Author Topic: Energy  (Read 602 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Energy
« on: February 15, 2021, 03:26:03 PM »
 
 Interesting headline just in on the news,  seems about half of Texas's Energy Grid is down as many of the State's Wind turbines are failing because of the cold,  maybe they shouldn't have been in such a hurry to close down the pipeline, 3.7 million Texans are without power ? 
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Energy
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2021, 04:30:39 PM »
Texas is cold in parts this year.  Hope they can fix that but takes awhile to haul those turbines in. 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Energy
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2021, 05:04:40 PM »
Texas is cold in parts this year.  Hope they can fix that but takes awhile to haul those turbines in.

 As far as I can tell from the news release they aren't broke,  they are frozen and can't turn, they won't know if they are damaged or not, they are waiting for them to thaw out,  who would have thunk ?    :)
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Energy
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2021, 07:48:59 PM »
My wife's sister, along with her 3 adult daughters & their husbands live in San Antonio where they've received an unprecedented amount of snow.....and now, ice.  Some of them have been without power since last night, some have been experiencing on again/off again power surges and rolling blackouts.  Some of their kids have NEVER seen snow or ice in their lifetimes. :shocked: :shocked: :shocked:

The power grid that they are a part of includes us, here in Nebraska, plus almost ALL of the central U.S. clear up into the Dakotas & Montana.  We have been warned/advised to turn off all electrical devises that we are not in need of to lighten the load on the grid.....done! :thumbsup:

Just in case & while we still have juice, I just finished filling all of the Coleman lanterns, Coleman 2-burner camp stove, the kerosene lanterns and the wick-type Corona kerosene space heater.  I hate doing that kind of stuff in the dark with a flashlight clamped in my teeth! >:(

And, Oh yeah.....BE PREPARED! :tent:
 
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Energy
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 09:03:06 PM »
We keep our emergency kit prepared and in the house year round.  Lanterns, Coleman stove, candles, battery powered radio, extra fuel, and a couple of propane heaters are the major items.  We have a large generator on our deck in case we get a really extended outage. 
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Energy
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2021, 10:24:10 PM »
Yeah, we do too, but I generally don't fill things with fuel, especially kerosene, until we anticipate a need for it.  Kerosene is weird....it evaporates, gets gummy and leaves a scum inside the globes & fouls the wicks.  In order to get a good bright light, I refuel them with fresh fuel from the stash I keep in 5 gallon cans in the garage and shed. 

Fresh batteries, MRE-type meals with a 25 year shelf life, propane heaters, wind-up radios & flashlights, solar chargers for cellphones & iPads that are always charged & ready to go, charcoal for the Dutch ovens, a 90 day supply of prescription meds.....and a bunch of other crap that we may need in an emergency.  I figure I can trade a lot of the things I have too much of for things I don't.
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Energy
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 11:08:08 PM »
Having their own power grid turned out to be idiotic, too! :P  Smoke sent for them, hopefully they get sorted soon.  I guess a bit of snow is a big hardship when you're not used to having any.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Energy
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2021, 11:42:27 PM »
It isn't the snow that's bothering them, it's the ICE!   They get SOME snow on a pretty regular basis, but never this much ice...it's tearing trees down which, in turn, takes down the power lines.  Most drivers in that area have no idea how to drive in those conditions, either....I've witnessed that in person!  They had a 130 vehicle pileup near Fort Worth a couple of days ago....made me appreciate the Covid keeping us in Nebraska this month!  This is the time of year when we usually head down through that area, too, but we're scheduled to get our second shots in 3 weeks here in Nebraska, so IF we go south this year, it will be in March, a muddy month down below.  Farmers like it, mostly. 8)
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline Pete Bog

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Re: Energy
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2021, 12:46:56 AM »
    The generator on the deck is a good idea. I'd like to share with you an experience I had a couple years ago.

