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Predicted power Blackouts this winter - IT advice please

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 The Lemming 06 Oct 2022

I realise that I asked all this in early September but the topic has been archived.

Given that the National Grid has said that this is all very likely, I'm still after a UPS power supply however I am being more realistic about my needs. I now just want to keep a Router and Modem running till the lights come back on in a few hours.

The Modem is a Virgin router, put into modem mode, and the router is a Lynksys WRT1900.

The Lynksys uses about 12w, after a quick google, and I'm guessing that the Virgin router, in modem mode, uses about the same power. So my consumption requirements would be around 24w?

I just want to keep access to the internet till the lights come back on.

Cheers

Post edited at 17:16
8
In reply to The Lemming:

Run your laptop on the battery and connect it to the Internet via your phone.

If there are regional blackouts I wouldn't be surprised if fixed-line broadband was also impacted, but I suspect measures would be taken to keep the PSTN and mobile towers going due to the need to call the emergency services.

 montyjohn 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

So if you want the modem to run for 2 hours at 12 watts then that's 24 watt hours. Which is fairly small capacity in the UPS world.

Looking on amazon, they seem to quote VA (which is Volts x Amps) or in other words Watts. That would be the peak power it can supply.

They seem to be a bit sketchy on giving the actual watt hour capacity which is what you really want to know.

Unless they say what the peak watts and the watt hour capacity is, don't trust it.

1
 elsewhere 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Does it have to be a wired broadband connection?

If not, a USB battery pack for your phone may be a good option.

In reply to elsewhere:

Or just keep it on the charge until the power goes off.

If your phone doesn't last three hours or so then you have a bigger issue!

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to elsewhere:

> Does it have to be a wired broadband connection?

> If not, a USB battery pack for your phone may be a good option.

That is a fantastic solution.

Thank you.

Subject closed 😂

Post edited at 17:40
 henwardian 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Run your laptop on the battery and connect it to the Internet via your phone.

> If there are regional blackouts I wouldn't be surprised if fixed-line broadband was also impacted, but I suspect measures would be taken to keep the PSTN and mobile towers going due to the need to call the emergency services.

This is pretty much word for word what I was going to say except the part about mobile towers staying online. I don't know if mobile towers would be kept on effectively or not but they do seem like a safer bet than landline internet.

Of course if blackouts are the OPs worry, what they really want to get is a power wall

 Andypeak 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Where have you got the information that the national grid are saying this is "likely"? The BBC are quoting them today as saying this is an "unlikely scenario"

 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

No point getting one that lasts longer than your laptop batteries...  Not much need to over-think it, and most data sheets show runtime vs power draw or battery capacity.   UPS devices are normally specced to give their rated power for 5-10 minutes or so to let things ride out a blip or do an orderly shutdown.  If you want to run 24 W for four hours, that's equivalent to about 600 W for ten minutes (*) so you're looking for a 600 W to 1000 W UPS.   

Something like [1] would probably do, the runtime table given in [2] (linked from [1]) gives 70 minutes @ 50 W, so probably more than 140 minutes at 24 W.  If you want to last for longer, use one for each appliance - probably cheaper than buying one bigger unit...?

> Given that the National Grid has said that this is all very likely

What're the odds they manage to schedule the shedding right and avoid a total cascade failure?  Answers on a postcard to Texas (2021), South Australia (2016) and Northeastern America (2003).  We're clearly going to be very close to the tipping point at times, and there've been drones spotted over other European nation's infrastructure recently.  Drop a few kg of carbon fibre lines in the right (wrong) place and ka-boom. 

I find power cuts are a great time to go for a walk and enjoy a dark world, not seen very often.  Although I've a suspicion The Purge might start during some of these blackouts, so best not go walking in any urban areas.  

[1] https://www.apc.com/shop/hr/en/products/APC-EASY-UPS-BV-1000VA-AVR-IEC-Outlet-230V/P-BV1000I
[2] https://download.schneider-electric.com/files?p_File_Name=Easy_UPS_BV_RuntimeTable_EN.pdf&p_Doc_Ref=Easy_UPS_BV_RuntimeTable_EN&p_enDocType=Specification+guide

(*) As most UPSs used lead chemistry, the total capacity goes up when you draw power more slowly.  Edit: Looking at the runtime table for high power draw, my 5-10 minutes was massively optimistic...

