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In case of a blackout, batteries etc. will give me ...

Displaying poll results.
Zilch -- I'm tied to the mains like a junkie.
  8993 votes / 26%
Some computer use, but less than an hour.
  4746 votes / 13%
1-2 hours of computer use.
  4367 votes / 12%
2-5 hours of computer use.
  5393 votes / 15%
More than 5 hours of computer use.
  4047 votes / 11%
Oh, did you mean Internet, too?
  7028 votes / 20%
34574 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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In case of a blackout, batteries etc. will give me ...

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  • by pintpusher (854001) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @12:47AM (#35217988) Journal

    It's the beeping, THE BEEPING!! from all the UPSs in my apartment, and my upstairs neighbor.

    All the beeping, and blinking, and flashing and beeping...

    • by ls671 (1122017) * on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:02AM (#35218044) Homepage

      You can programmatically turn them off on some models. For the others, I often opened them up and remove the beeper with a soldering iron. I get email notification and even automated phone calls when the power goes down. It is also pretty obvious when power goes down. I have 24 hours autonomy then I have to manually start a generator to reload the batteries.

      • by toygeek (473120)

        You don't need to de-solder the speakers. Just put a piece of electrical or duct tape over them. You can still hear the beep but its so muffled as to not be ear piercing.

        • Yeah, but the best way to handle it is join a rock band, run a disco, or plug your headphones into the Marshals to practice. Option Two worked for me. The UPS can beep its ass off, and I don't care.
    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Ehe.. yup.

      I've got 4 of them. Luckily 2 could easily be disabled from the front panel controls (although this required the UPS be powered off for some reason.. what the hell APC?). Two of them however (becklin) you needed to use their windows only tool to change the settings. Until I finally broke down and installed vmware _and_ windows just to shut them the hell up.. was quite fun waking up at 3 in the morning (power failures _always_ happen at 3 in the morning) to the un-harmonized beeping symphony.

    • It's the beeping, THE BEEPING!!

      Yup. If we lose power here at work we've got so many batteries beeping that it's downright deafening.

    • by alta (1263)

      Until my oldest was about 7 years old, he was TERRIFIED of a power outage. It wasn't the darkness that scared him. Nor the thunder and Lighting. It was the BEEEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP (thanks APC) that started as soon as the power blinked.

      Until recently he would absolutely freak the hell out if the power failed, even after we got rid of the UPS.

      Why get rid of it? Because our solution to calm the child was to RUN in there and HIT THE BUTTON ON THE CAUSE OF THE SOUND... So yes, child > filesystem integrit

  • Sure, my two desktops would be useless in an outage (until I gas up the generator I got before Hurricane Isabel), but my laptop will give me at least an hour and a half of casual computer use. Of course, if I try to run Crysis or anything, the life expectancy drops to twenty minutes.
    • by ls671 (1122017) *

      Can you seriously run Crysis on laptops ? I can't on mine, I tried just for fun. I assume it could be possible on recent and most powerful laptops although..

      • by gman003 (1693318)
        Mine is neither recent (it's a few years old) nor exceptionally powerful (it was a middle-of-the-line gaming laptop even when it was new), but I can still get Crysis running on medium, full resolution, full 60+ FPS. Quite a few laptops now can probably come close to maxing it out.

        Specs are a Core 2 Duo (2.26 gHz), GeForce 9600M GS, and 4 gigs of RAM, if you care to know.
        • by ls671 (1122017) *

          Thanks for enlightening me ;-)

          • by alta (1263)

            He forgot to mention that he has a 7" screen with a max of 800*320 ;)

        • by Creepy (93888)

          I have the same GPU, a Core 2 Duo at 2.56MHz, and the same RAM and I need to run Crysis at Med-Low or drop the resolution to get good framerates. If you look here [] you can see about what the performance of the 9600M is with Crysis (my laptop is full HD, so that is probably the main issue). The primary use of my laptop is development (graphics related, but no real need to maintain framerates), so a top of the line GPU isn't needed.

