SecondTalon wrote:I'm.. also not sure where people keep getting the notion of backup generators lasting for weeks or whatever. Backup generators are.. a backup for when power is interrupted, not a backup for when the grid goes down. You usually measure their power generation capabilities in hours, not days and sure as hell not weeks.
To be fair though, not all gas-powered generators are backup
generators. Back in Boston they had a portable light set up outside the subway stop by my house every night for the better part of a year, and if it wasn't running on gas, it did a hell of a job pretending it was. Had wheels and a trailer hitch, even. That's the sort of thing I'd be looking for. There's a national guard armory and a highway patrol station here in town. Failing that, there's the USFS ranger station, city police, city fire, hospital, and two volunteer fire stations to check out.
In any case, the idea isn't to have power indefinitely, but to have power long enough to transition away from the need for power. Or at least ease that transition. And the gas is just as critical for transportation as for power; especially if this goes down in winter (and I have to relocate ASAP to a warmer area). I don't want to be siphoning habitually from random cars in a world with no medical personnel.
One thing I have been wondering though is what the shelf life of various types of battery might be. Let's say I've got a dump of wikihow on the slimmest netbook I can rip off from somewhere. It would be great if I could refer to it in perpetuity, seeing as it's searchable and portable. But I'd need a way to either recharge the battery, or power it on scavenged batteries. I have no doubt that given enough time I could jury-rig some kind of setup that would give me occasional use of the thing... Probably go through a lot of netbooks experimenting, but supply isn't really an issue in this scenario. But how long will any battery that could potentially provide the necessary juice hold onto its charge, just sitting on the shelf? I mean, for all I know, every accessible battery in the world might have discharged in the packaging within 20 years. I don't have a lot of knowledge about batteries.