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Discussion Starter #1
THOSE APS GUYS ARE FRIGGIN HEROS!!! I'M SERIOUS.

We hit 123f degrees today, and the power went out during peak-heat hours.

Called APS (Arizona Public Service, our power company) and got a recorded message rattling off pretty much the entire state ... city by city ... was without power. "wait ... hold up .. what? ... that sounds like the whole damned state?"

That was some .. shall I say ... "real" shit. As the song by the Talking Heads goes ... "this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around!". My mind begins going into "SECON 1" condition. First thought = "STORES! ... do we have ice? what about my brother's medications? how much ice do we have? is the pickup truck fueled up? how's the ice? are the streetlights on? do I need to camp out on the driveway and keep watch for looters again? My mind races ... I hate this shit.

This happened to us a few years ago, really bad storm created a microburst 100yds from our home, taking out ten (10!) power poles. Our entire neighborhood was without power for seven days or so, during July, with temps hitting around 120f and monsoon season humidity levels. We had to camp out on our driveway to try to get some sleep, we were nearly the only people left in our entire neighborhood, everyone else was either out of town (winter visitors) or took a hotel room. We stuck around to cover the area from looters, and to take care of our pets. Anyway, it was miserable.

So tonight I'm laying there, no power, no air conditioner, house heating up with each passing minute, it was still over 100f by then. Hours go by, I'm beginning to think we're in for another week without power in the midst of summer heat ... during a fucking pandemic no less. I usually (more like ~always~) sleep with a 20 inch box fan on me all night. The white noise and feel of the breeze helps me to sleep, keeps some of the demons in my mind quiet as well. Without power, the fan is off, I can hear my own heartbeat in my ears. I can hear my own breath. I hate this. My mind begins to have it's way with the silence, memories I'll not share here come back in glorious HD. This is really gonna suck tonight.

With as much notice as we had when the power went out, it came back on! Just in time since it had been hours and the house was warming up pretty quickly without the air conditioner on (about 95f and rising). My bedroom fan happily spinning away. My heart smiles, even for just a moment. Holy shit I've become a pussy! Haahaa!!!!!

Those APS guys are HEROS. They go out into this ass busting heat to make sure whiners like me have our goddam fans! We moan, we bitch, we complain ... the power goes out and "APS sucks!" ..... it comes back on and "APS is our heros!". Haahaa!

Friggin humans, ain't we a peach?

pic = note the time, it says 11:30pm .... now note the current outdoor temp when I took the pic ... 92f. See what that red arrow is pointing at? That's today's high in my neighborhood ... 123f, in the shade. The numbers on the right are relative humidity. Down at the bottom (circled in red) are the indoor figures. When I shot the pic it was 83f inside the house, 32% relative humidity, 11:30pm, on 07-13-2020.

989376
 

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This monsoon hit with a vengeance this year, 50-60mph winds knocked a lot of stuff over. Didn't seem to cool things off, over 50 C again today.
 

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Anyone who works outside when it’s 123 is either a hero or mad, perhaps both.
At least when it’s cold you can build a fire.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We've had very little in the way of monsoons this year ..... so far (knocks on wood). It's early yet though. "Smells" like it's gonna SUCK this year .... really hot and humid. I just hope the grid holds up in these parts. The electrical infrastructure isn't in the best shape in Arizona, it seems they're always catching up to new growth but not doing much (if anything) with old systems until they fail.

Y'know the really fuddup part of all this? For over fifteen straight years I owned and operated the most highly regarding industrial power equipment repair/warranty center in the southwestern US. You would think I would have taken the time to put together a really nice 20kilowatt propane fueled/trailer mounted generator. 80% of the work we did for fifteen years was on generators, we were a fully certified Emergency Power service center and installation center. The average capacity we sold was 500kilowatt (think about that ... 500 kilowatt generator, 700 horsepower in-line six cylinder diesel engine sitting on top of an eight hundred gallon fuel tank). I had opportunity after opportunity to put together a really well thought out generator that ran on propane (no "carb fouling" from extended periods of non-use, and far fewer worries about fuel going bad as it sits in a fuel tank for long periods, sometimes exceeding two years or more). But noooooooo ..... I never got around to that. So I'm just as vulnerable to power outages as the next clueless mook.

