Power outtage....

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Seawolf1090, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Well, I was online, and suddenly - everything went dark! DANGGIT!!!

    I waited a half hour, then called the electric company - guy said they had a crew dispatched.
    I used to opportunity to function check my two Coleman LED lanterns - one has the rechargeable battery pack and one uses fur D-cells. Both worked fine. Battery fan kept me cool, and the battery-powered AM/FM/WX radio kept my Golden Moldies going. I did check out it's hand crank too, as the rechargeable pack inside was dead. Cranking about two minutes gave me ten minutes of play time.
    So, with my online travels halted, I turned to something I'd been needing to do - getting ready to reload some .303 British ammo. Had 140 pieces of once-fired R-P brass decapped already, and 100 pieces of new R-P. I spray-lubed the once-fired to ready for sizing, and primed the new brass. Got sixty loaded by the time power was restored, in about three and a half hours. Using H4350 powder under the same Hornady .3105 FMJ-BT I use for the 7.62X54R Russian loads.
    Taking a break now that the juice is back on. :D

    Glad they got it back on. Much longer I'd have to drag the gennie out and plug into the fridge. Nice knowing I had that option available.
  2. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Sea, After Hurricane Ike nailed my area, I lost power for a very extended time. I did not need my genny for nearly 4 days. Freezer and fridge stayed ice cold for 3 days in 90+ degree weather, and on the 4th I cranked up, plugged them in and let them run for 12 hours. That bought me another 4 days. We used propane to cook, a hand cranked radio for entertainment (it also has a 7 LED bar light that we used at the table to play cards or board games while listening to the radio). We used a total of 20 gallons of gas, running the Genny for 12 hours every 4 days. Power was restored on day 21. Your fridge would easily last 2 days, even if you opened it, as long as you closed it quickly. Just saying, YMMV.

    In a SHTF scenario, the genny would NOT be run with any regularity. We'd eat up the frozen/refrig stuff, load the ice chests for anything that requires refrigeration after opening and eat that up quickly. Then transition to consuming anything we open within the day. Generator would be reserved for extreme emergencies. We can cook, clean, eat, and live without the genny as long as the solar battery chargers and propane hold out.
    Seawolf1090 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  3. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    Gee, my power has been out for,,,uh,,,,twenty-some-odd years.......I do call the power company and complain and they say something bout 'hooking up'?

    The propane fridge/freezer is great, I would recomend getting one, outta an old trailer for backup. Twenty pounds last over a month
    Falcon15 likes this.
  4. Harbin

    Harbin Monkey+

    While slightly off topic, I think it's close enough to post here. (if not, I apologize for hi-jacking your thread).

    We started building a home about 3 months ago. It's on 6 acres off a private road with only one neighbor about 600 yards away. The people moved in around the time we started excavating. The house they bought was very nice, but they went all out upgrading it and to get right to the point, replaced their well pump with a constant-pressure vfd system. I happen to be working on the electrical rough-in for the workshop when my new neighbor asked if he could borrow my generator when I was done working for the day. I asked him what was wrong and he said the power was out and no one told him the constant pressure well systems immediately go dry without power. We hooked up my generator and right after it would start to slowly ramp up, the VFD would show an error code. I looked them up on my phone and found they meant the incoming power wasn't clean enough. I grabbed a fluke from my truck and found my generator was only at 56.2 hertz. I only run lights and power tools off it so I never noticed. They ended up ordering a 25kw natural gas whole-house generator wired up with a transfer switch. It's a really nice setup, but seems a little silly.

    Prior to getting the generator, they had 3 more instances without water due to issues with the vfd, or outages. I think the lesson my wife and I learned from their experience is to remember the KISS theory.

    You are right SeaWolf- It is very nice to know I can grab just about any generator and we can have water. When the well was being installed they hooked up to my generator and had no problems testing the pump.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Harby, looks like you are in the right place. Four things rubbed the sleep from my eyes --

    1) 25KW is a LOT for a residence ---
    2) VFDs are not particularly efficient at low loads such as your neighbor will see if the pump isn't in use full time. (Due to idling power requirements, no matter how little.) They are NOT recommended for loads that are not continuous, for example process machines in factories where they return on their investment in a short period.
    3) Make sure that your "just about any" generator can handle the starting loads on your well pump. Assume at least 6X full load amps.
    4) Tweak your gennie to get a bit closer to 60hz. Off design operation makes heat in motor windings that won't do good things for your pump or reefer. There IS a way to adjust the engine speed, and well worth doing for long trouble free operation.
    TnAndy likes this.
  6. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    That is the basic problem with these small gennies. They almost always "drift" power to where bad hertz can be a problem. Since you have a fluke, hook it up, and then you can adjust this problem by the amount of gas/air and mostly from the speed of the gennie. Once you have it close to right, put a load on it and see if it holds.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Clarification for the non-bulbsnatcher fraternity: A Fluke is a very versatile digital multi-meter for routine and diagnostic electrical work. Well worth the price if you are going to do a lot on your own. I think, but do not know for sure, that places like Taylor's will rent them. They come in many flavors ---

