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Any long-lasting alternative power source?


jko
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I have moved to a 'boondocks house' for a few months where there are frequent long power cuts - last one was 8 hours, when a tree fell down on the cable.

I have a standard UPS which lasts about 30 mins, and my aging laptop batteries go kaput in 90 mins or less.

Can anybody recommend an alternative power source which would go for 5-7 hours or more in the case of another long outage? Obviously don't want a generator, or a whole stack of big batteries.

Are there any other options?

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If it's just for your laptop then surely you can find a better USB or an external battery. For macbooks there's the HyperJuice that extends battery life for up to 26 hours (although with a premium price tag) but for PCs, no doubt there are cheaper and more abundant alternatives. I'm sure there's some sort of high capacity external battery solution.

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I'm hoping some day there would be fuel-cell, battery, solar panel/wind mill combos available for off-grid homes with reasonable price tag. Solar panel prices have already dropped to acceptable levels, but energy storage is still expensive.

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A well rated UPS with a decent battery is the simple answer

My set up will provide 800W for 2-3 hours from a 200Ah battery

Add a larger battery or a second in parallel to long times.

What kind of setup do you have?

Is it possible to use for example APC 1000A UPS electronics/control and replace the small internal batteries with a large deep cycle battery?

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If all you want to do is power your laptop during those long, dark, lonely nights, then:

1. Get a new laptop battery (you need one anyway).

2. Buy a semi-sealed car battery (otherwise the fumes will kill you) - say about 50Ah (budget on 2000 baht).

3. Remove the existing UPS battery and connect the leads up to the new car battery (use thick wire to extend the leads).

4. Do not draw more than another 10W of power from the UPS (that's two small CFL lamps): the more power you draw, the less wattage you'll get overall.

5. The charger in the UPS could take up to 30 hours to fully charge a 50Ah battery.
6. If you don't know what you're doing with electricity, find someone that does.

Edited by johnopolo
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A well rated UPS with a decent battery is the simple answer

My set up will provide 800W for 2-3 hours from a 200Ah battery

Add a larger battery or a second in parallel to long times.

What kind of setup do you have?

Is it possible to use for example APC 1000A UPS electronics/control and replace the small internal batteries with a large deep cycle battery?

most of the UPS batteries (even those of expensive units) are a joke. here's the output chart on an APC1000:

post-35218-0-54726100-1398913463_thumb.j

the real thing is what Astral has or my simple combination of an inverter and 2 truck batteries each 160Ah providing 800W for 5 hours. i have since 7 years three systems installed in my home, two more to be installed soon although power cuts or phase brown-outs in my area have nowadays become quite rare.

inverter.JPG

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If all you want to do is power your laptop during those long, dark, lonely nights, then:

1. Get a new laptop battery (you need one anyway).

2. Buy a semi-sealed car battery (otherwise the fumes will kill you) - say about 50Ah (budget on 2000 baht).

3. Remove the existing UPS battery and connect the leads up to the new car battery (use thick wire to extend the leads).

4. Do not draw more than another 10W of power from the UPS (that's two small CFL lamps): the more power you draw, the less wattage you'll get overall.

5. The charger in the UPS could take up to 30 hours to fully charge a 50Ah battery.

6. If you don't know what you're doing with electricity, find someone that does.

I wouldn't recommend automotive batteries.

I few deep discharges will severely retard their performance.

You really need deep discharge batteries.

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@naam: But is it possible to re-use the APC1000 inverter/charge control and simply replace the batteries with larger ones?

I have one already, but it might be broken. I haven't used it since the water accident...

On your system, does the inverter also take care of charging the batteries? From mains?

Also, what is the price tag of the system / individual parts? I'm quite interested about it.

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BUY a NEW Computer - It's a good investment in this case.

4 hour battery. USB station. Condoms.

You have light, Music, Movies, Air Fan...

And several cheap plug-in torches

(I have used one often for 2 years - still shines like new.)

After 4 hours Start a conversation under candle light...

