Showing posts with label power outage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label power outage. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Power Outage at Casa De Zero

Commander Zero talked about his recent power outage.

Since his setup is pretty similar to mine (Honda EU 2000, some Goal 0 lights, LED lanterns and flash lights I was curious about how it went for him.
I use Energizer brand lanterns.
Got the first one for Christmas or something and liked it. Think we have 4 or so of them.The newer ones made in the last couple years can take AA batteries or D batteries. This is significant first because more options are always better. Second and most significantly I can charge AA's either off solar or the genny so for a longer term scenario that is the obvious way to go. I have a more expensive Goal 0 lantern but the little energizers are great. They are durable too. My kids haven't even broken one yet and that is saying something.

The Honda EU2000 rocks. It was hard to spend the money but it is well a Honda. Easy to use, boringly reliable, quiet and fuel efficient. It will run everything in the house except the dryer and heat/ AC and I presume water heater. Of course it won't run everything at once but using to for one large draw (Fridge or Freezer) and a couple of smaller ones like a radio, goal 0 lights, charging batteries, etc is very reasonable and goes a long way towards providing power outage creature comforts.

I agree with Zero's comment on extension cords. I probably need to go out and buy 2 more good cords and keep them with the generator. For light indoor use a surge protector with 3-4 outlets helps if the things are close to each other.

I definitely need to get a chain and  lock to secure the genny. Not a big concern where I live now but down the road it may well be.

In Zero's post the fact that you can connect a second Honda EU2000 and effectively have a 4k generator came up. I am personally ambivalent about this. To me the benefit of this size generator is it can provide a good bit (though admittedly not all) of my needs and a couple wants with a compact size and reasonable fuel consumption. This is important especially if you envision a situation like Katrina were you might be out of power for weeks or months.

If I ever get around to buying a second generator it would be big enough to run most of my house. Probably a large diesel setup (or a dual fuel propane/ diesel if such exists) that is wired to some circuits in the house. Who knows if that will ever happen. Oh yeah and a bunch of solar too. It's nice to dream.

Agree on Zeros comment about soda bottles. I also use them as ice cubes in a cooler.

Anyway I'm glad Zero got to test his gear, albeit in a less than ideal way, and make observations we might all benefit from.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Storms, Power Outages, Generator and Ancillary Thoughts Theiron

The weather in western central Louisiana was just plain nasty today. This morning we had lots of thunder, real nasty storms and a whole lot of rain. The power went out in short order over a wide area. It was out for several hours.

I came home at lunch time to check on things and run the generator for the fridge. 

Walker was running around holding a battery powered lantern. Princess was following him. They were doing well though their routine was off so things were a little tense.

Fired up the generator. It started on the second or third pull. Ran a cord to the fridge. Plugged Wifey's cell phone in.

Cooked grilled cheese for the kids to have along with some fruit for lunch.

Busted out the Goal 0 setup.  The power source was dead. It is apparent to me that this device does not seem to hold power well over the long term.

Went to charge the Goal 0 setup but both outlets were filled. Went and found a power strip. I need to include one or two of those in the general genny setup. Granted you do have to pay attention to total power load with a small generator but it is easy to see how I could easily want to charge 3-4 things at once. This will be added to my generator support package which lives in a big, rugged water resistant
Stanley box.

Ate my lunch.

Showed Wifey how to start the generator in case she needed/ wanted it later before I got back.

The plastic cover was blown off the chicken coup. Didn't have time to do anything about it then.

About that time the power came back on.

Later when I got home I put the generator away though didn't repack it in the box. Have a feeling we might need it in the next couple of days. While I was there I decided to start up the other small engines we have, the chainsaw and push lawn mower. I try to do that monthly just to keep everything in good running order.

Need to sharpen the saw before using it again. I got the stuff to do so but have to figure it out and get it done.