In reply to Neil Williams:

> If there are regional blackouts I wouldn't be surprised if fixed-line broadband was also impacted,

Our broadband stayed online for about 1.5 days after Storm Arwen even though the exchange was in the blackout too.  It gave up then, but the analogue phone line didn't, but I no longer have a dial-up account!

In reply to Andypeak:

Optimism, good.

Post edited at 17:58
2
In reply to wintertree:

"Although I've a suspicion The Purge might start during some of these blackouts, so best not go walking in any urban areas."

Er, wha?

 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> "Although I've a suspicion The Purge might start during some of these blackouts, so best not go walking in any urban areas."

> Er, what?

Humor.  Things might get a bit rioty though this winter, and people without power are people without their usual distractions.

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Andypeak:

> Where have you got the information that the national grid are saying this is "likely"? The BBC are quoting them today as saying this is an "unlikely scenario"

I'm reading between the lines. If the National Grid are saying its an "Unlikely scenario" then its going to happen.

2
In reply to The Lemming:

> I'm reading between the lines. If the National Grid are saying its an "Unlikely scenario" then its going to happen.

National Grid have the probability of extended loss of Grid at 1x10-2/year, so 1:100 chance per year of a widespread, long term loss of power. That isn't good odds. BEIS have asked critical infrastructure to up their planning assumptions from 5 days loss of grid to 7 days.

I wouldn't place any reliance on mobile phones. The mast needs power, the mast is connected to fixed infrastructure that needs power, your mobile phone location data and call connection is reliant on power to data centres. Even if the masts are up and running they won't handle the traffic of millions of people streaming amazon prime, netflix and pornhub.

If mobile infrastructure is working, they'll probably enable whatever the current version of MTPAS is, with only registered phones and 999 calls being routed.

Oh, and the fuel pumps won't be working so no-ones going anywhere…

Internet access doesn't even make my list of things to worry about over the winter.

 Andypeak 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I've just heard Liz Truss on the radio saying we've got "robust plans in place" to prevent it happening. Now I'm in agreement with you

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> Even if the masts are up and running they won't handle the traffic of millions of people streaming amazon prime, netflix and pornhub.

Porn hub?

NNNNNNNNNNNoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Andypeak:

> I've just heard Liz Truss on the radio saying we've got "robust plans in place" to prevent it happening. Now I'm in agreement with you

I trust the National Grid to warn us, I most certainly do not trust Liz Truss to be honest with us. Robust plans my arse.

 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> Internet access doesn't even make my list of things to worry about over the winter.

Our backup power meant we could access the Northern Powergrid website in the aftermath of Storm Arwen.

The website crashed and burnt under the demand.  It’s almost as if the DNO hadn’t done any properly scoped dress rehearsal of widespread blackouts in the last 20 years…  At least our area now has some experience - community groups started up for future blackouts as people realised how much a week without power sucks mid winter.  

Now, on to a more important question - what’s better, a wooden baseball bat or a metal one?

Post edited at 18:58
OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Now, on to a more important question - what’s better, a wooden baseball bat or a metal one?

Can you burn the metal bat to keep warm once you've vanquished all around?

In reply to wintertree:

> Now, on to a more important question - what’s better, a wooden baseball bat or a metal one?

Wood. Keeps you warm swinging it, then warm again when you burn it to destroy the evidence.

In reply to The Lemming:

> Porn hub?

> NNNNNNNNNNNoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Sorry, xlemming then.

In reply to wintertree:

Did the gas supply stay on (or are you off that)?

russellcampbell 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> I find power cuts are a great time to go for a walk and enjoy a dark world, not seen very often.  Although I've a suspicion The Purge might start during some of these blackouts, so best not go walking in any urban areas.  

At last some good news. Saving money by not having to buy senna pods.

 ExiledScot 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

It's going to be a nightmare the problems involved in power grids going off intermittently through winter are beyond a joke, never mind growth growth growth, i bet all sort of electronics will keep resetting, be it grannies central heating timers or more serious stuff. Country is joke, it's not putins fault, it's decades of under investment.

1
 arch 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Anyone got any idea on how the power companys will actually switch off the power.

