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Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 300

by drinkypoo (#49507291) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

To really handle it, you have to be able to prevent solar producers from putting power on the lines if there's too much production for the consumers.

Or come up with new ways to use the power, which ought to be pretty easy. Make carbon fiber, or hydrogen. If the power is just going to waste anyway, and the power company is serving as a waste load, efficiency doesn't matter.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 300

by drinkypoo (#49507281) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Unfortunately, the power company is still expected to make sure that the power comes in at the right voltage and frequency. And with control on only part of the inputs, that's a lot harder. The fewer inputs they control, the harder...

Yeah, but as it turns out, they're not actually very good at it. Any inverter worth more than a couple hundred bucks is better at producing a reliable sine wave than PG&E, for example.

As the amount of electricity you draw from their generators goes down, they're going to reach the point of needing to charge you a flat fee just for the connection to the power lines,

I sure hope it's a flat fee. I live in the sticks.

Comment: Re:Look at previous disasters (Score 1) 274

Can you cite a source for that kind of prohibition?

Here's an example, when I worked for Cisco in Santa Cruz we couldn't have a generator fuel supply on site because of local regulations, so we had a natgas generator. That's great, except that in a real situation you're supposed to shut off the gas. It's only useful for riding out simple power outages, which we never had.

Comment: Re:Me personally? no.. (Score 1) 274

I remember reading an article on building a cheap dipole antenna, is that still the smartest thing I can put up with minimal effort? Is it worth it to put it along the inside of my attic, or do I really need to have it outside? My home is on a rise. I have a HR2510 I scored for ten bucks and I want to see if it works. If it does, perhaps I'll learn how to use it :p

Comment: Re:Look at previous disasters (Score 1) 274

People with amateur licenses are helpful for some things, but they're absolutely useless for disseminating information over a wide area that's otherwise disconnected

Useless is a strong word, and "absolutely" is a strong modifier. Neither is warranted here. People with amateur licenses can put the word out manually to other people who can do the same. Meanwhile, those people are likely to have disconnected power sources, while many radio stations are in urban areas and are legally prohibited from having inexpensive, functional backup power.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 274

Jokes aside, most of us live in areas that are not prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or Godzilla. If you do choose to live in such places, it is important to be prepared, and have an emergency kit. In which you can just pack in a good ole' FM battery.

It would be much wiser to pack in a good ole' hand-crank FM radio. Prices range from just a few bucks on up. Around $30 will get you a halfway-decent radio/flashlight combo.

Of course, $5 will get you a hand-crank cellphone charger...

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 274

It's not just you, but I'm guessing you've never been in a tornado/hurricane shelter without power huddled around a battery powered radio listening to storm updates.

I bet you're right. I haven't either, but I still own a wind-up radio that's stored with all my disaster relief supplies. (That's not mine, mine is not for sale, just the first link I found with the same thing. I got mine at a yard sale.)

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340