Our latest power outage, one of almost 10 in the last two months
according to the girlie at UK Power Networks, lasted 11 hours
I'm wondering about getting a small genny installed to mostly overcome
these. Couple questions:
1) Anyone know whether they can run on heating oil?
2) Seems to me a small one (a few kW) should be able to cope with most
electricity usage here except for hob/stove, does that seem reasonable?
3) anyone any experience of such?
"The EU Customs Union is a racket that defends producers in rich countries
against producers in poor countries."
And start at the £2-300 mark for one that probably won't let you down.
You can get cheaper ones if you don't mind spending hours stripping it
down and trying to get it to start when you actually need it.
Diesel ones would probably run on heating oil and start around the £1000
mark for something in the 5kW+ class. They all tend to be a bit noisy
(and in the case of deisel smelly).
The fridge/freezer compressor motor cold start is a surprisingly nasty
load and may overload trip a smaller generator. I have a 2.5Kw petrol
generator for serious power cuts but can mostly run with solid fuel
heating and cooking on the wood burning stove if I have to.
You have to look after it if it is to be reliable in an emergency.
Owning one and leaving it to rust away in a garden shed is not enough.
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 10:39:18 +0100, Martin Brown wrote:
Heating oil, aka paraffin, is rather more volatile than diesel, I
wouldn't try it.
Of course the OP might have an old oil fired heating system that runs
on "gas oil", aka diesel...
Agreed the "little smokey" 750 W ish petrol two stroke jobbies don't
like starting motors. A four stroke petrol of 1.5 kVA (or more)
should be OK.
Agreed, our diesel set being electric start has a small solar panel
connected to the battery to keep that topped up. You can pull start
it but it's hard work... About once a year I wheel it out, check it
over, start it and run it for a couple of hours with a fan heater as
a load, occasionally altering the load from fan only, 1kW or 2 kW.
On Tuesday, 20 August 2019 09:43:18 UTC+1, charles wrote:
too much experience of that one :) A genny was the only power source for qu
ite a long time.
3kVA building site types did not last. Eventually got a very old 7kVA diese
l, stable output, plenty of power, very reliable. Crank handle start, not e
lectric. Beware of the fumes when starting though, that thick cloud of smok
e is packed with a lethal amount of CO.
I don't think we had any earthing system or RCD. Times have changed.
Regarding voltage of 3kVA ones: plug a kettle in and V_out & f dropped way
way down. They were not inverter types of course. Their 3kVA rating was opt
imism. They probably could deliver it for a second until the engine speed d
Heating oil is paraffin, which lacks the lubrication of diesel. Some diesel
engines will run on it, albeit with more wear, some don't survive it. Some
diesels will also run on filtered waste veg oil. It's quite possible to mi
x paraffin with filtered waste oil, if your engine is a type that is ok wit
However.... for one 11hr event a genny sounds like huge overkill. Get yours
elf a gaslight, they're far more reliable than electric. Cook on a fire if
you have some reason to really want to.
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 02:51:25 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
OP is suffering a power cut every week, "nearly ten in two months".
Doesn't say how long they were though, only that the last was 11
And give out way more and far less directional light for longer from
a single "charge" than any electric light source I've encountered.
When a cyclinder runs out you can just replace it with a full one. A
replacement that doesn't self discharge when sat on the shelf doing
nothing for a few years or even decades...
Or get a camping stove of some sort. We have a two ring and grill one
running from a 17 kg bottle of butane.
When I phoned UKPN, the girlie said when the outage was expected to be
fixed. Then I mentioned that we'd had a number of issues in the last
two months, which was when she started counting them and got to "nearly
10" (her words), although she said some were only a few seconds. We did
have a 2-hour one, and other of about 5 minutes. During that one I'd
got a little way into shutting the computers down when the volts came
This whole sequence feels like it started a couple months ago with the
early morning lightning strike that took out the router and the
cordless phone base.
"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" -- Bill of Rights 1689
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 13:53:05 +0100, Tim Streater wrote:
Blooming lightning, this year two strikes have had a port on the load
balancing router (that was connected to an ADSL modem), the POTS port
on the N300 VOIP/DECT base station and vaporised something inside the
I wonder if the strike caused an insulator (or more) to arc over and
they are now starting to fail at operating voltages? The arc damaging
the glazed insulator surface allowing the build up of muck in the
Well, Xmas about 4 years ago we were off for two days. Had to take the
turkey to a friend's in Canterbury to be cooked.
We have a small one-ring portable gas cooker from when the kitchen was
out of action. That runs on small canisters from Go-Outdoors at £10 for
The gaslight sounds like a good idea, too.
I'll have to check whether anyone in the village has done this, SWMBO
thinks there may be one or two.
"People don't buy Microsoft for quality, they buy it for compatibility
with what Bob in accounting bought last year. Trace it back - they buy
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 13:46:04 +0100, Tim Streater wrote:
36 hours is our longest after an ice storm brought the lines down is
several places snapping a number of poles in the process. Nice bit of
compensation for that one.
Just ordinary portable camping gas lanterns. If you really want to
use your heating oil I guess you could get a Tilly Lamp, uses a
mantel like the gas lanterns but some what more messy to light and
We have a Chinese one (a Honda clone) which is converted to run on LPG
instead of petrol which might be a handy option if you have bottled
gas around (e.g. for barbecue). We use it on our boat which has LPG
The generator (Loncin LC2500DC) with conversion to LPG cost just under
£400 in 2012. It's 2/2.5kW.