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@naam: But is it possible to re-use the APC1000 inverter/charge control and simply replace the batteries with larger ones?

I have one already, but it might be broken. I haven't used it since the water accident...

On your system, does the inverter also take care of charging the batteries? From mains?

Also, what is the price tag of the system / individual parts? I'm quite interested about it.

not sure whether the charger of an APC1000 can handle a big draw.

inverter in Thailand THB 12-14,000, truck batteries THB 3,400 each.

imported my inverters (1800VA) from India (made in China) for peanuts THB 6,400 a unit (output not pure sine wave). inverters have built-in 10amp chargers, automatic switch from mains to batteries 15ms, PC, TV, modem/routers don't blink an eye.

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You can buy marine batteries that are designed for deep cycle use. There are a few online marine supply stores in Thailand that can provide solar panels, charge controllers and batteries. My boat is totally self sufficient for power and I run a 12V fridge / freezer and an inverter.

For example:

http://www.asap-marine.com/

http://www.electrical-marine.com/products.html

http://www.buzzcats.com/

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There is a very sweet small solar that will do the trick. We use them on sail boats all the time. Mount on the roof, or front o a window, has a battery pack, one day in cloudy sky will make enough juice to run auto-navigation array, two GPS locator units, pirate sensor alarm and a lap-top all night long.

And you can divert all power to the motion sensor equipped mini-gun.

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If all you want to do is power your laptop during those long, dark, lonely nights, then:

1. Get a new laptop battery (you need one anyway).

2. Buy a semi-sealed car battery (otherwise the fumes will kill you) - say about 50Ah (budget on 2000 baht).

3. Remove the existing UPS battery and connect the leads up to the new car battery (use thick wire to extend the leads).

4. Do not draw more than another 10W of power from the UPS (that's two small CFL lamps): the more power you draw, the less wattage you'll get overall.

5. The charger in the UPS could take up to 30 hours to fully charge a 50Ah battery.

6. If you don't know what you're doing with electricity, find someone that does.

I wouldn't recommend automotive batteries.

I few deep discharges will severely retard their performance.

You really need deep discharge batteries.

deep cycle batteries are in many cases a pure waste of money. check prices in marine shops or batteries for golf carts and compare them with automotive ones.

i replaced two sets of my automotive batteries after 4½ years, another set lasted 5½ years; i.e. i do "not really need" deep cycle units.

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I overheard a foreigner at the Electric company talking to PEA about his solar generators. I am sure you can buy them here as i have seen a solar generator farm here. Perhaps you can sell into the grid any excess power.

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And now for the *simple* solution - go buy an Apple Macbook which works for up to 12 hours on battery tongue.png

http://store.apple.com/th/buy-mac/macbook-air

True, but you still need something to power your router.

Depends on how the OP connects to the net.. if he's using 3G with a USB dongle, mifi, or via a handset, no problems - just power them from the macbook.

If using Wi-Net, DSL, Satellite or similar, a cheapo UPS should keep them running for hours/days.

Edited by IMHO
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If you have long and regular outages any battery based system may not have chance to fully re-charge between cuts, particularly if you've added external batteries to a regular UPS.

There are a number of small, reasonably priced and (importantly for some) quiet 'suitcase' generators available that will run your PC, router, a couple of lights and a fan. They will run for as long as you keep them supplied with fuel.

EDIT My Syndome UPS will NOT power my router for more than 10 minutes, it shuts down on no-load (a battery saving feature, no load and it turns off), something to watch for if you get a UPS to run only the router.

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All depends what you want to "draw" (watts) from any system...

If running any household equipment ( fridge - water pump ) then a pure sine wave inverter is a must.

An 800 watts/ hour, with start reserve for small electric engines will cost +-10K bath

A battery , deep cycle, 160 amps = +-6500 Bath

Average houshold will draw 150 - 300 watts/ hour (average)

at 150 watts/Hour you'll have 12-14 hrs of backup power.