Power hung on all night after it was reestablished. That was a wake up call. I need to work out some solar chargers for DC power systems (12vdc). Shitloads of household-type appliances and the like run on 12vdc, they're made for the RV (motorhome) market.

I engineered, designed, installed, and maintained emergency power switch gear and emergency power systems for medical facilities, first response public safety facilities (PD, FD, etc..), communication repeater sites on mountaintops, and casinos. So I'm hoping I still have the chops needed to put together some systems and setups around here at the house.

Those casinos are interesting installations. One casino manager told me that when the power goes out that particular casino loses over $4,700 bucks per minute of generated income since the slot machines and other gaming devices cannot run without power, and that $/minute figure is just for these local Indian reservation casinos. $4,700 per minute of revenue from the electronic games only, not including revenue from "tabled" games such as black jack and roulette .... so laying out a quarter million on an emergency generator and all of the installation and switchgear is nothing to them, in fact it's an easy return on investment ("ROI").

Oh well .... Another day, another $1.47 an hour .... :)
 

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You know, Honda makes some sweet generators that you can use to power the house during an outage and power your tire warmers at the track. 500kW might be excessive for residential use. 🤣
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Anyone who works outside when it’s 123 is either a hero or mad, perhaps both.
At least when it’s cold you can build a fire.
Haahaa ... I've worked outside in this region for over thirty years. I'm less willing to do so these days, I'm a couple of months short of 60yrs old ... so the will to work outside in this heat has diminished, but if pressed I can still get it done (if my health is on par, that is). Funny thing is that I start bitching when it gets below 55f or so .... muh blood done thinned out too much! I'm wearing jackets and shit ... meanwhile others are in T-shirts.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You know, Honda makes some sweet generators that you can use to power the house during an outage and power your tire warmers at the track. 500kW might be excessive for residential use. 🤣
20k minimum to run a residential AC unit. Those little putt putt Hondas ain't gonna cut it. Underpowering the system won't hurt the generator, it'll kill everything else though. Things like the AC unit compressor motor will never get out of it's start circuit with an underpowered system, burning up the start windings in the AC compressor's motor. I did residential installations as well as industrial/emergency installations. I know my shit. :)
 

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I have no doubt you know your shit. True on the HVAC units. They can drink some juice- especially given how big of units you would need there.
 

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In my 70+ years I have lived in many hot spots including Phoenix. Temperatures never reached that high for the one year I was in the Valley of the Sun. I'm glad the electricity came back on as 123*F without AC would prove fatal for many people.
 

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To me I find millions of people living in that region is unsustainable long term.
I would imagine even with innovative power generation, water becomes more of an issue.
Vegas as an example is draining Lake Mead, but still growing...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have no doubt you know your shit. True on the HVAC units. They can drink some juice- especially given how big of units you would need there.
Here's some trivial information ... hey, y'never know, someone just may find it helpful!

The problem most folks have trouble with when calculating power requirements when figuring out how much generator they need is ~the engine~. Most times all of the focus is placed on the kilowattage rating of the generator, but that's only one part of an issue more complex than just that. If your needs add up to (let's say) 10kw, a 10kw gen would "technically" be enough. The problem is when something like a residential AC unit starts up, it hits the generator with a very heavy start-up demand. That demand can be as high as 10x the AC unit's rated current draw (yes, ten times). So when that AC unit starts up, a 10k gen would be pulled down pretty hard (RPMs fall/falter/stumble as the engine attempts to compensate and recover from the hit), and therefor current and voltage both fall, as does the frequency ...~60hz~. That won't hurt the gen, but it can/will destroy appliances. When voltage is reduced at the source (in other words the gen was hit with a heavy load all at once which pulled the engine RPMs down thereby reducing the generator's voltage and current output to the appliance), the amount of current a given device draws goes up. Volts x Amps = Watts, remember? Reduce voltage (due to engine RPM falling) and the "amps" go up since the appliance is still demanding the same amount of total power, aka wattage. The increased current flowing through the appliance, over loading wiring and components that weren't designed to handle that kind of current, the wiring on some circuits (like motor windings) becomes so hot that insulation burns through and then we've got electrical shorts in things like motor windings and electrical opens circuit board traces and other delicate components. As well as potential electrical fires.