 ExiledScot 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

It's not a good look for the government but households need to built up stores, plan eating cooking and washing without power, candles, power banks etc... peak demand is typically 4-6pm, so that's coming home, walking in pitch black, need to cook to eat, dark and cold inside, homework to do, etc..

 ExiledScot 06 Oct 2022
In reply to arch:

> Anyone got any idea on how the power companys will actually switch off the power.

In 70s,( i was young) my grandad was explaining how they cut one phase and every third street light was off, plus they dropped the voltage(i think) levels so tvs didn’t work properly and were yellowish. 

 ianstevens 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Ridge:

Pedants corner: localised pose cuts in the UK will not stop your phone receiving signals from a bunch of satellites in space. Aka, location data will work still.

1
 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to MG:

> Did the gas supply stay on (or are you off that)?

No gas mains here; we had a gas fire in our last place and the electrically powered safety valve monitored the pilot light with an electricity powered FID so it was sod all use in a powercut…

In reply to ExiledScott:

Not exactly great for businesses that aren’t deemed as “critical” either.  Coming so soon after the repeated hammer blows from Brexit and Covid and just piles on the pressure.

Whats really going to piss people off are all the stupid house and property alarms that sound incessantly in a powercut under the mistaken belief a burglar has cut their power.  Pro tip - the screws on alarm boxes are often rust welded shut, grab a pair of tin snips.

In reply to ianstevens:

Yup, GPS etc should still work but without terrestrial data I’d keep the app open for a couple of minutes to make sure the location hardware has time to pull the digest out of the satellite data; acquisition is way faster with terrestrial data.  

Post edited at 19:47
1
 ThunderCat 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Humor.  Things might get a bit rioty though this winter, and people without power are people without their usual distractions.

I've been drinking heavily over the past year or so and collecting all of the bottlecaps.  If Fallout is anything to go by, these become the dominant currency in any dystopian future.

 gravy 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

Squirty builders foam is remarkably effective for burglar alarms - empty an entire can in there and walk away.  Noise problem solved and the next day you can admire the urban bracket fungus that has grown.

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> It's not a good look for the government but households need to built up stores, plan eating cooking and washing without power, candles, power banks etc...

My boiler died on Monday and I've no hot water till it gets replaced, hopefully by the weekend.

For me the world has ended because I have no hot water to have a shower and thankfully its not winter yet. I'm only inconvenienced by a bit of cold water, I dread to think how I will cope with power cuts.

I also remember the power cuts of the 70s, where I could not watch  Floella Benjamin on Play School or play with my train set.

Bad times!

In reply to ianstevens:

> Pedants corner: localised pose cuts in the UK will not stop your phone receiving signals from a bunch of satellites in space. Aka, location data will work still.

Point taken. I probably didn't word that well. As understand it (and I'm no expert) the phone is constantly registering it's location by connecting to available phone masts (thats how phone locations in the past are triangulated by the police). That all gets downloaded onto constantly updating databases.

If I call your phone number a server somewhere does a search of the database and identifies the 'cell' where your phone is currently located, selects an available channel on the mast with best connectivity and connects the call. If we're both in a car somewhere and moving, theres a lot of data processing going on somewhere else to keep constantly switching between masts and channels on both phones so it appears we have a useable connection.

So yes, phone GPS and location will always work on phone battery. Without power to either the masts, the servers or any exchanges between them it won't be making calls, sending texts or connecting to the internet (unless you have a satphone).

1
 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> unless you have a satphone

We’re just on the cusp of low orbit satellites being able to act as a cellular base station for conventional phones.  Which is properly mad stuff.  Not online in any useful way for this winter (except perhaps the new iPhone’s satellite SOS mode) but still a mad concept.  I assume the VLEO satellite has to pre compensate in real time for the changing Doppler shift as it screams by. 

In reply to wintertree:

> > unless you have a satphone

> We’re just on the cusp of low orbit satellites being able to act as a cellular base station for conventional phones.  Which is properly mad stuff.  Not online in any useful way for this winter (except perhaps the new iPhone’s satellite SOS mode) but still a mad concept.  I assume the VLEO satellite has to pre compensate in real time for the changing Doppler shift as it screams by. 

That is properly mad, especially for rural areas with poor coverage.

