Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Topics on Radio (CB, GMRS, Ham, etc), GPS, Smoke Signals, or whatever else you can use to talk to other people who are not within yelling distance.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

Delsaw
*
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:14 am

Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Delsaw » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:31 am

Folks,

Need/Want:
I'm looking for a small backup power source to run our modem/router when the power goes down. Like to to power the modem/wifi for a couple hours so I don't loose connection while I'm working (work from home), watch Netflix, or get the latest news about the ongoing ZPAW event.

Background:
We live in a new subdivision, so all the power lines are buried. We've been here 6 months and so far the power only went out for a few hours once. Most likely one of the builders cut a line or something. Also, the power lines are buried, so there inst a huge risk from storms.

While the long term goal is to look at backup power to run the house (the essential bits), I'm trying to figure out a short term solution. Essentially I'm looking for a small backup battery than fits in a cabinet along with the junk associated with DVD players, TV cords, modem, etc.

Solution:

So far I found one thing on amazon that look like it might work. Looks like large power strip, but also contain a battery. Let me know your thoughts on these or if y'all have a better idea. Looking to keep this below $100.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00095W91Y/re ... N1UK&psc=1

Thanks as always,
Delsaw

User avatar
teotwaki
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 4337
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by teotwaki » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:30 am

If you lose power to your house do you know if your connection to the Internet provider will be backed up? Also ask them how long it will stay up.

Usually backup power systems are rated in Amp-Hours or Watt-Hours so that you can estimate how long you can use your particular appliance.

How many watts does your router use?

These sorts of devices are handy for estimating power usage:

Image

http://www.harborfreight.com/kill-a-wat ... 93519.html

http://www.homedepot.com/p/P3-Internati ... lsrc=aw.ds
My adventures and pictures are on my blog http://suntothenorth.blogspot.com

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16875
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by raptor » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:52 am

I use a 500 va battery backup for my router,modem and ethernet boxes. During a recent power outage they worked well for about an hour. If you want more time go with a bigger unit.

The only drawback was that the power outage alarm was beeping and it was annoying. Most of the newer ones will let you silence the alarm which BTW should extend the battery life.

BTW 500 VA is about 300 to 400 watts of power. My gear based upon the UL labels on the back of the boxes burn collectively about 1.5 amps so 1.5 x 120 volts = 180 watts. I assume the power to UPS shuts off at about 1/2 of the listed VA so in my case an hour is about all I can expect. (150 to 200 watts).

A link to a VA conversion site.
http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electri ... ulator.htm

Delsaw
*
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:14 am

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Delsaw » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:21 pm

Raptor and teotwaki thanks for the info. Will see about how much power my stuff draws.

Also my spidey senses must have kicked in when i wrote this. We just lost power not 2 minutes ago. Ill take that as a sign.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 13623
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Time Out

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Stercutus » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 pm

That unit you posted seemed decently priced and more than capable of running a router and cable modem for a couple of hours. If you try a desk top and large monitor with it the time will shorten dramatically.

ETA- I should mention that if you run a non-commercial grade gennie for backup power you will need to get two units to ensure the unit stays on. The power fluctuation from the gennie will likely kick the UPS unit off. If you plug one UPS into another that should fix the problem.
You go 'round and around it
You go over and under
I go through

B&Q
*
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:23 pm

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by B&Q » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:10 am

If it's just for a couple of hours of connectivity, could you not use a laptop (which you keep always charged) and a mobile 'phone (similarly charged) as a mobile wi-fi hotspot?

User avatar
emclean
* * * * *
Posts: 1603
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:31 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Fido
Zombieland
Location: NW Indiana

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by emclean » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:51 am

make sure that you can change the batteries in the UPS you get, a "hot swappable" UPS is nice, and are often easy to do.

I prefer APC UPS's (granted I am not paying for them out of pocket)

Delsaw
*
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:14 am

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Delsaw » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:09 am

emclean, thanks for the info on APC UPS. I'll take a look at those.

B&Q, agreed on using the phone and laptop. That's what I did yesterday. However, I wanted something that I wouldn't have to turn on if I was in the middle of a conference call (which happened yesterday). Also, wanted to try and limit the data usage on my work phone, etc. But in a pinch, the hotspot and laptop work like a charm.

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16875
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by raptor » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:16 am

The fact that many people now use VOIP for telecomms is a very good reason to have a battery backup for your modem/router/ethernet and phone box. Even a small one can be useful in such a case.

