Advice on buying an emergency generator

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Cozzer

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Do you have a reference to this programme please? channel & rough time. Im in the process for leaving virgin and Openreach say they will only install a digital voice line which will be mains power supply dependent.

Sorry, only just noticed your comment.
I was in the car at the time, which obviously rules out it being on TV (!) so the answer has got to be Radio 4.
Got to think here.... I'm fairly certain, thinking of the times I was out and about, that it must've been a mention on a news broadcast.....either noon or 1pm, or the longer item at 5pm with Evan Davis.....
 

Myfordman

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Sorry, only just noticed your comment.
I was in the car at the time, which obviously rules out it being on TV (!) so the answer has got to be Radio 4.
Got to think here.... I'm fairly certain, thinking of the times I was out and about, that it must've been a mention on a news broadcast.....either noon or 1pm, or the longer item at 5pm with Evan Davis.....
Thanks for your reply. Sadly the news bulletins are not on iplayer. A web search has not found a source for this possible U turn. I can see the desire by consumers to stick with copper to the exchange but it makes no sense for the telcos to do so. Sadly!
 

HOJ

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Do you have a reference to this programme please? channel & rough time.

Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 live ran a phone in on this subject Monday morning, having said that might have been Tuesday, recall not so good, + I often turn it over if they start talking squit... defo on 5 live though.
 

Myfordman

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Just skipped through Nicky campbell progs from Mon and tues and it was wall to wall Will smith and partygate. I did not cath a phone in on phone service?
 

PeterSH

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I used to have a Kipor 7kw diesel generator as a backup for a small backup data centre we ran out of our garage. Here are a few thoughts, a DIY install might be more problematic than back in the day but here we go.

I installed a changeover switch between the main 100a fuse and the old style meter.

The genny connected to a 32a plug connected to the changeover switch (a simple switch which actually cost 100 quid!).

Installed an LED in the changeover switch to show when utility power was on.

Earthing always seemed a bit of a grey area. Our house was the system where we had an earth rod so am not gonna say what I did as not certain it was correct.

Had UPS to keep servers running for an hour before hooking up the genny.

All worked great so onto the genny itself. I went for a long run diesel so I could operate it on red diesel or heating oil as a last resort but in the end always used diesel from the forecourt pump. Felt diesel was a bit safer to handle than petrol.

Diesel generators from memory operate on two speeds of the dynamo. 3000 or 1500 rpm. This was a 3k one which all the cheap ones are. I don't think they tend to last very long and require frequent oil changes. The 1500 ones are needed for long term use.

But Google the difference between low speed and high speed diesel generators and look at the specs regards usage and servicing.

I like the sound of LPG, might look into another Genny given circumstances
 

Jameshow

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O wonder if you could have two master switches mechanically linked?

So that when one is off the other is on. No way of back feeding volts onto the network??
 

Inspector

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I'm curious if any parts of the UK has natural gas piped to houses like we do? Natural gas powered generators are available to run of it which means no fuel worries unless the entire natural gas system is shut down (virtually never happens, none I recall in my lifetime).

Pete
 

Jones

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I'm curious if any parts of the UK has natural gas piped to houses like we do? Natural gas powered generators are available to run of it which means no fuel worries unless the entire natural gas system is shut down (virtually never happens, none I recall in my lifetime).

Pete
Urban areas all have mains gas and in those areas electrical power is unlikely to be off for long. The op is in a rural area hence the suggestion of bottled LPG. In rural areas electrical lines are more likely to come down and may not be prioritized for repair ,so backup may be wanted
 

Inspector

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Urban areas all have mains gas and in those areas electrical power is unlikely to be off for long. The op is in a rural area hence the suggestion of bottled LPG. In rural areas electrical lines are more likely to come down and may not be prioritized for repair ,so backup may be wanted

Thanks for the information.

I'm in a rural subdivision area on 9.4 acres and there is gas here. The farms that are up to a mile apart can have it too if they want to pay for the line to be put in. I guess it helps to be in a province that produces oil and gas.

Pete
 

TRITON

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On looking at the Clarke one i linked too, I cant afford such for an emergency generator that might not get used.£500 is a fair amount.


Clarke also do an 1100w for £310.80, and i wonder if that would do me at least. Its not such a big outlay and would probably cover most things(TV,microwave etc)
I think ill look into this further. Thanks OP, its a good subject.
 
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planesleuth

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'to get an emergency generator for the house so that we can function during power cuts and maybe for a while if Mr Putin does his worst.'
lol can I have your address please so I can warm up and have a hearty meal? ( that's if the Red Army hasn't emptied your freezer first)
 

Old.bodger

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Regarding using mains gas (UK)…….possible in theory BUT too much hassle to get it approved. You have to prove that any installed system won’t cause pulsing on the supply and you can imagine the accreditation needed! Some LPG generators are dual fuel with petrol So that might be a way to go.
 

gmgmgm

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I'm not sure where you've got your information from - that's not the real world - a UPS can last for as long or as short a time as you wish.

