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Living in the dark ages



Are you hoping that this winter\'s load-shedding is just a temporary aggravation? Think again. Latest estimates are that we can expect days and nights with no lights till at least 2010. That\'s a lot of candles, so you might start considering a more long-lasting solution, and the hardware to power it, featured on this page.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Nothing like that dim glow of a battery-powered fluorescent lamp to show us the light during the 17 hours of powercuts every week. With the influx of Chinese emergency lights, there are now affordable lights for our emergencies. For bargain prices, Chinatown Market in Sundhara is the ideal place to get cheap rechargeable lights. A word of caution: be wary of the lifespan of these products. Shop hop and bargain, bargain and bargain.

Sunca
Made in China emergency lights
Rechargeable batteries and they also work well with 4 D size batteries.
One searchlight.
Two fluorescent lamps six watt each.
Siren (yes, its audiovisual)
Only in red.
Runs for only two hours after eight hours of charge.
Rs 875
Avaialble at Churchill Chinatown, Sundhara
Bazooka
Made in China, wall hanging emergency lights
Not portable
20-watt lamp
Runs up to four hours on full charge.
Rs 950
Available at Bishal Bajar and Chinatown Market.
Carnival
Made in China
Two fluorescent lights.
One spot light
FM and AM Radio
Cassette player
Clock
Only in maroon
Rs 750
Available at Churchill Chinatown Market.
Comments from users: The batteries are not good and the cassette player tends to give away first. Good to use and throw away after one season.
Robo
Made in China
Two tubes
One spotlight
Blinkers
Siren (some models even come with mosquito repellents) Good battery life: runs for at least 4 hours.
Comes in grey and white mixture colours.
Rs 900
Available at Chinatown Market and Bishal Bajar and electronic shops in Mahabaudda.
Comment from users: The best type of emergency lamp that is available in the market today. The blinkers and siren are unnecessary but the battery life is good and the bulbs are very powerful.

LIGHT A CANDLE (DON'T CURSE THE DARKNESS)

Surprisingly, this winter's load-shedding hasn't lit up the market for candles, lamps and lanterns. The reason, say sellers, is an oft-cited one these days-cheap Chinese imports. This time it's 'emergency lights' powered by rechargeable batteries that are casting shadows over more traditional goods.

"Most people use emergency lights," says Prachanda Chitrakar, whose family has been selling candles from their shop in Ason Tol for 50 years. On the wall beside him hang wax goods of different sizes and colours, ranging in price from Rs 200 each for a huge red wedding candle to Rs 80 for six-inch models, "the ones usually used for load-shedding", he adds.

A few minutes walk away, at Munna Store in Ason Galli, sales of kerosene lamps haven't increased either, says a retailer with a rueful smile. The story was the same at a shop down the lane in Mahaboudha that was selling gas lamps.

Tuki
The original Indian Tuki is a cheap lantern that can be used to light hallways and corridors. With half a litre of fuel the lantern will easily last a few hours. However we recommend you use other lighting methods for any work that could strain your eyes. Available for Rs 60-90 in Ason.


GENERATORS

With so much demand, generators are selling like, well, generators. There is a wide range of small, affordable generators of Japanese, Chinese and Indian makes for household use today.

Yihua
This Chinese generator runs 3-3.5 hours on one litre of kerosene providing 950 watts of electricity, enough to light up your house in the dark days ahead. With a 5 litre tank, it costs Rs 8,000.

Honda
The vehicle maker also offers a range of generators that run on gasoline and kerosene. Though a bit more expensive than Chinese models, Honda generators have larger tanks thus can operate longer, are quieter and less polluting and are equipped with technological advancements like easy start systems, larger air cleaners and oil alert systems. Prices start from Rs 34,000.

POWER UNINTERRUPTUS

Ever shouted obscenities when seconds before you press the save button your computer shuts down because of a power cut? Cut back on your swear vocabulary with UPSs.

Our resident expert tells us that the best way to shop for one is first to decide what sort of power backup you require- is 10 minutes just to save your material and switch off the computer enough or do you want at least 10 hours so that you can keep working throughout the day? Remember, having an LCD rather than CRT screen extends the time the battery lasts.

Power Tree
600 VA
Gives 15-20 min for a 15 inch monitor and 10 min for a 17 incha CRT monitor
Rs. 2600

Wipro e-merge
600 VA
Gives 30 min for a 17 inch CRT monitor
Rs 3500
1-year guarantee
Beltronix (Nepal made)
600 VA to 10 KVA (on request)
Gives 10 min to 10 hours of backup depending on type of
UPS and screen
Rs 2900- Rs 450,000
1-year replacement guarantee
Power Ware (distributed by Beltronix)
700VA- 6000 VA
Gives 8 to 12 min but has also been modified by Beltronix to give upto 15 hrs of backup
Rs 4,800-Rs 1 million


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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