We treat blackout inexpensively - affordable and compact means of backup power supply and heating

We treat blackout inexpensively – affordable and compact means of backup power supply and heating

The energy system of Ukraine as a whole is quite resilient. There are many power generating enterprises in the country, the failure of some of the capacities will not lead to some kind of global blackout. Sudden shutdown of large electricity suppliers or damage to communications can lead to short-term (up to several days) local outages.


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On the ground, even in peacetime, in some places, the power grid cannot even withstand weather factors – rains, snowfalls. For example, in Odessa, a city of two million, a year ago there were areas where troubles with the weather could turn off the light for three days (as far as we know, now the problem has been solved). The reasons are the dilapidated condition of the equipment and the lag in the modernization of local capacities, taking into account the natural increase in load.

And then came the zombies

Recently, the “liberators” of the Kharkiv region, who have recently blown into the trash, in retaliation for the defeat on the battlefield, decided to shoot at power supply facilities in the border areas. Electricity returned relatively quickly, but until it is gone, something needs to be done. Besides, no one knows what these crazy people with rockets will come up with tomorrow.


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Blackout Kharkiv region

The task is to survive without electricity for one or more days. For this, modern industry produces, and trade, even in wartime, is able to offer many technical means.

Blackout Sumy region

We will not touch on solutions that require a capital approach and serious efforts: the installation of solar cells, wind turbines, powerful batteries, autonomous fuel boilers. Let’s talk about relatively inexpensive devices that you can take and buy right now.

Minimalistic scenario: you have everything, warm enough, but no light

The author tested this scenario in practice. Its main element is a powerful and capacious powerbank. With his help, as well as with a charged laptop and a half-charged phone with 4G, we managed to work without electricity for two incomplete days.

Typically, portable external batteries have a power of 15-20 W and are only suitable for charging the phone. Devices for 65-100 watts are a completely different matter. Such power can power an undemanding laptop. In the absence of the required power connector on the laptop, you can use adapters.

In this particular case, a 100 W and 20,000 mAh Baseus powerbank was used, which was bought at one time on Aliexpress.

External battery Power bank Baseus Blade 100 w 20000 mAhExternal battery Power bank Baseus Blade 100 w 20000 mAh

External battery with two USB-C and two USB-A ports. Through the latter, power up to 24 W is available, in order to use the battery to the fullest – you need to connect to Type C. The display shows power, percentage of charge, current strength, remaining time until fully charged. You can buy the battery in the official store of the brand.

In the described situation, it was necessary to power only a laptop and a phone. You can do without hot food and drinks for a couple of days.

The device costs about $100. A few of these can be easily stuffed into pockets or put into a backpack, ensuring portable gadgets work anywhere.

External battery Baseus Power Bank 20000mAh Adaman Metal Digital Display 65WBaseus Power Bank 20000mAh Adaman Metal Digital Display 65W

Alternatively, an earlier model from the same company with the same maximum charge and 65 watts can be advised.

Expensive and cheerful: EcoFlow charging station

Continuing the topic of autonomous batteries, we move to a completely different price range. ITC has a review of the 720 Wh EcoFlow River PRO Charging Station – medium power devices and prices. Details are available at the link above, here we will mention the most important.

EcoFlow River PRO Charging Station 720WhEcoFlow River PRO Charging Station 720Wh

The charging station allows you to fully connect household devices to a standard socket 220-240 V 50/60 Hz. Everything that fits into the nominal 600 watts with jumps up to 1200 watts works. EcoFlow can also be charged from a car, which increases its value in the event of a long blackout.

Solar cell for EcoFlow charging stationsSolar cell for EcoFlow charging stations

For EcoFlow charging stations, many accessories are sold that allow you to expand the capabilities of the station – additional batteries, solar panels. The station for 720 Wh, presented in the review, costs approximately 40 thousand UAH, the cost of the EcoFlow RIVER mini model for 210 W*h is 18 thousand UAH.

Noisy and unsafe: fuel-fired power generators

Classics of autonomous power supply. There are diesel, petrol or gas. The cost of the generator depends on the principle of operation, device, power. An economical version of the Huttenberg H8500W for 4.5 kW costs 14 thousand UAH.

4.5 kW Huttenberg H8500W gasoline generator4.5 kW Huttenberg H8500W gasoline generator

The disadvantages of a gasoline generator for many outweigh its advantages:

  • Noise. The volume is 60-100 dB above the legal norms for a human hostel. It is highly undesirable to use it in an apartment – only a country house.
  • Fuel consumption. A generator with a 200 cc engine will work on a filled tank for a day, consuming 1.2-1.5 liters of gasoline per hour.
  • The weight. The generator can weigh tens of kilograms, which greatly reduces its mobility without assistance or transport.
  • Fire hazard. Working with flammable fuels is dangerous in itself, and we are talking about conditions of war. An accidental splinter or careless handling in a hurry can have dire consequences.

How to keep warm without light?

Means of heating powered by electricity disappear when using an autonomous source, the charge of which may need to be stretched for an indefinite time. As an exception, these may be electric blankets or other accessories with low power consumption.
Electric blanket Esperanza Velvet blueElectric blanket Esperanza Velvet blue

The first thing that comes to mind is travel portable gas heaters that can warm a tent or even a small room. They are refueled from special small cylinders, advanced models have adapters for household cylinders. The compact gas heater Happy Home with a power of 1.3 kW will easily warm the room.
Happy Home portable gas heater 1.3 kWHappy Home portable gas heater 1.3 kW

Travel heaters come in a variety of forms and are inexpensive ($70-$200 equivalent) but require fuel. Low-power options can be used for individual heating.

We treat blackout inexpensively - affordable and compact means of backup power supply and heating

A portable gas stove, also powered by mini-cylinders, will help you prepare food.
Happy Home portable gas stoveHappy Home portable gas stove


It is impossible not to mention here “potbelly stoves”, as well as “poshekhonki”, chipped and other designs of stoves on wood. A ready-made potbelly stove can be bought for about $100.
Modern Modern “potbelly stove”

This is an option that is not suitable for an ordinary apartment – the stove must be placed where it does not harm, remove the chimney. And figure out how to drown it. On the other hand, the oven will provide heat, help cook food, heat water for washing and then dry the laundry.

There are also quite technological specimens. For example, a wood chip stove with the ability to convert heat into electricity and charge gadgets via USB.

BioLite oven with USB charging functionBioLite oven with USB charging function

Wood stoves may seem like a somewhat wild option, but they have helped many people in the war zone. Let’s hope that there will be fewer reasons to use the equipment listed above.

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