It's almost like some dystopian sci-fi. Satellite comms in a crumbing society with Dickensian levels of poverty.

In reply to The Lemming:

One of the reasons I moved from South Africa was because of the power outages (load shedding as it’s called locally) however it seems it’s inescapable even in the first world 🤣 

3 hours is really not that bad.. when it’s off for 7-8 hours per day then you need to think of alternative power sources! 

OP The Lemming 06 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> > unless you have a satphone

> We’re just on the cusp of low orbit satellites being able to act as a cellular base station for conventional phones.  

Which would you prefer, the USA controlling and listening to all those satellite phone calls, or China listening to them?

Elon may say that he's independent and separate from the US government, but there's a little thing called the Patriot Act. Good job the British government cant get in on that action. Tim foil hat time now with the Five Eyes.

At least at the moment there are different phone companies around the world with different laws, but once Elon's Starlink gets to be all over then if the USA government comes knocking, he has to hand over information and he's not allowed to tell anybody. He's so batsh1t crazy that I doubt the Government would try to pull the "Keep your mouth shut" stunt.

Remember Edward Snowden?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M&t=1210s

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HTC-Wildfire-Smoke-Black-Case/dp/B005BRTPEE/ref=ice_ac_b_dpb?crid=1QE6RKO036OV1&keywords=tinfoil&qid=1665090966&qu=eyJxc2MiOiI0LjgzIiwicXNhIjoiNC4yNCIsInFzcCI6IjQuMTQifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=tinfoil%2Caps%2C91&sr=8-5

Post edited at 22:18
1
 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

There are a lot of other non-Musk businesses working on space to ground comms networks you know…   SpaceX aren’t the ones pushing cellular service from orbit.

> Which would you prefer, the USA controlling and listening to all those satellite phone calls, or China listening to them?

Does it matter?  It seems clear that if you actually care about security against that kind of threat, all smart phones and all comms networks are best assumed untrustworthy in the extreme.  Likewise VPNs and anything else based on public key cryptography. 

SpaceX clearly have minimal separation from the US state in various areas; Starlink in Ukraine being a current example; but their up-mass to orbit is one of the biggest shifts in global military power since the atomic bomb, and they’ve barely got started.  There’re credible plans for various orbital weapons platforms that were stopped because the space shuttle couldn’t deliver the prophesied launch costs or mass rate - SpaceX are hitting both, and are about to drop the costs and raise the rate significantly with Starship.  There’s a generational window for team America to seize the high ground before China catches up.

SpaceX is the goose that isn’t just going to lay a platinum egg, it’s going to put it in to orbit.  They’ve become a critical part of the US green machine, helped in part by the ongoing self-led immolation of Boeing after their merger.  Question is, how much longer with the US powers tolerate Musk’s involvement as he continues his personal disintegration to full-on nutter status?  You can’t afford to have a person to important to sack in the critical path to maintaining national security.  

Post edited at 22:36
1
In reply to Andypeak:

> I've just heard Liz Truss on the radio saying we've got "robust plans in place" to prevent it happening. Now I'm in agreement with you

I'm wondering which word it is that LT doesn't understand in the real world, "robust" or "plans", or maybe both, or maybe it's the "in place" bit that she doesn't get.

In reply to wintertree:

> If you want to run 24 W for four hours, that's equivalent to about 600 W for ten minutes (*) so you're looking for a 600 W to 1000 W UPS.   

If a UPS is only intended to supply for 10 minutes or so, then a 600 W UPS  is going to be capable of supplying 600W. If that's at 230V, it's going to be 2.6A. If all you need is 24W (i.e. ~0.1A), for longer, it's going to be a massively over specified output stage.

 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> it's going to be a massively over specified output stage.

Indeed - look at the run time table in the document I linked…  

So, not the ideal engineering solution by a long way, but they have the advantage of being pretty high volume production and of being a mature technology so they’re a cheap and low hassle way of achieving what the OP asked for.

Mind you, part of the trade off in cheap low end UPS’ in the 500-1000W range is a lack of active cooling enabled by their very short runtime at their maximum rated power.

