Brownout VS. Blackout: A Comprehensive Guide for Australian Homes

Knowledge ·
Share
Brownout VS. Blackout: A Comprehensive Guide for Australian Homes

Power outages pose a challenge for Australia, as they do for many other countries. Various factors, including harsh weather, infrastructure failures, and increased demand on the grid, can cause power outages. Extreme weather occurrences, such as bushfires and storms, have increased dramatically in recent years in Australia, wreaking havoc on the country's energy infrastructure. This has resulted in severe power disruptions, affecting millions of people and businesses.

 

As Australia reacts to the growing challenge of power outages caused by several circumstances, it is vital to understand the nature of power outages, precisely the distinction between blackout vs. brownout. Solutions like the Jackery Solar Generators 2000 Pro and 2000 Plus provide a sustainable and dependable alternative to conventional power sources. Not only do these solar generators give an immediate solution in the event of a power loss, but they also help to create a greener, more sustainable future by using renewable solar energy. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

A brownout, also known as a voltage drop, is a momentary deterioration in the quality of electricity delivery. However, blackouts, often known as power outages, occur unexpectedly when all electricity goes out.

Distinguish the differences between a brownout and a blackout, such as voltage, causes, geographic scope, device impacts, and duration.

Tips for preparing for power outages and minimising the impact of power interruptions are mentioned.

We highly recommend the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro and 2000 Plus for charging your household appliances for an extended period, which play an essential role during a blackout or brownout.

It is important to understand what to do in the event of a blackout or brownout. 


What Is A Brownout?


A brownout, also known as a voltage drop, is a momentary deterioration in the quality of electricity delivery. A brownout, as opposed to a blackout, is a voltage reduction rather than a total loss of power. This can result in lower lights and less efficient equipment. During an emergency, intentional brownouts are utilised to reduce load. Unlike short-term voltage sag, this drop lasts minutes or hours. "brownout" refers to the dimming of lighting caused by sagging voltage.

A voltage reduction may occur due to an electrical grid disturbance or be enforced to reduce load and prevent a blackout. Different types of electrical equipment will react differently to a sag. Some gadgets will be badly impacted, while others may be unaffected.

Energy companies intentionally cause most brownouts as an emergency measure to keep the system from collapsing (blacking out). Typically, a utility will reduce system voltage by 10-25% for a brief duration. Brownouts are typically intentionally implemented by electricity companies to avoid overloading the grid.


What Is A Blackout?


According to officials, blackouts, often known as power outages, occur unexpectedly when all electricity goes out. The critical element of a blackout is that it impacts entire areas and regions rather than simply one home, which can indicate a problem with a home's electric system, such as circuit breakers. 

A blackout is the total loss of power to a specified area. A blackout, as opposed to a voltage reduction, refers to a complete loss of power. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or even days, causing significant disruption to daily living, business activities, and crucial services.

Blackouts are highly inconvenient. They can disturb any job you're doing from home, halt gaming or movie night, and make you feel like you're roughing it in your own home while you search for anything to do by lantern light. However, blackouts can be more than frustrating. They may also be harmful. Blackouts can impede access to electric medical supplies, turn off the air conditioner during heat waves, or turn off the heating during the coldest months. 


Brownout VS. Blackout


Brownouts and blackouts are two power outages affecting consumers and companies. A brownout is a transient drop in voltage in an electrical power supply system that causes lights to dim and electrical equipment to work less well. On the other hand, a blackout is a complete cessation of power supply, resulting in a total loss of electricity in the affected region. The following is the comparison of brownout vs. blackout.

 

Brownout

Blackout

Voltage

Reduced voltage

No voltage

Causes

• High demand on the grid

Infrastructure constraints

Instability of renewable energy

Emergency load reduction

Natural disasters

Infrastructure failure

• High demand

• Human error or malicious behaviour

Geographic Scope

Often localised

Can be widespread

Impact on Devices

• Voltage fluctuations and sensitive electronics

• Impact on major electrical appliances

• Small appliances performance reduced

• Lighting & heating system

• Immediate stop function

• Surge risk

• Long-term effects on appliances

• Safety and security issues

Duration

It can last from a few minutes to several hours

It ranges from minutes to days

Brownout VS. Blackout: Causes


Different types of electrical equipment will react differently to a voltage drop. Some gadgets will be badly impacted, while others may not be affected during a brownout. The causes of brownouts are as follows:

  • High demand on the grid
  • Infrastructure constraints
  • Instability of renewable energy
  • Emergency load reduction

Excessive demand on the system is a significant cause of blackouts. This is especially true during peak electricity use seasons, such as the hot summer, when air conditioning and refrigeration equipment are in high demand. Ageing or inadequate infrastructure struggles to keep up with demand, resulting in voltage drops. Because of the grid's complexity, even minor issues in one location can have far-reaching consequences, resulting in power outages.

