Power outage tips and tricks - Android and UK specific

Some tips and tricks I have used to be prepared for power outages. Some of the tricks are specific to Android and some specific to UK.

Background

Power outages are rare but inconvenient. They also tend to happen more frequently in specific places where the local power cables are overhead and feed through / near trees. So some here will have experience many outages, and others none.

I am predicting power outages will increase in frequency and duration and so more people will be encountering. The primary reason all trace back to the cause and effect of global warming. Global warming is real, all it takes is a thermometer and taking notes over a global basis over time.

Warming oceans will evaporate water faster which then falls in increased rain and causes stronger winds around the rain.

Warmer weather causes the electrical wires to heat up, that increases their internal resistance so they then heat up more from electrical heating and so a cascade failure of melting metal and blowing fuses.

The move away from fossil fuels is growing reliance on electricity as gas heating and fuelled cars is squished down. It will be many years before the energy situation improves, long enough this advice will be relevant.

Basic methods

  • Store electrical energy to operate devices during outages.
  • Store cold water to keep food chilled during outages.
  • Minimalism to allow to flee a bad situation, temporary home.

Minimalism

A power outage may be caused by a local event which not only disrupts power but is a threat to life so you may need to flee. So shrinking down to basic kit will allow to pack something to flee with and shrink the space you need to live in temporarily.

For me the core to minimalism is Android and clothing choices.

Android supports larger screen devices, a 8" - 12" tablet are commonly available such as from Samsung, Huawei, etc. So recommendation is get a larger Android device. , ideally one which has plenty of memory and storage and/or has a SD slot.

In my case I have a Huawei Mediapad M5 10.8 and 8.4 tablets, 3 years old, you can’t really buy these now but it was my choice at the time.

Bluetooth keyboard / folio keyboard. Anker used to sell bluetooth keyboards, I don’t think they do now, so get a keyboard approximately the width of your tablet so it becomes laptop-like. I am typing this on my Huawei 10.8 tablet with a backlit bluetooth keyboard sourced locally on Amazon.

These tablets are charged by USB-C and be recharged off 10W to 30W dependent on the device, but the point being they will charge off an entry level Powercore. My tablet will charge from 5V or 9V which is within a Powercore 18W such as the 20000 PD.

Then own 2 or 3 Powercore which you use regularly (e.g. to keep phone going when out walking) and you rotate between them to verify they are still working. I have 2 20000 and 3 10000 and a 26800 so 100Ah which is enough to keep two people’s devices going for days.

Offline media

What brings power down can bring Internet down so don’t rely on the Internet for entertainment. Download offline media. All of NetFlix, Amazon Prime, BBC, etc all have apps with download capability, keep a few day’s worth of media stored so not bored while waiting for help.

What I do is use “Get Iplayer” which works on Android, Linux, Windows, etc, which creates from BBC a MP4 or TS file which you can store to watch. It is easier to download on a Windows / Linux system and then copy to Android’s storage / SD, but you can use OverLand Android app and follow the get iplayer install instructions and download on Android via a type of Linux. Complex topic, PM me for help.

Stored electrical energy

Recommend own multiple Powercore to operate phones , tablets, headphones, flashlights. Multiple allows for some of them to fail and you still have some working, and you rotate between them to verify they work.

I do not recommend a Powerhouse, it is not minimalist, heavy to grab’n’go in a fleeing scenario and if it fails then it’s a brick.

Most Anker Bolder flashlights are rechargeable. I have LC40, LC90, LC130 flashlights, some allow the batteries to be charged in a separate charger for the 18650 or 26650 cells.

I also recommend to invest in Eufy stick-on lights as they use regular AAA batteries to come up at night, and they last months, they sense movement and will come on as you approach. Liberal sprinkling around the home will make it hard to stub your toes.

Stored cold

I recommend you own a 2nd chest freezer to store lots of frozen food. This pays for itself as you bulk buy and store food. The frozen food together keeps itself cold.

If you don’t own enough food then put bags of water and freeze, this bulks out the contents so it lasts longer during an outage. The water melts and you drain out of bottom of chest freezer.

Frozen food complements dried and tinned food. If the outage is longer you’d consume chilled then frozen then dried then tinned food. As frozen food takes a few days to defrost, I never keep more than say 4-5 days of days of frozen food in so it is never wasted. Combined with dried and tinned food I aim for 10-20 days of food, which covers the most common worst case scenario including feeding others who didn’t stock-up.

Just prior to a known storm approaching, turn the power up on the freezer to make it colder, it will then last longer through an outage, then turn it down after storm passes.

