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#283964 - 03/03/17 04:39 PM Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject)
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: southern Cal
There I was, at ease , watching the Weather Channel listing all the tornado alerts in Illinois a few nights ago, and suddenly:

No lights, no TV, no electricity - nada!

A glance outside showed that the outage was widespread, so I broke out my EDC light which lit the way to my stash of lanterns, batteries, and miscellaneous lighting appliances. Dinner was nearly cooked, so I didn't get a chance to fire up my big camp stove, but we ate by subdued lantern light.

Tucked into the sack a bit early, even for me, and everything was back to normal by morning. There was no word as to the cause of the outage.

Basically, it was simply a minor inconvenience. My stash of lights was charged and ready and functioned well. DW's headlamp was not functional (low batteries) and the backup headlamp had a non-performing lithium which was a surprise, but replacement batteries were readily at hand. DW got a tour of my recharging setup so she can recharge batts when I will be away.

My stock of AAA Eneloops is a bit low, so i will be ordering....All in all, a useful inconvenience which mildly tested our preps.
Geezer in Chief

#283965 - 03/03/17 07:33 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2239
Loc: Colorado
What's scary for me, is how much we are dependent on electricity. We don't have many outages here, and when they rarely do occur, they are short lived (hours, at most). But during an outage I'm looking around the house, the strangely SILENT house, and find: nope, the computers don't work, the TV doesn't work, my digital piano doesn't work (except off of UPS), stove doesn't work, washing machine/dryer doesn't work, water heater doesn't work (it's gas, but with electronic ignition), furnace doesn't work (electric fan), etc., etc., etc. Even our backyard grill doesn't work (it's a wood pellet Traeger, which uses an electrical auger). I'd have to try to revive our old propane grill that hasn't been used in a long time. I do keep two 20lb propane tanks full for emergencies, just in case. For that old grill, and also for a Coleman two burner camping stove that uses an adapter for the big propane tanks.

Being a flash-a-holic, light is not a problem. I must have enough flashlights and batteries to supply the whole city.

Water is not a problem, as we have those big water bottles delivered for our dispenser, and typically have half a dozen (or more) full 5 gallon bottles sitting around in queue.

Gasoline isn't much of a concern. We don't always keep the cars as full as we should, but we have so many darn cars sitting around that usually one (at least) is full. Also, we keep 10 gallons in cans available for the small (4000 watt) generator that we can fire up and plug things in with extension cords.

But it's still eerie when the lights suddenly go out. It's like, "Oh no, what can we do to occupy ourselves now?" Usually I end up reading a book with my battery powered headlamp. I do have a computer UPS on my digital piano, and if I use headphones, then I can practice piano for about 3 hours before that is exhausted.

A new concern that has come up recently is our hot tub, installed about four months ago. If the electricity goes out and it's super cold outside, you don't want that thing to freeze. It would be destroyed. Luckily, it holds such a large amount of water, normally a bit above 100 degrees, and is well insulated, that it would take a long time to freeze. Before it was installed, I thought about this and figured - no problem, I'll just drag my portable generator out there and plug it in. Ha! I found out that these stupid tubs require a 50 amp circuit at 240 volts. I would need a 15 kilowatt generator just for the hot tub! (What I would do is use my small generator to power my portable fluid transfer pump to empty the tub. Between that, and the normal drain plugs, I could probably get enough water out to not have to worry about freezing too much.)

In summary - I really hope the electricity doesn't go out for a long time!!!

Edited by chaosmagnet (03/03/17 10:22 PM)
Edit Reason: minor language

#283969 - 03/03/17 09:05 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
LesSnyder Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1644
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
for the 2004 9day hurricane induced power outage boredom was somewhat addressed with an old analog 12v portable TV, which I ran off the car 12v battery.... shortly thereafter the TV format was changed to digital, so I upgraded to an Insignia digital portable, but added a double female cable connector, and a rabbit ear dipole antenna... with a short section of cable I'm able to get the signal to my recliner, and if the cable is up, don't have a problem... the rabbit ears picks up about 8 channels, and I can learn a little more Spanish...

