I pretty much failed any part of science that had to do with electricity or batteries.

The writing this weekend likely won't be some long winded diatribe, as my parents are visiting starting tomorrow, and I am interested in spending time with them instead of sitting here struggling to write. Today, I'll be finishing up my cleaning - sweep the linoleum floors and the outdoor patio, run the dishwasher, do a load of laundry, vacuum one more time, dust, take out a few Amazon boxes and the trash. Shouldn't take too long. I also want to clean my car windshield and windows on the inside, and apply RainX on the outside.

That really doesn't sound too bad, and a few of those chores can be done simultaneously. I'm also heading out to the store for a few items, water, beef jerky and soup. There's a possibility for a hurricane to wander over here, and I don't need to be one of the ones searching for water and canned soup along with everyone else next week, and those items last a long time. I searched Amazon for a battery powered generator as I figure I ought to not get a gasoline generator in an apartment. Since the last few hurricanes I've been around didn't bother those inland very much, I have been lax on getting prepared more than a few battery powered lights and battery packs for my phone.

The big thing will be powering a box fan for an appreciable amount of time. I've never looked that stuff up. Ok, my Lasko 20" totally standard box fan should produce 200 watts. No, 170 watts. No, further down in the thread, it is 99/136/196 per speed setting. Wait, I found a calculator and I looked at my fan where it has stamped 120V, 1 AMP, 60Hz. That gets me 120 watts. Bill, the guy in the thread that has a 20" Lasko fan with the 99/136/196 watts information later added that his fan has 120V, 2.2 AMP, 60Hz stamped on it. I put that information in the calculator and got 264 watts. So, is this the starting/surge wattage? Was his Kill A Watt not calculating the highest setting correctly? Due to liability issues, do box fans not draw all of the power they could? Reading further in this very engrossing thread about the power draw from a Lasko box fan, someone else did the same calculation and thought the fan information stamped on itself was wrong when he calculated 264 watts. And another person went to set some information straight. Apparently the 264 watts are actually Volt-amps which are different - and there's something about apparent power vs real power, power factor and wattmeter. In the interest of not boring anyone else and not copying and pasting his thorough response, you can read it here. And now I'm slightly more educated and a lot more confused.

So, I guess the previous numbers Bill gave are good enough. I generally run my fan on the low or medium speed, so I'll round up and expect my wattage needs are 140. Let's take a look at this generator. Ah, there's a helpful question and answer!

Q: How to calculate the working time for your devices?
A: 1. AC output working time=240wh * 0.85/the power of your device
Great. 240 * 0.85 / 140 = 1.45.

Wait, I spend $200 to get just under one and a half hours of fan on medium speed? That doesn't sound like a good trade off. And it's one of the cheaper generators. Or, I could spend $300 to get an extra hour.

Or, I can just abandon this quest and save myself a few hundred dollars after realizing that either my box fan draws too much power, battery generators don't have a large enough bank, or maybe I should just think cool thoughts if the power goes out later next week.


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