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vctenderness
22nd Feb 2018, 18:11
This morning we had a power cut which lasted around four hours. This is when you face the reality of life without electricity.

No lights, no heating, no shower, no TV, no radio (unless one with batteries), no clocks (again unless battery) no internet :{ (aaarggh), no kettle, no toaster, no nespresso coffee machine, no flame on the gas hob unless you have matches, no landline telephone.

We dont think of this much until it happens.

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 18:19
Yup, noticed that too. I was without power for most of yesterday and last night. Relied on the fireplace for some heat, and read a book by LED lamp.

However, I have an off-grid place, and when I go up there, it's normal, so don't think of it much. But - at home it's pretty weird, everything is so connected. Until it isn't.

Crepello
22nd Feb 2018, 18:28
Blackouts & brownouts not uncommon around here - think I paid about $40 for a UPS, which I positioned upstream of the router. Keeps our portable devices connected for a couple hours, and reduces the chances of electronics being fried.

Thoughts remain with the thousands of Puerto Ricans who, six months after Maria, are still without power. Incredible.

SpringHeeledJack
22nd Feb 2018, 20:21
As said by EC, everything is connected until it isn't....Our world is evermore reliant on elektrikery, what with more devices needing the juice than ever before in known history. Perhaps there is a miracle power solution waiting in the wings to provide us all with unlimited free energy in a utopian future, but keeping us grounded it's more likely that things will continue to get less user friendly before they improve.

I had friends years ago who lived off grid with minimal power (solar) and their life was challenging, not for the faint hearted and certainly not for the 'addicts' of today who need more and more and more.

Pontius Navigator
22nd Feb 2018, 20:36
May I recommend a trilogy of books by RE McDermott, the Apocalypse Trilogy. Well written, good characterization, and he really knows the geography and topography of the scenes. The premise is the destruction of the US Electrical Grid, and most things electrical, after a solar event.

Quite thought provoking.

vapilot2004
22nd Feb 2018, 20:42
During power cuts in cold weather, I've often found myself feeling very thankful for fireplaces, natural gas appliances, candles, and the comfort of a good book or fellow human to snuggle with.

Lantern10
22nd Feb 2018, 20:46
I always have a small battery connected to a light, cd player and a radio, so when we do have a power cut these things still work. As my water is gravity fed I can still shower.

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 21:12
I just upgraded some of my appliances at the off-grid. I can tell you, finding anything that isn't connected to AC power these days is an issue. There are about 20 different tankless water heaters out there, and only a couple of them work off the old thermopyle type valve. Almost all now require 2 D cell batts. What if your D cell batts get too low? No hot water. My LP stove options were also batt ignition. You can't buy a standing pilot type. We just keep the old flint sparker handy. I don't want to rely on batt ignition stuff. I just want a gas burner, and manual light.

Pontius Navigator
22nd Feb 2018, 21:27
We used to have regular power cuts until they upgraded the cables. We had oil lamps and matches, a piezoelectric gas fire, a caravan TV (analogue) and I would bring my car up to the window. Very traditional :)

vapilot2004
22nd Feb 2018, 21:31
Are there no demand heaters out there with hydrazine or TEB ignition? ;)

Perhaps a small solar setup would solve that issue for you, EC as well as providing a bit of electrickery for other modest power needs in the house.

Don't want to bother with an electrician?
Portable Solar Charger, AA, AAA, C, D Cell compatible

http://i68.tinypic.com/2gvkkfr.png

Bull at a Gate
22nd Feb 2018, 21:32
No internet? Don’t you have a smart phone or tablet? That will bring you radio and TV too (until the batteries run out).

TWT
22nd Feb 2018, 21:42
No internet? Don’t you have a smart phone or tablet?The problem is that your local cell tower site will also be without power. If you're in a large city you might be able to connect to a different tower if you're lucky. The sites have UPS's that only last a short time. They don't have backup generators.

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 22:14
Are there no demand heaters out there with hydrazine or TEB ignition? ;)

Perhaps a small solar setup would solve that issue for you, EC as well as providing a bit of electrickery for other modest power needs in the house.

Don't want to bother with an electrician?


I have a 900 watt solar system. And a tracking system. With inverter. I installed it myself. Plenty of AC, however folks who install solar tend to avoid appliances(or anything powered) that uses idle AC current. It's a design thing. Even the top of the line LP units have a noticeable idle AC current. I don't think it's possible to buy an appliance(except maybe a toaster) that doesn't have idle current. Also, we don't use toasters in off grid - well, some dolts may I guess.

vapilot2004
22nd Feb 2018, 22:15
Ah, I see, I see, EC.

