Power Cuts/Generators yet again

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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 11:09:41 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

Bit expensive having a contractor lying around to do this job when you need him isn't it? ;)
PoP
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Heh heh Can't have used 'contactor' before as Pluto offers 'contractor' or 'contact or'. It won't argue again. ;-)
--
*You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 11:09:41 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

Stoopid Hospital Electricians!
Once our factory in Switzerland ran out of BS1363 13A panel sockets and shipped a machine to the UK with a continental SHUKO type accessory outlet and included a SHUKO - IEC mains lead. Stupid electrician cut the IEC (female) socket off this lead and fitted a 13 amp (male) plug, so he had a lead with a SHUKO plug > 13A plug. He then proceaded to plug the SHUKO plug into the accessory outlet on the front of the machine and the 13 A plug into the mains and the whole thing worked except for obvious reasons the mains switch on the front of the machine was inoperative! The proper power inlet was an IEC chassis mounted plug at the rear of the machine.
He then phoned us to complain that the mains switch didn't work and the mains inlet connector was unsafe.. It took quite some time on the phone for it to dawn on me what he'd done.
Reminds me of a large notice seen on an Amstrad E-Mailer in a store this week.
"You have ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of getting this to work unless you read the instruction manual"
DG
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On 08/01/2004 Paul W opined:-

All very dangerous advice as well as highly illegal and you might well find yourself in court on a manslaughter charge.
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Harry (M1BYT)...
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Surely the only way this can be illegal is because there is not a fool proof method of disonnecting the house from the grid ?
Paul.
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OK, althought I have done this a few times under controlled conditions, I agree I shouldn't have advised anyone to do this, as if you are not carefull there are some risks associated with my suggestions.
Regards,
Paul.
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OK, althought I have done this a few times under controlled conditions, I agree I shouldn't have advised anyone to do this, as if you are not carefull there are some risks associated with my suggestions.
Regards,
Paul.
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I've just finished testing mine. I've installed a double pole changeover relay in the output from the FCU that feeds the central heating - the coil of that relay being energised by the mains. If the mains goes off, it connects to a 150 watt invertor I've just made - using a Vellerman kit as the basis. It runs off a car battery. It's been on since about 12 o'clock and the battery is still fine.
At the moment, it's not *totally* automatic, as the invertor has to be switched on even if left connected to the battery. I might add a second relay to switch it on when the mains dies, but that would only be strictly necessary if I wanted the heating to work if I was out when the power failed.
I'm happy to rely on torches and battery radios etc for the duration of the cut, as I have a gas hob for any essential cooking.
--
*Husband and cat lost -- reward for cat

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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I'm late picking this thread up so if someone's already mentioned this forgive me... Tradex in Huddersfield had small gennies for sale last weekend for under 100 - thought about getting one for the garden shed 'cos the thought of digging out for the mains supply didn't appeal at all and I'd not be using it for anything big. Richard
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Hope you haven't any neighbours.
--
*Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Fri, 9 Jan 2004 21:08:04 -0000, "Frisket"

