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OT- But sort of an emergency

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  • OT- But sort of an emergency

    I'm in the path of Hurricane Sandy, and likely to be without electric power for three or more days, depending on how many of my trees fall across my power wires. I do have a gasoline powered generator, but I'm not sure whether I can recharge my cell phone batteries using that power source. If not directly, perhaps I could recharge the phone once or twice from the uninterruptable backup power supply for my computer. My theory there is that the waveform from the computer power supply would be more compatible with the cell phone charger. ( Oh yes, and my lady friend is worried about recharging her iPad too. ) I found surprisingly little information on this subject on Google, other than a blog site in Nigeria. Any comments or ideas ? Thanks !

  • #2
    Your UPS has a satisfactory wave form for all your purposes. It should also filter out most "spikes" in your power supply.

    Generators are another matter as unless its output is suitable for computers etc. I'd give it a miss. Many generators are suitable for most tools though.


    • #3

      Why can't you rechatge your cellphone from your car?



      • #4
        Actually, I think most computer power supplies are pretty tolerant of generator waveforms. The first thing that happens in them is rectification of the incoming power to DC. I've run computers on generator power for many hours w/o trouble.


        • #5
          I see no real reason you cannot charge a cell phone or ipad from you generator. The generator is after all an alternator, just like the power company. They generally make cleaner power than a UPS. The switching supplies in phone and Ipad chargers rectify the AC and are usually not too picky about the incoming power. The last multi-day outage we had here I was charging cellphones, ipods, ipads and such stuff for most of a week on my generator.


          • #6
            Thanks for your suggestions . The " car charger" option would have been fine, but I find that the only such charger we ever purchased was for an older cell phone with a different input jack. I'll probably recharge the cell phones from my computer unterruptable power supply, and recharge that UPS from my generator if necessary.


            • #7
              You can run a few house lights as well as your refrigerator/s off the generator.


              • #8
                If I were you, I'd take the wife to Vegas for 3 days and avoid the whole mess.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KiddZimaHater View Post
                  If I were you, I'd take the wife to Vegas for 3 days and avoid the whole mess.

                  I wonder if his lady friend knows about the "wife" or vice versa...


                  • #10
                    Your UPS is the answer. Plug all your electronics into it and run the whole works off your gen set.

                    Personally. I have used computers off generators for 25 years. Only toasted one power supply.

                    When we wer ehooked up to dirty gen power we could run all electronics off an over sized UPS without issues.
                    Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


                    • #11
                      Generators are usually pretty clean, at least the ones I have worked on. The new ones that are inverter based are even better.

                      I would not worry. Most recent powersupplies like cell and ipad chargers will tolerate anything from 100-240v 50 to 60hz and more.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oldtiffie View Post
                        You can run a few house lights as well as your refrigerator/s off the generator.
                        Long strings of LED Xmas tree lights works a treat in low energy situations, and you can light the length of a hall and a bathroom with one low-power string. Beats candles.


                        • #13
                          You can get a USB car charger from Harbor Freight that will charge your iPad just fine.



                          • #14
                            A UPS uses a 12v battery for power, in every case I've known of. You could add a 12v deep cycle battery to your 'system', and that will give you even more options. If you can add the power from this extra battery to the UPS, you can extend it's working time on battery power alone, plus you can charge the UPS from the generator 12v output, or the ac output. You can also charge the extra battery from your vehicle, or keep your vehicle alive if its own battery goes out. Needles to say, you can also charge your vehicle battery from the generator.

                            If you need to charge the toys, you can do so from the deep cycle battery without needing to run either the UPS or the generator, which will save on fuel. If the deep cycle battery is used for starting the generator, and you happen to run it down, you can use the UPS battery to bring it back up enough to start the generator. This would work in the same way that those 'booster' packages do. And of course, as others have said, you can rig up a string of leds to light your way around a dark house, and it won't drain the battery nearly as quickly as incandescents.

                            I'm a big fan of using depletable power sources in a direct way, in other words not running an inverter to run some other power supply that drops voltage down again to charge a phone, etc. If you don't have an adapter to charge those things from a vehicle, then maybe you should get one. Even running that charger from the UPS battery will be less power hungry than using the UPS circuitry to boost the voltage, only to drop it again through the ac charger unit.

                            One of my big concerns with an extended power outage is that my furnace won't run if the ac is out. Sure, I can rig it up to run from a generator, but it would also be good if it could run from a deep cycle battery. The 'brain' needs to know that the ignition module is working and that the exhaust fan and the blower are both running. The gas doesn't stop flowing when the power goes out, so there's no reason why I couldn't still have heat. It does get cold here at times. This is a more involved modification to the domestic situation though, so I don't think it would be something you or I would NEED to do.

                            I think that adding the deep cycle battery to your system would be a prudent thing to do.
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                            • #15
                              If you have a land-line (phone) it is quite likely tha tit will be operational on the batteries in the telephone exchange. If you re-connect the low-powered phone to your wall socket for it you will have power when mains power is "off" unless or until the line is broken in the storm or until the 'exhange batteries run down but they have a back-up automatic back-up generator anyway. If you don't have a low-power phone - just a normal answering/remote mains-powered phone - you can plug it into the UPS or the generator for "main power - and away you go.

                              I have quite a few UPS's - most in quite good condition - but they are of limited power and duration - so I use the generator mostly.