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What would you do if you had access to a free plug socket?

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:02 pm
by demi
We do. In the parents-in-law's basement in the apartment block they've got a plug socket which is not on their meter, it's like the building's electricity or something and everyone's got a socket in their basement room. I think the cost of the electricity there is included in the apartment fees which are a fixed fee that everyone pay's. Anyway, people put their freezers down there so they don't have big electricity bills in their apartments.

So how do we get free electricity from there for our house on the other side of the town? I'm thinking 12v car batteries. What can you power off a car battery? Can you power a lap top, tv and a lamp off 3 separate batteries? Is it possible to hook some together and power bigger things like the fridge?? Whats the strongest battery you can get and what can it power?

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:22 pm
by The Riff-Raff Element
Car batteries are (generally) a set of six lead / acid cells wired in series. Each cell has a potential difference of 1.5 V, hence a battery of six of them has overall PD of 12 volts. In principle, you could keep adding cells to get ever higher voltages; in practice, the highest voltage lead / acid batteries in general use are 24V. Collect enough batteries together, wire them through an inverter and, behold, you can get alternating current to power whatever you want.

A 12V car battery will hold about 100 amp hours of power, or 1.2 kWh. A 40°C wash in a modern A+-rated machine would consume 0.7 kWh, so in principle a battery full would give you a wash plus a bit of lighting plus some PC time.

But of course, you'd have to invest in the batteries, inverter, etc, and I have no idea what that would cost.

The thing is, batteries are HEAVY. And they are full of acid. Two things that makes carting them about a real pain.

Couldn't you move a washing machine or something into their basement and use the power in situ?

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:15 pm
by oldjerry
I'd just plug my Mother-in-laws chair into it..

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:16 pm
by oldjerry
I'd just plug my Mother-in-laws chair into it..

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:07 pm
by Teadrinking
Jons right batteries are heavy and really you should never fully discharge one but keep them above 50% full if you want the battery to have a decent life (and you do because they ain't cheap) You be better running 12v stuff off them otherwise you have to mess about with invertors which is an additional expense.
So lights especially if you invest in some leds and charging a laptop is totally doable.
Id have a look at a leisure battery rather than a car one though. More expensive but you'll get a better lifespan out of it.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:52 pm
by GeorgeSalt
How will you be transporting the batteries? - if it needs a car it may cost more in fuel for the round trip than you save in electricity once the cost of the batteries is considered. If you do transfer a reasonable value of electricity out of the basement, what will your parent's neighbours think about this? - it doesn't sound very -ish, it sounds like theft.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:14 am
by The Riff-Raff Element
GeorgeSalt wrote: - it doesn't sound very -ish, it sounds like theft.


Yeah, there is that too. Other residents might take a dim view of it, and they would have a point.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:35 am
by oldfella
oldjerry wrote:I'd just plug my Mother-in-laws chair into it..


Nice of you OJ, wanting to light up your MILs life.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:01 am
by Skippy
I suppose the obvious answer would be to have an electric car which would seem to solve the problem of moving batteries etc. but there would be a considerable outlay so probably not worth it. I'd simply move a freezer over there, less to move about , no expensive batteries and if the basement already has frezzers in there it will "blend in".


Pete

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:02 am
by Crickleymal
You need to erect a high tower at both your place and your mother's and then build some of those Tesla tranmitters to send the power to your place.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:33 pm
by demi
Hahaha some funny responses. Every one is steeling electricity from the basements in the apartments here. The government own a monopoly on the electricity and they keep putting the prices up and up and people cannot afford it. People also steel logs to heat their house because they are so poor. My husband was working for 9000 dennars a month a few years ago, thats about 120 pounds, and the electricity is much higher here than it costs in the UK.

We were considering putting an extra freezer there, many people do that although you're not supposed to and my husband says people come to inspect it and listen if you've got a freezer or washing machine plugged in because it makes noise, then you can get fined. So charging batteries doesn't make any noise.

