bye-bye land line telephone

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On 5/11/2016 9:47 PM, HerHusband wrote:

Naw, just an extension cord running from a nearby light fixture to the nearest UPS! I.e., 4 or 5 feet would suffice to connect a nearby floor lamp to the UPS for this computer!

It depends largely on what we are "trying to get done" when the outage strikes. E.g., if SWMBO has settled down to watch a movie, it's annoying not to be able to *finish* that movie. In that case, I'll drag out one of the larger laptops and let her watch it "in her lap" -- not quite the same experience as on the big screen but better than having to come back to the MIDDLE of the story some time later (when she may want/need to be doing something else). Likewise, if you'd made time to read a book, you want to continue reading -- not have to return to it at a later time that's more convenient for the electric company!
If I'm "writing code", I can quickly copy the file(s) onto a thumb drive and move over to a laptop to continue (none of my systems can stay up for that long even on the larger UPS's -- can you spell "powerhog"?)
If it's daylight, then, chances are, we're outside or away from home and don't really care about the outage.
As for "time together", that's already built into our schedules. So, we each know what time we can expect to address our individual wants/needs while still ensuring that we don't become "just roommates".

The "backup" is important as you may want to USE that phone during the outage. E.g., to call to REPORT the outage! :>

We *welcome* not hearing from people. But, aren't eager to be cut off from our ability to phone others! "Why don't we do our grocery shopping NOW and get it out of the way. Do you think stores X, Y and Z are suffering outages? Would it be a waste of time to drive over? Perhaps call first??"
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I wouldn't have thought to do that, but we don't have any table or floor lamps. All of our lighting is ceiling or wall mounted.
I do have an LED lantern that runs off of 4 D-cells though. I haven't changed the batteries in years and it's still going strong. We also have a few rechargeable lights that come on automatically when the power goes out.

Yep, I have a laptop with extra oversized batteries that I use for similar things. I typically pull it out when the power goes out during the day when I'm home alone. There's nothing else to do, so I'll fire it up and watch a movie or something.

Book? That's one of those rectangular paper things, right? :)

If I'm writing code, I usually just save what I'm doing and do something else till the power comes back on. My laptop isn't really set up for programming, and the interuption kind of ruins my thought process anyway.
Depending on what my computer is doing, I can run between 60 and 90 minutes on my UPS (my computer uses less than 60 watts in normal use).

Around here, it always seems like it's rainy, snowing, or extremely windy when the power goes out. I'm not about to go outside! :)

Sex at 7pm, check. :)

I've called to report an outage twice in the past. Both times they said "we already know". :) I think it's an automated line these days, but I'm more likely to use their web site than their phone line anyway.

I hate phones and almost never make a call out. We don't get many incoming calls either, and those that do can wait till later.
We're several miles from town so they usually always have power when ours is out. Sometimes I do take care of shopping when the power goes out, but it always seems like the power goes out AFTER we have just gone shopping. :) I don't shop unless I have a specific thing I'm already going for.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On Thu, 12 May 2016 14:42:50 -0000 (UTC), HerHusband

I have lots of LED portable lights here and we have the standard "emergency light" you see in commercial installations in the hall. I swapped out the sealed beams for smaller LED lights and I imagine they will run for days on those gel batteries. I do have a switch on them so they can be turned off. That is handy if the power drops at night and you are suddenly in the dark.
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On 05/12/2016 11:02 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:
[snip]

I have an old UPS that won't put out enough current for a PC, but works OK with a string of LED holiday lights I have in the hall.
I call these "Lilly's lights" after a cat I used to have who slept in the hall and didn't want to be stepped on. That cat is gone now, but they make good emergency lights. There was a short (44 min.) power outage this morning and they worked.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us/
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wrote:

A battery will usually fix those "Bad" UPSs. They are not horribly expensive online. That is why I have so many units around here. They all came with bad batteries for free. I still have a few dead soldiers back in my shop but I am UPSed out here. ;-) There only seems to be 2 basic sizes with either 1 or 2 in each UPS (APC).
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On 5/12/2016 9:39 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That's only for the smaller, consumer-ish units -- 12V 7.2AHr batteries.
I have a couple of these: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> Which take the battery pack: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
I took a pass on a pair of these: <
http://thumbs1.picclick.com/d/l400/pict/121934285472_/APC-SUA3000i-SMART-UPS-SUA-3000-VA-TOWER-UPS.jpg
because they require *two* of the above battery packs (the bottom compartment is all battery)
The unit I've set aside for my network switch uses this: <
http://img0123.psstatic.com/180371194_apc-smart-ups-1500-battery.jpg