Modern small UPSs have efficiencies in the 90+% range, so they are very efficient - for their SmartUPSs (a very typical small domestic UPS), APC (*) quote figures of up to 98% - see Efficiency: SUA750IX38

The perceived efficiency figure drops off sharply at low loads only because the energy usage of the UPS itself is pretty constant (charging batteries, supplying the internal electronics), so whilst the output energy falls, the ratio of "lost" to useful energy appears to increase, i.e. the UPS seems less efficient even though the actual conversion efficiency is still very good - modern inverters are extremely efficient at a wide range of loads.

It's much more sensible to look at the real-world run-time for a range of loads for the same UPS - see Runtime: SUA750IX38. When looking at run-times, you are off utility power therefore looking at real output conversion efficiency only as you are not charging the batteries.

You'll notice that the run-time vs load is inverse linear (as the load decreases, the run-time increases proportionally), i.e. the perceived "efficiency" is not a meaningful statistic in this scenario, i.e. for small loads.

In practice, you can use a small UPS like this to run your core networking for an hour or more, depending obviously on the load and sizing of the UPS - if you have a mix of mains-powered (using IEC/kettle connectors) and low voltage (5/9/12V DC), then a UPS is a good one-stop-shop.

The low-voltage DC-only boxes are good when there's no 230VAC requirement, but even then they'll have internal boost & buck converters to get the correct DC voltages from their battery pack.

(*) I'm just using APC as an example as they are pretty popular and respected, plus I have several around the property, either 750s or 1000s. Any of the decent manufacturers have similar devices with similar characteristics.

I don't think we're disagreeing - my comments were all about powering a little router. A router is a small low power 12v device, often 5-10 watts. It is very inefficient to power this with a UPS, as the UPS is consuming much more power itself than it is supplying to the router. I have seen figures of 30% efficiency for low-power loads, but you will notice that many UPS charts don't go low enough. The chart you supply only goes down to 50 watts, not 5w.

You can indeed get bigger and bigger UPSes depending upon budget. But one big enough to power a little 5W 12v router for a decent period, say 24 hours, would be very expensive (£1000+?).

For people just wanting to power a router (or a telephone), the DC-only low-voltage box is probably better/cheaper. And not many people know they exist as an option.
 

nickds1

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I don't think we're disagreeing - my comments were all about powering a little router. A router is a small low power 12v device, often 5-10 watts. It is very inefficient to power this with a UPS, as the UPS is consuming much more power itself than it is supplying to the router. I have seen figures of 30% efficiency for low-power loads, but you will notice that many UPS charts don't go low enough. The chart you supply only goes down to 50 watts, not 5w.

You can indeed get bigger and bigger UPSes depending upon budget. But one big enough to power a little 5W 12v router for a decent period, say 24 hours, would be very expensive (£1000+?).

For people just wanting to power a router (or a telephone), the DC-only low-voltage box is probably better/cheaper. And not many people know they exist as an option.
Fair points!
 

ChippyKlutz

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Having lived for many years with power cuts I finally bit the bullet and had a diesel powered generator installed about 18 months ago. I built a small hut/cabinet for it a few yards away from our back door and had an electrician alter the house's distribution board to fit a manual changeover switch, which changes the incoming line from the usual mains supply to the generator so that both cannot be connected at any time. I looked into automatic switching - which changes the incoming supply automatically when the mains supply cuts off and on again - but found that the kit for this is astronomically expensive and would have almost have doubled the installation cost. It takes about four minutes to fire the thing up and get running - the genny has to warm up before being loaded. I have UPS packs to keep PCs and router going long enough to switch power source.

The generator runs on diesel and has a car/motorcycle battery to power it up - this is kept charged by a small solar panel of the type motorcyclists use to keep their bikes' batteries up.

We can now keep central heating pumps (oil fired boiler), freezers & fridges, broadband routers & PCs and house lights going indefinitely (or as long as diesel supplies last). From memory - don't quote - it outputs 6.5 kw/hr. We have to be careful about firing up the kettle when the dishwasher is running, etc. and generally don't use the electric oven/hob - we have camping Gaz stoves for tea and scoff.

Disadvantages are - (i) it wasn't cheap - from memory all in I think it cost about £800; (ii) it's a bit noisy, despite the model being labelled "Quiet" and we don't leave it running at night; (iii) without an auto switch it won't fire up if we are not at home when the supply goes off and when it's in use we have to keep an eye out (are the neighbours' lights on, etc.) for when power is restored, otherwise we end up burning diesel for nothing!

Advantages are - we can keep ourselves warm, fed, in communication and alive!
 
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