          . A quick check on shows the 470M SLI [] as the best overall gra

          • by gman003 (1693318)
            Just out of curiosity, what resolution do you use? I use 1280x800, the highest my display goes.
    • Ah, Isabel. From Hampton Roads myself --- that storm was so weird, seeing all the kids and whatnot outside away from their xbox/ps2/[insert something here].

      The creek behind me flooded so high... didn't hit our house but I too loved the generator. No internet with Cox though for quite a bit.

      Good and bad times, we remember the times that were different... it is interesting how that works.

      • Ah, Isabel. From Hampton Roads myself --- that storm was so weird, seeing all the kids and whatnot outside away from their xbox/ps2/[insert something here].

        Oh, good, when you started that sentence, I thought it was going to end with "...seeing all the kids and whatnot, flying around in the high winds like leaves."

        • Oh there were those idiots too... they kept themselves to the waves in VA beach and NC. Without power, however, I had a laptop and the modem running within a day - at least 5 days before some people even turned on their refrigerator :)

    • Crysis can actually run on a wide range of systems, it just depends whether the graphics are set to "HL1 quality" or "Beowulf quality."

  • by mvdw (613057) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:00AM (#35218034) Homepage
    During the recent flooding, my suburb was cutoff from the rest of Brisbane. About half of my suburb lost power during the disaster, including my house, so I used my 3G-enabled ipad to access the internet to keep informed. The battery on that lasted several hours, until the phone towers started losing *their* battery backup, and the internet became intermittent (depending on where you were in the suburb).
  • I have. Dozens of times.

    It's like, wake up, and shut me down properly, asshole! No sleep pho me, no sleep pho you!

  • by jappleng (1805148) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:06AM (#35218318) Homepage Journal
    My cellphone can last about 3 weeks on standby or 4hours talk time, my laptop lasts about 3hours, another laptop for about 4hours, a tablet which lasts between 6-10hours depending how you use it, a few DS systems which can each run for about 6hours each, and a bunch of calculators that run off of solar energy. We have two manual generators that also have solar capability and with my gf's engineering knowledge she could probably hack it onto whatever to charge it. There's probably around 40AA batteries and at least 8D's and I think that's about it. Worst comes to worse, there are knives and plenty of people with their own batteries if we suffer from computer withdrawal lol jk. Oh yeah, the internet can stay connected for about 10 hours but in a blackout, nobody would have internet anyways. I'm sure in a life or death scenario, a lot of people are going to go around and steal solar panels from hardware stores, offices, and schools but that kind of blackout doomsday is best left for movies :)
  • 5+, but only if I can use each computer serially.
    I have a netbook that will run ~3 hours, a linux desktop on a 1200VA UPS that will last about an hour, my wilfe's iMac on a 1200VA UPS that will last about an hour, and a low power home server on a 1500VA UPS that will last ~3 hours.

    • Here's what I can do if I want to go for maximum online time:

      - Power up the networking equipment on the small UPS that powers all of that and the home server. Then enable the DHCP and built-in wireless on the ADSL modem, and switch off the wireless router. This way I can get online with only one box running.

      - Use only the N900 to get online, and use the USB battery pack as a backup. When that runs down, use the big UPS on my gaming desktop to charge them both back up to full.

      - When the small UPS dies, hook

    • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @04:25PM (#35224544)

      APC Smart-UPS 2200 (4x 12V/18Ah batteries) - it would last about 30 minutes powering all of my computers and the monitor, but if I knew about the outage in advance, i would turn all of the computers off and just connect my laptop to the UPS, in that case, it would last much more than the 30 minutes. I also have other UPSs:
      Smart-UPS 700 (2x 12V/7Ah)
      Smart-UPS v/s 650 (1x12V/12Ah, connected to the fiber-to-UTP converter, so the internet connection would work).
      Back-UPS 400 (1x 12V/7Ah, I could use my other batteries, when the internal one is discharged).
      2200 and 700 have sine outputs so I could use them to power my fans in the summer and a tape deck or radio to have music, if I wanted to. 650 has modified square output, which is not as good for transformers and motors. 400 has square output which is bad for transformers and motors, so it would not be as useful for the tape deck. Or I could just use a portable tape deck with its own batteries and 12V fans.

