When the Electricity’s Out, Try an Unexpected Power Source (UPS)

We all know how common it is for electricity to go out as a result of thunderstorms. It’s an inconvenience none of us wants to experience.

My friend Bruce in Canada came up with a nifty idea for having light during a recent power outage, and it made his neighbor curious. How did he have light?

He connected a lamp to the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) of his computer.

Bruce said a UPS is essentially a storage battery and inverter, so he thought he’d experiment. He tried light bulbs of various wattages and found a 15 Watt compact fluorescent bulb lasted a little over two hours. A five Watt LED bulb lasted five hours. Low wattage bulbs gave light comparable to that of a candle.

He also powered his cordless phone to call the power company when electricity was out. He doesn’t have a cell phone, but thinks a UPS might charge one in such a situation.

You can click here to view Bruce’s recent blog post for more info on his experiments with light bulbs.

If you need a UPS right away, try the APC BE550G Back-UPS ES 8 Outlet 550VA 120V.

What do you think of Bruce’s idea? Have you tried any similar experiments? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

4 thoughts on “When the Electricity’s Out, Try an Unexpected Power Source (UPS)”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just wondering do you trade featured posts? I’m always in search of someone to make trades with and just thought I would ask.

    1. I’m open to considering guest posts. Contact me about this via the Contact page, and we can work out details.

  2. I learned the hard way that connecting a coffee maker to a UPS doesn’t work well. It draws far too much current and the battery died within a minute. I suppose I could have used one of those huge battery back-ups for fridges if I had one. I bought a gas stove in January of 2009 and now I can make coffee if the power is out. I also installed a 6700 VTU gas heater in the basement in the event the power fails during the winter. It won’t heat the whole house but will at least keep my pipes from freezing. My next progect will be to have a hand pump installed in line with my electric well pump so I can get water during power failures.

    1. Thanks for the useful info. It’s good to know the capabilities and limitations of things like the UPS or even your furnace.

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