Friday, 16 July 2010

LET THERE BE LIGHT DURING POWER CUTS


Here's a tip that can really benefit you. About five years ago, I realized that I could use my computer's uninteruptable power supply (UPS) for another purpose. Since it's essentially a storage battery and inverter, I reasoned that I could power almost anything with it. I connected a lamp to the UPS and when the power failed, I had plenty of light. The success of this experiment inspired me to try different types of light bulbs to find out which would both provide sufficient illumination and last the longest.

First I tried a 15 watt compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb and it stayed lit for 2 hours and 10 minutes. This type of bulb gives off much more light than incandescent lamps of equivalent or similar wattage. The next day I tried a 34 watt CFL bulb. That one stayed illuminated for an hour and 1 minute before going out.

To see what would happen with various kinds and wattages of bulbs, I conducted the following experiment. I first tried using a 100 watt incandescent bulb in the lamp. It lasted for only 12 minutes. Each evening of my experiment, because I had to let the battery fully recharge, I tried lower and lower bulb wattages. Though this wasn't strictly a scientific study, here are my results.

The 60 watt incandescent bulb's light lasted for 28 minutes. The 40 watt bulb stayed lit for 56 minutes. The 25, 15, and 7 watt bulbs stayed lit for 1 hour and 24 minutes, 2 hours and 21 minutes, and 3 hours and 42 minutes respectively. I also tested a 5 watt light-emitting diode (LED) spot light bulb replacement which stayed lit for 5 hours and 3 minutes. The two lowest wattage bulbs were only a little brighter than candles but much safer.

I now have a bigger UPS on my main computer, located in a bedroom next to my kitchen. Connected to that is a 15 watt CFL bulb in a lamp and when the power fails, I place it on my fridge. The power was out for twenty-six hours on Monday, July twelfth, and that UPS, plus several others I had recently bought, came in very handy at night.

I'm giving serious thought to purchasing a UPS meant for internet servers so that I can write during power failures. Had I owned one during the most recent blackout, I could have continued editing my How I Was Razed memoir. I have two other books in print called When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), available from the InScribe Writers Group site.