Municipal Power Failures: Generator or Inverter

Kung Fu Porkchop

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We've been having intermittent power failures in the town I live in the last 4 years due to a combination of municipal mismanagement and load-shedding. At this point I'm so negative that I would like to move out of this sh*thole town, but I bought a house in the last year so that won't be possible. Things go well for a few weeks and suddenly something will break/burn/get stolen and we're stuck with power issues for 2-3 weeks, sometimes longer.

I've been looking at getting an inverter for a while to keep my computer, router, TV and a few lights going when load-shedding hits, but due to the intermittent power issues in town, I'm not sure that it's the best option anymore. As an example: We were without power on Saturday for 6 hours and 9.5 hours on Sunday. I've been keeping up with the Mecer thread mostly, but I'd like to get some more advice on what I should do.

  1. I'm thinking that a 5.5-7KW generator would be a good idea, but it also has it's own drawbacks (fuel consumption).
  2. I've also been wondering whether a 3000VA inverter would work with 2-4x 200Ah batteries, but the batteries also start getting expensive the more you need and letting them drop to 50% or less is definitely not something I'm looking to do.
  3. A combination of both might make more sense, but that will also cost a bit.

I don't know if anyone on MyBB is in a similar situation or not, but I'd appreciate some advice on what I should do.
 

Lupus

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We've been having intermittent power failures in the town I live in the last 4 years due to a combination of municipal mismanagement and load-shedding. At this point I'm so negative that I would like to move out of this sh*thole town, but I bought a house in the last year so that won't be possible. Things go well for a few weeks and suddenly something will break/burn/get stolen and we're stuck with power issues for 2-3 weeks, sometimes longer.

I've been looking at getting an inverter for a while to keep my computer, router, TV and a few lights going when load-shedding hits, but due to the intermittent power issues in town, I'm not sure that it's the best option anymore. As an example: We were without power on Saturday for 6 hours and 9.5 hours on Sunday. I've been keeping up with the Mecer thread mostly, but I'd like to get some more advice on what I should do.

  1. I'm thinking that a 5.5-7KW generator would be a good idea, but it also has it's own drawbacks (fuel consumption).
  2. I've also been wondering whether a 3000VA inverter would work with 2-4x 200Ah batteries, but the batteries also start getting expensive the more you need and letting them drop to 50% or less is definitely not something I'm looking to do.
  3. A combination of both might make more sense, but that will also cost a bit.

I don't know if anyone on MyBB is in a similar situation or not, but I'd appreciate some advice on what I should do.
Firstly you'd have to see the power draw you want to use during the power failures, this will determine your outcome, if you want to power the whole house for the entire period it would get costly on batteries. Could look at an inverter and panels for what you'd want to power, so during the day at least you're not running on batteries.
 

Kung Fu Porkchop

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Firstly you'd have to see the power draw you want to use during the power failures, this will determine your outcome, if you want to power the whole house for the entire period it would get costly on batteries. Could look at an inverter and panels for what you'd want to power, so during the day at least you're not running on batteries.
The power draw will only make an impact if I decide to run the entire house on an inverter. The long term plan is to get a solar system for the house, but since the cost of an entire system is not something I can cover for the foreseeable future, it'll have to wait a while.
 

Lupus

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The power draw will only make an impact if I decide to run the entire house on an inverter. The long term plan is to get a solar system for the house, but since the cost of an entire system is not something I can cover for the foreseeable future, it'll have to wait a while.
Ok work out a budget, as the mecer is great for things like a TV and other light things for a few hours, but for longer periods I'd look at a 3kva pure sinewave inverter with at least 2 200ah?
Something like this maybe? Then you could add the hubble lithium batteries as well.
 

