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Laptop use in power outage

Laptop use in power outage

Old Oct 2nd 2018, 1:55 pm
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Default Laptop use in power outage

Here in Canada, we are subject to more outages than might be the case elsewhere. Some people, even in cities can be without power for a couple days.
Our longest has been about 8 hours and the level of inconvenience depends on the time of day. Laptops still work but, of course, there's no internet.

Easy enough to watch a previously downloaded movie but screen is a bit small for more than one person, plus if everyone in the house did it, the batteries on all the laptops would run out.

First questions: if a battery lasts about 4 hours of surfing/emailing only, how long would you get from watching a movie? Does it make any difference whether that movie was 'played back' via a thumbdrive or was on the laptop hard drive. What if an SSD is involved?

I wonder about a cheap/refurb/whatever, laptop with a bigger screen. Say 17". There's one on Amazon for not a bad price. It's Vista, but that makes no difference for non internet use. Should be big enough for 2 to watch, maybe 3.

Another monitor won't do, of course, because it would need power. But what of laptop replacement screens? That could be less than half the cost of the 17" laptop. Could one be connected to a laptop in some way to enable 'playback' on a bigger screen?

Any other thoughts?
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

I have my internet router on a UPS (battery back-up) which should keep it active for several hours. I also have a whole-house backup generator so the time is moot as it would only need to keep it going until the genny kicked in.
Don't think type of disk has as much impact as other components such as motherboard and display. Bigger display will use more power.
Depending on the laptop model, some have extended batteries available. You could always keep a spare battery to swap out when the first is discharged.
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Cheapest option would be to buy books/kindles and flash lights. You're probably looking at an hour or 2 of laptop use with power saving modes on watching a movie, if you want it to be watchable then it would be closer to an hour. If it really is a common issue though I'd be looking at getting the same setup as Chawkins and get a backup generator. We've got one at work and combined with the UPS our servers have zero downtime due to power failures. Or you could always go with a Tesla Powerwall or two if you want to push the boat out.
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by chawkins99 View Post
I have my internet router on a UPS (battery back-up) which should keep it active for several hours.
You mean that for $70 I could buy one of these and plug the router in I can keep the internet going? Strewth, that simple? Once fully charged does it stay fully charged ready for use or is it one of those things that 'leaks' (for want of a better word) power and is better left plugged?
As simple as unplugging the router from the power bar and plugging into this?
Edited to say....I just realised it probably replaces the power bar...so it's permanently connected and charged, providing power as normal and in the event of outage, nothing is automatically cut off. Silly me.
I also have a whole-house backup generator so the time is moot as it would only need to keep it going until the genny kicked in.
I'm working on the basis that after 13 years here, aside from a power line to our house down once (it happened overnight so we don't know exactly how long) the worst we've had has been around 6 hours (once) and 3 or 4 hours a couple of times.
We seem to be between two grids where we are, with the other kicking in if one goes, so we're lucky. We have a woodstove for heat if needed and there's a plate on it to heat a kettle. Touch wood, never needed.
Don't think type of disk has as much impact as other components such as motherboard and display. Bigger display will use more power.
Depending on the laptop model, some have extended batteries available. You could always keep a spare battery to swap out when the first is discharged.
Thanks for that bit. Could also put up with the 15" and transfer the thumbdrive into a different laptop once the first battery had gone to watch whatever was left.

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
Cheapest option would be to buy books/kindles and flash lights.
We have plenty of flashlights and a couple of battery lamps. The light's not really conducive to reading a book though. I read so little, book-wise, that I'd probably not pick the book up again until next outage or next winter.
You're probably looking at an hour or 2 of laptop use with power saving modes on watching a movie, if you want it to be watchable then it would be closer to an hour.
As bad as that? Maybe I'll have a trial run and see how long it lasts later.
If it really is a common issue though I'd be looking at getting the same setup as Chawkins and get a backup generator.
It's common for a lot of people but fortunately not us. Our biggest problem is someone being 'trapped' in the power recliner when it goes off
Or you could always go with a Tesla Powerwall or two if you want to push the boat out.
That's nifty.

