Tag: battery

Like a seriously unwelcome – but all-too-familiar – guest, loadshedding has returned.

To help South Africans get through the powerless days and dark nights, Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware, shares a list of eight must-have items that will keep your home (and office spaces) functional during a power outage.

Battery-powered LED lighting

“Battery-powered LED lighting is essential during power outages,” says Luis. “There is a wide range of rechargeable LED light strips, lanterns, and torches available that make keeping the lights on during loadshedding easy. You can even get a rechargeable LED desk lamp so that the kids can continue doing their homework during evening power cuts.”

Another great item to have in the home are intelligent LED light bulbs. These bulbs come in either a screw or bayonet configuration and can be used like a standard light bulb in any light fixture but they stay on during load-shedding as they hold charge for up to four hours.

Solar lighting

In addition to rechargeable and battery operated solutions, there is a wide range of solar powered lighting on the market today. These range from spot lights/security lights to solar lanterns, garden lighting and even pool lights.

“Solar powered lighting is a great solution in a sun-rich country such as ours,” advises Luis “There is no cost to recharge them, and many are practically “set and forget” and will come on automatically after sun down.”

Gas stove/cooker

Boiling water and getting meals prepared during power outages is impossible without a gas stove or cooker. Thankfully there are many different options available to consumers today – whether it is a large six plate gas hob and oven or just a simple, portable table-top one or two-plate gas cooker – and many more options in between.

“Many people are choosing to change their ovens over from electrical to gas. Not only does this mean you can carry on your dinner preparations during a power outage, but your electricity bill will also be reduced through the introduction of gas appliances,” says Luis.

Portable power bank

We all want to stay connected, especially in the dark. No electricity coupled with no means of communication is not a great combination.

“Portable power banks are a fantastic solution to ensure that you don’t run out of cell phone battery life,” advises Luis. “These compact gadgets can also charge other devices such as tablets, portable modems and speakers.”

Surge protector

It is a good idea to purchase a surge protector for your home or office. A surge protector is an electrical device that is used to protect equipment against power surges and voltage spikes that can be caused by power cuts.

“Surge protection can range from plug and play devices to systems installed at the distribution board by a registered electrician.”

Luis goes on to caution that some household insurance policies stipulate that they will not cover damage caused through power surges if the proper surge protection is not in place – “it is worth checking with your insurance provider.”

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power. A UPS differs from a generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions by supplying energy stored in batteries. It is a type of continual power system.

“A UPS is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment or other electrical equipment where an unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.”

Generator

If budget allows, investing in a generator is a great way to make power outages less intrusive. “There are many different models and options to consider,” says Luis. “Entry level 2 stroke generators, such as a 950-watt unit, are unreliable if the petrol/oil mixture is not consistent, so Brights recommends starting with no lower than a 4 stroke 1200-watt generator.”

Inverters

This then introduces the question – what about people who live in complexes and housing estates that are not allowed to run a generator because of the noise pollution?

Luis says that the best option here is to purchase a pure sine wave inverter with batteries. All these units are silent except for the cooling fan which blows on the side. They also switch on automatically during load shedding.

By Natasha Odendaal for Creamer Media’s Engineering News 

Telecommunications giant Vodacom has started engaging communities to intensify security around its base stations to guard against vandalism and battery theft.

Community members will be recruited, trained and accredited – working with police – serving as “monitoring personnel” under a new model to secure its sites.

“Incidents of base station vandalism have significantly gotten worse over the last few years,” said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, noting that the crime is being perpetuated by organised syndicates that always find new ways to commit this type of crime.

“Our security teams on the ground have observed that quite often syndicates target base stations in far-flung and secluded areas because they know it will take police a long time to react. Hence, our sites in remote areas are repeatedly hit,” said Vodacom Group chief risk officer Johan Van Graan.

Theft and vandalism, and its subsequent damage, is costing network providers hundreds of millions of rands worth of damage every year.

Vodacom reported a 35% increase year-on-year in the number of battery thefts at its base stations, with an average of 600 incidents a month of sites impacted by theft or damage.

“We are losing between R120-million and R130-million to vandalism and theft each year. Nonetheless, we are not sitting on our laurels and are fighting back by coming up with innovative measures to stem the tide of battery theft,” Joosub assured.

Vodacom is testing a new model to secure its sites by forging partnerships with members of the community.

“As part of this new model, we recruit local people to serve as monitoring personnel to be our eyes and ears on the ground and provide us critical information police can use to effect arrests,” Van Graan said.

Locals will be trained and accredited, and linked with the local policing community forum and local South African Police Services to provide support when arrests must happen.