A single momentary power hick up can knock your phone out for the several minutes it frequently takes to restore internet connectivity.

There is nothing like being on a conference call with a VIP customer and having the phone go dead due to such a hick up. It makes you look very unprofessional and unprepared.

User avatar
The Twizzler
* * * *
Posts: 994
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:47 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Dawn of the Dead
Return of the Living Dead
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by The Twizzler » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:21 pm

I use the slightly smaller 450 Cyberpower. It's 450 volts and 260 watts. I have had good luck with it although all I use it to power is a light and a fan when the power goes off. It runs a 60 watt light for about an hour. It will run my tv and computer for about 2 minutes. Which is just enough time to save and shut down.They run about 45.00. If you need more power and longer term power look to APC units. They are expensive though.
Image


Delsaw wrote:Folks,

Need/Want:
I'm looking for a small backup power source to run our modem/router when the power goes down. Like to to power the modem/wifi for a couple hours so I don't loose connection while I'm working (work from home), watch Netflix, or get the latest news about the ongoing ZPAW event.

Background:
We live in a new subdivision, so all the power lines are buried. We've been here 6 months and so far the power only went out for a few hours once. Most likely one of the builders cut a line or something. Also, the power lines are buried, so there inst a huge risk from storms.

While the long term goal is to look at backup power to run the house (the essential bits), I'm trying to figure out a short term solution. Essentially I'm looking for a small backup battery than fits in a cabinet along with the junk associated with DVD players, TV cords, modem, etc.

Solution:

So far I found one thing on amazon that look like it might work. Looks like large power strip, but also contain a battery. Let me know your thoughts on these or if y'all have a better idea. Looking to keep this below $100.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00095W91Y/re ... N1UK&psc=1

Thanks as always,
Delsaw
"Oh Bother!" said Pooh, as he drew his dagger...

User avatar
eugene
* * * * *
Posts: 2214
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:27 pm

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by eugene » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:08 pm

teotwaki wrote:If you lose power to your house do you know if your connection to the Internet provider will be backed up? Also ask them how long it will stay up.
The other end has a UPS, they don't want to take the customer complaints if their end looses power for 15 minutes and people can't get to their facebook.

I've sat on my laptop running on battery using my wife/router running from my 600va UPS and signed into the power companies web site to report my power out more than once.
2004 Silverado ECSB Z71 5.3L
2009 Giant Cypress DX, 1996 Specialized Rockhopper
Smith and Wesson M&P9c, M&P22
Map of our travels. Our EveryTrail page
My Garmin Connect Profile

User avatar
NT2C
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 8032
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:37 pm
Location: Outside of your jurisdiction officer

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by NT2C » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:41 pm

eugene wrote:
teotwaki wrote:If you lose power to your house do you know if your connection to the Internet provider will be backed up? Also ask them how long it will stay up.
The other end has a UPS, they don't want to take the customer complaints if their end looses power for 15 minutes and people can't get to their facebook.

I've sat on my laptop running on battery using my wife/router running from my 600va UPS and signed into the power companies web site to report my power out more than once.
It's not a case of having power at "the other end", it's a case of having power for all the infrastructure in between. Signals need to be split, amplified, routed, boosted some more, split a few times more and amplified again, to get from there to you. Ever drive along a country road at night and notice a small light about halfway up a power pole? It's mounted on a box about the size of a big cooler, attached to the pole at the same level as the cable and telephone lines are running. Inside there's batteries, a charger and an amplifier. This is what boosts the signal as it travels along the lines, and makes up for the line losses incurred due to impedance and resistance. The light lets the line crews know the status of the batteries. The batteries are there to keep the amp working if there's a power outage, but they only have a limited amount of power. How much depends on your cable company and how important that particular line is. At the low end, about 12 hours worth. At the upper end, 72 hours or more, maybe even a generator.

Teotwaki is making a good point here. Yes, you'll probably have cable and internet in the short term (unless poles or lines are down obviously), but don't count on it for more than half a day without verifying with your provider what their system is capable of. (And then it'd probably be wise to halve whatever figure they give you, because backup capability never seems to last as long as it's expected to.)

solarguy
*
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:38 pm

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by solarguy » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:29 am

A few handy generalities:

volts x amps = watts


watts x hours = watthours


watthours/1000 = kilowatthours

voltamps > watts by a good bit, usually mostly, depending on power factor, which we can largely ignore for this conversation. Or, stated differently, the voltamp rating is usually a bit optimistic compared to what you actually get in real life.

these four relationships solve most communication problems when trying to compare two products, or product versus need.

just as an example (not picking on you, it happens easily) "It's 450 volts and 260 watts."

