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Cali blackouts coming

Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 12:38:18

I suppose this sort of thing will push many people who can afford it to either get solar and possibly some batteries, or go with a generator, possibly a whole house generator -- should this become a few times a year sort of event. (Given the devastation of the fires and the trend, re AGW, I have my doubts about CA exempting PG&E from all fire liability. Given political cowardice, I have my doubts about them allowing rate increases high enough to allow PG&E to replace all the needed equipment AND do ALL the fire maintenance re brush removal, tree maintenance, etc. to eliminate almost all the fire risk. I could be wrong. I suppose it depends on how the voter mood ends up.)

Ironically, the whole house generators are much less efficient than a power company and produce a whole lot more CO2 (they generally run on NG or propane) per unit of energy produced, so CA won't like that. But, price wise, you get a WHOLE lot more whole house generator for the money re powering your house for weeks in any weather -- at least until batteries get something like an order of magnitude cheaper for the expensive no maintenance LI ION Powerwall type affair.

Of course, government being so "fair and reasonable", CA could always let the outages go on and ban all such generators to protect the environment.

How long before the CA far left blames the whole mess on flyover country? :roll:
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 15:13:43

I had a power outage a few years ago that lasted two weeks up here in central Alaska. Temperatures were -10 to -20. Fortunately I had a good wood-stove and I cut several cords of wood each fall so I could keep the cabin warm.

I didn't have a generator and the stores sold out of generators the first day so I couldn't get one. There are some things you just need electricity for.

So I wound up running my Toyota Land Cruiser with an inverter plugged into the cigarette lighter to get some electrical power. Outside the house I had to plug in the heat tape that goes down the well into the inverter which was plugged into the car, or the well would freeze up. Then I had to switch to indoors and plug in my freezer for a while or the frozen salmon and moose meat inside the house would've thawed. The stuff in the regular refrigerator I just put out on the deck, but I didn't want to put the frozen salmon or moose meat outside because we've got moose, foxes, wolves, bobcats, and the occasional bear prowling around at night.

Anyway, I recommend getting an inverter and plugging into your car if you don't have a generator. You can get a car inverter very inexpensively...like $40 now.

And if you can afford it then buy a nice Honda generator when the stores get restocked.

Cheers!
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 15:42:10

Amazon delivers overnight to lots of places
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 15:51:34

Plantagenet wrote:And if you can afford it then buy a nice Honda generator when the stores get restocked.
Cheers!

Yeah, if I lived in Alaska where subzero temps were a common thing, I think I'd have two generators, a whole house and a small one for a backup for running the fridge or the furnace, etc.

That inverter sounds like a good idea, as long as you have enough gas in the tank to charge the battery now and again. (I can imagine gas stations not having backup power, or gas running out if people panic in a power outage).

To be honest, not being the mechanical type, I always worry about blowing shit up playing games with electricity more complex than using surge protectors or a UPS for computer gear. (My electrician and plumber figured everything out re installing my generator. My dad was a mechanical engineer, but my generation that specializes in messing with computer symbols is generally very hapless re complex mechancial/electrical stuff, unfortunately.)

That's why I kind of like the solar and battery backup idea whenever the batteries get cheap AND I'm pretty certain I don't have to worry about fire risk.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 16:59:58

Cog wrote:Commies doing commie things. My give a care meter is broken. Commifornians can sit in the dark and smoke weed for all I care.

You are onto something.
During good old commie times in Poland power blackouts were frequent and people got used to them.
But unlike in the case of California we did not have millions migrants, often mentally disturbed, who would use these as an opportunity to loot, boot and rape.
Even Russian soldiers were behaving much, much better.
But collapse is collapse. All of us need to learn to enjoy it and learn from Venezuelans how to cope.

Lets hope that a truly magnificent earthquick will come and put an end to this misery, in California at least.
It is still better than return of bubonic plague in places like LA where 10+ millions of rats are proliferating like mad because it is illegal to poison them with working preparates for environmental reasons.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Cog » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 19:36:58

Well the Mexicans are used to blackouts so the Commifornians should have no problems at all.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 19:46:45

In lots of ways batteries are more complex than a generator. They have complicated chemistry, each different type wants a different charging and maintenance profile, I’ve no idea what extreme temperatures do to them. And they wear out. Look inside of some of the more complex batteries and you will see that there is a circuit board in there. Circuit boards can and do fail. Then there is the whole charging system that does not perform on demand, hence you need the batteries.

These systems may perform flawlessly for a long time. But then again so do diesel generators. 24/7/365 as long as you feed them.

Once you start digging into it the alts are anything but simple.

Ibon with his water turbine is a different animal. That’s a really cool solution that won’t work for 99.99% of us.

The very best solution, and by far the cheapest, is to drive your energy needs down as far as possible. There is a LOT of advantage to moving to somewhere with a benign environment.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 20:30:55

Newfie wrote:The very best solution, and by far the cheapest, is to drive your energy needs down as far as possible. There is a LOT of advantage to moving to somewhere with a benign environment.

Don't say that! It's really mild in this part of WA state, we don't need no more immigrants! 8)
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 10 Oct 2019, 20:36:28

A car inverter sounds like a good idea, this one has favorable reviews but I don't know any of those folks. Anyone here have experience with it?

INVERTER
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 01:48:42

Newfie wrote:In lots of ways batteries are more complex than a generator. They have complicated chemistry, each different type wants a different charging and maintenance profile, I’ve no idea what extreme temperatures do to them. And they wear out. Look inside of some of the more complex batteries and you will see that there is a circuit board in there. Circuit boards can and do fail. Then there is the whole charging system that does not perform on demand, hence you need the batteries.

I suspect that early versions of these batteries will prove quite reliable, very much like early versions of energy saving bulbs. Have few of these working for last 20+(!!!) years even if frequently switched on and off. Current versions are rarely lasting more than 2 years.
Later they will also mess up these batteries for purpose to last approx. 10 years or so, but they will need some research to ensure "fail safe" and avoid claims for burned houses which could drive them to bankruptcy.
For as long as these systems are niche market meant mainly for elites and few geeks, they will be reliable. Once they became "consumer items", it will no longer be the case.

Circuit boards *do* fail because they are designed to fail (planned obsolecy) or because cheap and crap components like budget capacitors are used there.
These can be reverse engineered and redesigned. I done it with my inverter welder circuitry.
Once it have failed (capacitor breakdown) I have replaced all MLCC on the board with older Pd versions of them which are known to be virtually indestructable if used within designed parameters. These palladium based MLCC are not easy to purchase now because of very limited supply but I have reclaimed plenty from used telecom circuit boards. Easy to distinct from more modern (and crap) nickel based substitutes. They are simply non magnetic.
Larger electrolytic capacitors were replaced with tantalum "military grade" version which are easily available at premium price and also last for ever and few days more. Such modification is calling for an addition of soft start circuitry because of low ESR of Ta capacitors and associated troubles if large capacitances are present.
But resulting modified equipment goes to "indestructable until treated with steamroller" category.

Ibon with his water turbine is a different animal. That’s a really cool solution that won’t work for 99.99% of us.

He is still at the mercy of God of rain, very much like Maya of the past.

The very best solution, and by far the cheapest, is to drive your energy needs down as far as possible. There is a LOT of advantage to moving to somewhere with a benign environment.

Agreed.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 09:16:36

Tanada wrote:A car inverter sounds like a good idea, this one has favorable reviews but I don't know any of those folks. Anyone here have experience with it?

INVERTER

I have a couple like this, one plugs in and a larger one that clamps or even permanently mounts to the battery.
I'd guess the max fuse size on a cig lighter is 20A so 20a*12v=300w max
You'd want extra fuses.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 09:55:09

Pops wrote:
Tanada wrote:A car inverter sounds like a good idea, this one has favorable reviews but I don't know any of those folks. Anyone here have experience with it?

INVERTER

I have a couple like this, one plugs in and a larger one that clamps or even permanently mounts to the battery.
I'd guess the max fuse size on a cig lighter is 20A so 20a*12v=300w max
You'd want extra fuses.

Would buying one big enough (being conservative on the capacity) to handle the load easily reduce the risk of blowing a fuse on such units?

Looking at a bunch of reviews and comparing them, it seems to me that one of the biggest risks is them overheating or blowing fuses because people try to run them near or even above the load limit.

(Obviously, a 3000 Watt unit costs more than a 300 Watt unit, and is larger and heavier, so there's a trade-off there.)

One of the (IMO) dumbest things on looking at these is how few of the ads discuss how many fans and fuses even the large ones have, and how rarely they have two or more fans for the small ones, given how prevalent and key the heat issue is.