I did a repair on the chicken coup. Re tied my 'rock in the plastic wrapped in cord' white trash grommets. Also put another one in and a cord over the top to hopefully lessen the tension on the connections. Worst case it should work for a few days. If this was a permanent setup I would build a more durable roof but that isn't the situation so I'm making do.

So it was a busy day here. Tomorrow could be just as interesting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

American Black Out

This has been out for awhile. I finally got around to watching it. Maybe some lessons are in there; or there is at least a good reminder of the importance of preparing. If nothing else it's not a terrible show to watch though it does bother me how the one survivalist is a complete goober.

Have you watched American Blackout? What did you think of it? Any lessons or points of importance?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pre Power Outage Test, Drill and Checklist Sorely Needed

We get power outages down here when it rains heavily, especially for a few days in a row. Usually it is an hour or two. It has been raining real hard and flooding south of here so my threat meter was pegged a bit higher. If power dropped it could be widespread and maybe even last awhile. 

The weather down here has been nuts for the last few days. It's like a monsoon or something. Tons of rain and thunder/ lightning all over the place. We had a couple blips in the power. It seemed prudent to take some steps. Here is what I did. Not saying this was really thought out or perfect by any means, it is just what I decided to do between aproximately noon and two.

-Started the dryer to finish the load that had been sitting in the washer from this morning. (Incidentally I was trying to get ahead on chores so I'd already washed clothes and ran the dishwasher.)

-Went to the store for a couple bags of ice. One to toss in the freezer and another for the cooler.

Incidentally and almost surely due to the power brown out's the small stores card reading machine was down. Between the ice and some snacks it was $9 something. The guy was apologetic and I paid cash. That left $143 in my pocket. I considered hitting the ATM but didn't bother. We keep cash at home so it wasn't a concern. If a hurricane was coming I'd grab more cash, mostly so we could spot friends or co workers some if needed. Left the store.

-Plugged in the power supply.

-Plugged in Goal 0 battery powered lantern I'm testing.

(More on both of these later after I do some more testing)

-Nuked some leftovers for lunch.

-Filled up the bathtub water bladder. These things are pretty cool and can really work for semi predictable events like hurricanes or power outage. I really need to save a bit of coin then swing by Titan Ready Water to get a couple of 55 gallon barrels or even better one of their hydrant storage systems to boost out water storage to more acceptable levels.

-Took a shower.

After that I was pretty much done with everything I wanted to do. The storms are supposed to continue through early tomorrow. I don't really care much as I'm prepared for what is expected.

Again note that I'm not saying these actions were perfect. I had a realization that we might lose power then acted.In fact I'm open to your thoughts on what I could do better. My realization is that it would be awful handy to figure out what, in order of priority I would want to accomplish then make a list so it is easy.

Do you have a checklist for power outages? Pre outage and post or just one of them? If you don't mind sharing I would be quite interested in what is on your list. By all means answer in the comments section.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Honda EU2000?

I'm pretty much sure solid on the choice and have hinted at it earlier but figured I might as well run it by you all. We are looking at purchasing a generator, specifically a Honda EU2000. Commander Zero recently purchased one which carries a lot of weight with me. Anyway.

I know there are far cheaper generators out there so don't bother letting me know. Knowing and accepting my current limitations I can do some very basic maintenance but am not a mechanic or in any way skilled in small engine repair/ trouble shooting. As such the various $400 chinese made POS options are not appealing. Especially given that my concept of use is almost entirely emergency based (vs weekend camp out's, construction, etc) I need the damn thing to work when I go to start it up.  The Hyundai 2200 had some appeal but reviews are pretty mixed and when I dug into them nobody had seriously used theirs. Conversely the EU2000 has lots of folks in the RV and sailing communities quite convinced it is the way to go. Folks are reporting 10k hours on them which is crazy for a small gas powered generator.

My concept of use is as an emergency power source to allow us to keep the freezer going, charge batteries and my Goal 0 power source, maybe run a few lights and potentially a small tv for short periods to catch the local news. If we could keep the fridge going even moderately cool that would be a big bonus. Obviously I would not be doing all of that at once; conceptually it would probably be either the fridge or freezer and maybe a light or some batteries charging.