Last edited by BristolUK; Oct 2nd 2018 at 4:56 pm.
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
You mean that for $70 I could buy one of these and plug the router in I can keep the internet going? Strewth, that simple? Once fully charged does it stay fully charged ready for use or is it one of those things that 'leaks' (for want of a better word) power and is better left plugged?
As simple as unplugging the router from the power bar and plugging into this?
Edited to say....I just realised it probably replaces the power bar...so it's permanently connected and charged, providing power as normal and in the event of outage, nothing is automatically cut off. Silly me.
Yep. That simple. That one ought to keep your router going for several hours. They stay plugged in and so are always fully charged. The batteries will eventually die but should last a good 5 years or more.
Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
I'm working on the basis that after 13 years here, aside from a power line to our house down once (it happened overnight so we don't know exactly how long) the worst we've had has been around 6 hours (once) and 3 or 4 hours a couple of times.
We seem to be between two grids where we are, with the other kicking in if one goes, so we're lucky. We have a woodstove for heat if needed and there's a plate on it to heat a kettle. Touch wood, never needed.
We've been here for 4 years and it's never been needed. It was installed by the previous owner. Most we've had is minor glitches of under a second. We are prone to hurricanes though and there have been times before we moved here when power was out for several days.
Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
It's common for a lot of people but fortunately not us. Our biggest problem is someone being 'trapped' in the power recliner when it goes off
Got the T-shirt. Was doing some electrical work and turned off the breaker without realizing my wife was in the recliner.
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 6:02 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by chawkins99 View Post
Yep. That simple. That one ought to keep your router going for several hours. They stay plugged in and so are always fully charged.
So with half a dozen sockets for plugs it's likely one piece of equipment for a few hours total or several for a bit each. One would be the router and I suppose you might have a desktop, monitor and maybe speakers and scanner/printer. But they'd not need protection like the desktop. And with so many people using a laptop - likely in a different part of the house too - and an all-in-one only needing one plug, the chances are many people would only use one or two sockets. I wonder if a TV would work and how long it would keep going plugged in with the router. Ours is fibre TV as well as internet.

We've been here for 4 years and it's never been needed. It was installed by the previous owner. Most we've had is minor glitches of under a second. We are prone to hurricanes though and there have been times before we moved here when power was out for several days.
We get the tailends of hurricanes and branches can bring down lines but obviously it's the winter with freezing rain (which isn't hail ) and ice storms bringing down the lines and, in some cases, power pylons.

Got the T-shirt. Was doing some electrical work and turned off the breaker without realizing my wife was in the recliner.

Was the doghouse heated?
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 6:38 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
So with half a dozen sockets for plugs it's likely one piece of equipment for a few hours total or several for a bit each. One would be the router and I suppose you might have a desktop, monitor and maybe speakers and scanner/printer. But they'd not need protection like the desktop. And with so many people using a laptop - likely in a different part of the house too - and an all-in-one only needing one plug, the chances are many people would only use one or two sockets. I wonder if a TV would work and how long it would keep going plugged in with the router. Ours is fibre TV as well as internet.
I would expect it to run a basic wireless router for 5-6 hours but put a desktop plus monitor on it you'd be lucky to get 30 minutes. All depends on the load. Go bigger to get more runtime. https://www.staples.ca/en/APC-Back-U...6_1-CA_1_20001 would give you twice the runtime.
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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
So with half a dozen sockets for plugs it's likely one piece of equipment for a few hours total or several for a bit each. One would be the router and I suppose you might have a desktop, monitor and maybe speakers and scanner/printer. But they'd not need protection like the desktop. And with so many people using a laptop - likely in a different part of the house too - and an all-in-one only needing one plug, the chances are many people would only use one or two sockets. I wonder if a TV would work and how long it would keep going plugged in with the router. Ours is fibre TV as well as internet.
UPS are really only meant for keeping your system running long enough for a backup to kick in or for you to safely shut down your systems. If you only plug a router in to one you might get a few hours but as soon as you plug a computer in you're more likely to look at minutes. I just checked a couple of the CyberPower 1000VAs on some of the desktops in the office and they report 100 minutes run time with a sleeping PC and monitor which drops to 55 minutes when you wake them up. The one you linked has a runtime of 6 minutes to 2.3 hours so assuming the 2.3 hours is with no load at all I'd be surprised if you'd get more than 10-20 minutes out of a computer.

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Old Oct 2nd 2018, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by chawkins99 View Post
I would expect it to run a basic wireless router for 5-6 hours but put a desktop plus monitor on it you'd be lucky to get 30 minutes....
Obviously I didn't explain what I was getting at very well.

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
UPS are really only meant for keeping your system running long enough for a backup to kick in or for you to safely shut down your systems. If you only plug a router in to one you might get a few hours but as soon as you plug a computer in you're more likely to look at minutes.
Yes, that's what I was trying to say. I was more wondering about the number of plug points in the device. With lots of things plugged in, things that you wouldn't necessarily need running, they'd drain the power, giving you less time to finish what you were doing and save etc before shutting down. So why make them with so many plug points? You'd have to rush over to it, removing unnecessary plugs to keep the router going

Currently we have one of the house laptops and a small fridge plugged into the same power bar as the router, so getting one of these back up things, I'd obviously have the fridge plugged into something else and probably the laptop too which would still run on its battery if in use at the time. If I could keep the router going, then laptops on battery power would still be good for surfing, emails etc and the "need" for passing the time watching a previously downloaded movie would be much less.

Thanks for the input
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Old Oct 4th 2018, 2:10 am
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Just ran an experiment. My old Gateway laptop from 2012 - replaced last year but still runs very well and even better with an SSD - was the one I usually got four hours unplugged just surfing/emailing etc

I unplugged it tonight and played a movie from a thumbdrive. It was Groundhog Day.

At the end - after 1hr and 40 mins, naturally I started it again. See what I did there?

Anyway, it ran for another 40 mins then the laptop shut off with 6% left.

