Ode to a Power Inverter

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Luniyn

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Living in South Florida I have the little problem of hurricanes and being without power. A few years back I bought a low wattage power inverter which you attach to your car battery and it can provide up to 400 watts of power (1200 peak) so you can power some fans charge up your cell phone, etc. Nothing much but it was only about $20 and I figured it would be nice to have some fans going when the power goes out. Fortunately I didn't really have a reason to use it until the other night. Out of no where at about 8pm the power just goes out. I figured it was just a brown out and expected it to come back in a few seconds.... but it didn't. Called the power company only to hear a recording saying that it was out for a few thousand people and they expected it to be back sometime after midnight. Of course last time they said that it didn't come back for close to 24 hours. Well it was a nice night so I just opened some windows and didn't think anything about it until I remembered the one thing different about my house from the last time we lost power.... the fish tank. "Oh man, what am I going to do" I thought, and then I remembered my till now unopened power inverter. Cracked it open and hooked it up to the car battery. Ran a long extension cord and plugged it into my surge protector that all my fish tank items are plugged into. Sure enough everything was up and running in just a few minutes and now I could suffer through the no power thing without worrying about my fish.

I've seen those battery backup systems that some of the pet stores offer, but those are limited to their charge without a way to give them a recharge until you get power back. Not going to work if you lose power for a few days or heaven forbid lose power like my parents did after the last hurricane for 4 weeks. Most of the power inverters (even this cheap one I bought) have a reading of power available in your car battery. When it drops close to 6 volts (down from it's normal 12 volts) you just power down and disconnect the power inverter. Then start up your car for 10-15 minutes and it will recharge your battery back up to full power and it's ready to use again. And if you are only using it for your tank filter it will last for a Loooonnnnng time since most filters barely use 20-30 watts of power. Just thought I would sing the praise of this piece of hardware that until now has sat in a box collecting dust in my closet ;D
 

susitna-flower

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Thanks for the tip! Just a week or so ago someone here on fishlore was telling us about his loosing power and ended up loosing a lot of his saltwater tank because of it. :'(

I live off the electric system all the time. We are 2 1/2 miles away from the nearest line. We run two generators. One is huge, a 15 KW diesel, the other is a 2000watt Honda gas, and I run my computer, fish tanks and TV on that all day, as the big generator costs $35 + per day to run. Even in my case a backup battery/inverter is a good idea. My computer is plugged into a 80 Lb battery backup, so when the generator runs out of gas, I have plenty of time to deal with it and no damage to the computer. I have another one, not currently being used, I bet it would help with the tanks, especially the small 10 gal tank with fry. I am so glad you posted this, I hadn't even thought of pulling that out and using it! Thanks

Land of the Midnight Sun 8)
 
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Luniyn

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Don't mean to pry (feel free not to answer) but just curious if it's personal preference that you live out that far from civilization or is it job related?

I lived with my parents back 10+ years ago when Hurricane Andrew blew through Florida and we were without power for 4 weeks and had to use a generator. I can't imagine having to live 24/7 off of them. Granted you have much larger one's then I used as we had to turn it off and add gas every 6-8 hours, but still the noise was enough to drive you crazy! I hope you have some good noise suppression, which is another plus to a power inverter... no noise ;D.
 

susitna-flower

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  I don't mind.  As a matter of fact one of the reasons I am on this forum is to reach out to people a little, as this is a remote location 7 miles from the Highway to town, and 80 miles from town and the LFS! 

   I live on my families "homestead"  160 acres of heaven.   In full view of Mt. McKinley, (see picture in profile) that is what you can see from my house!  So others pay thousands of dollars to travel up here and see "the mountain", some of which never see it because it is cloudy when they come.   We live with it all the time and see some wonderful sights, like the moon setting behind the mountain in January (9 am+-, and comming out the other side 1/2 hour later),  same thing happens in the month of June with the sun! Though it is at 1:30 am.  In the winter when the moon is full you can see the mountain by moonlight from home, and it is over 100 miles away!
   We have much more here now than when my folks moved out to the wilderness.  We have a driveway right up to the house!   The house is "modern" with flush toilets and all, we have a salmon stream running through the place, and life is pretty laid back.  No neighbors to disturb, and we can use our noisy toys (snowmachines and 4 wheelers) right from home to play!
   We don't have hurricanes!  So all of our lifestyle can be depended on God willing, other than the normal like fire.   Our house sits on a hill 60 feet above the creek, so even though there have been 2 floods in the almost 50 years our family has been here, they have never come anywhere near us.
   I guess the rest can be summed up in the fact that my folks were "Okies", and I have white-line-fever, which is to say I love to drive, so the trips to town, or to my children's school (60 mi round trip)  never have bothered me.   
   My husband and I both have jobs that accommodate the area we live in.  We own a General Construction business, I do landscaping and own a small greenhouse business,  am an AGEL distributor, and am involved in 'local' politics, having run last election for our State legislature.  I plan to continue that!
  Sorry to be so long winded, hope you are having a great day.   

