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What is your 'grid down' lighting solution?

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by earthman, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    :D I'm guessing that no energy company wants their grid to go down and that they work hard to get it up and running pronto, so that they can continue to send out their high bills.
     
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  2. CSM-101
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    CSM-101 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    A generator is first, I have one wired into the garage and house, all I need to do is throw two breakers and start it up.

    Second, flashlights. Yeah, I've got flashlights covered pretty well. :D There's a couple of headlamps in the mix if
    I need hands free, and I have a bunch of the emergency 24 LED lights with the magnet and hook on the back that you
    can hang/stick just about anywhere, these are excellent. After that there is a couple of oil lamps on the mantle
    over the fireplace, my house is pretty small with a open area for the living room and kitchen/dining room, so they
    light up most of the house.
     
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  3. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    This sounds like the best idea, so your generator can supply power to the mains cables/circuits that are already in the house, I'm guessing that you just have to be careful on how many items you actually switch on at the same time? Your generator won't be able to cope with the load??
    So long as you can have several lights on, that would be my main concern/OK by me.

    When you say throw two breakers, are you just tripping the breakers in the fuse box, to make sure that when the electric is restored, that that voltage doesn't end up flowing to/blowing up the generator? Are you then throwing another breaker that is wired to the output side of that fusebox which then allows the power from the generator to flow?
    I've always wondered how this would work/is there an easy diy kind of solution to this problem,.....no doubt this sort of modification would be illegal or at least frowned upon by many authorities so it's not something that many folk would want to get involved with themselves.
     
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  4. CSM-101
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    CSM-101 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Yeah, I didn't word that quite right, I throw the main breaker in the house to keep the generator from trying to push current back out
    the power line and to keep the genny safe when the current does come back on, then I start the genny and once it's running I throw
    the breaker to supply the house.

    My generator isn't big enough to run everything at once, so I just turn stuff on and off as I need it. I can run lights and TV no problem,
    if I want a shower I'll turn off the hot water heater until I'm done, then once the water pump stops I'll turn off the pump and turn
    the heater back on.
     
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  5. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    In response to the EMP hypothetical, we're so hosed that a flashlight is the least of my worries.
     
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  6. Trespasser

    Trespasser Loaded Pockets

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    I had one set up so that you turned off the outside breaker for power coming into the house then you would plug a cord off the gen set into any outlet to power the house. Mine was wired for a 220 outlet. It was just a male to male plug.
     
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  7. bobrip

    bobrip Loaded Pockets

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    I have three gasoline generators. I back feed them to the house, one at a time. The main breaker is interlocked with a mechanical device that prevents it from being on if the generator breaker is on and vice versa. I also have about 50 gallons of gasoline with Stabil in it. This is stored about 100 feet from the house in a small shed. One of the reasons for three generators is for gasoline conservation. If the power is out it is probably from a tree that is blocking the road. Also the gasoline station may not have electricity, so they cannot pump. Also if the gas station has electricity and others don't it will run out of gasoline soon. This exact senario occurred after huricane Isabel. We had trees down in bother directions. They were cleared by the neighbors and us quickly, but in three days the local gas station ran out of gas. We were without power for seven days.

    The three generators are somewhat for redundancy, but also the smallest one (1600 watts, inverter) will run 8 hours on a gallon of gas. (The other two use at least 1/2 gallon per hour.) This can keep food cold. You need to run a refrigerator at least 12 hours a day to keep food safe. I usually run this small generator all night.
    I also have an 80 ampere hour marine battery in the crawl space. There are outlets for it in the kitchen and crawl space. It is charged slowly by the generator and always on charge normally. It can run various LED lights and also charge NiMh AA cells. I have about 100 AA NiMh cells and various supplies of AAA, AA, C, D and a few 9 volt batteries.
    We have a well and a septic tank pump, both of which are extremely important. They can be run by either big generator (8KW and 5KW) Of course we are most comfortable on the 8KW as it can run hot water, well, many lights, TV, satellite dish, fireplace fan and microwave without to much juggling of loads. I rarely run the well and hot water heater at the same time. The well only takes about 3 minutes to pump up the tanks. We then have about 60 gallons of water and can usually turn the pump breaker off for many hours. There is a fair amount of work optimizing this during outages, but it is somewhat entertaining. Unfortunately the power company has trimmed many trees on our road and power outages have dropped tremendously. They mean well, but it is sad. Most of my neighbors do have a generator, so I am not quite as crazy as it seems.