Place the most expensive food near bottom and less expensive food near top, as the freezer warms up the top will defrost first. So typically that’s frozen meat at bottom, then frozen vegs, then frozen bread at top, and if your freezer is not full then add bags of ice near bottom to slowly defrost and if they do actually melt then drain the water through drain hole at bottom.

I don’t recommend relying on a Powerhouse or a generator to operate freezer / fridge. Latent heat of water means as water changes from frozen state to liquid state is equivalent of 200Wh of stored electrical energy per Kg of water. It is far less cost to simply store cold via frozen water than store electrical energy to operate a compressor to keep something cold. If you eat the defrosting food first, you don’t actually waste money, just prioritise what to eat so to not waste most. Freezers operate around -18C and take some time to get to 0C and will stay near 0C as water changes from solid to liquid state.

Cooking / heating

Regular camping cooking equipment you use for camping will work for bar’b’que and for emergency cooking. I prefer alcohol (meths / denurated alcohol) fuel stoves as it is safer for indoors use and storage but camping gas fuel is also viable. I keep about 2 weeks of fuel - storage outdoors in case of accident. Most of the fuel would be used on the frozen food at the time it is defrosted, but some on dried / tinned food.

Another good option is to store dry wood and be able to heat and cook via wood. This is more of an option in rural situations than dense urban. Chances are you already can and are using wood or can’t. Where I live wood is not practical but I can burn wood after my alcohol and gas is depleted.

Clothing

If an outage occurs in winter you risk dying from cold, or more commonly just find it unpleasant.

  • Wool baselayers. Wool is warming, keeps warm when wet, and can be worn for days before you’re smelly.
  • Synthetic mid / overlayers. Synthetic keeps warm when wet, and shakes dry or dries in sun.
  • Down insulation. This is warm and is lightweight and packs small but it doesn’t like wet so needs to be packed in a drybag.
  • throw your warm clothing spread out over bedding for warmer sleeping and put on in morning, they will be less cold that way.

Flee

This is an exceptionally rare scenario, but keep a bit of food, water, some baselayer and insulation in a dry bag in backpack, with some of your Powercore and a Bolder flashlight - packed. Keep by the door you’re most likely to flee via. If you have a vehicle, consider storing in that.

Android tips

  • Android supports PiP - Picture In Picture - where a small window is displayed from a background app.
  • PiP can be used in Chrome, Firefox and some media players
  • Split screen allows to see two apps concurrently.
  • This allows to watch background media while doing something else. e.g. Walk listening to an MP4 file.

Example screenshot, the main screen is Chrome and the right image is Firefox playing full-screen then moved to Chrome so Firefox moves into PiP, this works better usually than app which doesn’t let you play in background, eg. UK iplayer , channel 4, ITV, doesn’t let you app background play buy Firefox does.

Chillax

Once you’ve created all these systems, the chance of an outage or a need to flee is tiny.

But you can use more commonly in fun ways

  • A larger tablet can be easier to use outdoors in the summer
  • Camping stove for camping or outdoors cooking
  • A large frozen food ownership will on average lower food costs, buy food when cheaper and consume when food higher cost, so saves money.
  • Flashlights for winter walking.
  • Wool and insulating clothing saves money and makes it pleasant to go out in almost every condition so no fear of weather.

Summary

If you prepare for the worst but hope for the best you will:

  • be relaxed. You know you can handle most situations, so don’t worry.
  • save money. All of these ultimately lower costs. e.g. warm clothing means lower winter fuel bills.
  • better able to help others. It is more probable someone else has a bad day than yourself, but you have the capability to help them.
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Havent read the post but replying to help get you closer to Lv17 :grin: @professor

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I gave him a like to help out on that level 17 :rofl:

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I have had a few power outages these last few months. One was just about a day and the other was for like 3 days.

Luckily I had a generator. I really need to get an alternative heat source running in the house than just a few electric heaters.

Besides running the wifi, frig and heaters, I am able to swap out uses to run the microwave and tv as needed.

Wood is an obvious heat source, why aren’t you using that already?

My last 3 homes had a full chimney and fire place I could burn wood or coal there, but new home doesn’t. All my homes all my life I’ve had gas and electric so if electricty out still heat and cook with gas - but that’s not in my write-up as it’s not something you have choice on.

In most places in winter the temperatures are lower when the sun is shining so heating water via black water filled roof panels is a low-tech cheap option. I know the trend is more to PV cells but every time I do the calculation it doesn’t make sense. My current home the roof is pointing the wrong way, 2 homes ago I had a south flacing sloping roof but would take 18 years recoup investment.
UK is banning gas progressively, primarily for air quality, secondary for global warming, but until renewables are there, which we won’t be for 20+ years, the electricty you consume is made from coal or gas anyway. So in reality the dependency on electricty is increasing in the home.

