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Challenge: Electrical usage?

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I know that we’ve had lots of discussions in the past about living without electricity but times are changing.  Modern technology has advanced and we live now in a world of electrical dependence. But do we know what ALL we depend on for electricity? Just to give us an idea of the enormity of electricity let’s look around us, not just in our homes but in our lives, and make a list of everything we can think of that uses electricity.  I’ll start with some things that are so common we may not think of them.  You add your list.


Automatic doors


Cash registers

Traffic lights

Gas pumps

Furnaces, even gas ones

Phones (at various points along its way)

Air control towers

Water pumps (city and home ones both)

Computers (:gaah:what all do they do?)


Just a start, what can you think of?

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I hadn't thought of the O2 generator Homey but that brings to mind other medical appliances. MY son uses a nebulizer but thankfully has a 12 Volt one as a back up.  But what about Cpaps?  


I have an electric recliner but it has a battery back up to at least get the chair down if needed. 


Sewage disposal bring to mind water plants too.  Most water is treated by computer as we recently saw in Florida where someone hacked the system.  I can see both of those things bringing a wealth of problems to cities.  


All communications run on electricity at some point along the route.  You can charge cell phones with 12 volt but towers have to be working. 

What about power plants?  Nuclear ones and gas and coal fired ones.  They generate power but do they need power to generate that power? Even dams with hydroelectric power?  How do they work? 

Manufacturing would almost come to a halt!   Most equipment in repair shops are run with electric, even the air tools they often use. 

Charging ANYTHING!  My electric wheel chair for instance. though we can do it with the generator as long as the fuel holds out that is.  

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Yikes, I hope your pacemaker never gets tested.  :pray:   

My first thought was the microwave, appliances and electric stoves, and a few other things in the kitchen.  

Thinking of the list above.... :ph34r:  ... the new hybrid cars run on electricity.


Because electricity is everywhere and most people take it for granted.  It would be quiet.  

My lawnmower, weed eater, and leaf blower are electric, for ease of use.  I am unable to handle the weight of the gas or motors.  I do have antique edgers, and other tools, JIC.  Washer/dryers.

 I don’t know what the younger generations would do without it.  Some of us, grew up without electricity, we know hard work & how to make due.  Whether we want to or not.  

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8 hours ago, Mother said:

What about power plants?  Nuclear ones and gas and coal fired ones.  They generate power but do they need power to generate that power? Even dams with hydroelectric power?  How do they work? 


Water from the dam is released into the power plant. The water cascades through the turbines and generates power that is sent out through high tension lines downstream to where it is stepped down to the voltage that is needed for household and industrial use.





Hydroelectric power is produced when water turns a turbine connected to a generator. This water is stored behind a dam at elevation. Gravity causes water to drop toward a turbine propeller. The falling water turns the turbine, which produces power through the connected generator.




Design and operations[edit]

Inside the Shasta Dam powerhouse

Shasta Dam serves mainly to provide flood control and carryover water storage for the dry season, contributing greatly to irrigation in the Sacramento Valley and navigation on the Sacramento River, as well as keeping freshwater levels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta high enough for diversion into the California Aqueduct and Delta-Mendota Canal. The dam's other major purpose is to generate hydroelectricity. With a hydraulic head of 330 feet (100 m), the dam is capable of generating 676 megawatts (MW) from five turbines – a pair of 125 MW units and three 142 MW units.[44] Each of the turbines is driven by a high-pressure jet of water fed by a steel penstock 15 feet (4.6 m) in diameter. Two smaller turbines generate power for operations at the dam itself. The plant serves to generate peaking power for the northern Sacramento Valley.[44] Keswick Dam, about 9 miles (14 km) downstream, serves as an afterbay for Shasta, regulating its fluctuating water releases.[45]


A gravity structure, the dam stands 602 feet (183 m) above the foundations with a maximum height of 522.5 feet (159.3 m) above the river. It is 3,460 feet (1,050 m) long, with a maximum thickness of 543 feet (166 m); altogether the dam contains 6,270,000 cubic yards (4,790,000 m3) of material.[46] The dam can release floodwaters through a system of eighteen outlet valves on the face of the spillway. These valves are arranged in three levels, each cutting through the main dam structure and discharging onto the face of the spillway. The upper level has six outlets, each with a capacity of 6,534 cubic feet per second (185.0 m3/s). The middle layer has eight conduits capable of carrying 3,100 cubic feet per second (88 m3/s) and the lowest has four exits each able to discharge 4,450 cubic feet per second (126 m3/s) for a total of 81,800 cubic feet per second (2,320 m3/s).[47] The spillway is a massive concrete chute, 487 feet (148 m) long and 375 feet (114 m) wide, controlled by three 110-foot (34 m)-wide drum gates each weighing 500 US tons (454 t). When the reservoir is full, the gates cannot entirely prevent leakage but can raise the water level up to 28 feet (8.5 m) above the spillway crest.[45] The spillway has a capacity of 186,000 cubic feet per second (5,300 m3/s), bringing the dam's maximum overflow rate to 267,800 cubic feet per second (7,580 m3/s).[48]



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Living in the Ozarks we have several big dams.  Guess what, they sell the power to other areas, not sure where our power comes from, but probably another state.  


When there is too much rain up rivers from the dams in our area, they open the "flood gates" and let water pour from the lakes to the rivers below.  It is quite a site to see, and they even announce when they will do it so folks can drive out to see the tons of water flowing.

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Virginia, that would so neat to see.


Really anything that needs to be charged would eventually need electricity or solar. Just because we have rechargeable whatever doesn't mean we can. I agree Mother, power may be generated but it still has to be stored and sent. But to where if everything has crashed and fried. 


Annarchy, I can't handle gas powered tools either. Too heavy and too hard to start. I got battery powered lawn tools because "someone" kept cutting the cords. :sEm_blush:


Just about everything in a hospital OR or ER. 

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We have locks and dams on the Mississippi river too but I know the gates (rollers?) have to be opened and closed depending on the water level and that takes electricity.  I suppose a hydroelectric dam creates it's own power to run whatever needs it.  Still, Jeepers said it all. It still has to be stored or sent somewhere.  


Hospitals and ER's and such would be hard hit.  I do believe they might be the first to get electric back once it was available though.  We talked somewhere about the components mostly being manufactured out of the country but I'm not sure if we mentioned that a lot of the bigger equipment, like transfer stations and such (huge things), can have a lead time of over five years (or they used to).  The power companies often have a few ahead but not nearly enough to replace all of them around the country.  


We have not only a nuclear plant near us but a gas power plant as well and neither would work if the electricity went out all over.  In fact, the nuc plant could be in danger of melt down without the cooling pumps.  :behindsofa:

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Virginia, I was thinking about how neat it would be to see that water falling and how great it is that they even announce it before hand so people can enjoy it.  There's something energizing about running water.  


Dh and I often go to our nearby locks and watch the barges 'lock' through.  You can stand at the fences and talk to the workers if they aren't too busy and I've more than once seen a family show up to 'visit' with one of their members on the barge.  The tugs can only take a few barges through at a time so it sometimes takes a long while but it's interesting.  Not as interesting as seeing your water spill though.  Thanks for sharing.  


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6 hours ago, Mother said:

Virginia, I was thinking about how neat it would be to see that water falling and how great it is that they even announce it before hand so people can enjoy it.  There's something energizing about running water.  



Posted this before in another thread. Thought you might like to see it in case you didn't see it elsewhere.

Mt. Shasta, Shasta Lake, Shasta Dam




Rare event: Open spillways in Shasta Dam

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