It absolutely is NOT 450 volts. It's 450 voltamps. it's like confusing miles per hour versus miles.


If you want a big jump in capacity for a small jump in money, hook an inverter or ups to a deep cycle marine battery or 12 volts of golf cart batteries.

User avatar
teotwaki
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 4337
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:58 pm
Contact:

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:39 am

The FiOS service has a small battery backup unit in the subscribers home. The box has a small sealed lead acid battery that might last 6 - 8 hours to keep alive the customers end of the service.
My adventures and pictures are on my blog http://suntothenorth.blogspot.com

User avatar
KJ4ZDD
ZS Lifetime Member
ZS Lifetime Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 2:41 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by KJ4ZDD » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:27 am

This is a long post, but another thing to take note of is the nature of batteries and how they supply power. Most battery backup solutions still use Lead Acid batteries (it's generally the cheapest). While effective and usually close to their given ratings when new, they still must adhere to Peukert's Law, which generally states that as the rate of discharge increases, the overall available capacity decreases. It also helps to ignore the advertising on the box and look at the internal battery directly. Most often what I find inside a UPS is a 12v7AH gel cell battery, which ideally has 12x7=84 watthours, if you discharge it slowly over a 20 hour period. By discharging faster than that, you will get less capacity. In this particular case, that would mean only drawing 4.2 watts for 20 hours to get the full rated capacity.

I suspect most ratings UPS vendors give is actually their inverter's capability to deliver power, until the battery runs out, and finding published runtimes for your UPS can be difficult if not down right misleading. Speaking of inverters, since it is converting power from 12v to 120v, there is usually an efficiency loss of about 10%. Take a 60w bulb, for example: plugged into the wall, uses 60 watts, but plugged into an inverter pulling from a battery may require 66 watts.

All of these ineffeciencies combined, means that if you get a whole hour from your UPS while running a light bulb, everything is working exactly as it should. And, if you know what you are doing and string several 12v batteries in parallel to your UPS, you will get vastly longer runtimes, not only for the obvious increase in capacity, but also the distributed strain on all batteries in your system, lessening the effect of Peukert's Law.

For the original request of a battery backup on a budget, I suggest searching for used UPS devices (on ebay or flea markets / hamfests), sold without working batteries for ~$20, and ordering new replacements off ebay. For example, right now there's an eBay listing for an "APC 1000 XL" SmartUPS-1400 for $56.35, and most of that is shipping. It uses 2x 12V12AH batteries, which you can get for about $45 and should last at least 5 years. This particular UPS also has a pure sine wave output, which is a very nice touch. Also, the 2x 12v12ah batteries give a combined 288 watthours to play with.
KJ4ZDD of ZSC-016 -.- .--- ....- --.. -.. -..
Image
General Class / Fleet#ZS-0511

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16875
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by raptor » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:57 am

This is a link to the "Alternate Energy Index" stickied in the CP&P forum. It has many good threads dealing with battery power, inverters and related topics.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=79742

User avatar
Neville
* * * *
Posts: 820
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:48 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Neville » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:41 pm

Having an alternate power source (battery backup) for your computer, good.

Having UPS for your router, better - allows you to still access peripherals such as printer, media center etc, assuming those devices also have power.

Now, for getting "off property" you have to consider your DSL modem. In our case, Consolidated Communications (formerly Surewest) has a fiber optic network that runs right to a box on the side of the house. That box has to translate fiber optic signal to ethernet. I would need to make sure that box had power. Then all the various routing boxes between my house and the ISP (if any) would need to have power. Finally the ISP itself would have to have power (one can safely assume they have at least SOME capability in this regard. Then, the backbone they connect to would have to have power - again, probably some capability here, no way to know how much. All this in order for you to use "the internet". We take for granted that it is always there, because it has become so ubiquitous and so reliable. There are so many interdependent pieces... only one link of that chain needs to drop out for you to become isolated from the rest of the net.