While increasing reliance on renewable energy sources benefits the environment, it also causes electrical supply unpredictability. Solar and wind energy, for example, fluctuate in response to weather conditions, causing imbalances and power outages. Utilities may purposefully cause blackouts as a load reduction method to avoid a total collapse of the electric system. This is typically used as a last option to control supply-demand mismatches.

The blackout can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Natural disasters
  • Infrastructure failure
  • High demand
  • Human error or malicious behaviour

Storms, floods, bushfires, and earthquakes can all destroy electrical lines and equipment, resulting in extensive outages. Ageing infrastructure, maintenance issues, and grid equipment failures can all cause outages. Overloading the grid during peak electricity usage periods, often exacerbated by adverse weather conditions, can result in blackouts. Accidental damage to electrical lines or vandalism can cause power outages.

Brownout VS. Blackout: Voltage 


Under-voltage incidents include both brownouts and voltage sags. Voltage sags are brief pauses in which voltages drop below the standard voltage line. When sagging occurs, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit connected to the appliance will click and continue to function. Brownouts, unlike sags, are extended periods of low voltage that might last hours or days. Sags rarely damage electrical devices; brownouts typically cause appliances such as laptops to reboot.

Brownout VS. Blackout: Impact on Devices 


Regarding the effects of a brownout on an Australian home, sensitive electronic equipment is intended to work at a specified voltage. During a power outage, low voltage can cause these devices to fail, corrupt data, or cause irreparable harm. Prolonged exposure to low voltages can cause stress on electronic components, resulting in a shortened service life.

The motors of appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners require a particular voltage level to function correctly. Power interruptions can cause these motors to overheat and fail prematurely. Inefficient functioning during power outages might result in higher energy usage and lower performance. Small appliances may have lower performance. For example, a microwave oven may take longer to heat food, or a blender may operate at a lower speed. LED lights and electric heaters may dim or emit less heat, impacting comfort and visibility.

  • Voltage fluctuations and sensitive electronics
  • Impact on major electrical appliances
  • Small appliances performance reduced
  • Lighting & heating system

Blackouts can cause slight inconvenience or significant damage to household equipment and devices. Understanding these effects can aid in developing appropriate preventive and mitigation strategies.

During a blackout, all electrically powered equipment stops working. This can lead to computer data loss, refrigerator spoiling, and the stoppage of all home activities that require electricity. When electricity is restored following a blackout, unexpected surges can harm unprotected devices and appliances. Repeated power outages can reduce the lifespan of appliances, particularly those with digital or electronic controls. Inoperative security systems and faulty lighting systems might endanger the safety and security of the home.

  • Immediate stop function
  • Surge risk
  • Long-term effects on appliances
  • Safety and security issues

Brownout VS. Blackout: Duration 


A blackout is the total loss of the electrical power supply. This means that all lights and appliances will turn off when it happens. A brownout is a momentary drop in power voltage that causes lights to fade and other electrical appliances to malfunction or shut off. Brownouts occur when there is insufficient power to meet the electricity demand.

Blackouts tend to persist longer than brownouts. Blackouts can endure for hours or even days, depending on the source, whereas brownouts only last a few seconds or minutes. Thus, blackouts are significantly more severe than brownouts. However, brownouts occur more regularly.


How Do You Prepare for A Brownout or Blackout?