I tried looking up detailed information on the our fridge and freezer's power needs but either the data isn't available or I am not power smart enough to understand it. Based on general info (by appliance) I should be fine but should ain't for sure. Note if you can seriously provide help here drop me an email @ and I'll send you the specifics of my freezer and fridge.

Fuel consumption is a concern for me in terms of finances tied up,  logistics of storage. and resupply. Based on our current situation my concerns (hurricanes and prolonged power outages thereon) are more about being able to stretch 3-4 5 gallon gas can's out to keep the freezer cold and batteries charged over two or maybe three weeks; by running the genny for short periods 2--3 times a day rather than a big 8-10k genny that could power the whole house but I'd have gas for 2-3 days.We will of course add fuel to run the generator. However if things got worse than planned I'm looking at the odds that I could purchase, if at a stiff free market price, fuel to keep our generator going at 2-3 gallons a day for a couple extra weeks.


Monday, June 3, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I had a good unplanned power outage test. Fun stuff. Coming out of that I topped off our battery stash. That sort of reinvigorated my World Band Radio hobby.

Also Walmart had 12 gauge #6 shot so I grabbed 3x 25rd boxes of it. Recently re read One Second After. There was a brief discussion between a couple characters about ammunition availability awhile after the event (a couple months I think). What folks were running short on was .22lr and small game shotgun shells. The bigger stuff was generally being held onto for rather obvious reasons. Anyway that small game type ammo was being used the most made sense to me. For whatever reason that has sort of stuck in my head over time.

We are doing OK on .22lr. Sure when it's back to $17-20/500 I will buy another 10 bricks but the situation is not desperate situation. In terms of total guns out there to availability I think a significant minority of folks have 50-100 rounds of .22lr and the majority probably have under 1k. Purchasing at normal prices .22lr represents an almost perfect (aside from that it could be used to hurt somebody) trade stock. Allocating some for trade/ charity to friends and family is probably a good idea.

Now in terms of small game shotgun ammo I'm not doing so well. Would like to stash about 500 rds of #7/8 shot and 500 or #4-6 over time. Right now small game type shotgun ammo is pretty available at normal prices so I am working on it.

This article on Wants vs Needs via Modern Survival Online is worth reading and considering. We have all been guilty of getting stuff we WANT instead of stuff we NEED a time or two. I am no exception. Heck I should have read that article late last week.

Speaking of which there have been some interesting developments in our pistol battery. Sort of trying to do a thing or two so I'm going to wait till the dust settles before talking more. A person who pays attention to guns I have been looking for and recent questions I've asked could probably make some good guesses there. Interestingly my handgun buying/ trading in the last several months has been entirely focused on concealed carry sized pistols. Sure I would LIKE 5 Glock 17's put away just in case but getting the right pistol to carry around is probably more important. Anyway I've gotten way off track and this has turned into a sort of rambling discussion.

Coming up this week I am going to keep fiddling with the world band radio. Will do some more bug out food testing also. May talk about holsters as I stumbled into a batch of em. Who knows what else will happen.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Power Outage Fun

At about 8:30 this evening the power went out. First thing I did was grab the Glock that was sitting on the table by me as cutting power is often a precursor to break in's. After 60 seconds of looking and listening i figured that wasn't going to happen. So I walked to the bedroom to grab the unambiguous bedside maglight. Poked my head outside to see the whole neighborhood was dark. Grabbed a battery powered lantern. Swapped the maglight for a headlamp, they are the way to go when doing stuff. Went into the closet to grab the ole Grundig. Didn't need it's capability parse, however since we do not have the boom box of old it was the first option I thought of.

The batteries in it were dead which isn't a surprise, haven't used the thing in over 2 years. Even a trickle of a draw will kill the batteries in that time. Replaced said batteries. Tuned it to an FM station in town. While I did not have power they did which is a pretty good indicator the world did not end.

