Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Automatic Voltage Elevator

I finally got this product and had it installed by a licensed electrician. These are made locally and the guy that sold it to me already made and sold 400 of these this year with prices ranging from 300 to 400 US dollars each.  Talk about a good, post SHTF business niche when power problems become common! ;- )
I had helped out this guy before and when I called for the favor, he was installing it the following day at exactly 8AM. The electric installation is of course simple, just install it after the breaker, but he also got the L shapes and installed it properly in the wall in a few minutes, checked the W to make sure everything was ok.
So now whenever voltage drops from 220V to 170V all of a sudden, all I hear is a click and the W elevator does its thing automatically. This happens during hot days when people use  a lot of power and the grid just cant stand it. With the voltage elevator installed, everything works ok including AC and the power hungry microwave. Ah! The joy of AC! Its bad enough that I pay more for power in Argentina than a house twice its size pays in Texas, but you also pay for something that is of such poor quality its of no use to you. Something similar happens with water, tap water that you pay for but you shouldn’t drink it unfiltered. (well, not if you want to stay healthy anyway... :-)   )

This is the device. 9Kva (40 Amps)  and gives me 220V with incoming power as low as 155V
I spent a couple hours this morning without power, but at least now when I have power I have it for real and can use all my appliances. Besides, voltage this low will ruin electronics pretty fast. Its also a fire hazard because the electric wiring heats up. I noticed this on the AC cable as I unplugged it before installing the voltage elevator, it felt very hot to touch, but not any more.
Notice that and automatic voltage elevator and an automatic voltage regulator are not the same thing. A voltage regulator may or may not work well with permanent low voltage. Same thing with UPS, some do this but not all of them are designed to work with permanent low voltage, so make sure you’re getting one that is capable of doing so if that’s a long term problem for you. Of course, a big UPS also gives you power if power goes down completely. For recurrent, short period blackouts combined with dirty power issues, it’s the perfect solution, in some cases better than a generator.
Still considering getting a generator though in case power goes down for longer periods of time. Something like this can power an average size house. 
Honeywell HW7500E 9375 Watt 15 HP 420cc OHV Portable Gas Powered Home Generator With Electric Start 



John Peterson said...

I remember when Hurricane Rita ripped through Houston. Folks had all sorts of generators, but most were real gas hogs and they were extremely loud. The real problem was that there was no gas. I live in Dallas, but my Dad in Houston was telling me about folks going on gas runs and being gone for hours. So if you're going to get a generator you need to have fuel, and plan on there being no fuel at the gas station.


B said...

You might think of diesel rather than gas as a fuel source before deciding on a generator.....Diesel stores for a MUCH longer time (not so with gasoline), the engines (water cooled ones anyway) last a LOT longer than their gas counterparts, and they generally can be easily muffled with less consequences to engine power or lifeitme. For the same volume of fuel, you can expect approximately 35% more run time (at the same load) as gasoline. Plus, in a pinch, you can supplement your fuels with additions of either motor oil or vegetable oil to stretch your fuel supplies farther.

I do not know how available diesel/fuel oil is in your area, but it is something to consider.

Anonymous said...

Gasoline generators eat up a LOT of fuel. My dad had a gasoline gennie and when the power went out for three days he had to fill the tank every 4 hours or so. You said that gasoline is hard to find in BsAs, so a gasoline gennie wouldn't be a good choice. Propane is common in the USA, and we now have a propane generator. It's better than filling that tank every few hours!

Anonymous said...

The advantage of propane/LPG in Europe is that its half the price of Gasoline in service stations (for domestic its half the price again).

It also can be stored for a long time, be stored in bulk and power your heating, provide electricity, do the cooking, feed the car and drive refrigeration directly (boat/motorhome specific fridges/ freezers). Modern Domestic hotwater/central heating systems have a conversion kit to switch between LPG or normal piped gas. So there is a wide choice at the same price as normal boilers.

Having tanker delivering 10 tonnes of LPG would not attract much, but attention but getting gasoline would be impossible in a domestic environment.

Diesel/heating oil has some of the advantages of LPG/LNG, but not all.

Bill in NC said...

Houses in the U.S. with gas service usually pick natural gas or propane-powered generators.

If you must use gasoline get a Honda inverter generator (EU series) - they can throttle down their engine for significant fuel savings.

Wabano said...

Just had to pay a pretty penny to overhaul the carburetor of my identical generator as the fuel had gelled...but here, I only had to use it twice in three years...

That's the number of times power failed here...but it paid for the genny as I have three freezers full of venison!

Another nice thing I have is a 1000watts power inverter....coupled with a car battery, it will save my computer
during big summer electrical storms. Also, I take these two on camping trips with another small 900 watts genny...with the battery, they will easily pick up 1500 watts surge in starting appliances and power a lot of things while being portable!

And remember, in North America, 220 volts in a house is only used
for the cloth dryer and the electrical stove-oven. Everything else is using ONLY 115 volts.
ALL wall electrical plugs are 115 volts...

Anonymous said...

You said “I finally got this product”. What is this product called? I am looking for a similar product. Can you please suggest? I have voltage of around 190V, 200V, 210V in three phases respectively from 5 pm to 8 pm. Rest of the time they are 220V, 230V, 235V. My elevator/lift malfunctions during 5 pm to 8 pm. I want to get rid of this problem. Will the product you are specifying help?

FerFAL said...

Yes it will, that’s the purpose of it. It will elevate the voltage from 190V, even 170V to 220V. The product is called “voltage elevator” (elevador de voltaje) and the one I bought was custom made by a local manufacturer. You should find it with little problem under that name in any big electric store.