Our Net Work columnist tries some compact uninterruptible power supplies designed for routers, modems or small electronics during a power outage. How the UK would manage power shortages using a system of ‘regional blocks’ is also described. As usual, you’ll find more details in this month’s magazine column.
This month’s magazine column introduces a compact uninterruptible power supply designed in the form of a plug-in mains adaptor. I’ve been testing the iPower-H from UK specialist Power Inspired Ltd, which is a plug-in 12V mains adaptor with a difference: it also contains a 3350mAh Li-Ion battery which can provide an uninterruptible 12V d.c. supply at one amp (or 25W peak) for up to an hour or so. This battery back-up adaptor can protect ITE equipment or security devices, CCTV etc. – anything needing 12V d.c. at up to 1A or 2.1A peak. It’s slim enough to fit onto a crowded multi-way power strip, and it has a multi-state LED to display status. Pressing a small pushbutton for a few seconds will toggle the d.c. power on and off.
< The iPower-H from Power Inspired Ltd. is a 12V uninterruptible power supply offering up to one hour of UPS protection through its built-in battery. Available in UK or Euro mains adaptor styles.
This UPS adaptor can be used with 90-264V AC mains at 50/60Hz and comes pre-fitted with either a UK or 2-pin Euro mains plug. It has a lengthy (2m.) d.c. lead terminated in a 5.5 x 2.5/ 2.1mm DC plug of the sprung, bifurcated variety that I described back in the October issue. It will therefore fit most 12V equipment and it powered up my router without any issue, charging up within an hour or so.
To drive multiple devices from the same power source, I showed how adaptors and d.c. splitter cables (up to 9-way!) are readily available on the usual Internet sites, including my suggested supplier, Kenable Ltd. (https://www.kenable.co.uk) who offer a very keenly-priced range of d.c. and CCTV leads. Kenable will also be found on eBay.
If you know the load’s power consumption, try using the ‘Runtime’ graph on the maker’s online data sheet, see https://www.powerinspired.com/product-range/ipower-dc-ups/ipower-h/
^ The iPower-DC2 is a powerbank-style compact UPS with five parallel 9, 12 or 24V d.c. outputs and a 5V USB socket. A regulated supply must be used with a voltage that matches the UPS output voltage.
My network also utilises an Ethernet switch and a Wi-Fi mesh hub, both of which use 9V mains adaptors. Power Inspired offers an unusual uninterruptible power supply in the shape of a powerbank-style unit that can provide 9, 12 or 24V d.c. during power interruptions (shown in use above). Their iPower-DC2 is a compact 30W UPS with 10,000mAh internal battery and apart from a 5V, 10W USB power port there are no less than five d.c. jacks wired in parallel, their output voltage being pre-set by a single slide switch when the unit is offline. A row of LEDs indicates battery capacity and a tri-colour LED denotes the set voltage.
^ Unusual male-male d.c. leads are needed to connect loads to the UPS. A very short pair is included in the kit, others are available online.
The unique compact design of this uninterruptible power supply may well appeal to users looking to add extra protection to their home network, especially if power cuts are a nuisance. These versatile uninterruptible power supplies can be bought online direct from the manufacturers, and there’s more data at https://www.powerinspired.com/product-range/ipower-dc-ups/ipower-dc2/
Update 24/11/23 REVISED E-COMMERCE URL
This month I cover the electricity industry’s use of ‘power blocks’ or ‘Rota Load Blocks’ which organise electricity distribution into blocks denoted by a letter (often seen on your electricity bill).
< The 105 website for UK users shows your electricity Rota Load Block letter – to launch the map, search for a dummy postcode first. Neighbouring blocks can also be selected.
It might be useful to know how power blocks are mapped out in your locality, which can be done by entering your postcode into https://www.powercut105.com/en/ (remembering ‘105’ in the UK is the phone number to report power cuts or obtain updates). However, I found that by entering a nonsense postcode, the 105 web page offered a link to a more useful interactive map instead. Use it to search the correct postcode and one’s location can be highlighted along with its Rota Load Block letter. This works best on a desktop PC, as you can zoom or click around to show neighbouring blocks. I found my own village is bisected by two blocks, hence one half can sometimes have a blackout while the other half is unaffected.
Rota Load Blocks are instrumental in managing power during civil emergencies or supply shortages, something we have fortunately not seen in Britain since the 1970s. How the UK Government would manage our electricity supplies at critical times is explained in the rather dystopian Electricity Supply Emergency Code (ESEC) at https://tinyurl.com/yrxxxsne (PDF). Just to cheer us all up, the Code’s Annexes show the Block Disconnection Plan and Rotas of 3-hour power cuts that we hope will never be needed, especially the worst Level 18 Disconnection Plan (a total nationwide blackout). The National Grid has an outline at https://www.nationalgrid.co.uk/rota-load-disconnections.
Chinese car manufacturer Chery has come out top in the 2023 JD Power ‘China Initial Quality Study’. British readers may not have heard of Chery, but they soon will, as it’s reported they will arrive in the UK this year marketing a new ‘Omoda’ brand. Chery are also building four more factories in Asia and Argentina to build petrol, hybrid and electric SUVs. You can take a sneak peek at the forthcoming Omoda 5 SUV at https://www.cheryinternational.com/omoda.html
If you’re thinking of investing in any of Google’s smart devices or Nest security hardware, a post on Android Authority might make you think twice. It summarises neatly many of Google’s false dawns, failures and withdrawn products, and can be read at https://www.androidauthority.com/googles-smart-home-strategy-disastrous-3329320/.
That’s all for this for this month. You’ll find fuller details of the above (and lots more besides) in this month’s five-page special Net Work column in Practical Electronics magazine.