January 24, 2015

2015 Home Generator Review and Buying Guide

Needless to say, the winter is here. During the past decade the number of power outages including weather related ones kept rising across the entire country. In 2014 alone there were more than 200 power disturbances in U.S. affecting over 16 million people. Since most electrical lines in U.S. still use overhead wires, and because of aging infrastructure of our power grid, this trend will likely continue. A lengthy power interruption is more than spoiled food or just an annoyance. It is a potential life-threatening situation. My online guide to home generators provides the basics of backup power. For complete information with step-by-step instructions on selection, sizing and connecting standby and portable models see my new 2015 generator review and buying guide. It will save you hours of research and potentially save you money too.

September 11, 2014

Charging Electric Car from Portable Generator

This video of course is cool, but if I had a BMW I would not risk charging it from a portable generator, even from a sinewave inverter-generator like Honda. And I would never run a gas generator inside a car even with an exhaust hose.

September 9, 2014

Never Refuel a Portable Generator While It Is Running

If you need to refuel a portable generator, you need to turn it off, wait until its case cools down and only then add the fuel. Refueling a generator while it is operating presents serious fire and burn hazards as one can see from this news report.

August 26, 2014

HP Recalls Notebook AC Power Cords Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

According to CPSC.gov, HP recalls more than 5 million power cords for HP and Compaq notebooks due to fire and burn hazards. I can understand how a sloppy designed power supply can overheat. But a power cord? Could not HP genius figure our proper wire rating?

May 26, 2014

One Million Dollar Prize for Next Generation of Power Inverters

Google recently announced their so-called Little Box Challenge, a $1 million prize to develop the next generation of power inverters. If you want to know what power inverter is, here is the basics. Unfortunately, they did not provide any technical details on what exactly they are looking for. The referred website http://www.littleboxchallenge.com/ as of today provides zero useful info either. Hopefully, they will clarify the competition shortly.

May 23, 2014

Another Portable Generator Stolen

Here is another reason to look for a permanently installed standby generator- a portable one can easily be stolen. Here is a video on how two guys took a 300-lb device. By the way, in Louisiana, flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other emergency supplies are exempt from the state sales tax this weekend.  They give Louisiana residents a chance to get ready for storm season before the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1.

January 30, 2014

Power Supply Seminar 2012/13 Textbooks Online

Those who missed Texas Instruments latest 2012-2013 power supply design seminar can now download all the materials here. This time they archived online both the manuals and the presentations, which are quite handy. Unfortunately, TI is doing a pretty good job making it very hard to find these files in their website. If you want to read past TI (formerly Unitrode) seminar manuals beginning 1983, I listed them all here. I keep maintaining and updating these links for over a decade now. Originally I got the list of their topics (which at that time was much shorter) from one of TI application engineers who interviewed me for a job. I did not get the job back then, but I got a list of the links. It was a good deal. (-:

December 10, 2013

Thieves Stealing 200-lb Portable Generator

One of the disadvantages of a portable generator is it can be easily stolen. This video footage shows how three suspects stolen a 200-pound generator in 52 seconds.

July 25, 2013

Subaru Portable Generators Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

Robin America recalled more than 4,500 Subaru portable gasoline generators because of possible fuel leak. The recalled models are SGX3500, SGX5000 and SGX7500 . These units were made in China for Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., of Tokyo. Read more and find affected serial numbers here.

May 19, 2013

Back-Up Power for Gas Stations in NY

Governor Cuomo proposed new legislation according to which all gas stations within a half-mile of highway exits and hurricane evacuation routes will be required to have a transfer switch installed by March 1, 2014 and  deploy a generator within 24 hours of a blackout. This requirement would apply to about one-third of all NYS gas stations.

In addition, the chains with 10 or more stations will be required to install a transfer switch for an additional 50% of their stations by March 1, 2016, and must activate a generator within 48 hours of losing power during an emergency. This requirement applies to an additional 15% of NY gas stations.

Finally, as of March 1, 2014, all newly constructed gas stations or the stations that have major renovations will be required to have a transfer switch or back-up generator installed.

Cuomo said “New York State must learn the lessons from Superstorm Sandy so that we are better prepared for the future”. Really? I wonder if governor followed the news during Sandy. The main problem was lack of gasoline rather than loss of power by gas stations. How would the stations located out of town and not connected to natural gas system fuel their generators when they had neither gasoline or diesel? Of course they could use propane generators, but again, the stations located far away from cities and towns will have hard time refilling their propane tanks during a major disaster. If the proposed bill will pass, we will pay more at the pump because the stations will pass down onto us the cost of implementing the new regulation. As usual, our governor is trying to gain cheap popularity.