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Old 07-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #21
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I did not realize the storm in Ohio was that bad. Hope it will get back to normal soon for you, Khan.

I looked up the Ecotricity Power shown above because it sounded interesting. Here's what I found.

It is a system of 3 components: a portable solar panel charging a 40Ah battery, which then powers an inverter with a rating of 1,800 Watts. It is important that buyers of this kind of equipment do not expect too much.

First, the starting power requirement of a motor is generally 3X its continuous power demand. This means a 18cuft refrigerator with a 500W consumption will draw up to 1.5KW during startup. This inverter can run that. But for cooling, do not think that you can run a small AC from this, unless it is small, really small.

Secondly, the 40Ah battery capacity means that even if you can run an appliance, the running time is very limited. Indeed, the specs on Amazon say you can run the above frig for 15 min from the battery. That's it.

Thirdly, what the solar panel can put out is limited. If the panel can put out 500W or more to sustain the draw from the frig, then you can run the frig all day (not all night of course). I could not find any spec on the panel of this system, but run-of-the-mill panels output something like 100W per square yard. Highly efficient ones may be up to 170W/sq yard. Poor ones may be as low as 50W/sq yard. And that is max efficiency, when the sun is bright, the panel is facing the sun squarely, and the temperature is low (solar panels lose efficiency when they are hot). For 500W of power, you would need a bigger panel than what is shown, plus it would cost more than the price shown.

So, do you want to wait hours for the battery to get charged, so you can run your frig for 15 min?

Solar has its applications (I set up my own system for my RV), but most people would be sorely disappointed because they thought it would replace a gas powered generator. RV'ers who boondock have different equipment and most importantly, much reduced power consumption compared to a typical home owner.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #22
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Seems like a big waste of money... many many hours to charge up and will not run a fridge for any length of time...
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:23 AM   #23
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I'd be very wary of that thing for $1600.

Read the 'specs' carefully - they advertise this as "1800 Watts", but you get less than 5 minutes usage at that rate:

Quote:
( Microwave 900-1600 5-12 min)

And after your 5 minutes (assuming the battery is at full capacity at that time), you need 16 hours of sunshine to recharge it. That's a couple of days, and the way they stretch their specs, I bet that's at the equator on a clear day in June.

But hey, it's 'green'!



Here's a 2500W inverter for less than $200:

Amazon.com: Cobra CPI 2575 2500 Watt 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power Inverter: Car Electronics

You can connect that to your car battery (you need heavy cables and rock-solid connections) and start up the car to recharge. And/or add a heavy duty battery which could also be recharged by connecting to the car. The separate battery will keep you from running down the car battery (but these do shut down when the battery gets down to ~ 10.2V) and provide some power with no car around.

This is similar to what I have for my sump pump backup, I could always power the fridge/freezer or other things if needed.


edit - cross-posted with Texas Proud - he's right

-ERD50
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #24
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1126 power still off.
Posting from phone connected to notebook connected to chargerbconnectd to car.
Excuse typing.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #25
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Workers are just down the street; they have to replace poles.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:30 AM   #26
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Workers are just down the street; they have to replace poles.
That's encouraging, Khan! I hope you get your power back soon.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:30 AM   #27
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I hope your power is back on soon Khan. It is not fun to be without it for several days.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #28
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I'd be very wary of that thing for $1600.

Read the 'specs' carefully - they advertise this as "1800 Watts", but you get less than 5 minutes usage at that rate:




And after your 5 minutes (assuming the battery is at full capacity at that time), you need 16 hours of sunshine to recharge it. That's a couple of days, and the way they stretch their specs, I bet that's at the equator on a clear day in June.

But hey, it's 'green'!



Here's a 2500W inverter for less than $200:

Amazon.com: Cobra CPI 2575 2500 Watt 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power Inverter: Car Electronics

You can connect that to your car battery (you need heavy cables and rock-solid connections) and start up the car to recharge. And/or add a heavy duty battery which could also be recharged by connecting to the car. The separate battery will keep you from running down the car battery (but these do shut down when the battery gets down to ~ 10.2V) and provide some power with no car around.

This is similar to what I have for my sump pump backup, I could always power the fridge/freezer or other things if needed.


edit - cross-posted with Texas Proud - he's right

-ERD50
I think the word "interesting" got misinterpreted. Really didn't expect a rebuttal from my post
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:33 AM   #29
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Workers are just down the street; they have to replace poles.
That's a good sign. Hope you are back up soon.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:58 AM   #30
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I think the word "interesting" got misinterpreted. Really didn't expect a rebuttal from my post
Rebuttal? I was just trying to fill in some info. Many people are not technical enough to be able to decode the pertinent specs.

Yes, it is 'interesting'. Interesting to see how some companies will try 'green' over the limitations. And it isn't really 'green' to use a solar panel for occasional use. It takes ~ 2 years of constant use under typical solar conditions to make up the electricity that it took to make the solar panel in the first place.

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Old 07-02-2012, 11:06 AM   #31
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But I know we'll need it the day after I sell it so I hang on to it.

The whole-house 15kw generators have dropped in price a lot since then. You may want to check into it again.
I know what you mean about not getting rid of a generator if you have it.

I purchased a small (5500 KVA) unit after the Halloween storm of last October, in the mid-Atlantic, which resulted in a lot of downed wires since most trees still had their leaves (we lost 5 trees, along with our power for almost four days).

Even though it was Oct/Nov, the house was uncomfortable (e.g. cold) and I had concerns for the food in the fridge/freezer, along with the sump pump (we're in a high water table area).

While I have yet to even start the generator I purchased (due to required maintenance on a monthly basis, after you start using it), I purchased the electric extensions, extra fuel (to keep it running 24 hours) and just the minimum in maintenance supplies.

