email@example.com (Tony Pelliccio) wrote about Re: Verizon Taking
Lessons From Hooterville Telephone Company on 22 Oct 2004 08:00:17 -0700
> Marcus Didius Falco <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
>>> From: J Kelly <email@example.com>
>>> Subject: Re: Verizon Taking Lessons From Hooterville Telephone Company
>>> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 14:55:50 -0500
>>> Organization: http://newsguy.com
>>> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>>> Where my brother lives if the power goes out across town, or even in a
>>> town 30 miles away (where the headend is), his cable tv and internet
>>> die. Hard to believe that Mediacom has no UPS's or generators for the
>>> headend or any of the line amps. I think they bought some cable co's
>>> that were pretty messed up though. In time I suppose they will clean
>>> them up.
>> There isn't much you can do if the utility dies. However, you can keep
>> your house running indefinitely using something called an "inverter".
>> This converts DC into "modified sine wave" AC. If you connect an
>> inverter to the battery of your car with the engine running, you can
>> power your computer, telephones, or other small utilities until you
>> run out of gas -- which would probably take several days idling if you
>> start with a full tank.
>> An inverter is rated by peak and sustained power. One that will
>> provide about 1200 Watts sustained will be rated for about 2400 Watts
>> peak. You can probably find one for under $140 on the internet. This
>> is enough power to start and run your refrigerator or, possibly, the
>> fan on your furnace. Maybe even your well pump.
>> The power is clean enough to run your computer, phones, or other
>> If you have more than one car, then you can have more than one
>> inverter. The alternator on a car can produce about 400 to 600 Watts,
>> but the battery can supply the rest of the load. Thus, you can run
>> your refrigerator, even though it draws about 900 Watts, because it
>> does not run continuously -- your alternator recharges your battery.
> Some inverters are better than others. If the wave is too square many
> pieces of electronic gear will complain.
> So stay away from cheap inverters. A UPS and a generator are the best
> way to go.
An inverter costs $100 to $150 and sits in a drawer until you need
it. A generator costs $1000 to $5000 and requires regular maintenance
if it's going to start when needed.
Even if you have to try several inverters to get one that will work
your critical equipment (much of which will NOT be electronic -- the
real urgent stuff for most people are the refrigerator in summer and
the furnace in winter), you're way ahead of the game financially. This
is especially true if you expect long blackouts only a few times per
decade. (For most people a blackout of a few hours is not a problem.)
A UPS is always a good idea. However, most of them have only enough
reserve capacity to allow an orderly shutdown (that is, about a half
hour or less, and don't try to run your laser printer).