Various equipment and technologies in the modern home rely primarily on energy. Understanding the impact of power outages and disturbances on these devices is crucial for ensuring their longevity and functionality. Here are some recommendations for planning for a brownout or blackout:

how to prepare for a brownout or blackout
  • Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency supply kit with nonperishable food, one gallon of water per person daily, prescriptions, flashlights, and extra batteries.
  • Power Solution: To extend your phone's battery life, fully charge it and have a battery-powered portable charger in your emergency kit. Alternatively, you can utilise a solar generator to power household equipment with solar energy. For example, the Jackery Solar Generator can be recharged using solar panels, carports, or wall outlets. This generator may be recharged using three different techniques.
  • Protect Your Food: Keep fridge and freezer doors closed to preserve their contents. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), your fridge can keep food safe for up to four hours during a power outage if you keep the door as closed as possible. In the event of a power outage, you may be unable to use your kitchen equipment, so ensure you have something to eat that does not require electricity or heat preparation.
  • Keep Safe: To prevent electrical surges from causing harm, disconnect appliances and gadgets. Use alternative arrangements to refrigerate medications or power-dependent medical devices. If it is safe, move to a different area for heating or cooling.

Jackery Solar Generators for Brownouts or Blackouts


A Jackery Solar Generator is a portable solar power system that transforms sunlight into electricity before storing it in batteries for later use. Unlike traditional gas-fired generators, solar generators operate quietly, emit no pollutants, and require little maintenance. They comprise solar panels, a battery storage system, and an inverter packed into a small, portable unit. This makes them perfect for various applications, including outdoor enjoyment and brownouts or blackouts.

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro


The Jackery Solar Generator 2000Pro is an excellent choice for individuals seeking a portable, dependable, and environmentally friendly power solution. Its remarkable features, such as ultra-fast solar charging in just 2 hours, a large capacity of 2160Wh, a 2200W inverter, and a 4400W surge capability, make it perfect for a wide range of applications. Whether for outdoor excursions, disaster readiness, home backup, remote work, or sustainable living, the Solar Generator 2000 Pro fulfils high-demand energy requirements.

Its weekly availability for up to ten years demonstrates its longevity and dependability, resulting in long-term value for your investment. Furthermore, its outstanding fast-charging capabilities - solar and AC - allow you to charge and power your equipment swiftly. A sophisticated Battery Management System (BMS) protects against overcharging, overcurrent, short circuits, and temperature changes to ensure safety.

The Jackery Solar Generator 2000Pro has a compact design that makes it easy to transport and store, making it an ideal choice for home and travel. When purchasing, consider the power capacity you require, the generator's portability, the potential for future scaling, and your budget. The Jackery Solar Generator 2000Pro features a robust feature set and could be a good investment for anyone searching for a high-performance, long-term power option.

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus


Jackery's high-performance Solar Generator 2000 Plus substantially advances portable power options. Its massive capacity and high power output allow it to power standard vans for weeks, making it ideal for outdoor trips or home backup power supply. Incorporating battery cells into the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus increases capacity from 2 kWh to 12 kWh, resulting in a paradigm shift in household backup power supply.

The Explorer 2000 Plus can deliver up to 3000W and has a 30% higher rated power than comparable 2 kWh models. Powered devices make up the vast majority of essential household appliances. Despite its regular use, the Solar Generator 2000 Plus can be fully charged in 6 hours (using 6* SolarSaga 100W solar panels). The power source becomes self-sufficient, charging from solar energy instead of the power grid.

The add-on battery pack can be charged with solar panels, providing additional flexibility while boosting charging efficiency and saving time. Jackery Solar Panels produce more lifetime energy due to their excellent solar conversion efficiency of up to 25%. Our solar panels produce 50% more electricity in low-light circumstances than traditional solar panels (PERC) and have a more robust spectrum response.

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus

What Size of Solar Generator Do I Need?


To select the correct size solar generator for your needs, consider your energy demand, the efficiency of your solar panels, battery storage capacity, and the specific needs of your equipment. Choosing the right size solar generator involves balancing energy needs, setup efficiency, mobility, and cost. Customers can select a Jackery Solar Generator with capacities ranging from 12 kWh to 300Wh for a portable solar system based on their energy requirements. The formula for estimating the operational hours of Jackery Solar Generator-powered appliances is as follows:

Working Hours (H) = [Jackery Solar Generator Capacity (Wh)*0.85] / Appliance's Wattage (W)

The Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro can power a 100W ceiling fan for 18.36 hours (2160Wh x 0.85/100). This calculation helps determine the hours when appliances can operate.

jackery solar generator 2000 pro vs 2000 plus

What to Do During A Brownout or Blackout?


Unforeseen brownouts or blackouts can impact both you and your family. Learn how to keep yourself safe during a brownout or blackout. 

