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vibrating de-icer for power lines

Prevent ice storm from downing power lines
  (+9, -2)
(+9, -2)
  [vote for,

How 'bout we put big old vibrators on telephone poles, to shake off ice before it gets so thick that it brings the power lines down. Sure, it would cost a bundle, but it already costs a bundle to recover from ice damage.
colorclocks, Jan 30 2009

Here's a way to accomplish that end, and create jobs also Gondola_20with_20the_20Wind
"Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, shall deter the line-riders from their sacred duties" [normzone, May 19 2009]

Pole Mounted Vibrators http://www.trojanco...s.aspx?ProductId=18
Like a giant one of these? [MikeD, May 20 2009]


       I've never met anyone who has tried to reposition a bird nest atop a {{vibrating}} telephone pole, thank the stars for cable, poor moles. +
skinflaps, Jan 30 2009

       I wonder if the ice could be melted with a controlled short circuit. They'd have to temporarily disconnect everyone, though.
Spacecoyote, Jan 30 2009

       Gets my, "I swear I was thinking 'bout this", vote. (+)   

       I understand that you can steal electricity with an antenna from powerlines. You can probably use that in your device. Are your power lines 60 or 50 hrtz?
MercuryNotMars, Jan 30 2009

       If you're giong to invest anyways, why not put the telephone cables under ground and rent the vibrating lines to migrating birds for relaxation?
loonquawl, Jan 30 2009

       The thing power lines have is power. That is why they have that silly name. The power could be used to melt ice without the need for moving parts. Have a separate high resistance wire wrapped around the lines. When there is ice, route some power through these high resistance wire so they get warm. Wolla! Meltage!
bungston, Jan 30 2009

       Since you'd have to have somebody standing there to supervise (6' icicles raining down on the sidewalk are much less fun when you're the person walking on the sidewalk) why not just take a long stick and bash the ice off.   

       [-] reality
FlyingToaster, Jan 30 2009

       Not at all, [Flying Toaster]. You'd want to shake off ice while it's in a thin enough layer to shake off. Ideally, you'd send a signal down the line to turn on the vibrators when the forecast calls for freezing rain.   

       Also, bashing with a long stick is ok for the lines in your backyard, but that's not really the problem. The problem is those big 100 kV long-distance lines that take out a city when they go down.   

       [Spacecoyote], [bungston]: I'd guess melting ice requires lots more power than shaking it off, though I haven't done any calculations.   

       [MercuryNotMars] I never thought of that. You could implement line vibrators by arranging to have adjacent lines magnetically attract and repel each other at 60 Hz. This might be a lot more efficient than pole-mounted vibrators.   

       [loonquawl] While I really like the idea of foot massagers for migrating birds, I think underground transmission lines lose too much power through capacitative coupling to ground. It's ok for neighborhoods, but on a wide scale it's pretty wasteful.
colorclocks, Jan 30 2009

       It would require a doubling of transformer investment at both ends, and it would be hard to manage the switchover without either a momentary blackout, brownout, or voltage spike.
Texticle, Jan 31 2009

       I'll send you the 4ft snowdrift that's blocking my side door.
FlyingToaster, Jan 31 2009

       In defiance of the global warming trend, the last few years we've had a couple of weeks of real winter weather similar to the couple of months worth we used to get in the 60's.   

       I look at +40C in much the same manner as -40C.
FlyingToaster, Feb 01 2009

       Haha, swear to god, [bubba], I've been living in a bubble these past few days. I'm a long way from there, but my folks are right in the middle of it. I didn't even know there was a cyclone 'till I read your post.   

       Thanks for letting me know to call the folks and make sure they're alright, although I know they will be.
Custardguts, Feb 01 2009

       Instead of "big" devices on the telephone poles, why not use small Tesla oscillators? They'd be dormant for most of the year so they'd have to be designed for reliability, but after a series of taps has begun to shake the wire at its natural resonant frequency I would think that the ice would break right off.
Gamma48, May 17 2009

       For my edification, does the ice on the line itself cause the power outage or is it more commonly caused by ice on tree branches falling onto and breaking the power line?
Gamma48, May 17 2009

       I've only seen one good ice storm, and it left my car encased in a shiny 2cm-thick transparent prison. Neato.   

       Anyway, as I understand it, the weight of the ice on both the lines and the towers themselves eventually leads to structural failure. I'm sure there are many levels of power failure before a tower comes down though.   

       Maybe painting the towers black would help a smidgen?
TIB, May 17 2009

       It occurred to me that if they were strung tight, the vibrations should produce very low bass notes, which might be transmitted through the earths crust for long distance communication.
bungston, May 18 2009

       That's correct, the weight of the ice breaks the cable.
Jscotty, May 19 2009

       " How 'bout we put big old vibrators on telephone poles "   

       Resisting linking to the appropriate image, but I've linked to one of my ideas.
normzone, May 19 2009

       //pole-mounted vibrators//   

       Baked. See Link.   

       Alas, [normzone]. Whereas restraint is concerned; you are the better man.
MikeD, May 20 2009


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