“In all the provinces where this model is currently being tested, it has yielded positive results,” he said, citing a substantial reduction in break-ins at at-risk sites owing to the enlistment of local people to secure its sites.

“This demonstrates that the number-one line of defence against site vandalism is the local community and vigilant community members who report incidents of battery theft or site vandalism to police,” he added.

Each theft incident can result in the network in that area being down for days, and can severely impact businesses, as well as anyone relying on the Internet to study and remain in contact with friends and family.

Vodacom plans to spend R1-billion in the current financial year to ensure its network is able to cope with widespread electricity blackouts, which will include intensified security around the telco’s base station sites and the installation of additional batteries and generators to ensure connectivity during load-shedding.

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

The Hawks’ Port Shepstone Serious Organised Crime Investigation and Port Shepstone K9 have announced that they have arrested three suspects on the N2 on Tuesday when they found cellphone network batteries that were reported stolen.

“Information was received of a van travelling on the N2 to Port Shepstone loaded with a number of cell phone tower batteries,” the SAPS said.

“The Hawks together with the Port Shepstone K9 and LCRC immediately responded to the information and the bakkie in question was located around the Hibberdene area, where the members noticed five suspects offloading batteries at on outbuilding of a scrapyard.”

As the police approached the suspects, two fled the scene and three suspects aged between 26 and 35 were arrested for possession of stolen goods.

48 cell phone tower batteries were recovered at the scene – 24 Vodacom batteries and 24 colloid batteries weighing around 90kg each.

The value of these batteries was around R480,000, and the thieves were also driving a stolen bakkie estimated at R280,000.

“The suspects are scheduled to appear in Hibberdene, Turton District Court on Thursday and are expected to face charges relating to possession of stolen goods,” the SAPS said.

Battery thieves crippling networks
Vandalism and battery theft are rife in South Africa, particularly during load-shedding, when they can be offloaded quickly to buyers at a good price.

MTN previously said that due to the serious problem of cell tower vandalism, it has permanently shut down 53 of its base stations across the country.

The operator said the damage caused by thieves and vandals to its equipment far exceeds the cost of repairing and replacing batteries and other hardware.

Various service interruptions can be caused by these criminal activities apart from diminished coverage, such as outages caused by lost battery replacement, damaged site repair, and tower maintenance.

“Although great strides have been made in the prevention and recovery of stolen batteries, it is still a concern,” said MTN Network Operations general manager Ernest Paul.

“Battery theft is a crime that compromises the safety and welfare of every South African, but it is not a crime that we can fight alone,” he added.

“We therefore appeal to all South Africans to ‘help us help you’ by reporting any theft, vandalism or suspicious activity that you see, hear of or come across.”

How loadshedding affects your security

By Ntwaagae Seleka for News24

Home owners and businesses have been urged to test their security systems as a matter of urgency and to pay particular attention to the battery back-up systems during load shedding periods.

“Many people are under the incorrect assumption that their home alarm system is deactivated when the power supply is interrupted. However, if you have a stable and correctly programmed system coupled with a battery that is in good condition, it will continue to protect the premises during a power outage – regardless if the outage is because of load shedding or not,” said Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT.

The only time it may not function correctly is if there is a technical issue, or the battery power is low.

“Most modern alarm systems have a back-up battery pack that activates automatically when there is a power failure. There are a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure security is not compromised during any power cuts.

“Some of these include ensuring that the alarm system has an adequate battery supply, that all automated gates and doors are secured and lastly to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to your security provider or the South African Police Service,” said Hattingh.

With the added inconvenience of the lights going out at night due to power cuts, candles and touch-lights are handy alternatives.

Home owners are also advised that it is important that their alarm systems have adequate battery supply and that batteries should be checked regularly. Alarms should be checked during extended power outages to keep systems running.

Power cuts can affect fire systems and fire control systems, so these also need to be checked regularly. The more frequent use of gas and candles can increase the risk of fire and home fire extinguishers should be on hand.

People are urged to remain vigilant during power cuts and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and report this to their security company or the police immediately.

Hattingh said home and business owners should consider installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, which is integrated into the alarm system’s wiring and automatically switches on for a maximum of 15 minutes when there is a power outage.

“If there is an additional battery pack, the small, non-intrusive LED lights can stay on for the duration of the power outage – or a maximum of 40 hours – without draining the primary alarm battery. Because of load shedding, there might also be a higher than usual number of alarm activation signals received by security companies and their monitoring centres.

“This could lead to a delay in monitoring centre agents making contact with customers. You can assist by manually cancelling any potential false alarms caused by load shedding, and thus help call centre agents in prioritising the calls needing urgent attention,” said Hattingh.

 

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