Mobiles: In the states, most carriers shoot for a 4-6 hour backup capability for cell tower power. Anyone recall the old days of land lines? Dial telephones always seemed to work, mains on or off since the power (45VDC on hook in the US, if memory serves) came from the central switching office, which I assume had batteries or generator sets on site.

hiflymk3
22nd Feb 2018, 22:17
Haven't had a power cut here in ag

gupta
22nd Feb 2018, 22:20
And as for gas cooktops - we installed a Fisher & Paykel a few years ago; when we had a blackout I couldn't light the stove with matches as the safety interlock had detected no power & cut the gas supply !!!!!

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 22:21
And as for gas cooktops - we installed a Fisher & Paykel a few years ago; when we had a blackout I couldn't light the stove with matches as the safety interlock had detected no power & cut the gas supply !!!!!

They all do that.

Unless you get the batt ignition style. Then you can just change batts(or as vapilot mentioned, solar power).

gupta
22nd Feb 2018, 22:31
But it also cut the gas even if we were in the middle of cooking??

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 22:53
I don't know. Never having used one. But - liability reasons tell me that yes, it will cut off as soon as one loses the AC.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Feb 2018, 23:11
The problem is that your local cell tower site will also be without power.
#FirstWorldProblems

Came across an Indian cell tower in a fortress on the top of a hill. No mains power. Generator and tank of diesel - the main risk presumably being that one of the locals would decide that nicking a load of diesel would outweigh the loss of his mobile signal.

galaxy flyer
22nd Feb 2018, 23:36
Generac 22KW standby generator—works great when the electricity goes out. Only thing missing is the air conditioning.

gf

ethicalconundrum
22nd Feb 2018, 23:47
Yikes. 22KW should drive around 6 ton of AC(depending on SEER, RH, etc). That is a lot of cooling.

SARF
23rd Feb 2018, 00:35
Everyone can cope with no Leccy.. even the youth. The real test is, and always has been ..
How do people cope after missing three meals.. I’d say very badly

treadigraph
23rd Feb 2018, 00:40
Everyone can cope with no Leccy.. even the youth. The real test is, and always has been ..
How do people cope after missing three meals.. Id say very badly

Three KFCs?

Tankertrashnav
23rd Feb 2018, 00:40
No mains gas out here in the Cornish sticks, and as I dont have a Calor gas installation I rely on portable "camping gas" type cooker for kettle boiling, etc, during power cuts. We get them 2-3 times each winter so I am well supplied with torches, lights, a battery powered tranny * etc. Just requires a little forethought.

no landline telephone.
(vctenderness)

I binned my "walk around" phone years ago as I found reception varied so much around the house. I went back to the old fashioned type which is permanently plugged in and needs no separate power supply. Unaffected by power cuts.

* transistor radio, for those who might have been wondering ;)

reynoldsno1
23rd Feb 2018, 00:52
Living in the shaky islands, we have an earthquake survival box with tinned/dry food, camping stove with refills, toilet rolls, batteries & radio etc, etc. We also have a hidden stash of cash - as electronic banking may not be around for a while.

Guptar
23rd Feb 2018, 00:55
Blackouts.......meh, for losers. 15kw solar system and a couple of Redflow Z Cell flow batteries. Good for 4 days worth of power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OHstY_kKUY

Loose rivets
23rd Feb 2018, 01:18
I can't be R-sed to search for it, but this is much what I said.

While living in Texas, I Ppruned about buying a UPS from a charity shop. Good make, but battery a tad weak. I set it up and settled into my Ppruning chair.

Time flew by, as it does when endlessly talking bolloks but all of a sudden the UPS started beeping. Fair enough, can't expect much for $20 . . . for two of them. But then there was a blue-white flash through the curtains and the house went dark. I shut my computer down.

Then there was a yellow light coming through the curtains. A mass of trees were on fire down't garden. I ran next door and banged . . . on it.:p

Okti, is a fireman. His wife works into the night doing company accounts. Back up your computer, I cried. Too late, their house went black.

He came out and looked at the trees. Fires in Texas are taken very, very seriously, so he said, I'll call it in. What?! I cried. You're going to call a fireman?

In minutes a big red thing pulled up outside. They ordered my neighbour and his wife inside. Then they all fell about laughing. Okti, is a bit senior.

The wires were shorting, then burning out, then burning the insulator -and trees - and then doing it all again. For over an hour. Our intrepid firemen were not going to be caught out with electickery.