Take Immediate Actions: Panic can worsen any emergency. Determine whether the problem is specific to the home or more widespread. Use torches instead of candles to reduce fire risk if it is midnight. Power fluctuations during a power outage might cause damage to sensitive gadgets. Unplug these items to avoid damage. Unplugging during a power loss helps to prevent power surges after electricity is restored. To acquire information on the outage, use a battery-powered radio or still-charged smartphone. Official sources typically provide updates and expected restoration times.

Long-Term Strategy:

  1. Put together an emergency bag with a torch, batteries, a first aid kit, and necessary prescriptions.
  2. Pack nonperishable food and at least one gallon of water per person for at least three days.
  3. Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors during power outages.

A refrigerator will keep its temperature for about 48 hours when closed (24 hours if half full). Installing a surge protector will safeguard your electronic devices from electrical surges. Consider placing a carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup in the centre of each floor of your home.

Cope with Hear/Cold: Stay hydrated and dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing during summer power outages. Use battery-powered fans and attempt to remain in the coolest area of your home. To keep warm in the winter, layer up and use blankets. Close off empty rooms and focus heat in occupied areas. Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or any other item that runs on gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal in your home or garage.

Special Considerations: People with medical requirements should make a plan for medical equipment and refrigerated drugs that require electricity. Know how long pharmaceuticals can be stored at warmer temperatures and make a backup plan. Businesses should prepare a contingency plan for dealing with power outages and brownouts. This includes backup power options, data protection measures, and communication plans for employees and customers.

Strategies

Actions

Immediate Action

1. Remain calm and assess the situation

2. Unplug electronics and appliances

3. Check information sources

Long-Term Strategy

1. Prepare an emergency kit

2. Food safety

3. Safety measures

Cope with Hear/Cold

1. Coping with the heat

2. Coping with the cold

Special Considerations

1. Medical needs

2. Business continuity


Brownout VS. Blackout FAQs


The following are the most frequently asked questions about brownouts and blackouts in Australia:

  1. 1. Does brownout affect the power supply?

During a brownout, gadgets continue to receive electricity at a lower rate. This may cause some gadgets to malfunction. An uninterruptible power supply can manage voltage drops due to its input voltage window. Brownouts are detrimental to IT loads; in many respects, they can be more disruptive than a true blackout, in which the electricity goes out. During a brownout, gadgets continue to receive electricity at a lower rate. This may cause some gadgets to malfunction. 

  1. 2. What appliances are vulnerable to brownouts or blackouts?

Several appliances are susceptible to power outages, whether blackouts or brownouts. Every gadget connected to an outlet or power strip is vulnerable to a power outage. Brownouts are especially likely to affect equipment with electric motors or components.

sensitive appliances for power outages

Electric motors and components exhibit heightened sensitivity to low voltage, as it prompts them to draw increased current and experience overheating. When an electric motor or component is subjected to a lower voltage than it is accustomed to, it is more likely to suffer damage. Unplug these devices during a blackout or brownout to protect them from harm caused by a power surge, which can occur when the power is restored.

  1. 3. How do brownouts affect computers?

A brownout reduces voltage power, which can damage equipment if you continue to use it. Unplugging your devices also protects them from damage caused by a power surge if the electricity is restored—a temporary reduction in the voltage of the alternating current. Brownouts can be highly hazardous to electronic equipment when they occur over an extended period. Brownouts can create flickering or fading on the screen, resulting in sporadic troubles for the computer.

  1. 4. How do you sleep during brownouts?

    Place a damp towel on your feet or the back of your neck while sleeping. Alternatively, moisten your socks with cold water and wear them. Rest on a straw or bamboo mat, which does not retain body heat. Sleep on a hammock. Ensure your bed linens have cool, lightweight, and breathable fibres. Your sheets, blankets, and pillows can significantly improve your summer comfort. Use blinds to keep your room from heating up during the day, and open windows at night to allow in air if it's colder.


    Final Thoughts


    Understanding the differences between brownouts vs. blackouts and disruptions is crucial for successful preparedness and reaction. Individuals and communities can dramatically reduce the effects of power outages by taking proactive measures such as preparing emergency kits, making family plans, and investing in sustainable solutions such as solar energy. Using energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, such as the Jackery Solar Generator, prepares us to respond to emergency power outages and contributes to long-term sustainability and resilience.

    Related Articles