FlightAware Discussions

Poor mans UPS

Hi there,just thought I would pass on this tip I been using for a few years now.If you have a FlightFeeder or pi,and you want to remain active during a blackout,try using a powerbank for a UPS.Mine is a 10000 mah power brick and it will run the FlightFeeder for about 5 hours if there is a blackout(modem has its own UPS).

1 Like

The problem is many of those are not made to be left plugged into power 24/7 and will swell and explode. If you check out the instructions for most models they all say to remove from power once fully charged and not to leave them plugged in.

Ok,didnt know that.Mines been fine for almost 2 years now so might change it out as a precaution.Thanks for the heads up.

1 Like

And not all of them support the direct switch between charging and discharging.
So they can be connected for charging, but once the power goes down, they did not seamlessly continue charging of connected devices.

And FA will forgive you a few hours of power down :slight_smile:

This actually works great if you utilize a unit that supports pass-through charging (charge while discharge). Matter of fact, for radio use, it can be the way to go due to being isolated from the noise generated from switching power supplies and as the OP stated, it can also serve as a good, cheap UPS.

Very few do, even fewer that support the current draw that the Pi takes, and bigger possible problem is the output voltage often is not a true 5v and we all know the Pi likes it’s 5.1v the best.

1 Like

Yes mine supports pass-through and wasnt cheap.Its done a fair bit of work lately.

I hope so,coming up on 1000 days,lol.

1 Like

If you have a spare 55USD - here’s one that offers pass-through, a fairly high capacity, and a real-time clock LiFePO4wered/Pi+™ At this rate, if I did not need compact packaging, a nice used netbook is a better solution for me.

Even with a UPS, the problem of connecting to FlightAware (internet) remains. We have fiber to the house, the hosting provider says phone service is not interrupted during power out (backup battery), but internet connection definitely goes away when power is out :frowning:

1 Like

Your router is the most likely culprit. I have an inexpensive (edit not 900 kVA) 900 VA UPS unit that supplies power to my network, cable TV boxes and computing equipment. It is good for about 3 hours which gives me time to start my portable 8 kw generator. Two years ago the generator ran for 5 days and I had internet, cable and even cellular service without interruption

A 12v lead acid house alarm battery and a 12v to 5v DC-DC converter (ebay item 153728753555 ) would do it.
Keep the 12v topped up by whatever means you like.

@ua549 - not really - the provider’s equipment with their battery backup is the fiber service to the house that includes the phone service (up to 2 lines), cable, and networking (router+wifi) all on one battery backed up box. If it stays up, the internet should stay up, I’ve argued with the provider many times about this, proved it to them. Only the phone line remains active. Anyone else’s experience may vary and you may be blessed with uninterrupted internet service while on battery backup. I am not so. Pointing this out to ensure one considers everything in the path to ‘the cloud’

I assume that’s a typo, or you have a dedicated room for it. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You are correct it is a 900 VA UPS.

Nope. Internet is not legally required to be backed up, is not an utility. Phone service (voice) is required to be (911 reasons).
The fiber gets the services from different parts - the voice part comes from the POTS office switch and it’s all backed up by generators.
The internet comes from somewhere else.

In germany the phone provider offer more and more VoIP calls, no real landlines.
But it does not matter if the router is the single device serving phone and calls (which is getting more and more common).

If this goes down due to missing power, no internet and phone is possible any longer. And if it’s in the whole house, it can also impact the inbound connection (cable/DSL) because they are operating often with an amplifier.

So having the Raspberry only supported with UPS doesn’t make sense at all.

VoIP is sold in US with the disclaimer that it is not guaranteed that will reach Emergency Services.

Not sure how is in Germany, but I doubt is different.

It is a mistake to think that things are not different in Europe.
In the UK it is a requirement to provide access to emergency services and action is taken against companies not meeting their obligations.


So it is basically the same. Until May 2018 the VoIP didn’t have guaranteed access.
And even after that, the ruling say that monitoring of data channel has to be in place, it doesn’t say absolutely nothing about the rest of the internet data.
QoS separate those two streams easily.

PS: In US you can require, for a cost, if you have voice service with the fiber, to have installed battery back up on the fiber ONT device. The same, they guarantee only the voice during outages.

No, the regulations have been in place since at least 2007. That guidance document is just the most recent I know of and dates from 2018. Also the ruling happened to be for an incident in 2018.
The obligations derive from European law, specifically Article 23 of the Universal Service Directive which stipulates that “Member States shall take all necessary measures to ensure the fullest possible availability of publicly available telephone services provided over public communications networks in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure. Member States shall ensure that undertakings providing publicly available telephone services take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency services”.

Indeed because the specific ruling was with regard to VoIP. There is also separate guidance about data services. Currently 1hr backup is required for fibre data connections.