Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   unconventional UPS installation
Tuesday, March 17 2015
The weather had been almost seasonable for several days, but today it was predicted to transition back to the norm of this particular winter, with temperatures 10-to-12 Fahrenheit degree colder than normal. As part of that transition, strong winds gusted from all direction starting this afternoon. Eventually they managed to throw a tree down on powerline somewhere between here and whereever the power is generated, and my computer died in front of me. I realized, though, that I could probably stay connected to the outside world if only I put the DSL router on a uninterruptable power supply (UPS) attached to a good battery. It also has WiFi functionality, so, assuming the phone line was still intact, it could communicate internet protocols with my Chromebook (which has a great battery life). Using the UPS that I always use during power outages, a beefy one attached to a charged car battery (as opposed to the smaller lead-acid batteries typically found inside a UPS), I was able to continue my internet-based lifestyle. But that only lasted about 15 minutes before the power came back on. It had been off for only about a half hour. (Until a few years ago, a conclusive power outage like this one always took at least eight hours to be fixed.)
Still, it seemed like a good idea to always have the DSL router attached to a UPS. As it happens, I have a box of UPSes leftover from the days when I used to do computer hardware work, and using one to provided constant power to the DSL modem seemed like a better use than keeping it in laboratory storage. My fanciest unused UPS was a CyberPower 825AVR, so I quickly modified it for its new use. A conventional UPS, you see, is intended to shriek and complain whenever it loses power, but that's not what I want from my UPSes. I want them to silently continue providing juice whenever the electric utility fails to deliver. I don't need constant beeping to tell me that there is no power, and certainly don't need that beeping to continue for hours; obviously that feature is intended for places with more reliable power grids and more mission-critical applications. So to prepare the UPS for its new use, I first had to open it up and remove the little piezoelectric beeper. Then I added a pair of stout cables that I can run to a much bigger battery than the one the UPS came with. I set it all up down in the boiler room and moved on to other things.
Only later, when Gretchen complained about not being able to get onto the internet, did I realize there was a serious problem with this setup. The 825AVR I'd deployed had a serious defect: even when not running on battery power, its battery-backed outlets would periodically lose power for a few seconds. This would cause the DSL router to reboot, meaning that it kept losing its connection. So I had to go get a different UPS from my box of UPSes, remove its piezoelectric beeper, attach cables, and install it in the basement. Now, though, I think I will have a reliable way to access the internet for a good 24 hours into our next big blackout.

Unrelated to today's power outage, there had been a big coronal mass ejection from the Sun in recent days, and supposedly there would be a spectacular show of the Aurora Borealis tonight. So, starting at around 10:30 tonight, I started going outside and looking to the north. The night was clear and the stars were bright, so if an aurora was happening, I should have been able to see it. But I never did. I stand there for maybe ten minutes letting my eyes adjust to the darkness and hoping to see something, but eventually the howling wind blowing around 25 degree air would chase me back inside. Hopefully the next time this happens, it will be in the summer after a long mosquito-killing drought.

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