In reply to captain paranoia:

I've got no knowledge of such things, but can we be sure that a UPS will deliver its stored energy in whatever envelope we like,

effectively in the UPS Domain, does 50 x 2 = 20 x 5 = 10 x 10 = 5 x 20 = 2 x 50 regardless?

Post edited at 22:42
In reply to Michael Hood:

> but can we be sure that a UPS will deliver its stored energy in whatever envelope we like,

It will. But a high power output stage costs in money and efficiency; running at an output current much lower than rated is likely to be inefficient, so that envelope won't be a simple linear function.

 wintertree 06 Oct 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

> , but can we be sure that a UPS will deliver its stored energy in whatever envelope we like,

Depends on the battery chemistry.  

  • If it’s lead acid chemistry then no, the effective capacity of the battery decreases with increasing discharge rate
  • If it’s a lithium chemistry, total stored energy is pretty invariant of discharge rate.

Look at section 6 in this flyer [1] for a proper high quality lead chemistry battery - effective capacity when discharged rapidly (5 minutes) is about a quarter of the capacity when discharging slowly (over 20 hours).  Which is why buying 2x as many batteries gives more than 2x the stored power.  

Most UPS devices use lead acid chemistry; lithium is starting to appear but it has drawbacks; lead acid is bombproof technology whereas lithium batteries tend to need active protection electronics for safety reasons which make them less reliable. Reliability is the core driver of UPS devices.

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-GEL-and-AGM-Batteries-EN.pdf

Post edited at 23:08
In reply to The Lemming:

> I just want to keep access to the internet till the lights come back on.

The outages, if they happen, will be announced the day before.  
Why not plan around that and do something else instead?

1
 dunc56 06 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Why? What’s so important?

 Hardonicus 06 Oct 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

Or just have your tommy tank during low demand periods...

In reply to The Lemming:

My backup system - that I've never had to use yet, but it's fully tested - is a Beaudens portable power generator, pre-charged from the mains. This is absolutely designed to operate computers etc. safely. It will also power some electric lights. With just one low voltage light attached, the Beaudens will run a laptop for at least 4 hours. If the power cut lasts for longer than this, I have a Nassboards petrol driven generator under a waterproof plastic cover in my back yard to recharge the Beaudens power box as necessary (from a long extension lead under backdoor). This is very good, if a bit noisy, and designed for purpose. But its starting and operating procedure is a bit tricky and needs some practice. I've done that, but never had to use it in earnest. I should start it up again soon to refresh my memory (using the copious instructions that I've made to myself).

People say, what are you going to do about cooking, because you have an electric cooker/hob, and a microwave uses far too much power? (the Beaudens can't do it). Answer: a good old Trangia stove! Just make sure you've got a good bottle of spare paraffin

 A good video on it here:  youtube.com/watch?v=TQzvbgowPXM&

Post edited at 01:11
 ExiledScot 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

The tories have lots of robust plans in place. Just zero action on them. 

In reply to The Lemming:

National grid: "The company said it was an "unlikely" scenario but added that supply interruptions were a possibility if the energy crisis escalated.

Cuts would probably occur at peak times and customers would be warned in advance.

But as a base case National Grid expects homes will face no problems."

Newspapers: AAAARGH POWER CUTS ARRGH LIKE THE DARK AGES GNARRGGH

People: "Predicted power Blackouts this winter - IT advice please"

FFS

 ExiledScot 07 Oct 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

> The outages, if they happen, will be announced the day before.  

> Why not plan around that and do something else instead?

Yeah, so kids can finish school early so they can do their homework and have a hot meal before the power goes off at peak winter usage of 1600-1800hrs? 

Those SMEs going for growth growth growth  can just stopping working or should they push to improve productivity by candle light? 

 ExiledScot 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

For the last 25 years many sectors of government were told to reduce demand at certain critical times. In the military every winter there are tannoy broadcasts on certain days telling everyone all none essential power use should cease, that's MOD wide. The grid has been closer to it's limit than most release for a long time. Going off this I fully expect power cuts if winter is remotely cold and the wind isn't blowing.

1
 timjones 07 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

We use  4G broadband, in the event of a power cut I can just swap the SIM card into a mobile router and power it off a pocket sized powerbank.

 wercat 07 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

you'd think there would be a peloton "store your ride power for later" option that people could use, as people did in occupied Europe to power clandestine radios.

