Thursday, July 28, 2011

Powered Up

Last night around 9:30 PM (local time) we had a heck of a windstorm in Rockford. A large branch of a tree is sitting on our front lawn. Since the tree is on city property I get to haul it out to the street and wait for the city to pick it up. The best part was that the power went out at my place at about ten minutes into the storm while we were in the basement waiting the storm out. There was a mad scramble to get flashlights and candles. Luckily we have lived here long enough to find our way about in the dark. The power didn't come on until 2 PM (local time) this afternoon. As usual, in every dark cloud there is a silver lining. Let me just repeat what my first mate told me, "The power was off and my husband was on." Yes. Indeed. Let me add that the first mate was powered up as well. A very lovely young lady.

This is not the first power outage we have had recently. There was a two hour long outage on July 11th. For no reason I could figure.

Which brings me to my main point. Getting through a power outage. Flashlights, batteries and candles for sure. But what else? A battery backup for your computer is essential. I say this as someone who has run computers for decades without such backup. You can't believe how nice it is to do an orderly shut down when the power goes off. So what do I use? This:

Cyberpower CP600LCD UPS - 600VA/340W LCD Display 8-Outlet RJ11/ Compact Design EMI/RFI

It gets good ratings and reviews. The price is right (currently about $62, I paid $65) and it works well. It has excellent surge protection ( I already had lots of that on the line) and a really neat gadget for your desktop that shows available battery run time and the power your computer is drawing in real time. I love watching the meter go up and down with CPU and disk drive usage. It is totally geeky cool. My computer (a Gateway DX4831-01e), my monitor (A Samsung SyncMaster 710n - donated by a reader), the cable modem and my Cisco router (Linksys WRT54GS V5.0), all together use about 91 watts minimum and about 132 watts maximum. The backup system is rated for 340 watts. So I'm not stressing it much. Which is a good thing for emergency gear.

One thing I changed after the first outage was the items plugged in to the backup supply. I added the cable modem and the wireless router to the backup system. It was so cool having the mate's and the third son's laptops working with all the power out. There is only enough battery to keep the router and modem running for about an hour or two (if you shut the computer and monitor down as soon as you lose power). But that is enough time to find out what is going on.

Which brings me to another item. A second source of information. Radio. I have a Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave World Band Receiver with Single Side Band Reception which is a little pricey ($140 with shipping) but is good for TEOTWAWKI because it can get amatueur radio (SSB) and regular short wave (it actually goes from 150 KHz - to 29.999 MHz and also covers an extended FM range). But if you are going to run it without power you are going to need batteries. So why not some good rechageables? The radio takes four AA cells so I went looking. What I found was the Sony Cycle Energy Power Charger with 4 2500 mAh AA Batteries. When I bought them the price was $13. I wanted a second set of batteries so I could be using one set while charging the other set. I found out a second set of batteries was $12. No brainer. I bought a second set of batteries plus a charger for $1 more.

Any way. Think about what you might do to protect yourself and your stuff from power disturbances. Besides regular backups of your hard drive.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


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