#283970 - 03/03/17 10:30 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3468
Loc: USA
I have enough flashlights, headlamps, and radios (amateur and otherwise), to supply my whole neighborhood. I keep enough gas for my generator for a day or three of intermittent use without siphoning the cars.

My primary emergency heat plan is to use the generator to run a (powerful) space heater and close up a room enough to keep us all warm. Unless it was super cold we could probably do without that for at least a few days.

I'm a good enough electrician to disconnect the furnace from the service and run it off the generator, but we'd have to be out of power for a long time, while it was very cold, without a viable bugout option, and with the gas service still working, for that to make sense. It strikes me as unlikely.

For those with generators: A reminder to never, ever backfeed your generator into your primary house wiring. Either use extension cords appropriately or have a licensed electrician install a bypass switch.

#283979 - 03/04/17 04:03 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 479
Loc: Just wandering around.
Loose power?? Not very likely. Been off the grid for about 20 years now. We have 3 independent solar systems, each capable of meeting our needs. One that supplies our 5w trailer, one on our truck camper and a spare I occasionally use for special projects.

The spare system is stored in a 33' long aluminum trailer that provides pretty good farady shielding. Should survive all but the most severe EMP event.

Guess something could kill 'em all, but then I would probably have more serious problems that loss of power.

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#283980 - 03/04/17 07:19 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: Nomad]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: southern Cal
I have backup solar power, enough to recharge batteries that operate radios, lights, GPS, and miscellaneous gadgets. For cooking, I will go with propane or any of several backpack type small, handy stoves. For heating and toasting marshmallows there is a fireplace.

When it comes to portable solar, I must admit I am a Goal Zero fan. Not at all cheap, but well engineered and effective. i am beginning to think seriously about rooftop solar panels.
Geezer in Chief

#283982 - 03/04/17 10:07 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
A house with a fireplace is on my bucket list!
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#283984 - 03/04/17 10:14 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1200
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: hikermor
When it comes to portable solar, I must admit I am a Goal Zero fan. Not at all cheap, but well engineered and effective.
Which Goal Zero product do you recommend?
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

#283985 - 03/04/17 10:38 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: bacpacjac]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2934
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
A house with a fireplace is on my bucket list!

A fireplace (the old open masonry kind) is massively overrated. I have two in my new place. They just suck semi-warm air out of the house and blow 95% of the heat up the flue. I never burn them except on a damp day in summer, even though I have endless wood right here on site.

I just converted one to natural gas, with a pilot light and designed to run full time without requiring the electric fan. This will give us an upstairs "nest" that always works, since our NG grid is largely independent of the electric grid. The price was a bit of a shocker, but it will be used regularly for three seasons and (at 85% efficiency) will save more money than it cost over the long term.

For the other masonry fireplace (basement) I have a simple hunter stove that just fits inside. I also have single wall chimney pipe and insulation (for a chimney seal) so I can jury-rig emergency heat to keep the pipes from freezing. Obviously this would have to be supervised at all times, both to keep it fed and safe, as insurance would laugh at me if this caused a fire. A battery powered CO detector would be essential also, because dead lasts a long time.

#283986 - 03/04/17 10:38 PM Re: Power Outage (caution: Dark Subject) [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: southern Cal

I really like their Lightouse Mini lantern - compact and bright. You can switch out its proprietary lithium-ion battery (I quickly obtained a couple of spares). The lantern will charge directly from a USB source and you can charge a cell phone from its integral USB receptacle. Their Switch 10 power bank also uses the same battery and accepts a flashlight head.

I recently received a Nomad plus solar panel which augments the Nomad panel I had acquired earlier. I haven't used it yet, but it seems to have improved electronics which
I understand will charge many appliances, including cell phones, with fewer hassles and problems.

My experience hasn't been incredibly extensive. Besides a bit of casual use, the aforementioned power outage, the only significant was a two week field project where the nomad panel and the mini lantern worked like champs.

Being a poor but honest archaeologist, I haven't purchased any of their more expensive products, but some day....

Based on my experience so far, I think I will be pleased.
Geezer in Chief

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