In Russia people without mains used gas powered thermocouples as generators

Post edited at 09:30
 HardenClimber 07 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Where I live in the Dales, the mobile towers seem to go down when there is a power cut. usually something works because of overlapping areas...

Our landlines are now digital, so dependent on having a powered modem etc. I suppose the question is to what extent the (fibre) broadband is proofed against power loss (and for how long). (the 'telephone exchange' does have a backup generator).

In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Newspapers: AAAARGH POWER CUTS ARRGH LIKE THE DARK AGES GNARRGGH

Yes, very predictable.  Absolute no win for the power generators - if they have no worst case planning they are useless and irresponsible, if they are transparent about their perfectly sensible contingency planning it's an admission of the imminent collapse of civilisation.

Which is not a criticism of the OP - we have power cuts all the time, which have nothing to do with a shortage of gas.  Having a backup powerpack for the phone so you can hotspot 4G for as long as the laptop has battery is completely sensible if you work from home.     

 elsewhere 07 Oct 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> The tories have lots of robust plans in place. Just zero action on them. 

In France & Germany governments are encouraging energy saving now in preparation.

If we did that, it might make power cuts later unnecessary and I think the only costs are ideological - the government regards asking people to turn down the thermostat & lighting for the good of everyone & the economy as a sign of failure/weakness, too nanny state, too socialist, too European or virtue signalling.

In reply to The Lemming:

Do you think it would be sensible to keep something like this: https://uk.jackery.com/products/explorer-1000-portable-power-station or
https://www.hampshiregenerators.co.uk/product/generators/portable-power-stations/goal-zero-yeti-1000x-1500w-lithium-portable-power-station/

charged and ready for winter? Such a thing could also be useful on car-camping trips to charge phones/cameras/cool boxes etc. Obviously this does the same job as the small powerbanks most of us have, but....biggerer.

 wintertree 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> - if they have no worst case planning

The topic here - pre-scheduled power cuts - is not worst case planning, not by a long way.

Worst case planning is more like what happens if a big generator faults and drops offline at a time there is no spare capacity; it's then about near-instantaneous, zero notice power cuts to large areas in an attempt to prevent the grid from collapsing, an event that takes days to recover from - assuming everything goes according to plans that haven't been tested "for real" in decades.

Cascade failures can and do happen to the power grids in developed nations, recent examples being Texas (2021), South Australia (2016) and Northeastern America (2003).

I think it's likely we're going to be running with some very low amounts of spare capacity in the online generators at points this winter.

In reply to ChrisBrooke:

See also my post above re. the excellent Beaudens power pack.

In reply to wintertree:

OK, second worst case planning.  It was predicated the risk of a shortage of gas and how the generators would deal with it. 

I'm in no doubt that here we'll be off for three hours at some point during the winter - but that's because of the state of the distribution infrastructure - it happens every time the wind blows too much.  It's undesirable, but not the end of the world.

 wercat 07 Oct 2022
In reply to HardenClimber:

On a number of occasions when we have had scheduled and unscheduled power cuts (during storms)  I have operated our broadband router from a battery 12v supply (I have a power lead for this beside the router permanently) for a couple of hours or so.  We have FTTC.

Before broadband we had a storm/floods in Cumbria that put our power out for 2 days and some people's for a week or so and mobile phones were down for days on end and we powered a Thinkpad from a car battery and had dial up working via the analogue phone network.

Good Lighting for 24 hours plus using a cheap clansman 24V 5AH rechargeable battery pack into whose charging port a GU5.3 MR16 5W (40W equivalent) LED bulb simply pushes.  Works well for camping 2.  These are solar charged

 ExiledScot 07 Oct 2022
In reply to wercat:

Indeed, plenty of inverters seem ready for this, mine has normal 3pin 240v output, plus 2 usb slots. I'd rather the power stayed on, but we'll cope fine. Is this how one of richest and largest economies in the world should be in 2022, no. 

Do you have a clansman or just the batteries? 

Post edited at 11:06
 wintertree 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Dave Garnett:

>  It's undesirable, but not the end of the world.

Significant power disruption could tip a lot of SMEs over the edge, especially if it disrupts staff as well through disrupting their households.  Businesses don't have an endless reserve of ability to wind stand exceptional onslaughts - Covid, energy prices, reliable energy supply.  It's adding up.