So it's not so much that more "wattage" is required from a "bigger generator" to do this correctly, it's more about having enough horsepower (and much more importantly, torque) to keep the generator running at 60 hertz when hit with a hefty load all at once. Otherwise the engine's RPM will fall (even just briefly ... like ten seconds of engine instability is enough to cause trouble with many household devices), voltage output of the generator will fall, current output of the generator will increase with the increased demand for current by appliances attempting to start up (AC unit). So you need to spec at least DOUBLE what the wattage needs add up to, to be safe.

For example, if JUST your AC unit (including no other electrical needs) is rated at 40 amps (typical three bedroom dwelling), at 240 vac that's 9,600 watts ... or just short of 10kw. Do we use a 10kw gen? NO! A 20kw generator would be the correct choice. Not because the AC unit needs all of that extra wattage on start-up or something (the gen is designed to handle short, temporary loads exceeding it's rating), but because the generator's engine needs to be hefty enough to be kicked in the jaw with a heavy load and not drop RPM. Think of the chaos when both the AC unit wants to start while the electric hot water heater is also running (both of which are fairly heavy loads).

Enough HP/Torque needs to be available to keep the generator running at the correct RPM when hit with start-up loads (including situations where there are other loads already applied) .... the voltage regulator on generators can only do just so much in compensating for reduced engine RPM. Even if the voltage reg could keep up, when the engine is pulled down the electrical frequency is reduced. Generator engine speeds are typically multiples of ~60~ .... like 1800 RPM (4 pole rotor), or 3600 RPM (2 pole rotor). This is to produce electricity at sixty cycles per second (aka "60 hertz" ... or "60hz" ... or "60 cycles"). Slow that engine down below multiples of 60 and the generator is no longer producing 60hz power ... some appliances hate incorrect frequency so much they fail. Like computers. Or computer controlled residential devices, like AC units, home security systems, or some "life-essential" appliances like oxygen generators for those with COPD, for instance. ~Yes~, the engines are equipped with governor systems that can help to compensate with "more throttle" to compensate for loads, but those governors can only adjust things so far. Like most things involving internal combustion engines .... nothing beats more displacement!

So there's that.

:)
 

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I gotta say, I’m surprised that the starting of the compressor hits that hard. I know it takes a lot to start them, but I thought the starting capacitor pretty much took care of it. I’m what is referred to as “just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous.”

My job is on the power industry as well, but I am a mechanical design engineer for power plants, so close, but very different.We’ve actually been dealing with some of what you discussed. We have diesel generators for backup power that can be used to shut down the plant. We had to take another look at components being fed by the diesel generators to account for fluctuations in engine speed and therefore the frequency of the power to ensure components required for safe shutdown can perform their duties at the extremes.
 

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To me I find millions of people living in that region is unsustainable long term.
I would imagine even with innovative power generation, water becomes more of an issue.
Vegas as an example is draining Lake Mead, but still growing...
Many parts of the US were settled and developed on the premise of a cheap and readily available water supply. Those days are gone.
 

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We bought a gennie a couple years ago after a half day with no power. Above 4000 watts running on gas, less on propane.
Figured we could at least run the fridge, a bedroom window AC and some lights. But the instructions say not to run it for more than a few minutes when temps are over 90 something, I forget the number. So far we have just exercised it, not had to run it "in anger".

Stay cool.
 

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I have no idea how you guys live in these places... I do this:
989425

... all Winter long, so that I NEVER have to see 123 fucking degrees on a thermometer.

Absolute insanity...
 

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I’m about to show my ignorance here ( yet again)
When my air conditioner was having trouble starting I bought a “ starter booster” capacitor
for it and the thing would kick on instantly. Would something like that help ?
 

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Damm, jinxed myself - A/C went out last night, supposed to be 120F today,.....

989437
 

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