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Thread: Gear for power-cuts

  1. #1
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Gear for power-cuts

    Given we might get blackouts during winter - what are the options for small portable power-supplies? I don't mean to heat or light a whole house but to give lighting and more charging capability than say a small power bank? anyone looked at this and if so what options did they consider?

  2. #2
    Master
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    I keep looking at the power stations from Anker, Jackery and Bluetti also a a leisure battery set up, not for impending power cuts but for when working and staying off grid for extended periods, yet to splash the cash though.

  3. #3
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    How do you decide how long a power cut to plan for? Small generators are quite affordable. Buy several now and make a killing gouging later.


    The fridge freezer is an issue if it's more than a few hours, so run down the contents? Generally speaking though, a few LED lamps, led head torch, lots of batteries, phone power pack that takes AA batteries, some books, some canned food and dryvgoods that can be eaten without cooking, and an insane amount of toilet roll.

    Are power cuts likely though?

  4. #4
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    How do you decide how long a power cut to plan for? Small generators are quite affordable. Buy several now and make a killing gouging later.


    The fridge freezer is an issue if it's more than a few hours, so run down the contents? Generally speaking though, a few LED lamps, led head torch, lots of batteries, phone power pack that takes AA batteries, some books, some canned food and dryvgoods that can be eaten without cooking, and an insane amount of toilet roll.

    Are power cuts likely though?
    After the last few years I have moved away from "naw couldn't happen".

    Modern fridge freezers are generally good for about twelve hours if you don't open the doors.

    I was working on the basis of maybe four or five hours.

    Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Get a petrol generator

    BUT - only use to power the following (and not nec all at once)

    In principle:

    Group A
    Gas Boiler
    CH Pump
    CH Controller
    Laptop or PC /Router/phone/Wifi/Small charging banks for phones/tablets etc

    Group B
    Freezer, or Fridge Freezer

    It is much easier if you don't have to 'educate' a wife and kids on what can/cannot be run at all, and what can/cannot be run together................

    It's important to recognise that some loads will drag the voltage down and then knacker the PCBs and other electronics on some pretty expensive items.

    Some things you just need to figure out as you go along, and buy a few extension leads to facilitate supplies (Garage door openers etc), but you need to look at what you actually NEED to function, and not pander to "But I must have my hairdryer!!!"

    Get a few jerrycans of petrol and don't store them in garage or house - Petrol doesn't freeze.

  6. #6
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post

    It is much easier if you don't have to 'educate' a wife and kids on what can/cannot be run at all, and what can/cannot be run together................

    I
    My wife is more technical than me - I'd expect her to explain it to me.

  7. #7
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    My wife is more technical than me - I'd expect her to explain it to me.
    Until she uses the new washing machine and the heater bank cuts in, and fries the PCB.............

    Trust me.............

  8. #8
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Until she uses the new washing machine and the heater bank cuts in, and fries the PCB.............

    Trust me.............
    Again that is more likely to be me.

  9. #9
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Where/why are we likely to get blackouts this winter more than any other winter ?
    Genuine question...

  10. #10
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    I don’t think we will have power cuts this year; that said we have a paraffin lamp the can be placed on the table in the garden for light through the bi fold doors, we have plenty of coals for the BBQ for cooking food.
    If the country gets in to a situation where we will need more than this, then we are screwed. I will get the rifle out and start hunting in the Parks…
    How will we access TZUK though?

  11. #11
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    I don’t think we will have power cuts this year; that said we have a paraffin lamp the can be placed on the table in the garden for light through the bi fold doors, we have plenty of coals for the BBQ for cooking food.
    If the country gets in to a situation where we will need more than this, then we are screwed. I will get the rifle out and start hunting in the Parks…
    How will we access TZUK though?
    You could be faced with cooking a shitload of food, if the power goes off…… and then eating it all rather than wasting it.

    I might invest in a generator………………..

    Same as when I bought my snow-blower:

    ”I’d rather be looking at one, than looking for one!”

  12. #12
    just don’t expect to run everything. if it has a motor or a heating element then you need a lot of KvA.
    my parents have a couple of generators and when there are storms and no power they go round the village topping up peoples fridge/freezers and you really hear them struggle under load when the compressor starts up. think they just about ran the small gaggia coffee machine but conversely you can run loads of light bulbs.
    they have a calor gas oven/hob and a log burner as back up.

  13. #13
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    How do you actually patch the generator in, or do they just have plug sockets?

