Load shedding is a reality here in SA, sometimes we avoid it and sometimes it tracks us down night after night and keeps us in the dark for hours. Here are some ways to keep yourself going during the dark times.

Power up your lifestyle

Generators are the most mainstream way to power up a small room during load shedding. Although they are ideal, they are noisy and costly at the same time. Portable generators start cheap, you could pay anything from R1 500 for one to over R10 000. They are basic and are powered by petrol or diesel and come with a plug on it to power whatever you need.

To give you an example on how much power your electronics use:

Gameplay Powered On Standby
PS4 80 Watts / 2 hours N/A 10 Watts / 2 hours
Xbox One 60 Watts / 2 hours N/A 8 Watts / 2 hours
40” LED N/A 80 Watts / 2 hours 6 Watts / 3 hours
30” LCD N/A 60 Watts / 2 hour 8 Watts / 3 hours
Router N/A 6 Watts / 24 hours N/A
PC- high end N/A 450 Watts / 8 hours 150 / 8 hours
Fridge N/A 300 Watts / 3 hours 5 Watts / 2 hours

You can work out your own custom PC energy usage here

So powering your PS4, 40” LED, and modem for 2 hours would use around 200 – 250 watts of electricity, give or take brightness setting on your TV as well as the game that you are playing on your PS4. A R1 200, 750 Watt generator would power this set up for 3 hours or so.

Warning: Portable Generators have some hazards involved when using them, this is what you should always keep in mind:

  • These generators are not waterproof and should be kept under cover away from moisture;
  • They also produce fumes that should not be inhaled, so keeping them indoors is not ideal either;
  • Petrol is flammable so keep caution when using it to power the generator;
  • Store petrol in the correct canister away from fire, or sparkable devices;
  • Always be cautious when handling the generator, electricity kills; and
  • All generators must be earthed at all times.

Generators

With all that in mind you now know what you need to power your setup. With the current price of petrol a full generator tank could cost anything from R1200 – R320 depending on your size.

Here are a few generators that should suffice in powering your modem, TV, and gaming console during load shedding.

Ryobi 21TL/ 5.5KW R9 500

The Ryobi 5.5KW generator could power your entertainment system for 5 – 10 hours depending on your size and watt usage of your devices. It is also fitted with a voltage regulator to prevent any surges that could damage your electro.

Generator Load Shedding

Stramm 4LT/  750 watt R1 200

The lower end generator. This could keep your TV on with your gaming console for around 3 hours.

Straam Load Shedding

Stramm 5.5LT/ 1.0KW – R1 950

If you want to splurge for that extra 1 hour or so, then the Stramm 1.0KW will keep you powered throughout your entire load shedding disaster.

584307_v2_67

Inverters

Inverters work the same as UPSs. These power options take over your power supply instantly when the power gets cut, keeping you from getting stuck in the dark.

Inverters are ideal foe a small set of appliances, eg a TV, PC, charger. When the power cuts out, it will kick in without you even noticing that you lost power. Inverters covert battery powered DC (Direct Current) into standard AC power, the power that you usually get from Eskom. Inverters of office use is also an option instead of a generator, as they can provide adequate power to desktops and other essential office equipment.

Keep in mind that inverters are ideal for low powered objects, so microwaves, kettles, fridges and any other appliance that uses high voltage will not be ideal.

Small

Mean Well 300W – R750

Mean Well 300W

A medium-sized inverter that has low power input, and voltage protection. This inverter would be ideal for a laptop, and a modem

Meduim

Meanwell TS1000 1000W 12V – R6100

Meanwell TS1000

A larger inverter that can power a TV, and gaming console. It is also ideal for routers and laptops when you have those tight deadlines.

Large

Standard 8 kVA – R36 800

maxi-T

This inverter is a permanent wired box that gets installed to your distribution board and is the size of a small fridge. This unit will power an average 4 bedroom or small business  and run for a maximum of 12 hours, depending on how many battery banks are installed in the unit.

Conclusion

So there you have the two best options for your load shedding issues. Generators would be the most affordable option as they do not require batteries that need to be purchased separately like the inverters.  But then again, for office use and for small home options, a permanent inverter, like the Standard 8 kVA would be the best long term solution for load shedding.