I'm not keen on throwing lots of money into batteries in the hope that they'll NOT be needed!
(APC is also notorious for floating the batteries at too high of a cell voltage and prematurely cooking them! But, that appears to be their business model -- sort of like toilet paper salesmen giving out free prune juice samples...)
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On Thu, 12 May 2016 12:56:05 -0700, Don Y

I have one just like that on my TV and sat box and you can replace that "battery pack" with 2 batteries of equal AH that end up being about $40 less if you shop around.
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On 5/12/2016 1:38 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't care about the price. My point is that there are far more variations in batteries -- battery sizes and numbers thereof. I have a UPS that takes *one* battery. Some two. Others 4. At one point, I had one that took *10* of the 12V 7.2AHr units (it was the size of a dishwasher).
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On Thu, 12 May 2016 15:51:45 -0700, Don Y

I have worked in places with a room full of group 27 deep cycle batteries stacked 3 high in racks to power the UPS but this is not what we are talking about. APC uses 2 basic batteries in the half dozen or so units I have here. In some units they just glue a couple together to create a "battery pack" that they charge handsomely for, I suppose people who can't read specs and do a little shopping appreciate the simplicity so APC does it. There are plenty of customers who just throw the UPS away when the battery is dead. These are industry standard parts and I want to get them at the best available price. I certainly have not noticed that much difference between the life of a APC sourced part and one I get from a battery wholesaler. The wholesaler actually tends to have fresher ones.
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My Cyberpower UPS has two batteries assembled into a single unit. Remove the cover, slide out the old battery unit, slide in the new one, replace the cover.
I made the mistake of buying inexpensive aftermarket batteries a couple years ago. The UPS claimed it would run over 70 minutes on the batteries, but when the power went out I was lucky to get 5 minutes from them (after three days of charging). They drained way too fast.
I recently bought the "genuine" Cyberpower batteries and now I really do get more than 70 minutes when the power goes out.
I'm sure the first set were just low quality as I've purchased many aftermarket batteries over the years. As you said, they're usually better than the official batteries.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On 5/12/2016 9:01 PM, HerHusband wrote:

That's true of most UPS's in the 600-1500VA capacity. At lower capacities, the cost of the second battery tends to drive a lower (DC) voltage design -- higher relative switching losses. Batteries are mounted side-to-side or top-to-top and held together with (effectively) "thick tape".
There's usually very little "extra" room in the battery compartment so a UPS that cooks its batteries can leave you with a mess -- trying to pull a "swollen" battery out of an already tight spot.
The larger capacity (2000+ VA) units tend to move up to 48V packs for increased efficiency. And, the packs tend to be genuine entities (not just batteries taped together but actual "enclosed cartridges") Part of this is due to the increased weight of a set of four, LARGER batteries as a replaceable unit.

IME, the UPS is the bigger problem than the batteries. I.e., you can easily change battery supplier (screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, shame on me!). But, a misbehaving UPS will eat good batteries just as happily as bad batteries!
APC UPS's tend to overcharge their batteries. What's worse is the charging circuit seems to degrade over time. So, a UPS that is targeting an "ideal" cell float voltage can slowly creep up to an unhealthy level... and this isn't noticed until your "battery" is toast!

A better solution is a better charger. You'll note that the batteries in electric vehicles aren't naively charged (based solely on their two endpoints!). But, this adds to the cost of the UPS and requires changes to the batteries chosen. I.e., you'd want access to individual cells (or pairs of cells) instead of "groups of 6 cells". This would also cut maintenance costs as you could detect and replace bad cells instead of losing a set of 6 due to one of those 6 failing (and cooking the others).
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Don,

Yep, mine has the top-to-top arrangement with a little wiring block in- between and the "thick tape" to hold it all together.

It's a shame UPS's haven't switched to lithium batteries. They're smaller, lighter weight, and they hold their charge longer. My power tools all use 20V lithium battery packs, and my string trimmer and leaf blower use 56V lithium battery packs. Laptops and electric cars use lithium batteries too.
The only downside is that potential of catching fire. :)

My previous replacement batteries wouldn't hold a charge from the day I installed them. They seemed to charge up normally and the control panel said I would get 70 minutes of run time. Unfortunately, when the power went out the batteries drained very quickly and the UPS shut off after just 5 minutes.
The new batteries are working like they're supposed to. I get at least 70 minutes with them.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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Hi Anthony,
On 5/13/2016 7:13 AM, HerHusband wrote:

For the side-by-side arrangement, the tape is double-sided and sits between the batteries. Often a PITA to get them apart (as you don't want to pry them apart with a sharp object and risk cracking the cases). The top-to-top are easier to manage.
When you (eventually) have to replace them, save the "wiring block" (I'm glad YOU gave it a name; I'd have just called it a "plastic thingy that goes between them" :> ). You need to *slide* it ALONG the top of each battery to disengage the FastOn's from the battery.
Then, 2" packing tape works great to tape the new batteries together.

