NZ has had more than its share of bad weather in 2023 and the peninsula we live on has been directly in the firing line for most of the storms. Although there has been an improvement in recent years, power cuts often occur due to trees falling on the power lines. Outages these days typically last from as little as a few minutes to half a day or more. We have a gas BBQ on our covered deck which is handy for cooking when we lose power and have various gas and battery lights so that we can see ok at night.
One backup power source we've used for a few years is a 12v sealed lead acid battery which is about half the size of a motorcycle battery. We keep it in the basement garage, connected to a small solar panel fixed to the outside wall so that it's always fully charged.
The battery is light and easily transportable with many uses. Typically, we use it with an inflator for our vehicle and cycle tyres (don't trust gas station pump accuracy!), fish finder power on the boat, attaching to an LED panel as a handy portable light source and charging phones via an USB connection when the power is out. Sure enough, we lost power during the last storm which coincided with me being low on mobile phone charge.
A quick trip to the garage with a torch and connected the phone to the battery via the lead. At that time, the battery connection was via crocodile clips. A few minutes later, there was an odd smell and I went to investigate. The battery was hissing and smoking, with the casing horribly buckled. One of the crocodile clips had shifted, causing a dead short across the terminals. A lucky break to have smelled something amiss and the outcome could have been a lot worse.
It was a salutary lesson to make more reliable connections and after buying a replacement battery, all the connections were changed to shielded bayonet types with heat shrink reinforcement.
On a more positive note, I recently mentioned the design and commissioning of more stained glass windows for our house at the end of THIS POST . The subject was a native Tui drinking nectar from a plant in our garden that I'd taken a photo of. We'd engaged a local craftsman to make a window in stained glass from the photo and last week, it was ready for collection.
It's not designed to replace the clear glass already in the window, but to nestle up to it, leaving a small air gap. I'd made a template for the craftsman to build it on but it was still an anxious time in case it was a fraction too large. Needn't have worried though - a perfect fit. The only worry was teetering on a stepladder and holding it in situ whilst fixing it permanently in place. It looks absolutely fantastic, both in sunlight and moonlight. It's wonderful that there are still people around who practice the traditional crafts.
The week concluded with a pleasant Sunday run with members of the Whitianga classic car club to a beachside restaurant for lunch. A great bunch of people with a wide age range of cars.