This is a small town and we cycle everywhere, the in-laws stay just across the river which is just a 2 min bike ride from our house. My OH would cycle there and back, he already does anyway, plus he cycles to the farm and back which is a 10km round trip, He's very fit :iconbiggrin:

I know it's technically illegal and when i first came here i was always shocked at what people do.But after living here i'v learned everything's corrupt and if you play by the book you loose out so people are forced to do what they can to survive. The government steal a whole load more money from the people than the people steal from the governments electricity. We're hoping they will get voted out this election but they rig the elections and this same party with the same prime minister has been in power for 3 terms now. They buy votes from people by offering them jobs if they vote for them and get their family's to vote for them. People are scared to say anything bad about them encase they loose their jobs, and they cannot afford to loose their jobs so they vote for them again.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:44 pm
by Zech
A battery uses DC electricity whereas mains, and most things that run off mains, are AC. Every time you turn AC into DC and back again with an inverter you lose some of the energy (I just googled and it's not as bad as I thought - around 10-15% lost each time http://www.fieldlines.com/index.php?topic=141375.0). Some things, such as a laptop, run on DC, so you have a little inverter on the power cable so you can plug it into the mains.

One possibility is to get a spare laptop battery and external charger so you can charge up the battery there and run the laptop off its battery when you're using it. These things seem to be quite expensive, though. I'm not sure if you could buy them more cheaply, or if it's not that bad compared with buying car batteries and an inverter.

Have you thought about watching TV on your laptop? It has much lower power consumption. We do and because the screen is such high resolution, it's actually better than the big TV we used to have.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:47 am
by Maykal
The chances are that the electricity that feeds the basement is metered separately and then the total cost is divided equally amongst the residents, or the total consumption for the block is measured and then the remainder after subtracting the individual meter readings from each apartment, is divided up equally between residents. I'd imagine it's highly unlikely that it's a completely individual circuit running off the network with no meter. Do you have a table posted somewhere which identifies how your communal bills are calculated?

Anyway, if everyone has one in their basement, the chances are that most people have something plugged into it to benefit from the unmetered electricity. If so, then by not using it you're actually paying for everyone else's electricity. Quite the reverse of a 'free socket'! You're essentially paying a part the bill for all those freezers down there. I think putting your own chest freezer down there would be best - somewhere to store all the long-term frozen foods rather than day-to-day stuff: fruit from your orchard, meat from when someone slaughters an animal, that kind of stuff.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:11 am
by demi
I think it's a fixed bill for the basement electricity, no matter how much is used. They must have a separate meter and probably come to read it every few years and work out the bill between the residents in the building, which is included in the housing tax or something they pay. But the don't read it often so even if more electricity is used the bill for the residents stays the same. They just come to inspect and listen if people have things that consume high amounts of electricity plugged in, like a freezer that hums or a washing machine. They don't want people using things like that because they're not paying enough for what it consumes.

Anyway, the electricity prices here are ridiculous. We can't afford to use the electric boiler when there's no sun to heat the water from the panels. We're all sleeping in the living room/kitchen where i cook on the wood stove which also heats the room. I keep a big pot of water keeping hot on the stove to use to wash the dishes and to bath the kids in a bucket on the floor in front of the fire. The rest of the house is freezing, we don't have central heating. We do have a few oil electric radiators but its too expensive to use them and we have wood burners in the other rooms but don't use them because we're trying to save on logs.
If we were in the UK im sure we'd be living under the poverty line.

Re: What would you do if you had access to a free plug socke

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:08 pm
by KathyLauren
If using car batteries, be aware that they are not made for running appliances. A car batter is designed to run a huge load (turning over an internal combustion engine) for a few seconds. You can draw lots of amps from a car battery, but you can't keep it up for long. If you draw less current from it, it will last longer, but running a load for any length of time will damage the battery.

Marine batteries are a better option, because they are designed to run equipment for a hours between charges. They won't deliver enough current to start a car, but they will produce current for longer without damage.