I noticed on the Screwfix home page that they were doing a small genny too.
You'll have to bear in mind that these small generators provide typically about 600 watts of useful power. So with a couple of light bulbs and an average electric drill you are hitting the limits.
And an electric kettle to give a cuppa is out of the question.
I view my small genny as being able to power my CH system and not much else if the supply company hit difficulties - I'd have to jury-rig the genny into the CH system so this is very much on the "ideas" charter rather than a genny sitting waiting to power up. I'm old enough to remember the electricity strikes of the 70's, and I don't want to go thru that again if I can help it.
PoP
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I've just finished doing something similar to mine, although I've used a car battery and invertor as the standby source. But the method is similar from the safety point of view, and I'd be happy with comments from others on any improvements.
Like most systems, my CH is all fed via an FCU. After the FCU I've fitted a DPDT rocker switch marked normal and emergency. In the normal position, it simply routes the output of the FCU direct to the CH in the normal way. In emergency position, it routes the output of a mains coil relay - I've used a triple pole CO type with 10 amp contacts which is readily available from the likes of TLC or RS etc for about 20 quid including base. With mains still working the coil is energised and simply routes the mains through in the normal way. If the mains fails, the relay drops out and routes the output of my invertor -(or generator) to the CH spur. The reason for the relay is that the output lead from the generator or invertor has to be a plug, and this eliminates any chance of mains flowing back up the lead and making the plug live - or indeed damaging the standby source. The third pole on the relay is used to switch the invertor on. Note it actually just switches the electronics, not the battery feed, which would require a much larger relay due to the current involved. This extra pole could also be used to control the starter on a self start genny set.
I've mounted the rocker switch in a matching blank panel to the FCU, and incorporated the LEDs from the invertor which show working and low battery volts. The relay is fitted in a steel adaptable box behind it - I'm fortunate that the CH controls are mounted in the oven housing unit in the kitched so there's plenty of space behind. The invertor and battery simply sit in an adjacent kitchen unit - I don't intend it as a permanent installation.
On tests, I've had the system running for about 6 hours on a fully charged 50 Ah battery, and it showed no signs of failing. But of course it will depend on the weather and how hard the pump etc is running. A test with a 100 watt bulb showed a life of again about 6 hours before the battery died.
The next thing is whether to fit a battery charger to the system.
--
*If I worked as much as others, I would do as little as they *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Sat, 10 Jan 2004 10:20:39 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

Might be a lot cheaper and easier to use a UPS rather than a genny. That way you've got battery backed up CH 24x7 and never need to worry about switching over.
Power the UPS from a 13A socket - and if the UPS battery gets a bit short then unplug and connect the UPS to the genny so that it has an incoming 240v supply from which to recharge - you can run the genny for a few hours to recharge the UPS, then off for another few hours, etc.
And if the leccy companies are still offline then there will be people on the streets.....and I predict it won't be David Bowie and Mick Jagger on behalf of charity collections.....
PoP
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PoP wrote:

The UPS is a good idea, although I would just stick it inline between the FCU/isolator and the wiring centre, not sure it would consider the genny feed as 'in-spec' power.
One point with the sort of UPS for PCs such as the APC ones, are they won't power something from cold. That is, if you've got one charged up but not plugged in, then just plug an item into one of the outlets you won't get any power provided. If it's receiving a mains input and you subsequently remove it, then the power is maintained at the outlets.
--
Toby.

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car battery. An off-the-shelf cheapie UPS won't have the runtime he's getting - lots more stored energy in a 50AH car battery such as the man says he's already using, than the smaller lead-acids which come with your UPS. Admittedly, the ones in a UPS ought to be rated for deep discharge, which a car battery isn't: but even living where he does, Dave's not likely to run his battery flat all that often.
Course, for "the rest of us", an inline UPS could be a good idea, as it already has much of the safety-relevant considerations applied (for completeness giving it an independent earth might be desirable).

Actually, at least some of the APC ones - the "SmartUPS" range for one - does indeed have this capability, which their marketroids imaginitively call "cold start". Could be that their entry-level "BackUPS" range doesn't.
HTH - Stefek
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On 10 Jan 2004 16:02:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

This can be addressed if you use leisure batteries. They are able to stand somewhat more abuse than the regular car batteries.

They do apart from the bottom entry level BackUPS ES home model. All the other BackUPS ones do.

.andy
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abuse". If you tried starting your car from a 'leisure' battery it wouldn't last long I don't think.
--
Chris Green

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On 10 Jan 2004 19:06:06 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

Well yes, I did mean it in the context of being able to be deep discharged......
.andy
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The battery I'm using is a spare for my old Rover bought secondhand from a scrapped car for pennies. I can also adjust the 'drop out' voltage of the invertor to anything I choose, so could set it at a safe(er) amount for a car type battery - reducing the time it would run for, of course. A good make 50 Ahr car battery can be bought new for about 50 quid and has a three year warranty.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Sun, 11 Jan 2004 10:48:27 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman wrote:

When used in a car... you could lie of course. B-)
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Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
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