  14. #14
    Buy an inverter for the car and run that.

  15. #15
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    How do you actually patch the generator in, or do they just have plug sockets?
    For control of what is running off it - you’d run extension leads plugged into the generator, but as long as you have control over consumers - you can install an incoming Circuit breaker downstream of the normal breaker, and exercise strict control over the switching.

    switch off non-required MCBs, and on energised circuits - have labels over all switches NOT to be used, and unplug machines NOT to be used. Has to be done methodically and best listed.

    Maybe there is a case for preparing, in as much as you have your boiler/pump/controller all powered from plug/sockets on the kitchen circuit, to plug into a generator-supplied extension cable. Second extension cable for Router and phone chargers etc.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by reggie747 View Post
    Where/why are we likely to get blackouts this winter more than any other winter ?
    Genuine question...
    We have very little energy storage in this country, over the years this has been run down in the pursuit of increased profits. Buying energy from overseas depends on whether countries decide to continue to sell it to us or keep it for their own people. There simply may not be enough supply to go around, especially in the case of a very cold winter..

  17. #17
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Buy an inverter for the car and run that.
    Yeah but I'd have to buy a car to do that.

  18. #18
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulcangascompany View Post
    We have very little energy storage in this country, over the years this has been run down in the pursuit of increased profits. Buying energy from overseas depends on whether countries decide to continue to sell it to us or keep it for their own people. There simply may not be enough supply to go around, especially in the case of a very cold winter..
    The govt worse case "reasonable" scenario is rolling power cuts for 7 days in January.

  19. #19
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    The govt worse case "reasonable" scenario is rolling power cuts for 7 days in January.
    The same government which predicted 10yrs before, that a pandemic was the worst case threat to the country…………. But did shag-all about it?

    Pass the candles………..

  20. #20
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    How will we access TZUK though?
    The dynamic new protocol, IP over Avian Carriers. (RFC 1149)

    Although packet loss may get severe if people get really hungry.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    The dynamic new protocol, IP over Avian Carriers. (RFC 1149)

    Although packet loss may get severe if people get really hungry.
    Haha! Brilliant. Never seen that one before.

    Thanks for sharing. Let’s hope we don’t have to shoot birds then.

  22. #22
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulcangascompany View Post
    We have very little energy storage in this country, over the years this has been run down in the pursuit of increased profits. Buying energy from overseas depends on whether countries decide to continue to sell it to us or keep it for their own people. There simply may not be enough supply to go around, especially in the case of a very cold winter..
    Despite this, the UK has been a major exporter of electricity to Europe this year so presumably we can opt to generate a bit less, as well.

  23. #23
    For any version of power independence, the only option is a generator.
    It must be reliable, have good quality output and be quiet.
    These don't come cheap and ideally you would be looking at something like a Honda EU22i or similar which would give you power quality similar to the utility supply.
    No need to worry about pcb's or anything else getting "fried", that won't happen.

    There is really only one way to properly install one and that's by getting a sparky to install a change over switch, between your generator and consumer unit. If this is possible, then you just select your "normal" supply or your generator supply.
    The rest is simple - do the maths.
    eg the one above supplies about 1800 watts, so that's what you got.
    No need to get hung up on it, if you make a mistake it "trips" out, you reset it.
    You will soon learn, you can't have an electric shower etc. A small kettle may be more economical than a large generator etc etc.

  24. #24
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogroover View Post
    Despite this, the UK has been a major exporter of electricity to Europe this year so presumably we can opt to generate a bit less, as well.
    Nope. incorrect. The UK has been a major exporter of energy to Europe, and that has been reselling imported liquified natural gas, not electricity. https://archive.ph/YD84R

  25. #25
    Craftsman
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    This is a useful, all be it slightly basic in some respects, website to show how much energy is created and supplied through the GB grid, where it comes from and what other countries we import and export from/to:

    https://gridwatch.co.uk/

    If you scroll down, it gives the key to the acronyms and shows (I think it's updated every 15 minutes?) the amount of electricity imported and exported.

    I've used this over the years to help businesses and consumers understand the transition to renewables, specifically when considering EVs.

  26. #26
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    There will not be black outs. We should know by now the magnitude of shite we are fed and it’s sad to see it still lapped up!!

    To many sick and vulnerable who depend on a guaranteed supply. Just not possible. Mind you our government did kill off thousands during covid so anything is possible!