     I run the generator occasionally to ensure it starts when I need it and that I don't lose residual magnetism in the field winding resulting in a loss of electrical generation.
    I try to start it each year after freeze up. It's usually a pretty stiff pull (not an electric start model) but it goes.
I have a propane Mr. Heater to heat up the engine block if it gets too cold and won't start.
    Anyway, a couple years ago, it wouldn't start. Pulled the fuel hose to the carburator and there was no fuel.
worked my way back through the fuel filter and the shut off valve to find no fuel coming out of the tank. The tank was full of gas to the top, so, siphon the gas out and there is a BIG chunk of ice stuck to the bottom of the tank, blocking the fuel outlet nipple.
   Ended up pulling the tank off, smashing the ice to little piieces that would shake out through the filler cap opening and then disolving the remaining ice with alcohol (gas line antifreeze - HEET).  I could have just left the tank in a heated shop overnight to melt the ice, but colder weather was forecast and I didn't want to replace the parts when it was colder outside than it already was. I replaced the fuel line and filter with new ones, and all was good.
   if you don't have a spare fuel filter, fuel line, spark plug and the tools to change 'em, hanging on the wall next to the generator, you will after your first failure. :)
   Adding gasline antifreeze to the fuel would have prevented that, but-----the rubber parts used in small engines disolve in alcohol.  So I can't leave the gasline antifreeze in the fuel. If I do, the gas line itself will collapse, the rubber gaskets in the carbuerator will disolve and the jets will plug. Now I've got a real mess to deal with. Modern vehicles are made to withstand the alcohol, small engines are not.
   That's why I run Premium gas in all my small engines. No ethanol mixed in and no problems with disolved rubber parts. Like most people out in the country I have a lot of small engines. Lawn mowers, string trimmers, chainsaws, ATV's, snowmobiles, snowblowers and of course standby generators.
    In a couple years, I'll no longer want to go out and pull start a generator if we lose electricity during cold weather. The day is fast approaching when I'll have to switch over to a propane fueled electric start model, housed in a heated enclosure. But until then, this has gotten me by. Electrical outages are rare for us. The longest stretch has been a 4 hour outage in the last 34 years. But just 30 miles to the East of us, customers were without power for 10 days in '97. So, a guy has got to be prepared.
   Part of my routine is to shut off the fuel valve and drain the carbuerator float bowl after each run. I'm glad I did, or I would have had to thaw out the passages and jets in the carb too.
   I don't know how water got into the fuel other than I purchased bad fuel.  But I'm glad I caught it before I needed it on a cold night with an electricity outage.
   I have four stages of heating methods. Two of which require no electricity to operate. We don't have Hurricanes or Earthquakes, but a cold snap of -40F for two or three days would be life threatening just the same. We keep a small 10 x 12 foot building heated to 40F just for dire emergencies. I keep my tools in there to keep 'em from rusting and it provides refuge in the event of a fire or other unforseen calamity.  There is no running over to the neighbors place during a blizzard.
   For those of you down in Texas that haven't seen cold temps like you have in the past couple days, know that your tools stored outside will get cold. Then, when the weather warms up, moisture will condense on the cold metal surfaces and that is where the rust starts. Cast iron power tool tables, hand planes, handsaws are the worst. Chrome plated mechanics wrenches and sockets sets can withstand some condensation but cleaning up your hand tools is a a real PITA. A light oil like WD40 or 3 in 1 or whatever your favorite is, is messy. But better then trying to clean rust off later.
   Like a dumbazz, I had to learn this stuff the hard way. Some of the little things no one remembers to mention until after the fact. Hope the info helps someone. If not, 120 grit sandpaper on a sanding block takes rust off a tablesaw deck pretty good. :) Then follow it with a rag dampened with a light oil.
   Oh, one last tip. Do not heat with a non vented propane heater, like a Mr. Heater or similar catalytic heater. The amount of water vapor they put into the air will leave your walls and tools dripping wet. Unless you leave a couple windows open for ventilation. And then, what's the point of heating the great outdoors.
   If you are counting on a non vented propane heater for emergency heat. You will survive, but you will be miserable. If you have not tried to heat with nothing but those propane heaters for a couple days, even one day, I recommend you try it. If it works for you, great. If not, now is the time to find out and start looking for an alternative. Maybe they are different in a warmer climate, but up here where it is cold, cold, cold, people don't use 'em. Not even in an ice fishing shack or portable ice fishing tent only used for an afternoon. They put to much moisture into the air and leave the walls dripping wet. Just a heads up so you don't find out to late into an emergency.

