Backup power - Idea, thoughts, solutions?

#1
Trying to figure out how to protect my tank from power outages during the winter.

Goals:
What does it take to survive 24 hours, 48 hours, 3 days or longer in winter?

For 3 days or longer, I think one needs a gasoline generator. But for the other 2, can batteries work?

Spess:
Run minimum power heads to circulate tank, maybe two powerheads for about 20 watts (DC powerheads)
Run return pump = DC vortec (maybe 25 watts, not sure) (could probably just move heaters to display and cut out the sump)
Heaters = 250 watts for 75 gallon tank (maybe something smaller to survive) - I think the heater is the primary power hog)
Lights = can leave lights off for a couple days. If you remove 4 of 6 bulbs, that may get one by? Or LED on low

Big battery with power options, but not sure how to calculate how long it will last? How big a battery would one need to last 1 or 2 days?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NDLK4S...edc67ff6c6c38790b0a9659374a2a2&language=en_US

Cheap generators cost $200, so does it make sense to just get a generator instead?
Is there a cheap option that just uses battery packs and/or my ridgid batteries? Maybe only lasts the night.

If a simple marine battery works, how big and what parts do I need? Not sure about inverters and such. Do you use the dc function or just plug a power strip into it? Can I somehow use my Ridgid or Ryobi batteries? I do not understand electricity well...but can follow directions.

I tried Youtube, but I think this group is much smarter and more resourceful.
 

Sparky88

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#2
Generators are so cheap id go with that. Batties are nice but a generator works camping and to save food in fridge to. Both are similiar prices and one only works on reef other works in lots of situations and needs
 
#9
the honda is $1000, not trying to be cheap but is this overkill for a frig and tank? Or is this one of those things to just buy the bigger one, shut up, be happy, and power everything you need...
 

Sparky88

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#11
Honda is the best but the ryobi is made by solid tool company. They work well just not the bulletproof as a Honda. Reliability is big priority when it comes to back up. Whats the point if it doesnt start after sitting for a year. Also if your good about shutting all the breakers off a 3000 will run tank maybe tough with the fridge motor
 
#13
The refrig is a Viking, so probably uses an insane amount of power for no added benefit. So even something this small can be wired to the whole house? I understand it won't power everything...but I didn't think it worked that way. I recall something about connecting it to the box, needing to disconnect the power from the street, and turning off all extra breakers, and starting it up. I assume there is more too it,,,but that is a start.
 

Greg Hiller

BRS Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BRS Member
#14
Circulation is the key, low dissolved oxygen kills fish quickly (I know this from experience :(). Also auto-on is super important as power loss often happens at night (tree with snow takes out some power lines) and you can sleep though it to wake up to dead fish. While I have a generator I've never used it (knock on wood) in 20 years I've had tanks running. The short duration power outages are much more common and can be problematic. I wrote up an article on this many years ago, it's still available:

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-05/gh/index.php

I still use the same system. I have to replace the batteries about once every 4 years or so, and add water to them once every 6 months.
 

this is me

I like turtles
BRS Member
#17
The refrig is a Viking, so probably uses an insane amount of power for no added benefit. So even something this small can be wired to the whole house? I understand it won't power everything...but I didn't think it worked that way. I recall something about connecting it to the box, needing to disconnect the power from the street, and turning off all extra breakers, and starting it up. I assume there is more too it,,,but that is a start.
The EU2000 is not something I would want to wire to the house. It's only a 15Amps...
Yes, it's expensive when you look at the specs comparing to other generators. But it's an inverter and likely not cause any damage to your electronics. Most people cause more $$ damage running a generator than the cost of the generator.

I have the EU6000i which I use to power the whole house. Even that, it's not able to handle the AC compressor. What's important to me is heating in the Winter time. And since I'm on natural gas, I only need a small(er) generator to start the ignitor and the blower.

You have to think what you want to power, at a minimum, during power outage and select the right size.
https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/wattage-calculator
 

Joe Rice

BRS Webmaster
Staff member
Moderator
BRS Member
Officer
#18
I have this battery backup on my system: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0779LDRWZ/

It runs my power heads, return pump, dosing pumps and Apex for about 50 minutes. I have it mainly because I've had return pumps in the past that have been iffy about restarting after losing power and most outages seem to be pretty short.

A Tesla Powerwall 2 ($5900 not including installation) will run a 250w heater for 54 hours. Point being, that there's no economical way to really run an aquarium off battery backup for very long.

I would highly recommend a battery powered air pump though. I have this:

https://www.amazon.com/Penn-Plax-Operated-Aquarium-Automatic/dp/B004PBIKHU

It'll provide some aeration and water movement for days (according to the vendor) and it's quite affordable. I've even thought of making a custom battery pack for it with 12 batteries instead of just the 2 that fit inside it.
 

mchartier

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#20
I run a UPS on my system for my powerheads as my generator is not automatic, this way I keep circulation going for a long time if I am away before I can fire up the generator. I also have a battery operated air pump that kicks on when the UPS runs out of battery life (hasn't yet). I believe its the same model PennPlax that Joe linked above, only issue is you need to test the batteries to make sure they are still good before its too late.
 

Upcoming Events

Sunday September 22, 2019
Fragtastic Show
12 to 4 pm
Leominster Eagles
456 Litchfield Street
Leominster, MA

Sponsors

Mofo Corals
Acro Garden
Frag Freaks
Frank's Frags

Top