Kung Fu Porkchop

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Ok work out a budget, as the mecer is great for things like a TV and other light things for a few hours, but for longer periods I'd look at a 3kva pure sinewave inverter with at least 2 200ah?
Something like this maybe? Then you could add the hubble lithium batteries as well.
I had a look at something like this. Will be able to connect it to the DB board and connect the lights on it, if I'm not mistaken
 

mojoman

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This is what we have to watch for now...I read somewhere its now on day 22...no power and no power for another couple of weeks apparently (cant find that article now but here is an earlier one...)

 

Kung Fu Porkchop

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This is what we have to watch for now...I read somewhere its now on day 22...no power and no power for another couple of weeks apparently (cant find that article now but here is an earlier one...)

My brother-in-law lives in Venterspos. Day 24 today
 

Lupus

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Just so I'm sure, if the inverter states 7 hours (depending on load obviously), batteries should reach 50% in 3.5 hours, right?
The inverter won't state the hours, it will give a rough estimation of the amount of battery left, the unit I showed would give you roughly 2400wh, so for 7 hours you'd be using roughly 300w an hour.
 

Kung Fu Porkchop

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The inverter won't state the hours, it will give a rough estimation of the amount of battery left, the unit I showed would give you roughly 2400wh, so for 7 hours you'd be using roughly 300w an hour.
Ah okay, thanks. Makes more sense
 

wingnut771

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Yes, I do. The house doesn't have a prepaid unit at this point, still need to look into getting one. Not sure if I should honestly :unsure: Spending about R1800 per month on electricity.
What I would do is get a loan for R1800 per month. Get solar/inverter and enough battery to cover your normal loadshedding. Add a generator for backup incase of shitty weather during long power outages. The reason I ask about spinning disk meter is it's like the holy grail in these situations. You turn your meter backwards when you can effectively having a zero meter bill (just don't go into negative readings) or at least in the cheap electricyt group. Then you won't need so much battery to cover you.

Something like a 5kw sunsynk
6.5kw PV
5.5kw Hubble AM-2
5kw generator
 

Zerc

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I need to point out that some spinning meters do NOT work backwards, don't ask me how I know . If the plan is to save money by feeding power back I would double-check what kind of spinning disk meter you have.
 

darkevil

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Revov star 51.2v 200Ah 5kva/10.2kwh
This is a 10.2kWh residential backup power unit. Plug and play unit all in one.

Rental options available.
 

wingnut771

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I need to point out that some spinning meters do NOT work backwards, don't ask me how I know . If the plan is to save money by feeding power back I would double-check what kind of spinning disk meter you have.
Why don’t you tell us which ones then instead of being so cryptic because how would one “double check”.

Hi elec department, I want to turn my meter backwards, here’s a pic, is this possible?

Department: thank you for bringing this to our attention, you have been scheduled for a prepaid meter, please make yourself available.
 

Kung Fu Porkchop

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Why don’t you tell us which ones then instead of being so cryptic because how would one “double check”.

Hi elec department, I want to turn my meter backwards, here’s a pic, is this possible?

Department: thank you for bringing this to our attention, you have been scheduled for a prepaid meter, please make yourself available.
Maybe I should do this. Free prepaid meter!
 

RonSwanson

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Your needs right now are backup power, and I am guessing that you have a tight budget. In these circumstances I'd go with a cheap 5-7kVA genny, they are under R10k. Sure, it's noisy, smelly, messy and inefficient, but for price performance it's hard to beat and can be re-used as and when your solution evolves and becomes more sophisticated.
A slightly more expensive option may be the Mecer 2.4kVA trolley with batteries, but if outages are for many days then you are still stuck, and you cannot re-use it when your solution evolves.
If you have more budget than that, and your priorities are for electricity during the day, then a 3-5K Sunsynk Super Hybid inverter and some solar panels would do very well. If your priority is the evening, then the same inverter but batteries first (before panels). Hubble Lithium AM-2s are great and have a strong rate of discharge / charge, so less can be used.
Obviously if you have enough budget, you could do the whole lot at around R120K, including install and genny for bad solar days coupled with long term outages.
 
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