You can ad a solar panel later to charge your battery or try the systems wich they build now in north east Thailand,

They make energy in the middle of nowhere from green waste charcoal, to run their engines, bikes, waterpumps , cooking and charging the battery's

ww.renewableenergythailand.com

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A small Honda 1000 generator. Always starts, runs forever on little fuel, simple and reliable. Easy to use. thumbsup.gif

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A small Honda 1000 generator. Always starts, runs forever on little fuel, simple and reliable. Easy to use. thumbsup.gif

electric power: 1 Kwh = < 4bath

Honda 1000 power: 1Kwh = >20 bath + invest +- 14K Bath + noise

Battery inverter set : 1 Kwh = 5 Bath + invest +- 20Kbath

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Typical lead-acid battery has a coulombic charge efficiency of maybe 80%. 1kWh in 0.8 kWh out.

A decent inverter may approach 90% efficiency 0.8kWh in 0.72kWh out.

So if you're lucky an inverter / lead acid system will cost 4.0 / 0.72 Baht per kWh = 5.5 Baht, actually not bad.

But, when the battery is dead, no power.

Small genset running on petrol about 25 Baht a unit, expensive.

But, when the fuel runs out, refill the tank.

Best solution, a bit of both, UPS with enough oomph to tide you over your average cut, generator to keep you going for those longer outages.

Get a diesel genset or an LPG conversion for your petrol generator and you'll reduce your fuel costs.

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Typical lead-acid battery has a coulombic charge efficiency of maybe 80%. 1kWh in 0.8 kWh out.

A decent inverter may approach 90% efficiency 0.8kWh in 0.72kWh out.

So if you're lucky an inverter / lead acid system will cost 4.0 / 0.72 Baht per kWh = 5.5 Baht, actually not bad.

But, when the battery is dead, no power.

Small genset running on petrol about 25 Baht a unit, expensive.

But, when the fuel runs out, refill the tank.

Best solution, a bit of both, UPS with enough oomph to tide you over your average cut, generator to keep you going for those longer outages.

Get a diesel genset or an LPG conversion for your petrol generator and you'll reduce your fuel costs.

i run a set (honda engine with a car generator, to charge my battery set when needed) on charcoal instead of gasoline...

works perfect... i also trickle charge my battery's when needed.

Battery dead ? has a longer life expectation than the Honda... at 3000 Hrs max, the honda is scrap wordy...

Battery aprox 7 years.

The question of life... What are you going to do if tomorrow the fuel as we know is no longer available ?

The electricity is not there anymore ( wall plugs empty.... )

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The question of life... What are you going to do if tomorrow the fuel as we know is no longer available ?

The electricity is not there anymore ( wall plugs empty.... )

I think you've been watching too much of this: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/doomsday-preppers/

tongue.png

Nope, i keep myself busy with this in Thailand... link to commercial website removed

feel free to copy ;-)

PM the poster if you want details. Astral

But serious, can you drive without the normal fuel ?

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All depends what you want to "draw" (watts) from any system...

If running any household equipment ( fridge - water pump ) then a pure sine wave inverter is a must.

An 800 watts/ hour, with start reserve for small electric engines will cost +-10K bath

A battery , deep cycle, 160 amps = +-6500 Bath

Average houshold will draw 150 - 300 watts/ hour (average)

at 150 watts/Hour you'll have 12-14 hrs of backup power.

You can ad a solar panel later to charge your battery or try the systems wich they build now in north east Thailand,

They make energy in the middle of nowhere from green waste charcoal, to run their engines, bikes, waterpumps , cooking and charging the battery's

ww.renewableenergythailand.com

If running any household equipment ( fridge - water pump ) then a pure sine wave inverter is a must.

sshhhhh.... don't tell my two water pumps (house water supply)! they run since 7½ years on a non-pure sine wave inverter that kicks in when the voltage drops below 200V. if they find out they might go on strike and we have to flush our toilets with buckets of water from the pool.

wink.png

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