In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Agree re the cooking - I have a full gas bottle for the BBQ ready to destroy some meat (as I usually do)

I have considered a petrol generator, thought about one that could be fed into the house main in the event of a power cut to run the fridge/freezer, a couple of lights and keep the oil fired boiler working. Not sure what would really be required as not an electrician. Would need advice on what to buy and would then get an electrician in to wire it up.

Has anyone else done anything similar? or is this a ridiculous idea? 

 wercat 07 Oct 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

Clansman HF yes.  power cuts reduce local interference so cuts bring a benefit.  I tend to run them from old battery packs converted to Li-Ion now though. 

LiFePO4 batteries built up from cells purchased separately are a real revelation though and easily solar charged even "by hand".

Post edited at 11:20
 ExiledScot 07 Oct 2022
In reply to wercat:

> Clansman HF yes.  power cuts reduce local interference so cuts bring a benefit.  I tend to run them from old battery packs converted to Li-Ion now though. 

Ah the joys, it's a black art tuning a clansman. The modern replacement takes away the joy of achieving good comms off an end fed.

> LiFePO4 batteries built up from cells purchased separately are a real revelation though and easily solar charged even "by hand".

The batteries were so versatile, we used them for all sorts, we modified a lead to power the then modern laptop style sat phone which had dreadful battery life. 

 wercat 07 Oct 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

the batteries are extremely versatile, about 125 watt-hours from the  5Ah variety.  The level of illumination in camping applications is amazing with MR16/GU5.3 bulbs which appear to run completely happily on 24v DC  (I have blown none over a period of years using them like this)

They make me think one of these lamps with a smaller battery would make an extremely effective bike headlamp as long as it was directed downwards away from driver's eyes.

OP The Lemming 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Yes, very predictable.  Absolute no win for the power generators - if they have no worst case planning they are useless and irresponsible, if they are transparent about their perfectly sensible contingency planning it's an admission of the imminent collapse of civilisation.

Nope. They have a sensible plan and they are communicating that to the general population.

My IT request to provide a backup solution is a fairly sensible request to try to make plans and mitigate any potential power losses and provide First World tolerable adjustments.

The same forward thinking could be put in place for individuals that really really need electricity to improve or extend the quality of their lives such as CPAP machines to sleep/breath or dialysis machines.

Liz Truss said that she has robust plans. Does anybody fekin believe a word that comes out of her mouth or that of the government any more?

For the last 10 years the government has been winging it from one crisis to another. They have been using Firefighting Management rather than preperation because that would cost money that may or may not be needed if the plan was or was not put into effect. And this does not fit into their bean counter strategy.

I am calmly asking how I can provide modest amounts of power to my home in preparation for when the National Grid have given warning that there will potentially be power cuts.

That is not exactly going around screaming the sky is falling down.

OP The Lemming 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> See also my post above re. the excellent Beaudens power pack.

I like the look of them.

 LastBoyScout 07 Oct 2022
In reply to timjones:

> We use  4G broadband, in the event of a power cut I can just swap the SIM card into a mobile router and power it off a pocket sized powerbank.

If our main router goes down, we have a BT Mini hub which is battery powered - just need to phone BT and get them to activate it. If that doesn't work, I can use my phone as a mobile hotspot.

Pretty sure we can weather any minor power interruptions with a couple of power banks.

 jimtitt 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Agree re the cooking - I have a full gas bottle for the BBQ ready to destroy some meat (as I usually do)

> I have considered a petrol generator, thought about one that could be fed into the house main in the event of a power cut to run the fridge/freezer, a couple of lights and keep the oil fired boiler working. Not sure what would really be required as not an electrician. Would need advice on what to buy and would then get an electrician in to wire it up.

> Has anyone else done anything similar? or is this a ridiculous idea? 

You need an isolator/change over switch, it is absolutely nescessary to isolate your house from the mains supply before feeding from a generator, the switch ensures it is either one or the other. Mine is technically illegal but simple (because I understand electricity), the generator output goes through a fuse holder (3phase for me) and I have to take the mains fuses out and put them in the generator board. I also know how my earth system works!

