Power Outages & damaged electrical appliances & computers.
I’ve had a little experience with back-up systems, I started out by installing a wind generator (2K Jacobs) for my home with a battery bank that would switch over to the power company when the battery were gone and there wasn’t any wind. I worked for a Pac Bell installing UPS systems for cell phone sites and a company in Puerto Rico installing huge industrial sized UPS systems for Hospitals and skyscrapers in San Juan. So, I have a little experience with backup systems.
After checking out a lot of different surge protectors, power conditioners and UPS system I found one, that in my opinion covered all the bases to isolate and protect any appliance that I hooked up to it.
A couple of units had a good sales pitch, one claimed to have an insurance policy that would pay you for whatever appliance that was damaged due to an power outage. An Amazon reviews wrote about his experience trying to get the company to make good on its claim to pay. He had documented proof that their insurance is just hype used for advertising to lure customers, it’s useless. I get pissed off when I hear about companies doing that, and I’m grateful to have Amazon to read before buying. Point is, there are a lot of backup systems out there that are useless, you have to really check up on a system or a company to see if what they are selling is any good or not.
I’m a little reluctant to tell you the name of the unit I bought. Sure, I’ve done a lot of research and it seems to have everything I want. These units are not cheap, the old saying that you get what you pay for is also true for backup systems. I’m convinced I’ve made a good move by getting Power Conditioner one from this company, but I haven’t tested it out myself to see if it really lives up to its claims. I’d hate to recommend something and come out smelling like an a**hole. I’ll give you the name of the company so you can do your own research and made your own decision to buy one or not to buy one.
POWERVAR is the name of the company, they made different sizes unites for just about any application you might need, from a small Power Conditioner just big enough for a laptop, or a small USP that also has a power conditioner and battery backup They make Power Conditioners and UPS systems for single small applications up to a whole house protection and huge industrial sized units as well.
I bought a 10 amp Power Conditioner, which should be able to protect all of my electronic devises, but not the whole house. After I move I’ll be able to decide what to do about electrical outages on St. Thomas.
Amazon has 10 amp Powervar Power Conditioner like the I bought for $350. I bought the same model on Ebay for $175, (not including the shipping) It was new in the box. I think it weighs around 40lbs, cost me $50 in shipping. My unit is a Powervar ABC1000-11.
Don’t quote me on this, but I think Powervar's UPS systems are like the ones I installed for PacBell. The UPS systems PacBell uses for their cell phone sites never miss a beat. When there is an outage the wave form of the AC power, 60 cycles or Hertz at some point the wave form will be broken when the power stops. The UPS PacBell uses senses when the wave form stops and the cycle isn’t completed. It will come on and complete the cycle and neither you nor the equipment will know there was an outage. Most UPS back-up systems, even those with an automatic transfer switch has a time lapse before the UPS turns on and restores power. Since I wasn’t buying a UPS, I have really looked at how they operate, I glances over it, but I think Powervar’s UPS’s operated with that feature.
UPSs I am familiar with operator as inverters. That is they convert AC to DC and back to AC again. The inverter is always running, converting DC to AC 60Hz sine-wave. So the output sine wave is independent of the AC input and is always continuous until the battery dies or you switch it off. I.e. no broken cycle to complete. Hence the name uninterruptable. If/when it does go off, it goes off clean, no surges.
This also means, unlike a surge protector which is simply clamping the maximum voltage it lets through, the UPS output is very well regulated both voltage and frequency and is basically immune to all the possible crap on the AC input. The UPS itself might die if there is a really big surge on the input but the stuff plugged into it should be fine.
also, depending on which feeder you are on depends on how fast your electric is back on after a major outage.
EXACTLY. My feeder in STX SUCKS #10. We are alway last and bet your butt at the first sign of ANY rain - or wind for that matter - power is out. At least three times a month and unlike STT which was always fairly fast - here its for several hours at at time. We went a week with that tiny storm a few months back. Not surprising as there's hundreds of pounds of trees just hanging on all the lines around/in the rainforest. I finally had to get a generator. In STT I had two jobs but here only one online job so need power to be reliable to pay the bills... hence generator. In STT I would just clean or go down to Hull Bay and it was always up pretty fast. It does seem like the outages lately have been less but I know I just totally jinxed myself.
I have all my stuff on APS and surge protectors - haven't lost anything in 3.5 years although the TV is getting weird lately - likely moisture by the window but its a cheapie.
You are 100% correct, and from the sound of it, you have your "butt" well protected, good job! After I make the big move (May) I'd like to talk to you before I get a system, you have a good grip on what is going on..
When I put up my windgenerator back in 1972, it was the 1st system ever installed or put up in the state of Illinois. It's the one feather in my cap that I'm proud of. (Believe me, I've done a lot of other things I'm not too proud of, LOL) I got a lot of attention and was on the 6:00 TV news. After the free publicity, I started a company that and sold and installed wind and solar system throughout Illinois.
My system was a 36 Volt DC Jacobs windgenerator with a 36 VDC industrial sized battery bank, I had 18, 2 volt cells that were rated at 600 AH so I needed an inverter that transformed the 36VDC to 220/120AC @ 60Hz sine-wave, not saw tooth or square wave like other inverters, my inverter produced clean sine-wave. Yes, the battery bank is an excellent filter. I designed my house to operate off of what the wind system produced, around 350 KWH a month. Most of the time my electrical bill was $5.00, the cost to have a power line hooked to my house with 0 (zero) KWH used. Edison, the name of my power company thought there was something wrong with the meter, they replaced it twice. Each time they came out, I pointed to my wind generator and told the guy who was replacing the meter that there was nothing wrong with the meter, the wind is producing my electricity,
That was before Net Energy billing or interfacing with the power company, before PURPA was enacted. BTW, I was asked along with other so-called "experts" to meet with then President Carter newly form Department of Energy to put together the current solar energy bill. PURPA (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) The only reason I was consider an expert was because, I was the only one who had a wind system, Also, I had some professors at the local university backing me.