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Energy
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2021, 02:56:09 PM »
BTW, Texas really dropped the ball.  Lots of cold places use wind power, including Iowa, the PNW, Denmark, etc.  But you have to winterize the turbines!  If you do so they can operate down to about -30 F. It's not difficult to do but of course it's not free- it costs money.  Bean counters apparently decided that it doesn't get cold enough to shut them down often enough to justify doing the winterizing.  Weird because it's not like it never gets cold there.  Just as with private citizens that can't be bothered to save money or keep more than a day's worth of food on hand, the Texas energy commission found preparedness to be too inconvenient.

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Energy
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2021, 03:00:46 PM »
Tech site Gizmodo has a good primer on the soup sandwich they got down in Texas.  It's a good read!  The TL;DR version is that none of the power plants down there are winterized.  And many of the plants are taken offline in the winter for maintenance because demand is usually low.  So that combined with the cold taking out the natural gas plants (and even shutting down oil drilling) has made it a lot worse. 

Offline madmaxine

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Re: Energy
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2021, 03:02:05 PM »
Dependence on the grid.

Bad idea.

Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Energy
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2021, 03:59:42 PM »
I never leave gas in my generator.  Just too easy to keep it clean and empty

Offline Pete Bog

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Re: Energy
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2021, 03:39:38 PM »
I never leave gas in my generator.  Just too easy to keep it clean and empty

    Hands down, absolutely the best policy. In a warm climate.

    But,  imagine you wake at 4 AM. it's cold in the house. Apparently the electricity has been off for a while. You get dressed and start one of the backup heaters. Then you bundle up and trudge out to the Generator shed. It's -22oF. You add 5 gallons of gas to the generator using one of those new government mandated Go-Slow safety gas cans. Takes only 5 or 6 minutes to empty the can through that fancy safety spout. Doesn't sound like very long. Unless it's -22F. Then it seems like you've been standing there forever.
    Funny thing about gasoline up here in cold country. The gas you buy in the late fall is more volatile than that which is purchased in the summer. This is to facilitate better starting in cold weather. If you try to use summer gas in the dead of winter, it WILL go, but it will be hard to start.
    Ether Starting Fluid will become your best friend if your starting small engines in the cold. I've heard people say that spraying WD-40 into the intake is just as good. WD-40 uses propane as a propellant. It will work if it's not to cold but it is not even close to being "just as good" as Ether. Things that work great below the Mason-Dixon line don't always work out where the temperatures are more extreme.
   As a note of caution, do NOT use ether in the new fuel injected cars or new diesel engines. Hundreds of dollars of damage await the unwary.
Ether is only for use on older carburetor equipped gas engines or older diesel engines. All those fancy little sensors and doodads that make modern engines so nice to drive can be destroyed in seconds with application of Ether starting fluid.
   One more thing about these little standby generators is the "residual magnetism". If you don't use your generator for a long time, when you go to use it, it won't provide you with any electricity. Motor might be running just fine, but no electrical output. Nothing to panic about if your familiar with it. It happens very rarely, but it might be a good idea to look up how to restore the generator and post that bit of information on the wall next to your spare spark plug and fuel filter. No sense in throwing out a perfectly good generator you can 'fix' for free. 


Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Energy
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2021, 10:29:54 PM »
They do work when it's cold.    ;)