There's a good Youtube mechanic I like, Scotty Kilmer, who has a Youtube channel. He talks about using a small inverter unit and what to look for, and strongly advocates going for quality vs. cheap.

Ironically, the brand he is talking about is rated so-so on Amazon, but at least he has some clue about using the things in the real world. So that might be a place to start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XIJSf4fd-g

Another thought would be to see what brand/model of inverters are used by popular battery/inverter products are used with solar setups. Such inverters must last, or they'd use another type. I get all kinds of hits on "solar inverter", for example.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 10:33:35

Outcast_Searcher wrote:Would buying one big enough (being conservative on the capacity) to handle the load easily reduce the risk of blowing a fuse on such units?

The bigger units (probably everything over 300w) have clamps to hook directly to the battery so bypass the vehicle fuses.
I think the draw of what you plug in plus the overhead of the inverter (heat) is the main factor, bigger capacity may mean bigger overhead but I don't know that for a fact.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 11:26:57

You are not going to run a toaster in 300 watts.

Then how do you recharge the batterie?

EU,

I don’t think it takes much imagination to see why these battery/subverted systems are beyond most folks.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 11:38:35

That's the problem.
The downside to using the starter battery is of course you need it for starting. Running the engine at idle while using an inverter might still draw down the battery, depending on the vehicle. Because I have an important use for some electricity (insulin) I have checked. The Sonata doesn't put out enough current at idle to maintain the battery and run my little DC icemaker (150w) or AA battery charger, the big ford puts out quite a bit even at idle.

It's fine for an emergency when you gotta have some light to make quick repairs or charge the laptop but you really need to be cautious and use a meter or you'll be in the dark AND stranded.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby dirtyharry » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 11:46:04

Let us get things straight . If the grid is down long time ,nothing is going to save you ,inverters,batteries ,solar panels,wind farms ,Mr Musk and his crap . Then society is going to be FUBAR . Keep your fingers crossed and pray like hell this does not happen ,because if it does the party ends .
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby Pops » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 11:47:26

notice the thread title
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
-- Abraham Lincoln, Fragment on Government (July 1, 1854)
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby GHung » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 12:13:20

Newfie wrote:In lots of ways batteries are more complex than a generator. They have complicated chemistry, each different type wants a different charging and maintenance profile, I’ve no idea what extreme temperatures do to them. And they wear out. Look inside of some of the more complex batteries and you will see that there is a circuit board in there. Circuit boards can and do fail. Then there is the whole charging system that does not perform on demand, hence you need the batteries.

These systems may perform flawlessly for a long time. But then again so do diesel generators. 24/7/365 as long as you feed them.

Once you start digging into it the alts are anything but simple.

Ibon with his water turbine is a different animal. That’s a really cool solution that won’t work for 99.99% of us.

The very best solution, and by far the cheapest, is to drive your energy needs down as far as possible. There is a LOT of advantage to moving to somewhere with a benign environment.


This whole thread is very entertaining for one who has live well on solar and lead acid batteries for over 20 years - NO GRID POWER HERE AT ALL. Not overwhelmingly expensive, and NOT rocket science. Our current set of batteries has been in service for 12 years as of last week, and we are now shopping for a new set, not because they are failing fast (they seem great for their age), just because 12 years seems like time to do that. We expect to spend between $8k and $10k to increase our battery capacity a bit over the current set.
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby jedrider » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 12:35:56

My thinking is that it would be good to wire a house for low voltage emergency lighting, so when the power goes out, these lights turn on. Then use your laptop to access entertainment and/or have a small inverter available for a large screen TV or some small appliance.

A propane tank is handy if you have a barbecue grill.

I wonder what a small battery/inverter circuit would cost, enough to run house lighting at least. Let's see, if one had 10 lighting fixtures, each drawing about 20 watts maximum, that would be 200 watts. Say, ten hours of that is 2 KWH.

Here is an 160 WH Lithium-Ion Storage system for $160. So, you would need ten of them and a way of charging them during the day.

https://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Portable ... 0062&psc=1

I think that using a hybrid vehicle as a backup system seems like a good choice. I wonder how one would do that?
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Re: Cali blackouts coming

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Fri 11 Oct 2019, 13:04:43

In Australia, utilities are actually trying to get remote rural customers switched over to their own self-contained power systems because the cost of maintaining the existing grid transmission lines is so high. In one area they have 1,905km of transmission lines to serve only 335 customers!

https://reneweconomy.com.au/horizon-fir ... ids-71053/
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