They're also more expensive -- almost double the price of SLA/AGM.

Of course, depends on your load. E.g., the XS1500 that powers my monitors will keep them running for almost a DAY -- if they are in StandBy mode! :> But, once lit up, the runtime estimate drops to ~20 minutes (200W).
As an "expensive flashlight (powering a 13W CFL), it will run for several HOURS!
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I'm on my third set of batteries now...

Yeah, I didn't know what else to call it.

Mine has short jumper wires inside the wiring block. When I remove the tape holding the batteries together, I can seperate the batteries enough to reach in and disconnect the terminals.
Thankfully, my new batteries came assembled as a unit with a new wiring block.

When I replaced my UPS batteries, my computer setup was using about 90 watts (CPU, monitor, cable modem, router, and phone adapter). I was able to run a bit over 70 minutes on battery power.
A couple weeks ago I bought a new monitor and the total power draw dropped to about 70 watts. My UPS claims I can run 90 minutes now, but I haven't tested it since changing monitors.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On 5/13/2016 10:03 PM, HerHusband wrote:

If you, instead, just slide the block "away" from (one of the) battery's connectors, you'll see that the jumper wires are held captive *in* the block and it's just like you are slipping a two-wire connector off the battery. Repeat for the other battery (usually sliding the opposite direction).
It's also handy when you want to assemble a battery pack: make sure the jumper wires are in place, then slide the block onto one battery, hold it in place and slide the second battery on. Apply tape.

Yeah, my power requirements are considerably higher; one of my primary workstations has a 4-head video card, the other has two dual-head cards. Plus SCSI HBA's. Plus any other I/O's (tablet, motion controller, etc.) that I may be using to interact with the application(s).
Of course, having *just* the computer (and monitors) backed up is often not enough. E.g., if the 24 port switch in the office glitches, then anything happening there (or whatever I'm talking to) is suspect. Likewise for NAS boxes, etc.
Like NOT being "just a little" pregnant!

I mainly want protection from dropouts, brownouts, etc. If the power is going to fail, I can drag out a laptop. But, I'd hate to lose what I am working on just because the lights flickered... It's also amusing how easy it is to FORGET what (exactly) you were doing when the screen unexpectedly goes black!
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Ironically, when the power does go out I know I can still keep working on the UPS power for a while. So, I'm usually in no hurry to shut things down and stop working. Of course, at some point the battery power runs out and the system shuts down automatically. It's my own fault for not stopping gracefully when I had warning, but I get a false sense of endless power and just keep working. :)
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On 5/14/2016 7:27 AM, HerHusband wrote:

If I'm doing something interactive, I can just remember to "save" often... until the floor falls out from under me. But, I have to make a point of remembering what "set of things" I was trying to accomplish at the time. So, if I got A, B and F done, I will remember to come back and tackle C, D and E, later!
E.g., I'm presently reconfiguring BIND9 on my 24/7 box. The configuration file is several hundred lines of "settings" -- in no particular order (well, there's an order, of course, but not one that you can easily remember your place: "I got through the G's..."). So, I know to leave breadcrumbs for myself -- a line of "*********" that I cut and paste into the general place I'm working from time to time (in case my telnet(1) session abends, power fails or I get careless and close the session or editor prematurely)
The real pisser is when I'm rendering a 3D animation or something that the machine just crunches on for a *really* long time -- it usually can't be "resumed" if the power drops out in the middle.
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Yeah, the power always seems to go out when I'm converting or encoding video. Like you, there's no "resume" I have to start all over again when the power comes back on.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On 5/15/2016 9:33 AM, HerHusband wrote:

Exactly. And, often "Save As" only applies to the final result. So, you can't save your *settings* in case you need to restart.
An example of something software vendors *should* do but are oblivious to (automatic checkpoints in potentially lengthy processes).
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On Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 10:31:13 AM UTC-4, HerHusband wrote:

When the power goes out, the cellphone works for me. I'm sure people will say it's not as reliable as copper, etc, but IMO, not worth all the worrying about extreme hypothetical situations. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages.
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