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Thread: Power outages?

  1. #11
    Registered User sp0420's Avatar
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    I have a generator to run the racks and a battery back up for the incubator. One thing I have not tried but heard of is putting warm water bottles in the tubs for short term also chemical heating like those pocket hand warmers. I think they make ones for shipping reptiles. Glad to hear everything is alright.

  2. #12
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Power outages?

    Quote Originally Posted by sp0420 View Post
    ...One thing I have not tried but heard of is putting warm water bottles in the tubs for short term also chemical heating like those pocket hand warmers....
    Those emergency measures (chemical heat packs & bottles of hot water) won't be anywhere NEAR enough to heat your snake's normal housing- they need to be used in something insulated like a styro-foam shipping box or an ice chest with the snake bagged & with minimal ventilation, for them to maintain enough warmth to keep snakes healthy in cold house.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-01-2021 at 03:34 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Power outages?

    I did some research on this topic today and frankly with no clear result but wanted to share my findings.

    For context, I have only one snake to take care of and live in a rented city apartment, so generators and any apartment-wide modifications (e.g. whole house battery storage) were out of question.

    My tank is being heated by a 16w heat mat and a 75w heat lamp, both controlled by a 5w raspberry pi.
    I figured that if worst comes to worst my priority is to keep the heat mat and the raspberry running to keep the ground temperature comfortable, while giving up the heat lamp since it draws too much power for most small power supplies. So my backup needs to provide 21w, let's call it 20w for simplicity.

    Here my two cents:

    UPS work from a technical standpoint but have relatively bad runtimes even given low power consumption. Judging by a test done by the wirecutter it looks like even a 900w UPS only lasts about 4.5h when 20w are being drawn. So the UPS is not really helping if the power is out for a whole day or more.

    Portable Power Stations like this one suggest they could run a 20w fan for 15h which would be much better. However, they don't bypass the battery when fully charged but rather do passthrough power supply. That would mean that over time the battery deteriorates which is also not ideal because I wouldn't expect a power outage every week so basically when it hits in a year or two I will have significantly less capacity than I initially purchased. Unplugging it and manually hooking it up when the power goes out also defeats the purpose because what happens if I am not there during an outage.

    If anyone knows of a power station / battery backup that combines the bypass power of a UPS with the long runtime of a PPS, I'd be very thankful for a recommendation.

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    Re: Power outages?

    Update from me:
    I ordered a Portable Power Station that has UPS functionalities. There seem to be a lot that do pass-through charging (Jackery, Yeti, Goalzero etc.) but that basically continuously degrades the battery. Ecoflow power stations (like this one) bypass the battery when it is fully charged and directly provides power from the outlet to whatever device is attached.

    On the topic of why a UPS doesn't really do that job: The type of battery most UPSs use (lead acid or gel) are meant for high peak power rather than slow, deep discharge. That's why even 900w UPSs oftentimes only provide power for 3-4h for low wattage appliances.

    Since this is a lithium battery, it shouldn't have that issue. I'll post an update on how long it can run my setup once I have it.

  5. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Djanno For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (11-24-2021),Bri123 (11-24-2021),nikkubus (11-24-2021)

  6. #15
    Registered User Bri123's Avatar
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    Re: Power outages?

    Quote Originally Posted by Djanno View Post
    Update from me:
    I ordered a Portable Power Station that has UPS functionalities. There seem to be a lot that do pass-through charging (Jackery, Yeti, Goalzero etc.) but that basically continuously degrades the battery. Ecoflow power stations (like this one) bypass the battery when it is fully charged and directly provides power from the outlet to whatever device is attached.

    On the topic of why a UPS doesn't really do that job: The type of battery most UPSs use (lead acid or gel) are meant for high peak power rather than slow, deep discharge. That's why even 900w UPSs oftentimes only provide power for 3-4h for low wattage appliances.

    Since this is a lithium battery, it shouldn't have that issue. I'll post an update on how long it can run my setup once I have it.
    Yeah definitely keep us posted! I'd be curious to see how long it will run your setup!

  7. #16
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    Re: Power outages?

    Update my side:
    The Portable Power Station (Ecoflow River Plus, 360wh) arrived and I set it up. It is now powering my Raspberry Pi and the heat mat.
    When only the Raspberry is running it draws about 3 watts according to the PPS, when both is running about 16w (the raspberry is controlling the heat mat to maintain optimal ground temperature).
    I unplugged the PPS yesterday and had it run for the last 19h only on battery power. That discharged the PPS from 95% to 12%, so about 4.4% per hour. So it seems like a full power station could run my setup for about 1 day in case of an outage.
    One caveat: I also have a IR lamp running that heats the area from above. In a real power outage this lamp would turn off and thus the vivarium would likely cool down a bit quicker than in this test. I didn't want to expose my snake to no overhead heat just to test the setup.

    My takeaways:
    • The PPS solution does work as a UPS solution for the vivarium (beware that most PPS don't have a UPS feature like the Ecoflow)
    • The time that the PPS estimates is not accurate: the estimate when fully charged and running both raspberry and heat mat is almost 24h, but in reality, even with the heat mat switching on and off, the PPS barely provides 24h


    Overall, I think this is a good way to give yourself peace of mind if you have a small snake collection and a generator / house-wide power solution isn't feasible.
    Feel free to post questions and I'll try to respond.

  8. #17
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    Re: Power outages?

    One addition to make the search for the right portable power station easier:
    While I am not sponsored or affiliated with Ecoflow (I wouldn't say no to some commission), they are the only company that I found where the PPS has a dedicated UPS mode in which the battery of the PPS is being bypassed and AC power goes directly to the AC outlets / the attached devices. All other PPSs only had a passthrough mode or no option to use while charging. And they have quite the range of capacity levels so something in every price bracket.

    I looked at products in the $200-$400 range from Jackery, Anker, Aukey, Rockpals, Blackfire, Goal Zero, Bluetti, Ravpower, Zendure, Flashfish (I might be forgetting some brands here but those were the major ones).

  9. #18
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
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    I see people mention keeping hand warmers on hand for cold weather emergencies, and just wanted to mention that these are dangerous for snakes - they just get too hot. If you have no other options and must use them, put them in a sock or something.

    But the better alternative is the shipping warmer packs Bogertophis mentions above that are used to ship plants, chicks, inverts, reptiles, etc. You can get these on Amazon.
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  11. #19
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    Re: Power outages?

    Long term update from my side:

    TL;DR: my Ecoflow Powerstation has proven to be rather unreliable. When it works, it does the job but when it doesn't it gives me headaches.

    Basically, the setup I decided for was to use the EF Powerstation as a UPS, have it plugged in between the outlet and my vivarium at all times, and have it cut in as needed if there is an outage. Well, that doesn't work.
    First, EF says it is using bypass power but it is actually not. So the battery is constantly engaged even if there is AC power available. So I had to change my setup and only plug in the PPS when I was out of town or when there was an outage currently happening.

    Then there are reliability issues: basically my PPS randomly stopped working one day and Ecoflow had to send me 4 (!) replacements until one of them worked. So the reliability (at least of this brand and in my experience) is trash.

    Finally, yesterday, almost a year to the day from when I bought the initial PPS, we had a power outage. I plugged in the PPS and the vivarium was running smooth. I wake up this morning, check the PPS and see that the power is off.turns out that this thing just switched off AC power randomly in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. So that's also just not great.

    So to summarize, I do want a solution like this at home for outages but I haven't found one that is reliable enough to make me happy yet.

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Djanno For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (11-23-2022),Homebody (11-23-2022)

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