Waited 20 minutes to see if the power would just pop back on which it did not. Opened up the fridge, pulled out the meat and dairy as well as the beer then closed it. Put it into the chest freezer and then tossed a huge bag of ice in there (minus what went into the bucket with the beer;) to keep everything as cold as possible.

After that I tried using the power source from my new solar setup to power a light. For reasons I am not clear on that did not work. Didn't NEED it. We have a gaggle of battery powered lanterns with an OK stash of batteries (going to fix that tomorrow), plus Coleman lanterns but it was annoying all the same. Not like I spent a bunch of money to have that capability or something.

Decided to fiddle around on the short wave. That was fun. Listened to English Radio Havana for a bit then some stuff out of New Zealand and Lebanon. Obviously all in english otherwise I would not have stuck around. Didn't bother to find my antenna or figure out a ground. Probably could have gotten a lot more stations with that.

Since I knew the world wasn't ending I listened to the radio drinking beer in a slightly dark and warm house for a few hours. It was sort of a nice change of pace. I am going to get back into the short wave, it is pretty fun.

Lessons learned:
-I did not have a light on me. Granted there are plenty in our house and finding one took 30 seconds or so but a light in my pocket wouldn't have hurt.
-Food preservation during the power outage went OK I thought. Didn't really have a plan so much as I generally put the stuff that went bad, plus the ice in the place that would stay the coldest.
-The battery inventory has gotten a bit low through normal use. Maybe I need to inventory it monthly or something. 
-Not sure what the deal was with the power source and light parse. Honestly the only reason I grabbed it was to test it. Well that was a big fat fail. Got to put some more energy into figuring that system out it seems.
-A bucket of beer by my chair is kind of nice.
-Need to keep the radio antenna and ground with the radio.
That is about all I can think of.

Well this was a good little test, I am off to bed now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Small Solar Setups

I got an email about this today. It mentioned those solar yard lights as an idea. In my personal experience and from what I have read they are not an impressive product. They are a great idea but it just doesn't seem to work. Personally for a budget alternative energy setup I got some rechargeable batteries and a solar charger for them. I think the cost was somewhere around $200-250. For lighting I would use them to feed a couple of LED lanterns and some flashlights. In a couple years when I upgrade I will get a couple solar panels, some deep cycle batteries and a few LED lights.

Anyway those are my .02 cents on that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Deployments and Survival Scenarios

I was asked about mentally dealing with deployments recently. That is a pretty broad question so I will do my best to cover it. Also I hope that through comparison and examples some insight can be gained to dealing with various survival scenarios an average citizen might find themselves in.

For background I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and have previously deployed to Iraq. Also every deployment is different.  Some deployments are very kinetic (read lots of fighting and violence) and others are not, most are somewhere in the middle. Even for those involved in little to no violence the whole deployment thing is a pretty weird phenomenon of totalitarian control, social depravation, strange geography and weather. Whatever experiences people have pass through the filter of their personality (a sum of their background, skills, experiences, religion, etc) and there is an output. The end result is that people are affected in profoundly different ways, even by the same experiences.

