, they use oxygen in a sealed tank, but as a last resort they might make the difference. Just remember, it takes more energy to warm a tank than to keep it warm, so be proactive with them. I put them in a vented deli container that my ff culture comes in, just to keep them from contacting the frogs. They are probably harmless, but I am not real big on experimenting like that.
 

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Just an FYI all solar systems are battery based.
Not to get sidetracked here, but this is not necessarily true. We install solar and wind systems that are not battery based 90% of the time. However, these do not provide backup (stored) energy for the homeowner so it would not help in this case.

As stated however, backup power systems of any decent size are usually quite expensive. Our typical installations for a small camp running just lights, coffee maker, etc... cost at least $3,000 in just materials.

We recently tried to help a gentlemen trying to heat his pigeon coup with some 100W bulbs. They drained his system in less than 2 hours and he had a couple 105aH deep cycles. .. Standard bulbs draw some power..
 
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