[SATLUG] Re: [XCSSA] Generator powered laptops?

tweeks tweeks at rackspace.com
Fri Sep 19 08:30:14 CDT 2008

On Friday 19 September 2008 00:11, X-otic Computer Systems of San Antonio 
> The questions are:
> 1:  Would you consider this clean enough to run a laptop or other
> computer fed by the brick-style switching power supplies?

Yes..  Today's power bricks are VERY forgiving.  Anything between 100-280VAC 
will be accepted and switched and regulated down tot he proper DC voltage.

> 2: If it's not clean enough, would adding an UPS clean it up without
> resulting in a blown UPS?

Unsure about how robust the input of a wall UPS is.  I imagine the biggest 
problem with an UPS is that they are very sensitive to input voltage and our 
be switching on and off so frequently, that it would be more hard on your 
equipment (and the UPS) than running without it.  Now if you were powering a 
desktop and an LCD.. then yeah.. I would definitely run a desktop UPS for 
those systems.. but you still may have to adjust the UPS (via DIP switch 
normally) to be "less sensitive" to input V fluctuations.

But from the perspective of a laptop.. and UPS would be not only redundant, 
but un-needed.  After all, the laptop has its own UPS.. the battery build 
into the unit.  And it will automatically switch internally between incoming 
DC and batt DC.  So don't bother with an external UPS for laptops.

> The idea behind this is that DSL and cable are both out in my
> neighborhood and there are a few people in my neighborhood that are
> needing to apply for FEMA assistance.  I am thinking of using my VIA
> Artigo with it's miniscule 12watt power supply to NAT the cellular
> modem connection I'm currently on (at the office) to retransmit via an
> accesspoint locally so that others nearby can contact FEMA, their work
> or loved ones and let everyone know they're OK.  

That's a cool thing you're doing.. but at least look in to your provider's 
policy on BW sharing.. and if they police it or not.  It would be a shame to 
be cut off for helping people.

> It's nothing fancy 
> like satellite uplinks or anything the Red Cross has, but it's way
> better than nothing at all.

Much better than satellite IMHO.  Much less latency.. and prob. better BW too.

> On a side note, Sprint came up on Monday 
> night, while AT&T and Tmobile are still down for the count in my
> subdivision.

> Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

If you're setting up any kind of stop gap solution for power... you might want 
to actually look at getting a bank of lead acid gel cell batteries and 
hooking up a good sides solar panel too..  if you have a big enough array, 
and watch your battery voltage, then you could get away with just running the 
generator at night, and during the day be totally "green".  You would 
probably get some local green-seeking reporter to cover what you're doing 
there in the process... :)  
A good price for large cells array and can be had at harbor freight:

just add a 300W power inverter and batteries and you're set!
Portable.. renewable power source. :)


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