Some of our gas has a whiff of Vodka, I think the whiff is stronger in Germany. :wink:

I forgot to mention that over the last decade I did also get some solar panels, two Anker and one non-Anker. They only really get useful in summer, but can give typically a full phone recharge per day.

I’d not rely on them for an assumed large source of energy, but if you need to pack small and travel and it happens to be sunny you can use them during the brighter periods to keep powered. The Anker 21W panel in reality is 10W and will recharge a typical phone in 2-3 hours.

My intention in an outage would be plug in my spent emptier Powercore to solar and make use of whatever sunshine happens to stretch more days without power. I’d not expect them to keep me powered indefinitively.

@Chiquinho I hope you have plenty of wood stocked up.

There’s that small park next to your house…

Yes, but its better to get some wood from the friends eg. an old wooden truss :smile:
Easy to handle.

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Some Anker powerbanks in this.

You’d be glad you did. I think 2022 is going to introduce more to power outages. I’m not expecting many long outages, but more brown-outs and short blackouts.

I got two packs of stick-on Eufy lights, it took 7 units (just over two boxes of 3) to cover house walkways to complement the LC40 LC90 LC130 I already owned. I mostly prop the Eufy stick-on over door frames and only stuck a few items on where the surface was not wallpaper. I hook the Bolder lights on headboard and on curtain rails near doors so you can find from the light from the Eufy stick-on.

The video shows the 10000 PD model but I’d recommend looking for a deal on 20000 as in reality you get more than double the useful energy as the 10000 PD is less efficient than the 20000 PD.

If my suspicion of brownouts is true then plug the flat Powercore in even to a dead wall socket to make use as the power intermitently returns.

I also have solar knowing that’s only useful in the rarest of scenarios (long outage, sunny).

Demand drives up prices so it’s cheaper to buy before power outages.

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Back to the roots!
No such power gimmicks need to be used here.

We dont worry at all, we are used to. :grin:

Neandertaler-reagierten-aufs-Klima_big_teaser_article

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Your skills may be the most useful part, learning to cope with little.

After Easter I’m off camping where cooking is meths stove, “heating” is my sleeping bag. I did try solar one trip and concluded better carry more Powercore instead.

Winter storm 2021 no power/water 3 days
Heat: Thermacare disposables 8-16 hours. Slap one on your chest and it keeps your core warm. Or cut out disks and put inside gloves/socks.
Light: rechargeable headlamps can be worn or laid face up to light ceiling, hence room
Lighting: battery powered candles do a great job of lighting rooms
Gas stove: use lighter to activate flame to boil water, cook, etc.
Anker portables: have 4-6 and you, too, can keep devices charged so you can work around the clock for five days (with naps) while your colleagues go dark (true story) during the multi-day snow and ice power outage event.

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If we are going to be cut of from Gazprom, I have my huge tilestove in the living,
beds can be put there.
Cooking?
No problem for a Neanderthaler!(see our family photo above) :laughing:
Even there is no electric power.
I am a post war child, I know a lot of tricks,
being told from my father (RIP) who was a soldier in WWII.
One is : “In the need, a sausage even tastes without bread”
Isn’t that more than “philosophy” :rofl:

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So I agree the older generation who grew up with little have skills and resources to better handle disruption.

So yes wood stove, changing how you cook, changing WHO cooks. It was usually the case sets of families would cook and eat shared together where the effort to keep a fire going was used continuously to cook, heat, wash clothes, usually a family member did majority to keep feeding the fire and plan the meals.

I worked in a large factory once, my main meal of the day was lunch got at very reasonable prices in the works canteen. Big ovens with bulk food preparation was cheapest. No menu, you got to front of queue and given choice of two meals and if late the one meal. Simple. E.g. yesterday we butchered the pig so it’s sausages or nothing today.

For 2022 I’m only expecting power unreliability as the headroom in the power generation goes through the summer. No worse.

But there’s a generation, a typical Anker fan, who has never experienced that. It’s the shock. But not difficult once old methods remembered.

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Perfectly said, my friend.

I dont know how old you are @professor

I was growing up in an absolutely poor family.
My parents did the best they could. but in those times it was hard.
So I was educated to care about things, not to waste, to repair if possible.
Who is able to repairing stockings, who can knit, who is able to create a shirt using a sewing machine in our days.
No one.
Many are even not able tc cook.
To create meal.
What theý mean to “cook” is only to put a instant chunk food in the microwave.

Too much of our resources are simply trashed meanwhile.
Were will this lead to?
Lets take a look at the millions of tons of electronic garbage caused by obsolescence.
Who cares about?
The Greens?
NEVER!
No, they got weird ideas, which can not be taken for normal.

Oh… I have to stop getting to much political. Sorry!
But it’s true! :grinning:

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