EDITORS NOTE

What's your Plan B?

That's it! I’ve reached the end of my tether. It should have happened a lot sooner – perhaps I’m too patient – but 2021 was finally the year. Eskom’s frequent load-shedding events combined with our work-from-home needs meant that losing electricity and internet access for two-plus-hour stints on a far-too-regular basis was no longer something we could tolerate.

Our solution is a 100 Ah deep-cycle battery linked to a Mecer 720 watt inverter, which is always plugged into a wall socket, charging while the power’s on. It’s ov...
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What's your Plan B?

That's it! I’ve reached the end of my tether. It should have happened a lot sooner – perhaps I’m too patient – but 2021 was finally the year. Eskom’s frequent load-shedding events combined with our work-from-home needs meant that losing electricity and internet access for two-plus-hour stints on a far-too-regular basis was no longer something we could tolerate.

Our solution is a 100 Ah deep-cycle battery linked to a Mecer 720 watt inverter, which is always plugged into a wall socket, charging while the power’s on. It’s overkill for powering the fibre internet, but it can also keep our laptops and screens running, and the TV if we need it too, as well as a few other devices – just nothing with a heating element. Of course, now that we’ve coughed up the money and invested in this system, chances are high that Eskom will rectify all of its issues… Okay, that’s about as likely as Donald Trump congratulating Joe Biden on his victory in the US election.

I’d be interested to hear how you guys out there deal with power outages, and what systems you’ve put in place at your homes. This is much more relevant now that so many of us are working from home. The last time we ran letters from readers about how they’ve rigged up solar electricity systems at their homes, we were overwhelmed with suggestions, opinions, and summaries of financial outlay. I’m not only interested in big-investment solar systems – what smaller contingencies have you put in place to mitigate the problem? (Who knows, maybe your letter – plus a few included high-res pics, hint hint – will win you a cool prize. Email popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za.)

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the magazine issue in your hands. We’re proud of this one (admittedly we usually are) – how amazing is our cover! I’ve always loved maps, so our 10-page feature about the history and progress of maps had me engrossed. Humanity has certainly come a very long way in the realm of mapping and navigation – with Google Maps, we’re now virtually able to visit every corner of the globe by simply using our smartphones.

Another story you should turn to talks about how technology is changing the music industry. We discuss blockchain, streaming, and musical gloves, that enable wearers to create sound using different gestures.

But it’s the feature on off-road vehicles going electric that really resonated with me. I’m intrigued to see the progress in this sphere in the coming years, especially in the Southern African context, which I feel is quite different to most of the places where this technology is being developed.

We’re pleased with this issue’s mix of innovation, DIY, new gadgets and motoring, and look forward to hearing your thoughts, on these things, and anything else you’d like to share with us and other readers.show less