      Also, I have some 12V UPS batteries of varying age and condition. I could use some of them for lighting (as I do not like daylight) a 12V light bulb and could use others with a 12V->19V adapter to power my laptop. I do not know how long they would last because their actual capacity is lower than what is written on the battery, since the batteries are 1 to 6 years old (and some of them no longer work in a UPS at full load because their internal resistance is too high, but a light bulb would not care about the slightly lower voltage) and I do not have a capacity meter.

      • I used to run an old Smart-UPS 650 off of one or two car batteries (had two UPSs and can't remember which was 12v and which was 24) It would run a fairly powerful desktop pc and a 24-30" monitor plus a cable modem and router for about an hour. I got tired of replacing expensive car batteries and went with a brand new 1000va UPS that lasts about 10 minutes if i'm lucky.
        • I have considered using car batteries, but I do not like the smell of sulfuric acid. I am thinking of some way to put the batteries outside and bring the cables in, but I would probably need very thick cables, since the UPS will not like the voltage drop, that is, it will think that the batteries are discharged when they are not. Also, I would need 4 batteries, since my big UPS is 48V.

          My UPSs are all old - the 2200VA was made in 1998, 700 was made in 2002 and I do not know about the others. The UPSs still w

          • I made a wooden box to hold the batteries and keep any leakage contained. It worked fairly well. I never did notice any smell, but maybe that's just me.
            One suggestion though, I'd add a computer fan to your UPS to keep it cool (at least while running on the battery) as I don't think they're made to run for more than a few minutes and heat is probably what took mine out.
            • The 2200VA UPS has a fan that turns on when the UPS is on battery or it is charging the batteries after they were discharged. The design is a bit bad and the fan does not turn on based on temperature, in the summer the temperature inside my room can reach 40C, then the temperature in the UPS is 60 and the batteries go bad sooner. When the UPS is running on battery (and has the fan on) the temperature drops to a few degrees above the room temperature.

  • Between the batteries in the UPS and a Honda EU2000i I can keep the house humming for a couple days before having to dip into gas from the cars.

    I've tested it on everything I have. I can't run everything at once, of course, but with a bit of load shuffling I can keep the fridge cold, the house warm (enough power to start the furnace fan) and the computers on. If really desperate, I can even run a load of dishes or laundry.

  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:29AM (#35218396) Homepage Journal

    I have a DC-AC inverter in my car with battery backup. So After 2-5 hours, I can run the engine, and run the laptop.
    so smartphone connectivity will be pretty long.
    Often I go on long trips where the only source of electricity for laptop and mobile is the car. Moreover, in India such remote areas often have 3-4 day long power cuts.
    I guess such a concept is alien to the west :D

    Even in cities, in summers we have 4-6 hour power cuts, so all companies have diesel gensets, which even run Air conditioning.

  • by Arrowmaster (635363) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @03:08AM (#35218530)

    When Hurricane Ike caused massive wind speeds and damage to the midwest, we were without power from Sunday to Thursday due to all the downed power lines all over the state. I ran a laptop, wireless router, and cable modem off of a 300watt inverter plugged into my car the entire time. I had to go outside and run the car for 30 minutes every 12 hours to keep the battery charged but I never once lost internet access. The neighbors couldn't believe I still had working high-speed internet access in that kinda situation.

  • I live in an apartment. Unless I grabbed some car batteries with an inverter and found some way to keep them charged, I'd be down for the count. I have one laptop, and its ancient (p3-700 256mb ram 20gb HD) but there would probably be enough wattage to run my dsl modem and the laptop. I'd skip the router because I'd not need it since all my other PC's (4 of them) are desktops that would not have enough power to run.

    This poll got me thinking: If I were to lose power for any extended amount of time, I'd lose

  • by mukund (163654) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @03:33AM (#35218620) Homepage
    ... from this []. Good old inverter with lead-acid batteries.
  • Without power, I've got the wife's laptop for, at best, 2.5 hours, and our phones for as long as they last. As much as my mum was obsessed with UPSs, I've never bothered to invest in one. Then again, where I'm at, a power outage of 4+ hours causes outrage, so it's yet to become a major issue.
  • The last time I've personally experienced a blackout was in 1992 and in a former soviet republic. For that reason a personal UPS would be waste of money and it is not like I would do important things on my PC.