I'll get my hose, I shouted. No one fell about laughing.

The electric company turned up and worked into the dawn. Blinkin' cold it was. One of the three nights a year that southern Texas gets cold.

Now, being as I like fizziks, I was of a mind to put on gloves and cut the 120-0-120 lines. However, this was not approved of by the jolly gang. Good job. The next day I found two-foot long shards of the carrying/ground cable that had been fired into the garden. [email protected]@dy nora, being impaled with one of those would hurt, but being impaled with one that was at near melting point I think would have made me very cross.

Thinking things through, and applying logic, can be quite fatal.

ExSp33db1rd
23rd Feb 2018, 07:04
.....no landline telephone.

??? Power outages very common in rural New Zealand, the landline is the only thing that works, forget mobiles, celltowers down too.

Ogre
23rd Feb 2018, 07:38
??? Power outages very common in rural New Zealand, the landline is the only thing that works, forget mobiles, celltowers down too.

Landline phones are powered by the batteries in the exchange, unless you have a cordless handset in which case you're stuffed as the handset will not work if the mains goes out.

The last big blackout we had everyone found out that the cell towers had something like three hours battery life. Then cell coverage dropped out and we had to talk to each other...

Allan Lupton
23rd Feb 2018, 08:11
I binned my "walk around" phone years ago as I found reception varied so much around the house. I went back to the old fashioned type which is permanently plugged in and needs no separate power supply. Unaffected by power cuts.
Penetrating glimpse of the obvious is that ones landline phone should have one instrument that does not depend on mains electricity - for anything from reporting the power cut to full emergencies. . .
Nothing to stop you having a "walk around" as well as they are very useful and a multiple handset one lets you base them in handy places - e.g. mine are in the study and the workshop.

UniFoxOs
23rd Feb 2018, 08:49
No internet? Don’t you have a smart phone or tablet?

Yes, but no mobile signal, despite being in the centre of England and being able to see the poxy tower!


Penetrating glimpse of the obvious is that ones landline phone should have one instrument that does not depend on mains electricity - for anything from reporting the power cut to full emergencies. . .

IIRC It's a requirement to have one as part of your BT line contract. Was caught out when renting a large house in a remote area of Scotland. The owners had thoughtfully provided a cordless phone, and after dinner one night the power went out and we couldn't phone anybody, or drive anywhere as it was after dinner and we had all had wine or beer. We go to similar places annually and I now take a POTS * phone in my luggage.

* Plain Old Telephone System

Just a spotter
23rd Feb 2018, 09:25
Ah yes,

Reminds me of a fantastic BBC programme from 1978 by the brilliant James Burke, called Connections.

The series ties together historical discoveries to show how they combine to deliver todays technology.

The first episide (below) shows just how connected and dependent we are on the technology that surrounds and supports us. Opening scenes are at the WTC in New York.

Take 49 minutes to watch it.

https://archive.org/details/james-burke-connections_s01e01

JAS

charliegolf
23rd Feb 2018, 15:06
Blackouts.......meh, for losers. 15kw solar system and a couple of Redflow Z Cell flow batteries. Good for 4 days worth of power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OHstY_kKUY

How would the costs compare with a decent generator and a bit of ingenuity?

CG

treadigraph
23rd Feb 2018, 15:10
JAS, thanks for that, I remember that series.

Ah, the days when documentaries didn't waste time telling you what they were going to tell you later, or repeating what they'd told you already...

Pontius Navigator
23rd Feb 2018, 19:37
Penetrating glimpse of the obvious is that ones landline phone should have one instrument that does not depend on mains electricity - for anything from reporting the power cut to full emergencies. . .
Nothing to stop you having a "walk around" as well as they are very useful and a multiple handset one lets you base them in handy places - e.g. mine are in the study and the workshop.

We have 4 walk around, now finding one is another matter.

Pontius Navigator
23rd Feb 2018, 19:42
I spent some time in India with several families en famille. Most had a computer UPS which was essential for a stable connection. However the first family went one better. He had two electric circuits. One had conventional filament bulbs the other had some massive truck batteries in series and CFL would come on when there was a cut. I don't think he had an AC backup.

ExXB
24th Feb 2018, 17:13
Power cut? The last few times we have had a power cut, over 27 years, we got a letter in the post from the electric company advising us we would lose power the following week on a Tuesday or a Thursday, between 1400-1600 (or similar), and to be prepared.

All of our power, and telephone lines, are safely buried underground. Costs more initially but in the long run ...

