Another Power Outage

Ugh. This is getting annoying.
Out since 10 PM; Now 5:30 AM here.
Turned off standby generator overnight.
On standby now,

Some takeaways so far

-Automation works/recovers better on battery backup. No inexplicable zigbee drops like last outage
-Still had 3 bars on the three TalentCell batteries that back up router, modem, and hub after overnight
-Modem backup useless this time since internet provider (Spectrum) went down along with utility power. Using mobile hotspot.
-Turn off, probably, most voice notifications overnight-it's the wind blowing open the mailbox and yes, I know the freezer is warm
-Fridge and its freezer went to 45F overnight. Don't want to run gen overnight. Probably would do better if I had the ice-maker running, but if its ice melts...a mess
-Still liking the local La Crosse thermometer on the fridge/freezer
-Standby (propane) generation is very nice. This time I'm eating breakfast, taking shower, etc, before transferring to the little 2000 W Honda inverter genny.

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-Pulsations seen on led bulbs with the new-ish 22kw Generac standby
-Running on little inverter genny now-No pulsations
-Lights dimmed momentarily when the deep well submersible pump started-normal, but a soft start pump might be in the cards at some point; might be hard to argue with simplicity though-it's been down in the hole for nigh on 20 years, knock on wood


I got into solar power as a hobby project a couple of years ago, building three off-grid "shed" buildings (they're actually pretty nice) on our property, one of which is my office. I joined a DIY solar forum at the same time. There I discovered that quite a few people put in battery backups and inverters, even if they don't/can't use solar (they just keep them charged from the grid, waiting for an outage). That sounds like it might be of interest to you.

Inverters have become ridiculously cheap compared to the past, and batteries are much less as well. I can't tell you how nice it feels to be working away in my office and hear the generator kick on over at the house when the power goes out (and I didn't even see a blip). I built the solar sheds in large part as a practice run for solar at the next house we're building, to see if it made sense at all. It's worked so well that now we're not even planning to tie into the grid! Anyway, just an idea, even if you just use the batteries overnight to avoid the generator sound (and still have a cold freezer/frig the next day).

Thanks. It's an idea, but any extra garage space is loaded with tools and firewood, lol. But...they do make these power station thingys that could maybe do it, and don't take up major space. I'd have to figure out how what it would take to handle the load. Even though it's a new fridge, I THINK there are times it consumes more power than others. I'd have to figure out not only energy use overnight, but max peak load. They're not that cheap either.

For the first time I experienced an extended power outage followed by an even longer internet outage. Previous times they were short enough to not really cause much problems.

When the power went off about 8 pm there were several lights that were on. at 12 am when the power came on the lights came back on. So in my comatic state (I was sound asleep) I am trying to turn the lights off. I use mainly Homekit for my dashboards. And of course that wouldn't work. Even tho I knew better I tried SIRI. She just mouthed off about not connecting. Tried to open the HE app and it wanted a login which required the internet. Had to turn off wifi on phone, get app logged in, turn wifi back on and turn off lights.

Internet was off for day and half. I use presence to set away mode when leaving. But of course that won't work. So backed out of garage, opened phone to change mode while still connected to home wifi. Wrong. Phone had connected to car wifi. Had a duece of a time telling it to stop connecting to car and connect to home. Same issue when I got back home.

Things like camera's don't want to work without internet. I have some smart clocks. They won't tell time without calling home to get it. My TV DVR system recorded programs late as it had the same problem with getting the time.

Anyway, it sure was a learning experience. Amazing how much one relies on the internet. I can laugh about all this now. Hopefully I can use the experience and set some things up to make it easier the next time. Course it took many years to happen the first time. And I'll probably forget by the time it happens again.

Even with my recent rapid-fire outage experiences, I still haven't made it that smooth. There's a tendency to forget, lol.

Not as connected as you, but all night long, as I'm trying to get a little sleep (these outages always get me wound up some) the Ecolink chime siren is saying: "There is mail in the mailbox". Then it says "The freezer is warm"...not just once. Like I don't know. Then there were the repeated announcements that my car departed or arrived: apparently the battery in the SmartThings arrival sensor chose this time to go belly up...thankfully there was no power to the garage doors otherwise that would've been going up and down all night.

Good thought about the time. I'll check the hub time after I finish this post, because since I'm on a mobile hotspot on the laptop, and the 'regular' wifi router is without cable internet, I can only do one thing or the other, far as I can tell. I think having a battery backup would help with the time, even if internet was lost overnight.

edit: Time was spot on. Update Hub from browser was identical. Now, even though the hub isn't connected to the web in any way, I wonder if the time somehow gets back to it from my mobile hotpot via the laptop, or whatever. As I meant to say, the backup battery probably helps.

edit2: Also, this wasn't a clean outage. A lot of chattering on and off before the fault went permanent. I disconnected the main utility feed when this happened. Should've done it as a matter of course.