    • by 6Yankee (597075)

      I had one when I lived in Guildford, UK. The power went out only once in the three years I lived there (spectacularly, I might add - they ended up powering the street from a containerised generator for several days, pity the poor bastard who had that parked outside his house).

      But I already had a UPS by then, because the power was horrible - brownouts all day, way over-voltage at night. I didn't realise just *how* bad until I bought the UPS and started logging it, but that was my reason for buying it. I wasn

  • ...but that includes network access :) i plug all my network gear into a UPS along with my primary computer. in the event of catastrophic power grid failure i can still be spammed for a solid 29 minutes; go america!

  • Before my UPS runs out - it has a 7Ah battery. This powers my server and DSL modem, laptop battery lasts about 3 hours.

    After that I can use car batteries, 1 to 4 of them depending on how many are full. Each one should give me at least 10 hours of use

    After that I can use a small petrol generator, depending on how much petrol I have laying around. I can also get 9600bps intenet from my satellite phone and recharge it with a solar panel. If i'm really stuck
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      One 7Ah battery lasts you 2 hours running a server? Either its a 1000 volt electric car battery, or your server is one of those pico plug devices...

      I have a modest "Server" (an old pc drawing ~110w typical) and its backed by 36Ah @12v (along with the modem and switch) and it would be lucky to run 90 minutes.

  • how about LED flaslight longevity?

  • I live off the grid so my home solar panels, 2 generators and batteries will give me almost unlimited full operation. If the inverter fails I will have about 4 hours of laptop and internet use and the smartphone will extend at least internet for another few hours. Oh but will the cell towers be out as well? I still have a satellite internet connection that I could perhaps re-activate but that would be too much trouble. By that time I would just catch up on my reading. Physical books just laugh at a bla
    • by wagnerrp (1305589)

      Physical books just laugh at a blackout.

      Do you read by firelight, candlelight, or moonlight?

  • My home computers and network equipment are connected to UPS:es that will keep them going around 5-6 minutes (automatically shutting them down after 4). However, with my Android phone I can access the web, mail, etc over 3G for many hours.
  • There are lots of useful things to do during a blackout, like:
    - get some extra sleep
    - help out that elderly neighbor who's having a real problem handling it
    - organize an impromptu block party
    - have a picnic somewhere.
    - Spend some quality time with a person of the appropriate sex. (nudge nudge wink wink)

    None of those involve sitting in front of a computer.

  • Laptop number one should last ~1 1/2 hours
    Laptop number two should last ~3 hours
    Laptop number three should last ~3 1/2 hours.
    Assuming they're fully charged.

    But I'd probably keep them off, light some candles and read.

  • Have my cable modem, firewall/router, tower, and monitor all on UPS backup and have confirmed during a power outage that I am able to surf the internet. I had no expectations of being able to do so on a residential cable plan, so I was a bit surprised.

    • by Xandu (99419)

      This recently also happened to me. I had previously tested that if I pulled the power to everything, I had the appropriate things in my house UPS'ed. But, much to my dismay, when the power in our area did go out for several hours, the internet only stayed up for about 15-20 before, I assume, the UPS on the equipment in the area gave out.

  • then comes the Diesel-generator running from the oiltank - which provides also power to the pumps of the central heating system.

    Then there are two WLAN point-to-point connections to user operated WiFi mesh nets: [] [] [] [] [] []

  • I'm in the off-the-grid solar/generator crowd, but on a good charge the batteries alone will last a couple days.
  • At home, I'm basically offline instantly. I've got a small UPS on our home server that will keep it up long enough for it to shut down gracefully... But that's about it.

    At work (a hospital) we've got enough batteries to keep everything up and running for about 30 minutes or so. But the generator kicks in within seconds, so they just carry the load for a moment. The generator can (and has) kept us going for a half-day easily. If we need to, we can always get more fuel delivered for the generator, to kee

  • Several times over the past years we've had multi-hour, and one multi-day blackouts.