UniFoxOs
24th Feb 2018, 17:21
Ah, the days when documentaries didn't waste time telling you what they were going to tell you later, or repeating what they'd told you already...

I find it bloody annoying too. I guess somebody has been reading the standard instructors manual which says a training session should be:-

"Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them." (Original copyright - Aristotle)

BUT they are making a bloody documentary, not a training course.

VP959
24th Feb 2018, 17:23
Power cut? The last few times we have had a power cut, over 27 years, we got a letter in the post from the electric company advising us we would lose power the following week on a Tuesday or a Thursday, between 1400-1600 (or similar), and to be prepared.

All of our power, and telephone lines, are safely buried underground. Costs more initially but in the long run ...

We get a fair few power cuts. Some only last a few minutes, some a few hours. All of the ones where I bothered to ring and find the cause were due to overhead cable problems. We had one overhead cable junction on top of a post near our old house explode, then continue to burn, dripping molten burning tar, for over an hour, occasionally making a loud bang, a bit like a Roman candle firework.

We'd definitely have a more reliable network if it was all underground, but the cost of doing that here would be massive, now.

Donkey497
24th Feb 2018, 20:26
Don't often get power cuts, being as how this part of town shares the power circuit with our local oil refinery, just in case their own power stations (2 off) go down, .......... But.........

18 months ago, we had a small (artificial) volcanic eruption just across the street when the gas network folks were renewing the mains around the area, they found that their network maps were more than a little inaccurate (again x several thousand) when they "moled" the new header line straight through the high voltage cable feeding the area's main transformer and the refinery.

Luckily I was at home, in anticipation of the gas being off that day & the contractors needing access to make sure my heating re-started correctly. However, having just taken delivery, but not set up my UPS for my fish tanks, I was a little miffed having to take my fish for a short holiday up to my folks at the other end of town, given that none of the gas or power network folks could give me any idea of how long the power would be off for.

14 hours was the final answer, and I've had a dedicated UPS system on each of my tanks since. I will happily lose data, but not my fish.

Fareastdriver
24th Feb 2018, 21:25
However the first family went one better. He had two electric circuits

The hotel that the RAF put us into in Karachi during a Javelins to Singapore exercise had two plumbing systems; four taps to a basin.

One set was recognisable as water, the other green sludge.

Two lift shafts as well. One with a lift and gates; the other just holes in the walls.

cavuman1
24th Feb 2018, 22:44
It is late 2002 and Bride and self are residing in Greensboro, North-By-God Carolina. Wx forecast on 4 December calls for an ice storm with significant accumulation. We have presence of mind to stop by the state-run ABC (Adult Beverage Center) to score a fifth of bourbon. We do NOT have the presence of mind to grab groceries or additional firewood. :rolleyes:

The storm begins as we pull into the liquor store; by the time we left five minutes later the roads are already ice-slicked. We make it home O.K., build a fire with our last few logs, and settle down with tall drinks. When we retire to bed, we still have power. Not for long! Throughout a very protracted night, we hear a ceaseless cannonade of transformers exploding. These are accompanied by bright flashes of light. :eek:

The next morning, we awaken to a frigid, darkened home. The outdoor landscape is a Courier and Ives fairyland: one inch+ (!) of glare ice covers everything. Beautiful and dangerous. Power and telephone lines are down everywhere, and the radio batteries are dead as a door nail. The good news is that we still have bourbon. The bad news is we are out of food and firewood. :sad:

To make a long story short, we are without electricity for FOUR LOOONG DAYS! We scavenge wood from piles left as the power company's trucks cut downed trees from the roadway. We cannot get the green wood to light, but Bride remembers a Duraflame log stored in our shed. We use it a get a small fire started, barely. We make bread which we bake on the fireplace's hearth - it is tough, but as my father would say, it would be tougher if we didn't have it. The bourbon mysteriously disappears. :(

In the early afternoon of day four, we are clearing branches and other debris from our front yard. One of our neighbors yells that the power company has a crew working behind his house. They are replacing a blown transformer. We look skyward and make a deal with God! An hour later there is a large kerrrthunnk. Neighbors clap and yell accolades to the power crew. Tommy Edison's electrickery flows once again! :D

This is the only time in my adult life that I feared that Mother Nature was going to kill us. We now keep an ample supply of batteries and enough candles to make Liberace jealous. We also keep a half-year's food supply at the ready. :ok:

One never knows when another ice storm or Carrington Event might occur, or if Yung Fat Wun might manage to dump a bucket of instant sunshine on our shores... :cool:

- Ed :E