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Preparing for the blackouts
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chris25



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:02 pm    Post subject: Preparing for the blackouts Reply with quote

I'm thinking of preparing for the blackouts this winter. I'm gonna have a little box with stuff in it, which I can easily get to in case the lights turn out.

Apart from the obvious candles and torches I'm wondering what else I can put in this box.

Entertainment of the mind is an important issue but books won't be too much good if it's dark.... Wink
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RuncornBridge



Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 72
Location: Runcorn

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about a tiny FM Radio, the battery seems to go on for ages.

I've already put a candle plus lighter on every windowledge in the house, I can't decide if I just hate the thought of being left in the dark or "excited" at the idea of something finally happening. Stupid or what!!
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Vortex



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 6097

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate messing around with candles etc, so I plan to run several small low power (8-watt) CFL bulbs from 12 car (leisure) batteries plus a 12v-to-240v inverter.

This will also allow standard appliances such as TV, hifi, radio, PC, shaver, phone & other chargers to run too .. although not high power stuff such as microwaves.

I also have a high power 12v battery charger to recharge the batteries if/when the power returns.

I also have also bought a cheap and nasty 2-stroke petrol genny.
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eatyourveg



Joined: 15 Jul 2007
Posts: 1170
Location: uk

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like candles. I just bought 1000 of them and zillions of tea lights.
Making reflectors from tin cans.
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7236
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Candles are simple, reliable and low-tech but not suitable in all conditions, I would suggest in addition a high power halogen spotlight (for inspecting storm damage, looking for lost pets or children etc) a decent torch and an LED lantern as a minimum, in addition to candles.
Candles produce a lot of heat, an advantage in winter but a drawback in hot weather.

A few homemade LED lights that give hundreds/thousands of hours light from 3 D cells are worth considering.
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The Snippet



Joined: 08 Oct 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Grand Union, London

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will just go outside and start the engine, switch on the inverter, bobs your uncle.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Preparing for the blackouts Reply with quote

chris25 wrote:
I'm thinking of preparing for the blackouts this winter. I'm gonna have a little box with stuff in it, which I can easily get to in case the lights turn out.

Apart from the obvious candles and torches I'm wondering what else I can put in this box.

Entertainment of the mind is an important issue but books won't be too much good if it's dark.... Wink

Pack of cards. You can play cards in light that's too poor for reading, as we did in the 1970's power cuts. Have to make sure you know a few games first, mind. We used to use matches for chips. Scrabble's quite good for power cuts too, but not Triv or Balderdash where you have to read paragraphs from little cards (difficult in poor light).
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chris25



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just brought a mass of candles today and a lot of pasta.

Spotty guy at checkout- "May I ask why you have so many candles?"

Me- "errr.... I do events management"

The truths there Laughing
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chris25



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Preparing for the blackouts Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
chris25 wrote:
I'm thinking of preparing for the blackouts this winter. I'm gonna have a little box with stuff in it, which I can easily get to in case the lights turn out.

Apart from the obvious candles and torches I'm wondering what else I can put in this box.

Entertainment of the mind is an important issue but books won't be too much good if it's dark.... Wink

Pack of cards. You can play cards in light that's too poor for reading, as we did in the 1970's power cuts. Have to make sure you know a few games first, mind. We used to use matches for chips. Scrabble's quite good for power cuts too, but not Triv or Balderdash where you have to read paragraphs from little cards (difficult in poor light).


Good thinking. Will put the card pack in there. I would put monoply in there but then again I think sleeping tablets pack better Laughing
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Erik



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 1544
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is a blackout I shall simply go to bed earlier. Very Happy
Which admittedly might get a bit boring after a few nights. Confused

Actually I've noticed that you can pick up LED headlamps quite cheaply lately. Not great for chatting to people (would feel like they were being interrogated under a spotlight), but fine for wandering around the house in the dark, looking for stuff, going to the loo etc. as they leave your hands free. Just a thought.
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re



Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Posts: 152
Location: South Wales

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just bought a couple of headtorches from here http://www.alpkit.com/gamma/ recently and they seem really good quality. The 5mm LED is supposed to last for 80 hours. I've used it camping every night for few weeks and it's still on the original batteries.
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7236
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another useful type of light are the battery operated sensor lights that light only when movement is detected.
Maplin sell these, though out of stock at present
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=223593
Similar products are widely sold in the high street.

very useful fot stairs and toilets etc since they are allways lit when required and can not be left on.
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SILVERHARP2



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 611
Location: DUBLIN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Preparing for the blackouts Reply with quote

chris25 wrote:
I'm thinking of preparing for the blackouts this winter. I'm gonna have a little box with stuff in it, which I can easily get to in case the lights turn out.

Apart from the obvious candles and torches I'm wondering what else I can put in this box.

Entertainment of the mind is an important issue but books won't be too much good if it's dark.... Wink


why this winter? are you expecting powercuts or is it just a mental exercise
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7236
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Powercuts have been forecast in previos years and nothing much happened, however the risks do seem to be increasing with each passing year.
Existing coal and nuclear plants are a year older, we are ever more reliant on imported natural gas, doubts remain as to the reliability of Russia as a supplier of gas, with rising inflation, the power workers may wish to copy the success achieved recently by tanker drivers.
And finaly there is the small but real risk of terrorist attack, either in the UK or overseas on infrastructure on which we rely.
The last few winters have been mild, a "proper" winter might be a challenge!

And a few months ago we had a large scale blackout caused by lack of available generating capacity.

And apart from any generalised problem there is allways the risk of local breakdowns.
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Last edited by adam2 on Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must admit I feel less bothered about power-cuts this winter than in previous ones (all the way back to 2005-6 in fact). We do have some new gas pipelines and (iirc) LNG terminals and we (still) have the cash to pay for imports. This winter is forecast to be a little colder than last but "average" for the longer term, and also drier and less windy (that's, more of a "continental" winter): heating requirements go up with damp, wind and lack of sunshine as much as with plunging temperatures.

So I think this winter'll be a temporary respite.

Having said all that I think another reason why I'm more relaxed this year is that we have the stove, plenty of wood, various torches, lanterns and candles, and the camping-gaz cooker.
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