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Power Backups

Which system do you use?

Generator
5
24%
UPS
3
14%
Solar
0
No votes
Insulation
4
19%
None
9
43%
 
Total votes : 21

Power Backups

Postby ewertb » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:30 am

Our critters don't like cold. With the recent spate of Eskom load shedding (even though, but lucky so in summer) I was wondering what my fellow herpers use for backup power for their reptile rooms, i.e. generators, battery-inverter systems (UPS), etc.? Or do you trust in proper insulation keeping the space warm enough for long enough?
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Re: Power Backups

Postby Ruan Stander » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:04 am

I don't use anything as the temperature of my herp room is stable. Thankfully it is summer, yes.
My first choice would be insulation, but in the cold winter months that could be insufficient.
If it is ever necessary I would probably go with a UPS.
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Re: Power Backups

Postby MKDobison » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:05 pm

This is something I truly never considered but thinking about it more and more... It really is something I have to look into. Any advice and recommendations by true and tested methods would be appreciated :)
Look before you leap, For snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
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Re: Power Backups

Postby moe » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:23 pm

Yes thankfully my snake room in summer is at 27-28 degrees room temperature.

Ive actually asked a mate of mine who is a electrical engineer about a ups but according to him the heat cables,pads,lights is considered a dirty load so it will drain a ups very fast.I wouldn't know if this is true so if anyone can shed light on it?

I was told to rather look at a small generator just to run the snake room power on its own seems like a good idea aswell as a cheaper option?
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Re: Power Backups

Postby ewertb » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:44 pm

From what I could gather UPS type systems for purely keeping a reptile room going during load shedding is the better/cheaper option. The main problem with smallish generators is that it requires human intervention to get started which is not always possible when at work or away for the weekend. Generator units with automated start and switch over are bigger units and quite expensive (smallest I could find was an 8kVA unit for R37k). Generators also come with noise and fumes.

Now I know everyone's situation is different. As an example, I'm only looking after my critters and don't need a system with which I can watch TV and cook and heat water, etc. I have a 2.5x3m room that I'm converting into my reptile room. I've installed a 400W wall mounted panel heater to maintain my room/ambient temp and will then be providing individual cages with spot/basking heat as required. However, during a load shed I only intend to keep the panel heater running to maintain my ambient air temp (no basking and no light for a couple of hours won't adversely affect the critters). I'm currently looking at getting a 800W inverter (UPS) system operating from 2x 102Ah batteries that, based on my limited electrical knowledge and research into this I should be able to run my panel heater for around 5-6hrs. This system will cost in the region of R10000.
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Re: Power Backups

Postby moe » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:50 pm

I agree with you on the generator part those that auto switch are expensive but on the other hand i have asked a few generator guys and according to them a small 1kVa will be sufficient just to run heating pads??

I was told if you run any sort of heating element off a ups it will drain in a max of 1-1.5hrs as this is considered a dirty load? Is this true?

If not then yes the ups would be a much better option i agree
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Re: Power Backups

Postby ewertb » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:42 am

I'm no electrical expert (basically only know how to wire a plug) but to my mind I don't really see why a heating element is considered a 'dirty' load. I mean, it is either on or off and when it is on it draws a fixed amount of current. There might be a slight increase/decrease in current draw as it heats up but this should be along a fixed/predictable curve as the element is a simple/single piece of equipment. Unlike for example a TV, electric motor (varying electric fields), fridge, PC, etc. that is composed of an abundance of electrical 'sub' components, the nature of a heating element simply in my opinion doesn't lend itself to causing erratic current draws or electric feedback that can cause excessive drain on a UPS.

The amount of time you can run a certain constant load from a UPS is further dependent on the battery capacity you have feeding the UPS, i.e. double the number of batteries, you double the time it will give you power.
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Re: Power Backups

Postby moe » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:04 am

Oh okay interesting bud thanks for enlightening me on the topic

The way i was explained the elements to be a 'dirty load' is because a element draws a eratic current when heating up once heated it draws a set amount.

The way you explained makes more sense to me.

Cheers bud
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Re: Power Backups

Postby moe » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:04 am

Oh okay interesting bud thanks for enlightening me on the topic

The way i was explained the elements to be a 'dirty load' is because a element draws a eratic current when heating up once heated it draws a set amount.

The way you explained makes more sense to me.

Cheers bud
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Re: Power Backups

Postby TJ&ACP » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:46 am

Either why it is a costly exercise.

Fist you look at some sort of automation change over, if mains drop generator need to start up or UPS to kick in.

If you run your head pads through a controller and the desired heat are reached the generator will not stop running and fuel will be wasted, it will only switch off when your mains return.

Whereas UPS consist mainly out of 3 parts, beside the automatic change over system.
1) The battery charger normally 12V, solar devises now available.
2) The batteries - quantity = time of operation
3) Inverter not only to bring power to 220VAC but to provide the Amps needed.

The best solution I can think of would be: 12VDC heat cables.

Charger on battery → Heat cable on battery.
Most chargers has a build in regulator.
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Re: Power Backups

Postby MKDobison » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:28 pm

12v Battery - 200w Power inverter

Input Voltage: DC 10-14V
Input Current: 0.15-13A
Self-Consumption: ≤ 1.5%
Output Voltage: AC 165 – 270V
Output Frequency: 50 – 60Hz
Efficiency: 75%


So I have seen a few of these for sale and was wondering what your thoughts were on this kind of backup and would it be sufficient? I have considered purchasing one of these for each of my cages as to not put too much strain on the systems - about 4-5 separate cages with individual heating requirements.
I thought a 12 volt battery would work quite well as those can be recharged once the power is back on from a standard car battery charger and are not really very hard to find in a hurry.

I'm sorry if I missed this discussion already but with winter not very far away and load shedding now been a visceral disturbance - prevention is better than cure I guess :)
Look before you leap, For snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
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