In my experience if actual war was a video game nobody would buy it. The ratio of time spent doing monotonous tasks or boring repetitive duties (guard shifts, patrols, etc) vastly outweighs the time spent engaging or being engaged in combat. I would say this is true pretty much everywhere; it is just a question of what the ratio is. I believe this was true in previous wars though it manifested itself in a different way. In the current operating environment there are no front lines but contact is sporadic. A base or organization will keep doing the same thing and occasionally take contact. What people don’t see from the headlines is that for most people, in most places the average day is pretty quiet. When you hear some BN Commander on the news or in an article saying they are taking contact every day what doesn’t get mentioned is that all it means is that one of their numerous patrols got shot at, IED’ed or whatever. You can safely figure on at least 3 line companies and an HHC per BN. In each of the line companies there are probably 3 platoons and an HQ section. That is a lot of different pieces of a large organization. In short PVT Snuffy is not getting in a gunfight every single day. Now previous wars (specifically pre ‘Nam) had more clear cut front lines with more activity but units rotated in and out. The end result was probably somewhat comparable or at least within the same range.
Somebody once described war as long periods of complete boredom with random short periods of terror. I think that is half accurate. In my personal experience things happen so fast that you don’t have time to get scared. All the BS aside our training is pretty darn good and we know the right thing to do. We react to a given event quickly and with little thought. You are just acting and reacting until it is over. Later on the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if not for’s’ can haunt you if you let them. Dealing with the aftermath is far more difficult than the actual events. Like we talked about earlier, different people handle things differently and some profoundly worse than others. I don’t see a lot of reason to stress or worry. I do everything I can to be ready and to make the best decisions possible and if something happens, well that is that. I’m not fatalistic or anything like that but I don’t find much usefulness in stressing things I can’t control. You can the baddest dude alive and if you are in the shower and a rocket lands on it your race is run.

Now we will go onto the topic of staying sane over here. Finding ways to fill your time and mentally escape in a healthy way is essential. Lots of folks work out, pumping iron, running or whatever suits them. Some play lots of video games or read. A few take collect classes if their schedule and internet connectivity allow. Most have a laptop and an external hard drive full of TV and movies.

I find that human beings are far more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for. We can get used to just about anything. As for staying sane personally I work out a lot, watch tv and movies, talk to wifey as much as I can and do some reading.  As with most things in life having a healthy perspective helps a lot.
Relationships are a hard one. There are all sorts of stressors that mercilessly seek out dysfunctional relationships. Shallow marriages and relationships typically based solely on sex fall apart. Women cheat at home and men find ‘love’ over social networking sights. Deployments do a good job of weeding out the dysfunctional  (of which there are many but that is a whole nother post) military marriages. To be fair the added stress and distance also destroys some that would have probably been fine otherwise.
Adapting your expectations down is important. Everything here pretty much sucks but the least sucky things are by default pretty nice. I think finding the happiness in little things here is so important. A good cup of coffee or a hot shower, maybe a nice sunset or view now and then. Some of the best times are when you actually forget that you are here. The other day I was eating some chex mix and watching the Soprano’s on my computer and it could have easily been a random Weds night at home. Today I was in a great spontaneous political/ current affairs conversation with a group of guys. I looked at my watch and 3 hours had gone by. I couple have easily been in a restaurant or a quiet bar on a lazy afternoon. If you can’t find some things that make you at least relatively happy you are in serious trouble because there will definitely be plenty of things that stress you out.

There are of course endless negative things people can do here. The usual spectrum of derelict/ criminal behavior is present. Some folks turn to drugs or alcohol (also huffing canned air is a random and dangerous trend) to escape. Some folks stop caring or let their emotions get the best of them and get into all sorts of trouble. Folks get complacent and start doing stupid things. Others get into all sort of dysfunctional situations trying to get some kind of emotional closeness or just strait up looking to get laid. Some folks for whatever reason just can’t seem to deal with it.

How does this all relate to survival scenarios?  I think they relate pretty directly. I think there will be a variety of different situations for individuals but most won’t be the absolute worst or a piece of cake. I think different people in the same relative situation will deal with it very differently. That is just the start. Also I think survival scenarios are going to have the same, if not a lower ratio of boring to violent events, very low. Especially in common events such as natural disasters, storms and power outages where you won’t all of a sudden start a huge garden or need to cut a winter’s worth of firewood boredom is a big factor. This is where a stash of cards, board games and books, to include light easy reading type stuff is so important.

There will be a lot of boring routine work and every day challenges for every significant event. One thing about deployments is that there is a definite (if floating) light at the end of the tunnel. I know that at roughly next winter we will redeploy and I will go back to a better place. Most survival situations, except the really dark ones, will have that same benefit.

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