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 09:09:34 +0100, Tim Streater wrote:
Give UK Power Networks a severe talking to. More than one power cut
per week is not acceptable, even if they are just a second or so of
an auto-recloser doing its thing. That number of outages strongly
indicates something wrong with the distribution and they need to find
it and fix it, pronto. If you can gather evidence of the past outages
and record any new ones to make your case.
You might be able to get a really old (antique) set that will run on
paraffin. These days fuel will be petrol, LPG or diesel (which can be
red diesel which is 40 - 50p ish per litre cheaper than road diesel).
If you want to use the house wiring you open up a big can of worms.
It's fairly easy to sort out making sure it's absolutely impossible
to back feed your supply. BFO, break before make/center off/change
over switch in the tails.
The harder one to sort out is the protective earthing. Under fault
conditions you can't rely on the supply earth still being earth. This
implies you have to supply your own, easy enough (ish) an earth stake
and bond that to the generator frame and one phase of the bi-phase
Trouble is how do you connect that combined "neutral" and earth into
the houses protective earth system without connecting it to the the
supply earth (which might not be earth under fault conditions).
Fairly sure the regs do not allow a switches etc in the earth
connections of an installation...
We have a 2 kVA electric start diesel set. It gets wheeled out if the
DNO says an outage is going to be more than about 6 hours. Weather
dependant, if it's cold and stormy it might get wheeled out with a
shorter projected outage. It's only used to keep the fridges,
freezers, central heating and aquarium (fresh, cold water) filter
running. Those are powered by extension cables from the genset, no
local earth is provided and no bond between the generator frame and
an alternator phase. In effect the "live" and "neutral" wires in the
extension cables are both floating and, in theory, safe to come into
contact with as which ever you do will just get pulled down to
"earth". I think the "earth" wire in the extension cables is
connected to the generator frame.
I'm thinking that repalcing the gensets isolator switch with a 16 A,
double pole, 30 mA, RCBO might be a "good idea". At least then if
what leaves the genset doesn't come back it trips off.
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 10:17:25 +0100, Dave Liquorice wrote:
I think the TL;DR is the UK simply hasn't enough capacity, and (like
water) certainly not in the right places ?
And with operation Yellowhammer ramping up, I suspect no one at UKPN will
give a shit about glitches like this for the foreseeable future ?
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 09:56:43 -0000 (UTC), Jethro_uk wrote:
At this time of year, with relatively low demand, there is plenty of
capacity. Apart from the other Friday the last time there was a
capacity issue, leading to power cuts, was 2008 when Longannet and
Sizewell dropped of the grid at almost the same time. All other power
cuts are due to problems in the local distribution, JCB through
cable, tree falling on overhead line, overload, etc, all of which
handled by the DNO.
That was not a capacity issue.
That was an issue with lack of spinning generation on the network
Due to too much imported and renewable generation being on instead
the last time there was a
Powercuts here are usually lightning strikes or tree damage onto the
They hacve got markedly less frequent since I have been here as more is
undergrounded and trees are cut back pre-emptively
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on
On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 12:06:05 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
According to the interim report they had 1 GW of reserve as required
by the regulaor, but lost 1.378 GW. Meaning a short term lack of
capacity to meet demand, hence the frequency droop and low frequency
10% of demand from interconnects, 20% nuke, wind and gas *both* at
The interinm report is deliberately leaving out sonmething
First there was plenty of capacity - Dinoriwg was ramped up very
quickly. But not quickly enough to stop the massive frequancy drop from
causing other generators to trip offline.
It is highly disinegenioust to say 'the generators tripping were the
cause' when in fact it was the massive and rapid frequency drop that
cause the generators to trip...and that was down to not enough soinning
mass on te grid
It looks like te wndfarms tripped then the frequency dropped that
tripped Brarford and then load shedding started
A lighting strike - a few seconds of overload - started this.
If it had been spinning turbines then as soon as the strike short
cleared all would have reconnected.
Exactly gas at 30%, 20% nuke is around 50% coneventional spinng, and if
you add in solar power that is embedded and so not recoirded as meeting
anty demand (it lowers effective demandL: real demand was higer) you
will realise that coneventional spinning generatirs were less than 50%
of the real demand.
Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early
twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a
On 20/08/2019 13:43, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
They also claimed to have 472MW of battery backed storage capacity
(although how many MWhr is unclear). It is reasonable to assume that it
also came onstream pretty quickly.
From the time stamps Hornsea went offline within 230ms of the detection
of a blue phase plasma short condition on the transmission line and the
first Barford turbine went down within a second. That is nearly 1000MW
down. It seems very likely that both were reacting to the lightning
event. Barford was fairly close to the lightning strike.
That started the rot in terms of the frequency changing fast enough to
cause self protection circuits to activate elsewhere. I think both went
down essentially at the same time but Barford only dropped 244MW of
output in around 1s whereas Hornsea dropped 737MW off in 0.1s.
And the transmission line had cleared its fault condition and restarted
within twenty seconds which isn't at all bad.
I suspect the wind turbine grid tie converters at Hornsea were set to a
hair trigger and responded to a transient in an unexpected way. East
Anglia offshore was a lot closer to ground zero and survived unscathed.
The thing that seems to have tipped them over the edge was all the small
scale stuff that also dropped off as the frequency dropped or as a
result of the brief interuption on the transmission line. Presumably
they will piece together a timeline of exactly which protections
triggered and why. They imply on page 14 that there was something a bit
dodgy about the transient response of Hornsea's main systems. See p14
Hornsea Wind Farm: "Following an initial review, adjustments to the wind
farm configuration, and fine tuning its controls for responding to
abnormal events, the wind farm is now operating robustly to such
The distinct implication here is that previously it was not. This and
other key details are conveniently missing from the executive summary.
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