    I have three laterns that run on D cells, but I keep NiMh AA's in them with adapters so they don't face leakage from Alkaline cells during storage. I will switch to alkaline D cells once the first AA's run down. Of course I have many AA flashlights and a few D cell ones.

    I do most cooking on the gas grill and keep three spare cylinders for that purpose. The wood stove in the garage can also cook, but we have never done it.
     
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  8. bobrip

    bobrip Loaded Pockets

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    The power companies work very hard on getting power back. But in Virginia we have many, many, many trees with most lines being above ground. We had 4 million of 6 million total people without power during and after Hurricane Isabel. Other states nearby had similar problems. They call in repair crews from many states away, but it still took weeks to get everyone back on line. They are now starting an effort to bury the power lines that have the most problems. I really praise these crews, but the trees are the real problem.
     
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  9. GQP

    GQP Loaded Pockets

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    For IR, there is really only PVS-14 Gen3 and your going to be at the $2k mark. Maybe less if you have the ability to build your own (can't help you there). Gen 1 items are somewhat affordable, but are pretty much dependent on an IR illuminator to see much further than 10 feet in front of you. Its better to hold out and use the money towards Gen3. Gen 2 isn't worth mentioning because it is closer to G3 price and G1 performance.

    If you are on a tight budget, there are electronic IR video devices that work pretty well. Better than G1 IR tubes from my experience. Still heavily dependent on illuminators, but are only $30-$40 for a children's toy to $100-$200 for hunting gear. In all honesty, visually wise the toys work just as well as the hunting gear. However, they are built like toys so they are not very durable.

    Thermal is trying to make its way to the general public, but its not quite there just yet. I have the Flir One, but its range is very limited. A real option is the Flir Scout....but again you will be at the $2k mark.

    If I could have only one night vision device, it would be the PVS-14 G3. I bought mine from TNVC. My second choice would be the silly children's toy (think its called Spy Gear) because it works so well.
     
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  10. Weko

    Weko Loaded Pockets

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    1. Solar charged lantern and flashlight
    2. Roybi lantern with 12 batteries (also used for recip saw and drill)
    3. More flashlights than I can use
    4. 3 luci solar charged inflatable lanterns (not the brightest or most durable but I can hang one in the shower and it still works.
    5. Goal Zero 7 solar panel, AA/AAA charger and bar light
    6. 60 eneloops and 12 ea C and D adapters
     
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  11. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Excellent, what output is your generator then? Have you any pictures of this setup? Would like to see how/where you have mounted it all,...I think that I get your drift.

    I'm thinking that maybe some large solar panels linked to a bank of batteries and an inverter may be the route I'd go rather than a noisy generator otherwise the neighbours would go mad. Lol
     
  12. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    So you are 'back feeding' the electricity via a wall socket that you would normally plug an appliance into?

    So just all the sockets on that one mains ring would be live rather than the whole house as such?

    Clever though and certainly better than having nothing.
     
  13. Trespasser

    Trespasser Loaded Pockets

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    Yep, the only disadvantage being you can only power 15 amp for a 110/120 or 30 amp for a 220/240.

    Theoretically it should power the whole house if you have a large enough generator. I never tried that as I was using a small generator. I would only power one room by shutting off the rest of the breakers.

    You can have a transfer switch installed that does essentially the same thing, and is not a code violation. I guess I should make some comments here about what not to do.

    NEVER DO THIS if you have not shut off the main breaker. You could back feed the lines to to the line workers trying to get the powered restored.

    Never plug in to your generator and then the house. The connection directly to the gen set should always be the last. If you plug to the gen set first while it is running you have a live wire with exposed contacts in the form of a male plug.

    There are safer ways of doing this by hiring a qualified electrician to install a transfer switch. I would recommend having this done. BUT, if you haven't and you have to have power this DIY fix does work.
     
  14. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    as Trespasser commented, turn off the main breaker to isolate you from the grid.... a pre made "suicide" cable that allows you to plug your genset into the 30A/240V dryer outlet is typically used
     
  15. david57strat

    david57strat EDC Junkie!!!

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    I've never had do worry about serious extended power outages. We generally lose power for only maybe a few minutes - possibly an hour or two MAX, at any time, and that's kind of a rare occurrence. But, given the number of lights and batteries I have, I could probably abundantly light every room in this house, for a week, without ever having worry about charging my rechargeable or changing out my primary batteries.

    On the other hand, I would love to get my hands on some sort of portable solar panel charging system, and I could always throw that in my bedroom window during the day, and use it at night for charging batteries, if the need arose.

    The need just hasn't been there, yet, or I'd have purchased one a long time ago.

    We just don't see power failures here, all that often; and they're always too short-lasted to be any cause for alarm. I guess I should count my blessings, even though a good, long power outage would be any flashaholic's dream-come-true lol.
     
  16. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    I overlooked my most used lantern of the 2004 hurricane season...it is an older K-Mart Dietz taller globe hurricane lamp that was fueled with citronella scented tiki torch oil...it has been re soldered and smells pretty nasty, so is kept on the back porch...without air conditioning and large fans, inside temperatures were in the 80s until well after midnight.... many of the evenings were spent in my garage with the door raised, where the wind did not dissipate the citronella... did a good job of keeping mosquitoes away, though, my county does have very effective mosquito control ..

    [​IMG]
     
  17. LivingUpNorth

    LivingUpNorth Loaded Pockets

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    Lots of good setups, here. :)

    We have a set of 2kW Honda generators that you can parallel together. Primarily used to run the RV when camping, they could also pull duty if the grid went down. 20 gallons of Stabil-treated gasoline should keep them running for a little while anyway.
    Tons of flashlights, AA and AAA batteries, but nothing in the way of solar power beyond my little hand cranked radio that has a small solar panel on the back. That radio also has a power-out USB connection, so I could crank charge a cell phone if needed.
     
  18. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I also have Honda Gensets and they are usually ready to power my Tiny RV at any time anyway.
    I try to dry camp and sort of simulate being Off-Grid and sometimes we have small Rallies where the is one of the objectives of our whole group. Other times we can only get enough space in the Primitive Camping areas for all of us so we do it anyway!
    I love that I am entirely self-contained this way and have lived out of the RV for several weeks at a time when relaxing and doing public service radio work in emergencies as needed. You never want to add to the problem during disaster relief.

    I also have enough small portable camping gear to sustain myself for a while and supplies stashed to move forward as needed.

    Light is a small challenge as like many of us here I have plenty of light and battery for a long time standing by always.
    In the Hose I have 3 150ah battery stations each charged constantly by either Solar and/or house power and automatically maintained by Solar if house power fails.
    The RV us exactly the same and again I have small Gensets in case I need more power faster for some reason.

    In my area it usually takes 10 minutes to repair an outage but 10 days to show up and start.

    I also have Candle Lanterns and Candles and Wood as needed.
     
  19. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    I really don't have a dedicated lighting set up for a long term power outage. I keep a couple AA lanterns with LED bulbs handy as well as a Cabelas (Princeton Tec Helix ) lantern ready for immediate use.Aside from those I have such a wide range of lights,candles and kerosene lanterns/lamps that I feel confident I could provide for my lighting needs for an extended time. I have considered a small generator and/or a solar panel so I could charge batteries but I have some concerns about maintaining a generator that will largely go unused and haven't decided on the small solar set up I want.
     
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  20. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    ZMZ67... you can head off some carburetor maintenance (varnish) problems by not allowing the fuel to remain in the float bowl and fuel tank... I use a bulb start siphon system with my genset, and fuel it from 5 gal cans... a double ended barb on the fuel line to connect the larger supply line to the carb inlet line... when I test the gen set, I just let break the siphon and let it run dry... go easy when you pump the bulb as to not blow out the needle and seat

    [​IMG]
     
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