    What is a DMM

    There's a selection guide on that site.
    Nadja likes this.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Another note on the VFD, on Water Pumps.... and I think Colt Carbine should address the basic Design Flaw of the Neighbors Water System. That being the lack of an Air Bladder Pressure Tank and Check Valve, that would not require a Constant Pressure Pump system to maintain Household Pressure. Most VFDs Rectify the Incoming Power directly to DC, and then reInvert it, under internal MicroProcessor Control to feed the Motor Loads, connected. This makes them very Input Power noise, and frequency, independent, or should, anyway. So I would look seriously at the VFD installed, If we are to believe the story, as stated. It turns out, these days, VFDs are nearly as cheap as Motor Starter Contactors, once you get past the 5 HP range.
  9. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Another point.....if your existing multimeter doesn't do hertz, instead of springing for a new, rather expensive one that does, simply buy a 25 buck "Kil-a-watt" meter, as it will also do hertz in addition to it's Kw/hr recording features.

    They are almost a requirement if you plan to do any kind of AltE to see what your current uses are.
    Seawolf1090 likes this.
  10. Harbin

    Harbin Monkey+

    Thanks for clarifying that Ghrit, I should have thought about that when typing it.

    You are right, 25kw is ridiculous for a residence. When I asked him why he went so big I was told the guy that came out to give him an estimate said at 4,000 sq ft they will one this big and that they should upgrade to a water-cooled unit as it's quieter and more reliable. [nono] I asked if they did any kind of load calcs or even looked at utility bills to see how much power he uses, they did not. After a very long explanation on why an over-sized generator is less efficient than one properly sized, he went and got his utility bills and found they greatly over-sized him. The guy also told him the larger the generator, the cleaner the power they produce which is what his well system requires.

    As for the VFD system, I tried to explain this to him as well and he said the 2 selling points that got him were the constant pressure and that it saves power. We use vfds extensively at work and in the right application they are wonderful, I wouldn't put one in this application. I wanted to see if there was an increase in his bills after it was installed but they were only in the house a couple months, not really enough to trend.

    BT Post- The drives we use at work are from Danfoss and the older ones are GE Fuji. When we run into issues with line voltage fluctuations kicking out our drives(normally from on site power generation during outages) we can try expanding the allowable operating parameters via a factory-commands mode. I'm assuming they tighten the range this drive accepts to minimize possible damage, reducing warranty claims.

    Thanks for the tip on the generator, I hadn't thought about adjusting it but over the long haul it would be smart.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Generator SalesDroid saw that guy coming, and took him for a pretty ride.....
  12. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    How does a VFD system operating a well pump that runs constantly to maintain building pressure use less power than a well pump with a pressure tank that runs periodically.

    Are these VFD systems that more efficient on the electrical end?

    I thought a VFD controlled the speed of motors, fans..... So if this is so, does that mean they sold him a big a$$ pump and controlled the speed of the pump.

    Am I to assume this guy got screwed by more than one person. Somebody seen this guy coming a mile away. It's really sad to hear people get taken advantage of but then one should be an informed buyer.
  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I think we know that his wife liked the idea of constant pressure, who doesn't? Based on my experience, a bit of variation isn't particularly objectionable if the variation is not sudden or large, but is spaced out over time. That particular question is economically answered with a weltrol tank; larger is smoother. A vfd will do it too, just more expensive in the long haul.

    It would be good for the world if everyone that bought "stuff" was informed. Ain't gonna happen; mis-informed is the rule and the root cause of consumer protection regulations to enforce ethics. BYKT.
  14. Harbin

    Harbin Monkey+

    The pump he had installed is a 3/4 hp pump. I had a 1/2hp pump installed, but his well is down at 180ft so maybe they figured he needed a bigger pump. I really don't know what the logic was in which pump they installed.

    I think he is a really nice guy that makes a very nice income being told exactly what he wants to hear. Unfortunately he doesn't choose to educate himself as much as he probably should. He could have at least gotten a competing bid and picked the next guy's brain.
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary