Thursday, June 14, 2012

This is really starting to get old.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

‘Huwah?  Wtfisthat?’  I slowly blink my eyes open.  ‘What time is it?’  I look at the ceiling where the projection clock is supposed to be showing me the time.  It’s dark.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

* deep sigh *  ‘Again?’

I have no idea how long the power had been out before the beeping finally woke me.  The battery powered clock in the bathroom said it was ten minutes of three.  Very AM.  Next priority was to call the electric company to report the outage.  Then I restrung the extension cord from the inverter to the fridge.  I’d used solar power to run my string trimmer over the weekend so the cord wasn’t in place as it usually is.

Note to self: Buy a dedicated correct length cord that can stay in place and free up the 100-footer for other use.

With the power company notified and the fridge all happy on the solar system I went back to bed. 

After a little while the beeping stopped.  That meant that our Vonage phone system was dead.  We might still have cell coverage – provided the outage didn’t go to the cell towers…  I was already back in bed so I didn’t bother to check.  Calling 911 if things really go pear-shaped presupposes that you have working telephones.  Personally, I think it’s a much better plan to be able to take care of yourself and only call in the cavalry once the immediate threat is neutralized.  I’m digressing again.

Mum called a few minutes ago, while I was writing this very post as a matter of fact.  She mentioned that the light in the fridge dimmed when the compressor came on while she had the door opened.  The peak output of our inverter is just up to the task of handling the startup draw of the fridge.  Adding the little light bulb’s draw from the door being opened is almost more than the inverter can handle. 

Oh, the power came back on about two hours and fifteen minutes after I discovered it was out.  I just haven’t switched the fridge back to the grid.  I thought it prudent to make sure the grid would keep working for a while first.  I’ll switch it back when I get home from work tonight.  Meanwhile, I know the groceries won’t be going bad on us.

I have a bunch more of those solar panels on hand now and I can install them whenever I have the time.  I’ve also got a new charge controller that can handle way more input power than my full set of panels will produce once installed.   But even before I get all that done I may need to look into upgrading my inverter.  Then I’ll want more/bigger batteries.

All in good time.

The funny thing is that when I mentioned our early morning outage to my boss, he said one of his kids called him at work yesterday to report that the power was out at their house.  It won’t take much more of this for me to start questioning the stability of the power grid…

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