Monday, January 19, 2015

Best laid plans...

I was wedged between a wall and a bookcase, trying to mount conduit for some solar back-up 12 volt wiring last night when...

The lights went out.

Nothing I did. A utility transformer blew down the street.

But boy did I feel dumb. Just four or five feet away from backup power and an attach lamp, and I had to navigate out of my tight spot in complete darkness. After a few awkward minutes, I got to the inverter's on switch.

Drives home the point of why I was wiring basement night lights to run off direct solar and solar-charged battery. It'll save me a few pennies on my electric bill, but also let me see my way around the basement when the regular lights do go out.

Power was out for close to 90 minutes while the power company swapped out transformers. My 140 amp hour battery bank showed little draw for time spent running a couple of LED lights.

But here's the big disappointment: I learned last night there's no auxiliary power source running the Comcast Internet service in my area. When the local transformer blew, it took down the Internet. My modem, attached to its own battery backup, stayed up and running. Comcast's service on my street did not.

This changes how I'll plan to use back-up power in an outage. I may beef up my battery bank while the existing batteries are still new. The ability to run TV, with an existing over-the-air antenna, just got bumped to a higher priority.

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