My Hub, Router, and Modem are on a UPS. But that only lasts a couple hours. I did have an automatic hub shutdown if power is off for an hour.

The hub itself seemed to keep relatively good time during the outage. Not so my other equipment. The google clocks wouldn't even display a time. Had to dig out some old LED clocks.

I too used my phone hotspot for computer, etc. But there was no way to tell my router to use that so a lot of items just remained unaccessible. Even tho on the local wifi. Or at least from the normal methods. My cameras apparently needed internet to allow me acccess from their app. They did keep running and recording to SD card, so no big loss. Just inconvient.

I didn't have a HE dashboard for my lights as never really used it. But now I do with a local link on my phone in case it happens again.

Second day. Yesterday they said 9:00 PM, yesterday. Today, 9:00 PM, today. Can't see any damage or utility workers. Will drive around today, see if I can find anything. The foreign-owned utility company is probably getting contractor crews from Indiana, or was it Oklahoma, (to NY), like last time. Contacting town supervisor also's usually a waste of time, but might try, again. Sad.

More lessons:

-Last night I wised up and put what little frozen stuff I had out on the porch-fridge and its freezer got to 50F by 6 morning from 9:00PM last night
-A dumb outdoor/indoor wireless thermometer I had laying around is now magnetically affixed to the fridge
-The Honda 2000i runs about 6 hours on a full tank
-In lieu of high-watt coffee generation, the gas-fired Bialetti made a nice cup of coffee-I had two-so I should be pretty lively for a while

I picked up an EcoFlow Delta 2 solar generator a little over a year ago to power my sump pump during any brief power outages. We've only lost power a few times since buying it, but the beauty of having a battery pack sitting inside the house is no need to go out in the cold/dark/wind/rain/snow/etc. to try to fire up a gas generator. For one power outage I was even able to string a few extension cords out to power a TV.

I still recommend keeping a gas generator around for extended power outages, but having a battery pack (solar generator is what the industry calls them, I don't agree with the term, but it is pretty universal by now).

What do you have to do when utility power fails?
Is it pass-through?

For the Delta 2, if there is utility power it is passed through to the receptacles. I can hear the fans kick on when the sump pump turns on, so that tells me that the inverter is coming on to match the output voltage to "take over" if there is an outage. When there is an outage I don't have to do anything, it just continues along and the screen changes from saying charging/standby to a display that shows how many hours of power are left.

EcoFlow goes out of their way to make it very clear it is NOT repeat NOT a UPS. When utility power is lost, the output will drop out for a very brief moment and then come back. For my purpose, I don't care - the most important part is having power to run the pump when there is no utility power.

It feels like the Wild West these days when it comes to generator solutions. A few years ago I would have said inverter generators would be the way to go. Now, I think my preferred solution is solar gen to run right away and for overnight. Then pair the solar gen to a conventional gas gen to charge up the battery bank and to run large loads.

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Utility power came back at 10:07. How do I know? Spectrum cable broadband came back at that time, lol.

When you say "pair", you mean run the two generators. battery and gas, in parallel to satisfy motor startup load?

It's interesting how quick the side by side fridge warms up, esp with no ice for thermal mass. As I said though, if the ice melts...

No, I meant "go with" in this case. Run the battery as much as possible, use the generator to charge it.

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Is there a forum you recommend? We have solar and a power wall, but I would be interested in exploring optins to enhance what i have.

That is why I go into settings and wherever possible change the settings so that when power restores, it restores to off. I really need to play with my power wall and set some rules up so that if on battery backup and the reserve gets to a certain level (say 5 or 10%) lights in sleeping areas are turned off in the event the power wall is fully drained before the power comes back. So far that has never happened, but its been close a few times.

What kind of router do you have? Asus rolled out a firmware update recently that allows you to tether your Router to your phones data with a USB cable. Not optimal, but better than nothing.

Dumb question, do you need a special plug or transfer switch for those?

DIYsolarforum dot com. Started by a prominent YouTuber, Will Prowse. Good group of people who, by and large, do exactly what it says - DIY solar. Quite a few people who do RVs and such, but also many who have done full residential installs.

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Loooooong time lurker here.

I had serious power problems a couple of years back while I was away during the winter, which was not fun at all. That just forced my hand and I bought into the Ecoflow ecosystem with a smart panel and 2 Delta Pros, plus some solar to charge 48V batteries that back up the Ecoflow stuff.

I consolidated all of my network and HA gear in the basement and put it all on a dedicated circuit that is backed up by the smart home panel. The 20ms response has (so far) been fast enough that none of the stuff shuts off during failover.

There's an Ecoflow dual-fuel generator that can recharge the batteries during an extended outage, but that comes with its own problems (like the "smart" charging cable is proprietary and only 15 feet long).

The Delta Pros themselves can only do 120V individually, and doing split phase requires either a smart panel to backup the circuits automatically (and a whole lot of wiring) or a "dual voltage hub" that has a single 240V outlet that you can then plug into a manual transfer switch.

