The Orchid Forum, for the UK and Europe (previously known as The UK Orchid Forum) • View topic - Backup power supplies
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 Post subject: Backup power supplies
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:38 pm 
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I live in: United Kingdom (England)
My nearest city or region is: Cheshire
Given the appalling state of our eletricity generation network and likely chance of power outages, has anyone gone for a backup power supply (e.g. Diesel/petrol generation) and was it difficult to connect up to existing sockets etc?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:46 pm 
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I have great problems with power outages - only 13 miles from Nottingham but you would think it is the outback. I suppose it is something to do with overhead cables. Mobile phones or internet don't shine either, hence my own internet comes in by radio to a little aerial on my roof.
Anyway, I have twin 12X8 greenhouses, one cool min 10c and the other intermediate min 13c. I looked at this about 10 years ago and I opted for Calor gas in the warmer house and paraffin in the cool one. I have two 19kg gas tanks connected by an auto changeover valve. Gas is expensive but I discounted a generator on the grounds of initial cost and the length of time a tank of fuel would last when supplying min 3KW. Also, I went for systems which, once the power has gone do not require ANY electricity to operate thermostats etc.
Both systems work faultlessly. I don't know if you have tried buying paraffin lately, but locally that is £8.69 per 4 litr, and my small one inch wick burns that in a day. I did manage to knock a couple of pounds off that with my OAP card at B & Q. Someone said to use my domestic heating kerosene, much cheaper but the danger of fumes and clogging shied me away from that.

The overriding problem, though, is knowing when the power goes out. I have researched and not found a suitable device which would tell me. OK it will tell me if the house power goes, so if I am at home or overnight I can jump to it, but if it is just the greenhouse system which has tripped (Never happened) or I am away I am blind.
I am pretty sure there is an earlier thread about this subject 12 - 24 months ago.
Richard


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:23 pm 
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Interesting that nobody else contributed ideas here - or have the rest of the forum members buried their heads in the sand with an "It cannot happen to me" syndrome. Maybe forum members just do not believe in insurance - which is exactly what it is.
I agree with Silvershaded that plant collections are too valuable to lose. If disaster befell me I certainly could not afford to restock. There must be some other viable ideas out there.
Richard


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Well I've only been popping in and out on here so missed this post that could be the same for quite a few people on here,
I do have a back up plan with is a gas heater and the only reason i use gas is becuase i am able to get hold of free gas so the only expense is the heater its self.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:32 pm 
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Well, now we have snowflakes descending down our screens I do hope that people do actually have some stand-by heat sources ready. I guess that the lack of response to this thread indicates maybe some embarrassment that people do not want to appear foolish by having nothing - I cannot believe it is just because they don't want to share their ideas. Just remember that the final outcome of when the ostrich buried its head in the sand was that it suffocated and died. It is too late once a cold snap and power outage have hit.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:21 pm 
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Hope they have forums in the hereafter
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I live in: United Kingdom (England)
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I do have an alarm system direct to my mobile phone, so if greenhouse temperatures drop below where they should do i get a warning. However, as yet no backup heating method (other than a parrafin heater). I dont fancy paying too much for a backup heater either.

On most nghts a 1 or 2kw generator would be enough, it would only last a few hours but petrol/diesel is easier to get hold of than kerosene. (fuel cost isnt an issue for emergency use).

Any thoughts?

Edit:

Of course putting it inside the greenhouse would be a realy dumb idea...


Last edited by SilverShaded on Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:43 pm 
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Hell orchidman
My orchids are worth a lot of money so here is my solution. My main heating is a boiler/kerosene which is now very very cheap to buy.The boiler to run uses 150 watts when it is running so a simple two stroke generator £90 from machine mart with 750 watts power is ample.I also have a 2.8 kilowatt generator in case the power supply and the boiler pack up together which will heat my greenhouses at a lower temperature than one would like but it will save my orchids.The simple link to this is a temperature /alarm system which will tell me if the temperature drops down or up(fire in the greenhouse).I sleep contented at night
Brian


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:12 pm 
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How sensible, Brian. That seems an excellent solution with backup of the backup too.
I don't think I would want to change my basic system at this stage, although both my domestic heating and our swimming pool have their own oil tanks so I am familiar with that technology. I just fear that the set-up cost would not be viable as my existing system works fine.......when there is electricity. Pity I did not go that way when I set my greenhouses up 10 years ago. With some forethought I could have linked in some way to my pool boiler.

Your temperature alarm sounds interesting, as does Silvershaded's - what is that and how does that work?
Richard


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Hello Richard
The temperature alarm system is quite simple.The monitor(high/low temperatures sits in the greenhouse and if the temperature goes outside the limits set ,it sends a signal
to the house and a very loud alarm.The monitor in the greenhouse runs on cell batteries which I replace every year. The house alarm is on a plug with back up batteries if power fails.The one problem with tis unit is the range on the unit will say 60 mtrs with a clear run but when you add windows (greenhouse and house) it is probably less than half that.Units are available with far greater range but of course the price goes up accordingly. Mine is now 3years old with no problems but Icannot find details of where I bought it.
Brian


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:28 pm 
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That has been my problem in finding any remote monitor, Brian - distance. I need at least 100mtrs, and being an old 1800's farmhouse the walls are very solid 2 ft thick filled with rubble. I'll just need to keep searching - even my internet comes in via radio to an aerial on the roof because the telephone lines give just 1 mb service reduced to almost nothing if it is stormy. Such are the joys of living away from a major conurbation.
Richard


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