So nothing else open, it played back 2hrs 20 mins. That would take care of most movies.
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Old Oct 4th 2018, 10:48 am
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

The secret is to use several UPS units.
A UPS is actually only designed to allow a 'gentle shutdown' of your equipment or to bridge any temporary power loss, dips, surges or even a lightning strike.

All UPS units have different capacity ratings.. the bigger ones can keep a computer and monitor running for quite a while.

I would advise to us a UPS anyway, because it prolongs the life of any computer simply by keeping the power 'clean'.

Use a decent one for the PC/Laptop and monitor, and a second one for the router.

Even though local power may be down, having power to your router doesn't guarantee an internet connection, (local junction box or exchange may also be affected).

Best backup for these situations is using a WiFi hotspot by tethering your phone and using LTE/3G/4G connections.
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Old Oct 4th 2018, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by calman014 View Post
The secret is to use several UPS units.
Wouldn't that cost more than a computer?
A UPS is actually only designed to allow a 'gentle shutdown' of your equipment or to bridge any temporary power loss, dips, surges or even a lightning strike.
Although we have an all-in-one, it's barely used. Mostly turned on to do updates. It was a refurb bought for a use that's no longer relevant. The laptops still have power so no sudden shutdown problems.
All UPS units have different capacity ratings.. the bigger ones can keep a computer and monitor running for quite a while.
If last night's experiment is anything to go by, we have 10 hours or so worth of battery power between us if watching a movie (or the younger ones light gaming), 20 hours if not.
Even though local power may be down, having power to your router doesn't guarantee an internet connection, (local junction box or exchange may also be affected).
The phones still work - Landline - so I'd expect the router to be okay with back up, but now you mention it you've got me wondering. I'm aware of a box (two actually) down in the basement with lots of lights and that's plugged in. Is that what you mean and that one UPS would be needed for that and one for the router? I see something to suggest there's a battery in the unit so maybe that's already safeguarded for a period already?

Best backup for these situations is using a WiFi hotspot by tethering your phone and using LTE/3G/4G connections.
Haven't a clue what that is but if it's related to cell phone/smartphone, we don't have any, just the landline.

Thanks, as ever.
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Old Oct 5th 2018, 10:42 am
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

[QUOTE=BristolUK;12572751]Wouldn't that cost more than a computer?

>> No, they are about 70 - 90 Euro or Dollars for basic ones.

The phones still work - Landline - so I'd expect the router to be okay with back up, but now you mention it you've got me wondering. I'm aware of a box (two actually) down in the basement with lots of lights and that's plugged in. Is that what you mean and that one UPS would be needed for that and one for the router? I see something to suggest there's a battery in the unit so maybe that's already safeguarded for a period already?

>> That "BOX" would need a UPS of its own yes..it's unlikely to have a battery..maybe you'd like to give a description (brand/type etc..)
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Old Oct 5th 2018, 12:01 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

[QUOTE=calman014;12573268]
Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Wouldn't that cost more than a computer?

>> No, they are about 70 - 90 Euro or Dollars for basic ones.

The phones still work - Landline - so I'd expect the router to be okay with back up, but now you mention it you've got me wondering. I'm aware of a box (two actually) down in the basement with lots of lights and that's plugged in. Is that what you mean and that one UPS would be needed for that and one for the router? I see something to suggest there's a battery in the unit so maybe that's already safeguarded for a period already?

>> That "BOX" would need a UPS of its own yes..it's unlikely to have a battery..maybe you'd like to give a description (brand/type etc..)
At my previous home, I had AT&T U-verse. In addition to the router, there was a separate power supply box which had space for a backup battery although it wasn't installed as we didn't have phone service. The router had connections for a phone. I figured if we had phone service, they would have provided the battery to keep the phone up during a power outage.
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Old Oct 5th 2018, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Laptop use in power outage

Originally Posted by calman014
The secret is to use several UPS units.
Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Wouldn't that cost more than a computer?
Originally Posted by calman014
>> No, they are about 70 - 90 Euro or Dollars for basic ones.
I meant the cost of several. The one referred to here - about the cheapest I saw - is $70CAD. Depends how many is several. 6 would be $420CAD and for the needs of everyone in this house that would more than adequately cover the cost of a replacement laptop. We're not high end users - no video editing, no design/tech stuff here, no great storage to worry about losing. Every week there's a laptop available for a little under $400 that would be better than all but one of ours. Mine.




The phones still work - Landline - so I'd expect the router to be okay with back up, but now you mention it you've got me wondering. I'm aware of a box (two actually) down in the basement with lots of lights and that's plugged in. Is that what you mean and that one UPS would be needed for that and one for the router? I see something to suggest there's a battery in the unit so maybe that's already safeguarded for a period already?
>> That "BOX" would need a UPS of its own yes..it's unlikely to have a battery..maybe you'd like to give a description (brand/type etc..)
I can't see any names on them. One is modern looking, sleek, wires and lights and the other less modern looking. System status/battery displays, alarm button, cold start button...plugged into power bar (shared with a freezer) and a "do not unplug" label on the plug.

The power going off would be the equivalent of being unplugged but everything works when it comes back on.
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