I just wish a lot of this stuff was cheaper... :slight_smile:


Can I ask, what is this, exactly? Is that also an Ecoflow product?

I've run across the Delta Pros, and you're not kidding about expensive, even with a 15% Harbor Freight coupon, lol. I also read they're a hundred pounds.

I have a 240v power inlet on outside of the house that feeds the main panel through a breaker via a manual interlock. I had that before I got the standby and kept it. I feed both sides with the same 120 from my small Honda inverter generator. Can't run anything 240v, but everything else seems to work fine, up to the capacity of the generator, and its fuel tank, lol, which went about 6 hours at a shot.

I don't go anywhere, really, but I've thought about it, in the winter. My situation is complicated more by my hydronic (hot water baseboard) heating. Otherwise, I think I'd drain all the pipes, maybe the fridge and turn off the electricity, and call it a day (or a month, lol). Like someone with a cabin.

Still, for me, even being home during an outage, the ability to run the fridge overnight, silently, with the generator off is appealing. A friend of mind has an Ecoflow 2, I believe, and he said that it ran his fridge, I think overnight. You can buy a fair amount of food for the cost of a Delta Pro, however. :slight_smile:

Perhaps I should buy an electric car and have it power the house during an outage. :slight_smile:

edit: Oh, and I talked to my neighbors the other day. They're three houses down the road I'm on, maybe a half mile, and they never lost their power. Seem the utility put some in-line fuses just "down stream" of their transformer. Who knows the logic of it, but I wish I too was upstream of the fuses, and not experience my 37 hour outage. :slight_smile:

Yeah it's basically a set of relays between your load center and your load, with 1 or 2 Delta Pros connected at the bottom. You basically connect your hot to the panel input and then back to the load from the panel output, and the magic doohickeys inside switch you over from grid to battery based on automation from the app or when the grid goes down.

They're 98 pounds out of the box but they have a handle and wheels. :slight_smile: The FedEx guy did not appreciate that delivery.

Well you know how it works... you never need anything until you do. We went on vacation for 2 weeks and came back to frozen pipes after a bad weather fluke. We were out of the house for 6 months with renovations.

I live in the Northeast and have lost power a handful of times over the last 10 years. But one was that bad one, and while the others haven't been bad, the situation turns ugly relatively quickly in the middle of the night in February in 5 degree weather. Or when (like me) you have a well pump and can't flush the toilets without power.

The biggest problem other than the price is the limited options from the Ecoflow stuff. The smart panel only has 10 circuits, and split phase requires 2 (just like you need a double pole breaker). But I can still have enough circuits for my 240V well pump, furnace, 2 air handlers, fridge, microwave and network gear, with a couple to spare.

But it means you can't really run every single light and outlet in your house during an outage -- which I suppose is a sort of "load shedding" without using a separate critical loads panel. You pick and choose what is critical and connect those through the smart home panel.

And the expandability options are limited too... each Delta Pro is 3,600 watts, and even though you can get one of the new "Ultra Pro" ones or extra batteries ($$$), you will be somewhat limited. I've been getting around this by using the 48V server rack batteries to extend runtime, without having to pay the Ecoflow premium or switch to their newer "Ultra" stuff.

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I too am in the northeast.

My situation is "complicated", if you will, by the 22kW standby generator which already has a transfer switch.

That puppy will keep running until it runs out of oil or gas, lol.

Anyway, it's intriguing to think about.

PS: I shut off the water every time I leave the house, via motor operated valve and switch at the door, and also have leak detectors, just because of water stories I've heard from other people.

Assuming you want to make changes though it might not be that difficult... you'd just use the generator after everything is out of juice, or if you have an extended outage.

My generator phobia comes from the fact that outages (again) are rare. Plus the up-front costs, fuel, maintenance and all that jazz -- without gas I'd have to get a large propane tank or something of the sort.

A portable generator for me is a nuisance, because I'd have to roll it out during an outage and wouldn't work when I'm not home. With that said, it's an option because I could have one as a last resort to recharge the batteries during an extended outages without solar.

But everyone's situation is different. I like the idea of a whole-home generator because things are basically transparent. It's just the complexity and costs that I don't like. :slight_smile:

With battery and solar backup my solution works for me because it's expandable -- adding another 5 kWh of storage is just a matter of getting another 48V rack battery which is $1,300 or less.

It's an expensive hobby though... makes the whole home automation stuff look like peanuts. :slight_smile:

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I do this as well, but via an automation. When everyone has left the house, the automation kicks-in and shuts off the power. Turns it back on when people arrive.

The only issue is that I haven’t setup the rule to keep water on until the dish or cloth washer is done… But that said, we typically avoid running either of those while away. (I’ll do that once I have an integration to my Emporia Energy monitor that runs without an add-on server…)

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