    If large parts of the network were switched off which had under ground HV cables, these cables have to be individually tested prior to energisation. Just not feasible on top of the every day running of things.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    There will not be black outs. We should know by now the magnitude of shite we are fed and it’s sad to see it still lapped up!!

    To many sick and vulnerable who depend on a guaranteed supply. Just not possible. Mind you our government did kill off thousands during covid so anything is possible!

    If large parts of the network were switched off which had under ground HV cables, these cables have to be individually tested prior to energisation. Just not feasible on top of the every day running of things.
    What happened in the ‘70s cuts, was everything tested?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Nope. incorrect. The UK has been a major exporter of energy to Europe, and that has been reselling imported liquified natural gas, not electricity. https://archive.ph/YD84R


    https://www.ft.com/content/517f2786-...7-fc5db835479e

  29. #29
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    "Britain’s power system has been riding to the rescue of mainland Europe in recent months, becoming a net exporter of electricity for the first time since 2017 to make up for record shutdowns of French nuclear reactors."

    I stand mostly corrected.

    Non=paywallecd version of the article: https://archive.ph/zTCxD#selection-1489.0-1489.60

  30. #30
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post

    If large parts of the network were switched off which had under ground HV cables, these cables have to be individually tested prior to energisation. Just not feasible on top of the every day running of things.
    Are there not breakers at each end of all HV distribution cables?

    Surely you have to be able to isolate at any downstream substation from incoming power? If you isolate at the incomer and leave the cables 'live'- then surely monitoring and integrity of those cables are maintained (without supplying power)?

    Does that not work?

  31. #31
    Grand Master Passenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    There will not be black outs. We should know by now the magnitude of shite we are fed and it’s sad to see it still lapped up!!

    To many sick and vulnerable who depend on a guaranteed supply. Just not possible. Mind you our government did kill off thousands during covid so anything is possible!

    If large parts of the network were switched off which had under ground HV cables, these cables have to be individually tested prior to energisation. Just not feasible on top of the every day running of things.
    When the every day running of quite a lot of things is simultaneously compromised...the brown stuff hitting the fan, albeit a non working fan, is only a matter of time...not exclusively applicable to 'just' the energy supply.

  32. #32
    Master TKH's Avatar
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    I had a crazy thought the other day

    what if you could reverse charge your house from your car ?

    So take your car to a 'free' charging station Aldi / Tesco etc get a full charge

    Drive home then plug your car into your house or rather your house into your car and use the cars battery to power the house
    run it nearly flat then recharge whilst out next day and repeat ?

    I know stupid but hey its a portable power pack.

    this is concerning 5000% mark up

    https://www.energylivenews.com/2022/...the-lights-on/

  33. #33
    Grand Master Passenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKH View Post
    I had a crazy thought the other day

    what if you could reverse charge your house from your car ?

    So take your car to a 'free' charging station Aldi / Tesco etc get a full charge

    Drive home then plug your car into your house or rather your house into your car and use the cars battery to power the house
    run it nearly flat then recharge whilst out next day and repeat ?

    I know stupid but hey its a portable power pack.
    I might be wrong but I think this is a 'feature' of the new Ford F150 EV...claimed ability to supply 3 Days electricity for the average house,

    https://www.motortrend.com/features/...ng-home-power/
    Last edited by Passenger; 22nd August 2022 at 11:15.

  34. #34
    Master TKH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passenger View Post
    I might be wrong but I think this is a 'feature' of the new Ford F150 EV...claimed ability to supply 3 Days electricity for the average house,

    https://www.motortrend.com/features/...ng-home-power/
    Need me one of them

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Are there not breakers at each end of all HV distribution cables?

    Surely you have to be able to isolate at any downstream substation from incoming power? If you isolate at the incomer and leave the cables 'live'- then surely monitoring and integrity of those cables are maintained (without supplying power)?

    Does that not work?
    In theory yes, in certain circumstances cables can still be left energised BUT this is minimal. The substation on your estate for example won’t have a local breaker but a feeder breaker back at source feeding multiple transformers. Only way would be to physically isolate each transformer towards the LV via a manual switch Which could keep HV live BUT again, there are thousands of transformers which don’t have a switch and are directly connected to HV via a direct connection or removable HV fuses. The network is still quite primitive in regards to plant still in operation.

  36. #36
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    What happened in the ‘70s cuts, was everything tested?
    Rules and regulations would of changed considerably in that time. Goes for all industries.

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    I bought a small petrol generator several years ago in expectation the Grid would start to fail.

    As it happens, the freezer and combi are in the garage on a 3-way Garage consumer unit. I plan to hard-wire the generator using an automatic transfer switch placed in-line to the Garage consumer unit. These make it impossible to have mains feed and generator feed connected at the same time.


  38. #38
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    In theory yes, in certain circumstances cables can still be left energised BUT this is minimal. The substation on your estate for example won’t have a local breaker but a feeder breaker back at source feeding multiple transformers. Only way would be to physically isolate each transformer towards the LV via a manual switch Which could keep HV live BUT again, there are thousands of transformers which don’t have a switch and are directly connected to HV via a direct connection or removable HV fuses. The network is still quite primitive in regards to plant still in operation.
    But if you ignore the local substations and go back up the grid to 33kv/11kv or the next higher stage?

    I appreciate that inrush currents may be significant on re-energising of substation transformers, though - luckily it might only involve a few areas at any one time?

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    Rules and regulations would of changed considerably in that time. Goes for all industries.
    A pity, don’t suppose anyone was injured/damage caused.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    ...and if so what options did they consider?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    But if you ignore the local substations and go back up the grid to 33kv/11kv or the next higher stage?

    I appreciate that inrush currents may be significant on re-energising of substation transformers, though - luckily it might only involve a few areas at any one time?
    At grid or primary level yes just open feeders and happy days but like I said any underground cable which has been off for 24hr minimum has to be tested prior to then closing those feeders again.

    And with copper prices where they are, any over head circuit with copper conductor would be gone if criminals knew they were switched out for long periods of time. Would only be when re energised the network would know anything about it.

  42. #42
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    At grid or primary level yes just open feeders and happy days but like I said any underground cable which has been off for 24hr minimum has to be tested prior to then closing those feeders again.

    And with copper prices where they are, any over head circuit with copper conductor would be gone if criminals knew they were switched out for long periods of time. Would only be when re energised the network would know anything about it.
    Now - there's another aspect!!

  43. #43
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeveal View Post
    I was thinking about buying the wife an exercise bike and connecting it to a dynamo…
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  44. #44
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    Could you not just pop down the winchester ( Hopvine) and have a nice pint and wait for it all to blow over?

  45. #45
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middo View Post
    Could you not just pop down the winchester ( Hopvine) and have a nice pint and wait for it all to blow over?
    Good idea - quick one in the Bridge and then across the Hopvine.

  46. #46
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J J Carter View Post
    I bought a small petrol generator several years ago in expectation the Grid would start to fail.

    As it happens, the freezer and combi are in the garage on a 3-way Garage consumer unit. I plan to hard-wire the generator using an automatic transfer switch placed in-line to the Garage consumer unit. These make it impossible to have mains feed and generator feed connected at the same time.

    Not to p*** on any parades ITT, and not to single you out because this applies to all the talk of zany apocalyptic power installations, but that particular lump gives me the shudders, it's extremely unlikely to be CE and BS 7671 compliant.

    Remember folks, any permanent mains installation has to be 18th-edition compliant and signed-off by someone qualified to do so, otherwise it is potentially lethal and definitely a wholesale insurance-invalidator.

    Take care folks - Winter Of Discontent II is coming!


  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Not to p*** on any parades ITT, and not to single you out because this applies to all the talk of zany apocalyptic power installations, but that particular lump gives me the shudders, it's extremely unlikely to be CE and BS 7671 compliant.

    Remember folks, any permanent mains installation has to be 18th-edition compliant and signed-off by someone qualified to do so, otherwise it is potentially lethal and definitely a wholesale insurance-invalidator.

    Take care folks - Winter Of Discontent II is coming!

    Actually the kid is doing the right thing. Keep your left hand in your pocket whilst working on anything that could give you a belt.

  48. #48
    Craftsman
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    Yep, powering a circuit from a power station/generator and having the mains come back on is likely to end with a bang and flash unless an interlocking breaker is installed.

  49. #49
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    I run my shed from a caravan battery and an inverter trickle-charged with a small solar panel. Light loads only obviously. Planning to bring that indoors should the need arise, it would suffice for charging phones, routers, radio’s, etc. Just filled every spare space in the garden with logs for the fire too.

    Not expecting power cuts tbh, but I do remember them in the ‘70’s and I absolutely loved it! Although I was only 5 at the time :)

  50. #50
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    What a depressing conversation to be having in 2022 in the fifth largest economy in the world.

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