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TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

by R. Guyovich


I'm working in West Africa and our house isn't on the electricity grid, so we're run entirely off a diesel generator. We don't run the genny all day due to fuel costs, so maybe half the daylight hours we have no electricity in the house. For most things that's not an issue, but having to schedule Internet use around when the engine is running is kind of annoying.

The modem/router just draws from two sockets of 240 power, so it can't be pulling much juice. Is there some standard device we can buy and plug into the wall that will just draw off the excess current when the generator is running (while letting power flow through it to the modem/router), and then when we cut the generator it has enough stored energy to run the wireless for eight hours or so? Is there a particular term for that kind of device?

It'd also be useful for when we later have employees in apartments that are on the grid since the city grid goes down all the time too.

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adorai
Nov 2, 2002

10/27/04 Never forget

Grimey Drawer

Sounds like a plain old UPS to me.

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

by R. Guyovich


adorai posted:

Sounds like a plain old UPS to me.

Most Uninterrupted Power Sources just run for a couple minutes so you can fire up a backup power source though, right? We're looking for something that we can use for hours at a time so we're not burning up gallons of diesel for the primary purpose of keeping two sockets powered for the wireless.

IuniusBrutus
Jul 24, 2010



TapTheForwardAssist posted:

Most Uninterrupted Power Sources just run for a couple minutes so you can fire up a backup power source though, right? We're looking for something that we can use for hours at a time so we're not burning up gallons of diesel for the primary purpose of keeping two sockets powered for the wireless.

What about that Tesla thing?

Also, couldn't you get a couple of solar panels?

Un-l337-Pork
Sep 9, 2001

Oooh yeah...




TapTheForwardAssist posted:

. Is there some standard device we can buy and plug into the wall that will just draw off the excess current when the generator is running (while letting power flow through it to the modem/router), and then when we cut the generator it has enough stored energy to run the wireless for eight hours or so? Is there a particular term for that kind of device?

Inverter + car battery/batteries. I would think a single car battery should do the job, but they are easy enough to chain.

Un-l337-Pork fucked around with this message at 16:50 on Oct 24, 2015

zer0spunk
Nov 6, 2000

devil never even lived


Marine battery & an inverter works. (read this if you want to know why you'd use a marine battery over a car battery)

Or a UPS with a high enough rating based on the power usage. The one I've got can rock a monitor, full tower and external hard drive for 5-7 minutes, and something like 20-30 with just the tower and no display. Having an incredibly tiny low power cpu like a pi or something doing routing with a wireless adapter on a fairly large UPS would do what you want. Mains kick out, you're still good. UPS regulates voltage for under/over as well.

Or just get a generator for this specifically. Pick your input- gas, solar, wind, or..other..There's a ton of options in the portable genny that doesn't use gas route.

adorai
Nov 2, 2002

10/27/04 Never forget

Grimey Drawer

TapTheForwardAssist posted:

Most Uninterrupted Power Sources just run for a couple minutes so you can fire up a backup power source though, right? We're looking for something that we can use for hours at a time so we're not burning up gallons of diesel for the primary purpose of keeping two sockets powered for the wireless.
An APC smart ups 750 could probably run a wrt54g (I just picked a common router) for something like 10 hours without any additional power input. It would probably be more than that in the real world, but I did some very quick back of the napkin math.

Don Lapre
Mar 28, 2001

If you're having problems you're either holding the phone wrong or you have tiny girl hands.


Wont that kill the battery quickly

Ixian
Oct 9, 2001

Many machines on Ix....new machines

Pillbug

Don Lapre posted:

Wont that kill the battery quickly

That kind of use case plus environmental conditions (I imagine this isn't in a temp/humidity controlled environment, right?) would kill off most off the shelf UPS's, no question. How long they would last is hard to say but I would guess not nearly as long as they are meant to

Marine battery + inverter as zer0spunk says would work - I used something similar in the military back in the day - but these days solar passthrough is probably your better option, assuming you can get it there - speaking of which how are you planning on doing that? My experience with West Africa (and Southeast Asia, etc.) is that getting the parts you need in country is often a bigger challenge than figuring out which parts to get. Best bet is usually to fly them in as personal baggage and lug them the rest of the way. Unless you are with an NGO that already has a solid shipping plan in place?

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

by R. Guyovich


I'm a little leery of cobbling together marine batteries and inverters since I'm not really a tech guy, though it's something we can keep in mind, or have a Liberian electrician install/ground/safety for us.

quote:

An APC smart ups 750 could probably run a wrt54g (I just picked a common router) for something like 10 hours without any additional power input. It would probably be more than that in the real world, but I did some very quick back of the napkin math.

Ixian posted:

That kind of use case plus environmental conditions (I imagine this isn't in a temp/humidity controlled environment, right?) would kill off most off the shelf UPS's, no question. How long they would last is hard to say but I would guess not nearly as long as they are meant to

I really like the idea of that APC SMT750, and at US$250 that would totally pay for itself pretty quickly. Spare batteries are $60 though, so I guess it'd be a question of how long the batteries can survive. If a couple months totally worth it, if weeks probably not. I ran the idea by the boss and he was totally on board if it looks to be break-even or better.

Yeah, no temp or humidity control, though our house has pretty heavy walls and stays reasonably cool, and though this place is hella humid in the Rainy season, we're just about to start the six-month Dry season so the problem would at least be a little down the road. We have partial access to Embassy mail, so I could have one sent to a friend in the US off Amazon and shipped over in our next care package.

Anyone have any major warnings against that idea, other than that the batteries just might not last too long?


quote:

What about that Tesla thing?

Also, couldn't you get a couple of solar panels?

The Tesla house battery is what put the idea in my head, but at $3500 it's a little pricey for our current purposes, though in the future if prices come down and our needs get stronger it could be a great option. There's some long explanation for why more expats don't have solar here that I'm not totally clear on, so I can ask around a little about that. There's certainly plenty of sun. And for our purposes even a really small solar array would give enough juice to run two outlets I'd expect.

Aphrodite
Jun 27, 2006



You may have issues shipping a UPS internationally because of the battery.

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zer0spunk
Nov 6, 2000

devil never even lived


I'm kind of laughing at the idea of an electrician coming out and hooking up an inverter to a battery for you.

I mean, it's two color coded clips. Clip red to red, black to black and congrats, the inverter is powered.

A battery and inverter will be half the price if not cheaper then a UPS for what you're doing, but I guess be one step more complicated in having to clip the inverter and the charger to it as needed..how much that convenience is worth to you is totally subjective, but they make really cheap low AH @20hr batteries and low wattage inverters. (you could probably get away with the 50-60 usd range for both)

Just so you can see how silly your reply was, here's some guy stuck in 1995 hooking up an inverter to a battery. Spoiler: He is instantly vaporized.

e: looking at things like 10-20 ah batteries, it looks like it's pretty much what they throw in UPS systems anyway, so basically you could just do what you need from the 60 dollar replacement batteries you mentioned in your post hooked to an inverter directly. you're missing things like OS shutdown and PC-related functions that a UPS provides that are useless to what you're doing anyway. most inverters will even have watt and voltage readouts on them and over/under volt regulation that you'd find on a UPS (not that it matters anyway since you're pulling off a battery source not shaky mains)

e2: the 100 or more you'd save upfront sounds like it's not worth the tradeoff of having everything automated. as long as your ups is using a decent deep cycle battery you should be totally fine. i doubt running a charge/discharge cycle every day is going to kill the thing, they wouldn't make them if they weren't made to run off battery on a whim.

zer0spunk fucked around with this message at 22:48 on Oct 28, 2015

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