    I have an old 1750 VA UPS that the battery has died in - but it still functions. I grabbed some jumper cables and hooked it to the car, started the car and ran a couple of extension cords in the window. With the help of CFL bulbs and judicious use of the rest of the power, I ran the phone switch, modem, firewall and some other items.

    We even ran the microwave oven to heat stuff.

    Good thing the gas tank was full though -

  • It would be cool if I could buy a basic Wifi + DSL modem that worked from the telephone line current, that would keep me online for much longer.
    • While "line" voltage is 48 V, ring is over 100 V, and both are at very low Amperage. I seem to recall that POTS is only about half a Watt.

      Good luck making a DSL modem that operates on half a Watt, much less one with WiFi. (I just got a new ultra-low-power DSL modem, and with my Kill-A-Watt, I measure 2.5 Watts of power usage, and this is a modem [i]without[/i] WiFi.)

  • I have 5 laptops ranging in battery life from about 7 hours (my Lenovo ideapad with double battery) to about 2 hours (one of my Macbook Pro-s, the damn Apple battery really is useless after 2 years). Total of about 20 hours, may be more.

    Of course when power is out, I have to use iPhone for internet connectivity, so total *useful* time is limited by iPhone battery (although in a pinch I can juice it back up from one of the laptops)

  • I just go in to work at the University. We have our own coal fired power plant and the distribution system is underground. We also have backup feeds from the local power companies.

    Building power failures tend not to involve weather, but backhoes and JULIE missing something.

  • I have my cable modem, router, and VOIP box on a large UPS that lasts about 10 hours nonstop (although when we have a power outage that is expected to last more than an hour - about once a year - I turn it off when not actively using phone/internet.)

    I have multiple WiFi and battery-equipped computing devices with "active use" battery life ranging from 2 to 10 hours. (From a powerful laptop to an iPad, in terms of WiFi-browsing battery life.) If I stagger all of my devices out, and save smartphones (not re

  • Being an SCA geek, I actually built myself a really nice "off the grid" power source for running my computer and Sprint hot spot so I could upload photos while at Pennsic War.

    When I'm not doing the SCA stuff, the unit sits in my hosue and is kept fully charged. It's got enough oomph to keep my router, switch, and a laptop running for a good 12 to 24 hours.

    MMM, deep cycle marine batteries!

  • Technically, my computer will last between 2h of Minecraft, up to 5-6 hours or normal use... My Internet connection with VOIP phone, wireless router and stuff will work for 2 good hours. If I'm recording stuff on the boobtube or if the PS3/360/Wii are up, then it drops down dramatically to 20 minutes (But enough to save my game and kill everything ASAP).

    At that point, I'll be able to tether to at least 2 different devices, so by being smart, I could work up the whole 6 hours of battery with Teh Intarwebz.


  • I have a gasoline generator that I can run when power falls over... I have it set so I have to start the generator as opposed to automatic... so I get to decide when or when not to start it. Have only needed it a couple of time in the last few years fortunately.

    It is such a peaceful feeling knowing that everything will work in the house even if main power is missing. My partner is not adept at operating technical stuff so if I was not at home and the power went off then she would have to wait for my return.

  • I saw a movie and other things on a airline flight with any external power for about 5 hours on my laptop.
    However, being connected to internet at home the router is connected to a UPS that will last about 3 hours, At work we have generator power also so as long there is fuel for the generator, we can last a long time,

  • It's kind of boring here. Over a year in my current house, and I've spent a total of about ten minutes on one occasion without electricity. If it ever becomes more frequent, I might consider making other arrangements (generator, UPS, etc.) In my last house (in which I lived for six years) we only lost power a couple of times and only once was it more than an hour, IIRC.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <> on Thursday February 17, 2011 @07:52PM (#35239086) Homepage Journal
    All of my switches and routers run on 12 volts, and there is a solar panel on the roof. The network is DSL, and terminates in a CO with emergency power.

    This might become harder with the next generation of DSL, which will be fiber to a local box and then copper from there.

    That the ham radio keeps working is more important. Hams routinely set up battery power.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.


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