Don't rely on Eskom

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Dober Man, 14 May 2007.

  1. Dober Man

    Dober Man

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    Hi guys,

    As per Copperbands suggestion, i am giving you guys some info with regard to back up UPS systems and generators. We can't rely on Eskom these days, so more and more guys are taking matters into their own hands. After having a 5 day power outage in March, i also had to do take precautions.

    Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS):

    This is the most simple solution, and the most affordable. A UPS is a battery backup device that also filters the power, always giving you a constant 220V output, and a frequency of 50 hertz.

    The only downside to a UPS is that the standard 600VA unit that most guys put on their tanks will only give a back up time 20 - 30 minutes. The output wave of the small UPS systems is also a modified, or stepped sine wave. Some pumps do not like stepped waves, and will either make a big noise, or even burn out.

    A UPS can be customized to your specifications (longer run-times etc), but there are obviously always costs involved.

    Heaters etc are inductive currents. A UPS is designed to have a capacitive load on it, therefore when choosing a size of UPS for your tank, double your wattage and get a UPS suitable for that, ie. a 1 kVA On-line UPS has an output of 700 watts, so you can only load 350 watts of inductive current.

    Generators

    Generators are the ultimate solution, but they are expensive. They are available in petrol, diesel and gas, with petrol being the most popular choice for small units.

    A small generator such as the ones from Game and Makro are suitable for use at home, but they MUST have an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR). The AVR will ensure a constant 220V output, thus preventing surges, dips etc.
    The only drawback of these small generators is that the frequency does bounce around a little bit, and some equipment can be damaged, or just won't accept the power. More sofisticated equipment such as the IKS and Profilux will have an issue with the frequency.

    If one looks fo a generator, first prize is to get one with and AMF panel. The AMF will start the genset automatically in the event of a power failure. An AMF is generally only available on units of 5 kVA and above.
    A simple little generator where you start it and plug directly into it will also suffice, and is relatively cheap.

    There is probably a lot of stuff that i have left out, but feel free to post any questions in this thread and i will be happy to offer advise wherever i can.

    EJ
     
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  3. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    nice info there EJ.on a small generator,how long does it run before cutting out?
     
  4. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    Until it runs out of petrol you mullet. but i wouldn't run a small air cooled job for more than 6 hours without giving it a break to cool down. remember though that small generators do make a noise, and need circulation in order to stay cool.
     
  5. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    yes you guppie.i shouldve have elborated further,just to run the heater,return pump,and chiller.by the way how many litres of petrol is a small genarator?
     
  6. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    Ummmm, why would you run your heater and chiller mate?

    i think the fuel tank on the little ones is about 3 or 4 litres, should last about 2 or so hours on a tank.
     
  7. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    just incase of temperature changes.2 hours on running the entire system or just on a few items?
     
  8. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    no lights dude, but all your other stuff. how many watts is your chiller?
     
  9. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    mmm good question.need to check.
     
  10. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Thanks D Man, nice info, what would be a decent size generator to run tank and TV, a few lights i the house??
     
  11. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    The only problem with only running certain things in the house is that those chosen things need to be put onto a separate circuit to that of your normal DB. Because lights etc allhave their own circuit breaker in your DB, i would suggest running all your lights, and the plugs to your TV, tank. I would use a 10 kVA for this. I have a 17.5 kVA running my whole house.
     
  12. SIMS

    SIMS

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    and what's a 17.5kVA set you back fully installed? Also what's the running cosis, IE service and so on..?
     
  13. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    I don't want this to become a commercial thread guys.
    I am in the UPS and generator field, and merely thought that it was a good idea to throw some advice out there for you chaps.
     
  14. Copperband

    Copperband

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    Thanx EJ much appreciated
     
  15. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    No worries CB, just don't want everyone to be duped by salespeople when they do buy this stuff.
     
  16. Smithers

    Smithers

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    If i get a ups from PC zone will it work for a small air pump ?
     
  17. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    yip, and it might even be one of mine.

    On an air pump you will get around 7 or 8 hours on a 600VA UPS. probably something nice to have in the cupboard as a just in case.
     
  18. psycho

    psycho

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    Nice info EJ,
     
  19. ivansa

    ivansa

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    Hi All

    Is there a ups/backup system available that will only run certain equipment in the event of a powerfailure. Meaning that a airpump/powerhead will only function when the power is of and then switch off again once power is restored?

    Thanks

    Ivan
     
  20. Dober Man

    Dober Man Thread Starter

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    You could do it using relays etc. I'm not very good with circuitry, but it could easily be done. Ask Hill or Waynan if they can draw something up for you.

    But rather just run your return pump off a UPS all the time. The battery will charge when there is normal mains feeding, and only run off the battery during a power failure.
     
  21. Waynan

    Waynan

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    I have used my 2.2KVA petrol gen on several occasions to run my tank, all I do is to only connect the return pump (500W) and my skimmer, with 2000l of water I am not too worried about temp swings as they will take a long time to happen plus my pumps contributes a fair amount of heat to the system as well (killing two birds with one stone), the reason for running the skimmer is to ensure that there is plenty of air in the water. I also have a UPS connected up purely to ensure the purity of the power entering the system, plus the modified UPS can run the pump and skimmer for about an hour, giving me time to start the generator.
     
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