in the dark, with internets.

Power’s out again here at the castle. This time, instead of swiping the wife’s iPhone and using the 3G network, I hooked the wireless router and Internet dish up to one of those DieHard portable battery packs. The Mac mini and its LCD along with the router only draw 120W peak load, so they can run for quite a while on that pack. An even better solution was to shut down the Mac, break out the iPad, and just leave the dish and router plugged in. 30W load total, and I can even recharge the iPad from the pack if needed–it has two 120V outlets and a USB charging port.

Yes, keeping the Intertubes going on the only backup battery system in the house is a sign of advanced addiction. For the moment, however, let me bask in my ingenuity, and let’s thank Crom for not power-smiting my ISP’s wireless tower as well.


15 thoughts on “in the dark, with internets.

  1. Alex Johnson says:

    I also have our server/router/modem on a UPS at our house. We haven’t lost power for more than 15 minutes since we have lived there, but I grew up with days long power outages, and I like to have news.

  2. That is the one nice thing about having to come into Hanover — power and internet are both running fine here.

  3. Tam says:

    You gotta make sure the important things are taken care of first.

    Intertubes are a priority; after all, you could just roll the fridge outside and open the door to keep the food fresh.

  4. Alex beat me to it. A UPS is the bees-knees for computery stuff. Nothing worse that walking away from that long download/render/bounce, only to have the power blink off and lose your work (mind?).

    And UPSs is cheap.


  5. Randy says:

    Sounds like you need something like this.

    Haven’t gotten one yet, but I’ve heard good things about them.

  6. Jay G. says:

    For the moment, however, let me bask in my ingenuity, and let’s thank Crom for not power-smiting my ISP’s wireless tower as well.

    Famous last wo-

  7. Glamdring says:

    Any observations on what you wish you had or preps you will add based on this?

    Does your house gett enough heat to keep plumbing from freezing if power out for couple days?

    • Marko Kloos says:

      The well pump tank will freeze after a day of power outage, because it’s in the unheated garage. As soon as we can, we’re getting an industrial-grade propane or kerosene heater just for that job.

      Can’t have enough water jugs–not just for cooking, but also flushing toilets etc.

      Wood stoves are great, because they run without power. Ours is the last fallback in a three-tiered heating system–pellet stove, two propane furnaces, wood stove.

      Always be stocked on batteries, and keep all your junk charged when it looks like bad weather. Battery backups are great for powering essentials for a while. Oil lamps are good hands-free lighting.

      Common sense and a minimum of preparation, really. You don’t want to be searching for the flashlights when the power goes out, or realize you only have a 20-ounce bottle of drinkable water in the fridge.

  8. Al Terego says:

    The events of ’04 and ’05 and dire prognostications of more of the same resulted in about half the populace here in Fla installing so-called “whole house generators” mounted on a slab like a central a/c unit, wired directly into the house panel and complete with automatic startup and switching when the power goes down, and giant buried propane tanks for fuel. Of course they haven’t been run since, and many of these multi-thousand dollar investments might not run now when needed if not regularly checked and serviced these last hurricane-free years.

    The other half of folks rely on portable gennies with varying degrees of suitability and safety, but our 6000W Yamaha can be rolled out of the garage and hooked into a switching unit that has circuits for all the critical components…fridge, pump, micro, lights, teevee, tubes, a/c and heat, etc. Haven’t needed that either of course, but at least it’s usable for other things and it’s there if needed.

    Looks like you might benefit from such a setup…maybe even the whole house thing if you wanna spend some big bucks and really piss off the neighbors as you luxuriate in your bright warm abode while they shivver in the wretched cold and darkness, powerless.


    • Marko Kloos says:

      We’d probably be more likely to invite them over and let them recharge their electronic and cellular thingies while having some warm chow, but this neck of the woods is pretty self-sufficient.

      And yes, we’re shopping for generators right now–either a portable unit, or a propane genny wired into our existing propane infrastructure.

      • A 5K generator we purchased used year’s ago has more than paid for itself for us. While an 8-10K gas/propane would be nicer the 5K will keep the fridge, freezer, propane furnace, limited lighting, a TV and computer up and running.
        I’m adding a limited battery bank to our back up power set up as well for a more balenced field load and mean’s to service the genset w/o loss of power. Admitttedly my approach is a lower end cost method, but it still work’s. A battery back up in your well house would work nicely for your need’s as well.

  9. farmist says:

    Marko, if you’re considering a genset, I’d recommend . I have no interest in them other than being a satisfied customer.

  10. Glamdring says:

    Marko how many kw do you need\want? I’m curious to see what you go with.

  11. Al Terego says:

    “We’d probably be more likely to invite them over…”

    Yeah, I knew that…but that would’ve ef’ed up my little drama turn :).

    Here’s our Yamaha; You can buy portables for a lot less, but I like it for the 120V/240V, the 50A outlet for the house panel and 30A for the RV, plus 12V for battery charging, portability…and there’s a conversion kit for LP (mine is gas). And hey, it’s a Yamaha:

    But for the same money, for strictly home backup power when you’ve got a ready LP supply, this would be hard to beat, that’s about two grand less than what something comparable was in ’05:

    Here it’s become a feature when selling a house to list “whole-house generator” like saying “fireplace” or “hardwood floors”…it should be the same there, an investment that serves it’s purpose and theoretically comes back to you upon sale.

    As if you’d ever sell the Munchkin Ranch…but if you do, I wouldn’t use that last out-the-window pic you posted in the ad.


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