If we never use it (this was the first major outage in 20+ years), so be it. I looked into the idea of a full house backup but regardless of cost (in our case, the quote was just under $10k), I'm too "cheap" to go there. I guess too many years of an LBYM lifestyle does not let me spend the $$$ (even if we have it) on something that has not proven to be a "need". However, if the electric grid becomes less reliable over the next few years, regardless of reason, we will look into a total house backup system.

So with the generator I have sitting in the garage, I have a "life preserver". Maybe not a lifeboat, but good enough IMHO for this stage in life.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #32
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Oh....here is another interesting way of emergency power:

http://www.amazon.com/Pedal-Power-Ex...cy+pedal+power

Of course, it may not keep you cool on a hot summer evening, but it is interesting.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:05 PM   #33
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I've been thinking about a generator too. Been without power now since about 10:30 Friday night, so tonite if it doesn't come on, it'll be 72 hours.

Anybody know what temperature would kill a cat? I'm not trying to be sick...but I have three of 'em. I've been making sure they have plenty of water, and they're not moping around the house panting, or anything like that. I'm keeping the windows in the house open so that it airs out at least. The thermostat for the heat pump is battery operated, and still shows a readout. Got up to 87 degrees yesterday inside the house. Not *too* bad I guess, considering it hit 98 outside!

I started throwing food out in the woods behind the house today, so tonite the woodland critters are gonna have a nice buffet!

The main thing I'm worried about right now, of all things, is a fish! My roommate bought a fish late last year...an Oscar, I think it is. I forget what he named it but I started calling it Taterhead after hearing that on "2 1/2 Men". Wasn't very big at first, but that sucker must be about 6" long by now. Probably depletes the oxygen in the water pretty quickly, at his size. So I've been trying to partially drain the tank each day and add fresh water. And running the garden hose out in the fish pond.

So hopefully, everything survives this ordeal!
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #34
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After loosing power for almost a week in a big icestorm about 4 years ago, and then for another 4 days last summer when Hurricane Irene came through, I broke down and bought one of these:


Top-of-the-line portable generator that will run my whole house...wasn't cheap, but its no fun when the sump pumps have no power and the water is rising in the cellar....

Having plunked down the money, I can pretty much guarantee that there will never be another storm that causes us to lose power in my lifetime.

This particular model feeds extremely clean power thru an inverter of some sort so that I can run all the electronic devices I want with no fear of hurting them with dirty power...supposedly much cleaner than even the utility normally feeds.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:16 PM   #35
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Having plunked down the money, I can pretty much guarantee that there will never be another storm that causes us to lose power in my lifetime....
I look at it as cheap insurance.

About 10 years ago a substation powering our rural area of the county blew up, leaving 4,000 homes without power for a couple of days. This was in the middle of July with temps pushing 100. I bought a generator large enough to power the refrigerator, freezer and the air conditioner in our RV.

Like you said, we haven't been without power since...
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:20 PM   #36
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I've been thinking about a generator too. Been without power now since about 10:30 Friday night, so tonite if it doesn't come on, it'll be 72 hours.

Anybody know what temperature would kill a cat? I'm not trying to be sick...but I have three of 'em. I've been making sure they have plenty of water, and they're not moping around the house panting, or anything like that. I'm keeping the windows in the house open so that it airs out at least. The thermostat for the heat pump is battery operated, and still shows a readout. Got up to 87 degrees yesterday inside the house. Not *too* bad I guess, considering it hit 98 outside!

I started throwing food out in the woods behind the house today, so tonite the woodland critters are gonna have a nice buffet!

The main thing I'm worried about right now, of all things, is a fish! My roommate bought a fish late last year...an Oscar, I think it is. I forget what he named it but I started calling it Taterhead after hearing that on "2 1/2 Men". Wasn't very big at first, but that sucker must be about 6" long by now. Probably depletes the oxygen in the water pretty quickly, at his size. So I've been trying to partially drain the tank each day and add fresh water. And running the garden hose out in the fish pond.

So hopefully, everything survives this ordeal!
Sorry to hear about the ordeal you have to go through. I can't imagine having power out for 72 hours. About the cats, I've wondered about that myself before (have two cats of my own). That is, what is their tolerance. Fresh water and shade is probably to best. I didn't even consider fish. Brings back memories when I used to have fish and lost several due to power going out. Try to hang in there.

p.s. I've just started watching "2 1/2 Men" after all these years. I know Charile Sheen has the problems in real life, but he's hilarious on the show (as well as Jon Cryer).
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #37
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Based on the temps in my part of the world, as long as a cat has shade and water they are OK to at least 110...
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #38
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That 6.5KW Honda generator is nice! Honda also has a smaller one at 3KW, and even smaller one at 2KW.

To run the frig, it would not take much. Even the 800W HarborFreight "special" (<$100) may be able to run it.

But the A/C, particularly the home A/C is something else. I saw somewhere that a 5-ton unit like I have would require a 20KW generator to meet its demand on start-up. It has to do with LRA or "locked rotor amp" requirement of the A/C compressor.

If I am out of power, I will run the home frig off a long extension cord plugged into my motor home built-in Onan generator (4KW), and crawl inside the RV to stay cool with the RV A/C.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:36 PM   #39
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Andre you are doing the right thing re fish and cats. Replacing the water will help oxygenate the tank and as long as the cats have shade and water they should be okay.
When cats start panting, that is the start of danger territory for heat related stress. Older or sick cats are more vulnerable.
I got some excellent advice from REWahoo when choosing a generator.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:50 PM   #40
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Here's what a 20KW generator looks like. A Perkins generator.



A Cummins diesel 20KW generator:

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