If you have a 4G smart phone, many of them have the ability to act as a wireless hot spot. This is fine for sending email, or looking something up on Wikipedia. If you use it for watching Netflix, the data usage quickly adds up. I had to resort to this recently while off-grid camping in a location where I still got good cell reception. The data plan added up pretty quickly. I have a plan now to deploy a wireless repeater between where I will be using the connection, and where the wifi is provided. (yes, I am authorized to use the network, this is not pirating, just logistics - getting what you need to where you need it). The repeater and a directional antenna will live inside a box or crate of some kind. There will be a 12v battery of the kind used for emergency lighting or computer UPS. Then either a solar cell or plug-in ac adapter to keep the battery charged. If I do this project, I will post plans/photos. Should be able to get this done for about$200 which, if I use it two years, will end up paying for itself in terms of how much data plan I would use. Easily well worth it.

User avatar
NT2C
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 8032
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:37 pm
Location: Outside of your jurisdiction officer

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by NT2C » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:53 pm

Neville wrote:I had to resort to this recently while off-grid camping in a location where I still got good cell reception.
Is it really "off-grid" if you've got 4G and you're watching Netflix? Hell, I'm not even sure I'd classify that as camping.

User avatar
The Twizzler
* * * *
Posts: 994
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:47 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Dawn of the Dead
Return of the Living Dead
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by The Twizzler » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:36 pm

Image
"Oh Bother!" said Pooh, as he drew his dagger...

rakkFO
*
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:54 am

Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by rakkFO » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:35 pm

I have a deep cycle battery set up for my amateur radios/ Scanners. I found out that my routers and modem run on 12V so I clipped the cords and attached the connector of my choice and they have been operational since.

You could do this on a smaller scale. Get a small gell cell battery and small charger so when the voltage gets low it kicks on. If you like it upgrade the battery to a used car battery and good charger.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Delsaw
*
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:14 am

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Delsaw » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:43 pm

Thanks for the continued info. Life git busy so haven't committed to anything yet. I did finish the cabinets where the modem sits, so I should get something soon.

Mostly I'm just happy that Twizzler brought Ogre to the party.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

User avatar
NT2C
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 8032
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:37 pm
Location: Outside of your jurisdiction officer

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by NT2C » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:21 pm

rakkFO wrote:If you like it upgrade the battery to a used car battery and good charger.
Just be aware that while both types of batteries generate hydrogen gas, the "gel cell" sealed lead-acid (SLA) types generally do not vent it outside the battery case (yes, there are exceptions) whereas a regular automotive type battery does vent large amounts of hydrogen while being charged. For this reason, I really don't recommend the used of automotive batteries indoors. If you must though, at least do the recharging outdoors, where the gas has a chance to dissipate better.

rakkFO
*
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:54 am

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by rakkFO » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:40 am

KJ4VOV wrote:
rakkFO wrote:If you like it upgrade the battery to a used car battery and good charger.
Just be aware that while both types of batteries generate hydrogen gas, the "gel cell" sealed lead-acid (SLA) types generally do not vent it outside the battery case (yes, there are exceptions) whereas a regular automotive type battery does vent large amounts of hydrogen while being charged. For this reason, I really don't recommend the used of automotive batteries indoors. If you must though, at least do the recharging outdoors, where the gas has a chance to dissipate better.
Good point. I have all my battery's in an enclosure that is vented to the outdoors. I use positive pressure, I have one fan blowing into the enclosure and one fan pulling out of the enclosure to the vent pipe. 12v fans of course.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Close_enough
* * *
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:56 pm

Re: Short Term Power backup for modem/router

Post by Close_enough » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:34 pm

I'm in a similar situation. I'm transitioning from POTS to VoIP, and I've been giving thought on how to maintain power to the modem and phone converter in the event of a power failure. A modem/router/phone adaptor setup burns about 15-20 watts, so that's a little over day for a 550 VA battery. I could probably push it out by eliminating the router (and the power hungry Wi-Fi) and connecting the phone adaptor directly to the modem.
rakkFO wrote:I have a deep cycle battery set up for my amateur radios/ Scanners. I found out that my routers and modem run on 12V so I clipped the cords and attached the connector of my choice and they have been operational since.
I've seen this type of set, only with an 120V AC inverter, attached to an Optima battery. In a pinch, you could connect the inverter to the battery of an idling car. That's assuming the cooling system can take it (hood up, heater on full blast, accessories off).

Post Reply

Return to “Communications”