Land of the Midnight Sun  8)
 
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Luniyn

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So your guest room, is it fully furnished and when can I book it ;D. No neighbors... yes that is truly heaven though my wife wouldn't agree. Always wanted to retire to a large farm up in the mountains. No neighbors for miles would be a dream come true, though it would have to wait till after the kids grew up. No thanks on that trip you have to take them to school. I love to drive and all but 60mi round trip?!?! It's interesting that you are a GC as I'm an Landscape Architect by trade (well at the moment family business). Though I'm used to the always green tropic here in South Florida, and if it gets anywhere near freezing here we lose a great deal of plants to frost. So quite a bit different then the type of plants available up there for outdoor use. In any event, what was this thread about again? /shrug
 

COBettaCouple

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If you ever do get a hurricane up there, i think we'd all be in trouble! not exactly a common thing there.. but no blizzards here so i guess we all get our fun weather to deal with. We had a week without power after one of the hurricanes (i forget the name now, but it was the 2nd to blow thru here) and no generator - made me wonder how people lived in FL before they had A/C. It does sound like a great place you've got up there and my wife's dad would LOVE it! her mom lived in alaska a while as a kid too.
 

Jimold

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Luniyn,
I live just north of Tampa, I know exactly what you're saying. I bought a huge generator last year, but then we didn't have any hurricanes last year, so i haven't had a chance to try it out...lol
 
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Luniyn

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I was actually very lucky 2 years ago when we had that run of 4 hurricane's in a row and only lost power for max 24 hours. My neighborhood has all underground power lines so we are the easiest to fix so the power company gets us back up first so it looks like they are restoring power to a lot of people quickly. However, the down side to my neighborhood is that it was built a month before they put in the rule that houses have to be built higher then and elevation of 12 feet. So my house is at around 6, so basically if we get a storm with any kind of surge I'll be about 6 feet underwater. Soooo hoping for another quite year or my fish might actually get released into the wild when the house floods higher then their tank .
 

COBettaCouple

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Luniyn said:
I was actually very lucky 2 years ago when we had that run of 4 hurricane's in a row and only lost power for max 24 hours. My neighborhood has all underground power lines so we are the easiest to fix so the power company gets us back up first so it looks like they are restoring power to a lot of people quickly. However, the down side to my neighborhood is that it was built a month before they put in the rule that houses have to be built higher then and elevation of 12 feet. So my house is at around 6, so basically if we get a storm with any kind of surge I'll be about 6 feet underwater. Soooo hoping for another quite year or my fish might actually get released into the wild when the house floods higher then their tank .
Well, the bright side would be that you could get up close & personal with your fish. I hope we ALL have another quiet year.. 2004 was a crazy one for sure.
 

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I've been thru several hurricanes now, none have flooded here too badly, but I'm more afraid of our tree crashing thru the family room.... luckly the fish tank is in my bedroom!
 
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Luniyn

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I had a 50+ foot tree in my yard that was rotting out in the trunk. Couldn't see that though until I cut out some other trees from the mass of trees it was in. When I saw that I was shocked that the thing was still standing. It's long gone now and all I have now is palm trees and oaks, both of which are very hurricane resistant (knock on wood).
 

COBettaCouple

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Luniyn said:
I had a 50+ foot tree in my yard that was rotting out in the trunk. Couldn't see that though until I cut out some other trees from the mass of trees it was in. When I saw that I was shocked that the thing was still standing. It's long gone now and all I have now is palm trees and oaks, both of which are very hurricane resistant (knock on wood).
yea, a neighbor a few doors down had a tree dropped into his living room and another house at the end of the street had a big tree get pulled up and dropped onto the road.. that was my wife's first summer here in FL and she got a wild one. The entire county was out of power for the week but guess who got power back first? not the hospital or anything like that.. it was walmart! LOL Still we didn't get it too bad compared to other parts of FL - it only was about cat 1 strength when it came thru here.
 
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Yeah I had moved up to Philadelphia to be with my wife (she was born up there) and after a visit down here she realized that she was tired of philly, the only thing keeping her from moving was the idea of dealing with hurricanes. I told her "relax honey, I lived down there for 23 years before moving up here and only dealt with 1 hurricane in all that time". Of course I didn't mention it was a cat 5 (i.e. Andrew), so she said ok let's go. What happens right after we move in.... 4 hurricanes in a row. Karma's a pain in the butt sometimes .
 

COBettaCouple

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Sounds just like my wife & I - I'd always tell her how we never got hit here and then we got hit 2x that summer.. The worst part was the muggy heat that follows the storm with no generator of our own and the neighbor's going so loud you could here it streets away. I felt like taking a sledge hammer to it after a few days of the relentless heat and the constant loud noise. So i definitely feel an ode to a power inverter is cool.
 
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