I know what happens when trees go down and power lines break. I was one of those dumb slobs who would get up in the middle of the night during a storm and remove the trees branches or whatever from downed power lines. It was a “hairy” job, but it paid the bills. I worked for a company called Asplundh, they have big orange trucks, they are contracted by utility companies for power line clearance, I wonder if they are working for your electrical or power company on the USVI? It's a very small chance they are
I want to thank all of you for sharing your experiences with me, it's a tremendous help. I'm planning on moving into a temporary place while I search for a permanent place to stay. The Power Conditioner I'm bring with me will protect my electrical devices, not what is in the place I'm renting, It's not large enough for a stove, refrigerator or anything thing else that's electrical and in the place I'm renting. Also, it is not a back-up system. A UPS is a little big to pack on a airline checked baggage.
If the permanent place I rent doesn't have a back-up electrical system, I'll have to buy one that is also mobile. I want to be able to take it with me when I move.
Aand2VI, I hear you about power outages, they suck big time. I'm 66 and I've had my share of the romantic nights by candle light. Nope, when the power goes off, I want a back-up to kick in till the power company fixes the problem. From what all of you are telling me, a back-up system is needed. I want to thank you all for that information
I worked for a company called Asplundh, they have big orange trucks, they are contracted by utility companies for power line clearance, I wonder if they are working for your electrical or power company on the USVI? It's a very small chance they are
They are here indeed, under contract with the government.
Wow, I can't believe it, Alplundh is on USVI?, what a trip. I'll have to talk to some of the guys when I get there, unreal, Asplundh, talk about a blast from my past.
I started with Asplundh in 1967. Back then one of the Asplundh brother's would tour wherever crew were working and visit with the crews. One day, a normal looking car pulled up to our job site, I was still a teenager back then, he got out of the car and was talking to the foreman. I had just finished a tree and was coiling up my rope when this guy who looked and dressed like anyone's uncle, blue jeans and a work shirt came up to me.. I was trying to light up a cigarette, my matches were wet from sweat, when he came by me, I asked him, "do you have a light?" he whipped out his Zippo and gave me a light. Then he asked, "Why don't you get a lighter" I jokily replied "They don't pay me enough to buy a lighter" He tossed me his lighter and said "keep it" I looked at and saw the name Carl Asplundh engraved on it You could have knocked me over with a feather. After he left, the boss came up to and read me the riot act. I didn't know, he didn't look like anyone special to me.
Thanks for letting me know about Asplundh, I would have never thought they'd be there. .
I had nothing to do with paving roads, we worked up in trees, like monkeys. Maybe USVI has underground power lines, if you do, I don't a thing about what needs to be done when you have to work on a power cable that's under ground.
But, thanks for a stock tip. When I first moved to Albuquerque, I should have invested in the company that makes those orange traffic cones, there were only (2) cones when I hit town, they must have mated, because there are thousands of them now.
Underground power lines ha! If we had that we'd probably have half the outages. The line from the pole to the big transformer outside my condo building is underground. That's about it. Most of the lines are on poles and half the poles look like they were put up by Larry, Moe and Curly.
That is scary, I have all the respect in the world for high voltage power lines, and those that don’t do not get the opportunity to repeat their mistake. The power lines don’t say, “Let’s give this dumbbell a break” you have to be right 100% of the time. Maybe those guys installing the lines are worried about job security, by doing a half ass job, they never run out of work. I knew a clown who thought like that. He'd be up a tree and cut halfway through a limb so that it would take out the power line when the next storm hit, we got extra bucks for storm work.
Ongoing since 07 makes it 9 years things have been "in discussion."
With all the money wasted, misspent, mismanaged, misused, misappropriated and outright, stolen, the whole island could've been done by now. Hardly any sections have underground electricity.
My poor sister got a shock in St. John when she looked out her window at her previously beautiful and unobstructed view to find a telephone pole going up right in the middle of it. Now she'll have a different sort of view.
It would be a good idea if USVI used concrete poles as well. A lot of countries use pre-tensioned concrete poles for obvious reasons, they don’t decay and they are cheaper. I wondered when the USA was going to catch on and start using concrete poles. They put stretched cables in the molds for the poles and as the concrete cures the tension is transferred to the pole. That is how the get the strength to keep the pole from breaking. If a cement truck going 90mph hit a concrete pole head on, I don't it would hold up to that, but I think concrete poles are just as strong or stronger than wooden poles.
I always assumed the concrete poles in FL were primarily there for hurricane resistance. Hmm, might we be able to benefit from that in the VI where underground is not practical?*-):D
Underground power lines are very expensive, back in the day when I was working on power lines, only the rich neighborhoods who wanted and could afford underground power lines had them. And there is hell to pay when there was an outage, finding the problem or where to work was difficult. I don't know, maybe by now they have detectors that can pin point the problem.
In Nicaragua the whole country is going underground because everyone in Nicaragua steals electricity. They hook up a un-metered line from the pole and run their house off of it. Those of us who had metered electricity had to pay, very high electrical bills to make up tor those who were stealing. I think you'd consider USVI rates for electricity very reasonable if you had to pay the rate Nicaragua is charging, not only to make for who steals, but also the cost to install underground service. ..