 Max factor 07 Oct 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Humor.  Things might get a bit rioty though this winter, and people without power are people without their usual distractions.

Not if it's a bit parky out. Most riots happen during heatwaves. 

In reply to The Lemming:

> I am calmly asking how I can provide modest amounts of power to my home in preparation for when the National Grid have given warning that there will potentially be power cuts.

> That is not exactly going around screaming the sky is falling down.

Did you read the second half of my post?  I was rolling my eyes at the entirely predictable headlines in a certain part of the press, not at you.

In reply to jimtitt:

How powerful is your generator and what will it run when supplying the house?

OP The Lemming 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Did you read the second half of my post?  I was rolling my eyes at the entirely predictable headlines in a certain part of the press, not at you.

It was a generalise rant. 😀

 jimtitt 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> How powerful is your generator and what will it run when supplying the house?

5kW so most stuff really though not my workshop machinery at the same time, it's either do the washing or I can work!

The practical limitation would be the fuel consumption which is reasonably proportional to the power so deciding how much fuel I have against how long the power cut would be.

Important is whether the generator is compatible with anything electronic, small generators can be square wave and plenty of of stuff won't work at all. To drive my heating plant computer I run the 12V output through a pure sine inverter anyway as it's already hooked up that way (there are three old car batteries on a small solar panel which run it for a while anyway).

In reply to jimtitt:

Thx for the reply - very interesting

 jimtitt 07 Oct 2022
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Simpler for most people (things are a bit industrial at Titt Castle) is to ignore the house system altogether and make things like the heating supplied through a plug/ socket instead of hard wired , then it's just a couple of wander leads and a few LED work lights. Make sure you buy a pure-sine generator though (normally sold as inverter generators) if you want stuff like your TV to work!

In reply to HardenClimber:

> Where I live in the Dales, the mobile towers seem to go down when there is a power cut. usually something works because of overlapping areas...

The vast majority of our base sites here have battery backup, and I would suspect all sites in the UK will - no network operator wants their sites to go down and not only stop earning them money, but also costing them money when they need manual intervention when they don't come back up properly (or go faulty).

> Our landlines are now digital, so dependent on having a powered modem etc. I suppose the question is to what extent the (fibre) broadband is proofed against power loss (and for how long). (the 'telephone exchange' does have a backup generator).

I think it depends on the network model.  All our fibre here is fed from exchanges with battery & generator backup. However, in the UK it may also be fed from street cabinets, which may or may not have battery backup. Our street cabinets feeding xDSL services have battery backup, and that's good for around 5-6 hours depending on how heavily-loaded the cabinet is.

OP The Lemming 07 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

If there was a magic wand to reset the electric power consumption of this country, or world in general, what form would or should it take?

 JLS 07 Oct 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

Crank up the thermostat. Liz says it’s alright.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-63170588

 wercat 08 Oct 2022
In reply to JLS:

a robotic idealogue.  Of course she does not understand.  For her Power has nothing to do with physics

 wercat 08 Oct 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

forgot to say, wire aerials, oh what fun, dark arts indeed

 HardenClimber 08 Oct 2022
In reply to Toerag:

> I think it depends on the network model.  All our fibre here is fed from exchanges with battery & generator backup. However, in the UK it may also be fed from street cabinets, which may or may not have battery backup. Our street cabinets feeding xDSL services have battery backup, and that's good for around 5-6 hours depending on how heavily-loaded the cabinet is.

Our dale now has digital phone lines to property.  The as above the modem needs to be powered. We always used to keep an old analogue phone which would work without power, but that doesn't work with the new set up, so there is also power needed for the digital handsets.... I've not seen how long the digital landlines will stay working, but as before I was surprised at how much mobile network went down with the extended outages last year.

In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Answer: a good old Trangia stove! Just make sure you've got a good bottle of spare paraffin  

Paraffin won't do you much good for a Trangia stive...

In reply to The Lemming:

The old CEGB used to monitor the TV schedules so they could prepare for the load spikes at advert breaks, when people put the kettle on.

Maybe someone could persuade commercial TV not to deliberately align ad breaks across the dozens of freeview channels...

In reply to captain paranoia:

Well spotted! I actually have a large bottle of meths and no paraffin. (Thinking of the old days of Primus and Optimus stoves.)


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