Monday, December 04, 2006

The best 75 bucks we ever spent.

Normally - I am complaining about technology gone wrong, and how the man is trying to keep me down by not satisfying my customer service needs.... but not today.

It all started last night about 8:20. We were blissfully watching The Amazing Race. It is down to the finally three.. so you know how world shatteringly important it was to see this episode. All of a sudden darkness. The power makes a feeble attempt to restart itself, comes on for a second, and goes down hard.

Out the living room window I see the sky light up.

It isn't that unusual for our grid to go down, but we started to notice a large swath of town was out. This was much bigger than we initially thought. At first we figured it was just our grid, but I'd say maybe 10 grids were down. We think "wow, what the hell happened - this is something more than just a power pole being taken out".

So we did the unsafe - unwise thing of getting in our car to see if we could find where the damage was. In my defense, the cities generators were powering all the lights. So really we weren't creating a safety hazard.

We find where the problem is, and the whole street is blocked off. Since we can't see anything we go back home. We still don't know exactly what the problem is. My mind immediately starts thinking that our emergency scanner isn't charged, and I become a little bummed. Mostly because we would be able to find out what happened, but it is also very helpful in finding out when PG&E expects to get things fixed.

I turn on the scanner hoping it would have just enough charge that it will run for a little while. Even though I know last power outage I ran it dead, and I didn't re-charge it. This is where the great part comes in.

We had just installed on of these battery back-ups from American Power Conversion:

Click to go to site.

Since we have so many very short power hits - we wanted to make sure they didn't wreck our TV. We just wanted something to regulate the power and shut everything down gracefully.

So - I'm flipping around with the scanner and my husband says " you know if we un-plug one of these devices maybe the UPS will have enough power to run the scanner. "Holy crap.... thats brilliant I say".

These UPS's say they will run a computer for about 15 minutes, so we didn't expect it to keep the power on very long. Slightly longer than a computer. After all.. we still have the TIVO plugged in hoping the cable company is still on the grid. After a little more than an hour the power comes back on. To our complete delight the UPS was able to keep the power on our TIVO and was able to record 45 minutes of The Amazing Race. We didn't miss one minute.

1 comment:

  1. That's really quite amazing. I would have never thought to do such a thing.