My day of unplugging

Texas Instruments sponsored me to do a challenge and write this post.

What would it be like to not have access to power plugs?

That’s what Texas Instruments challenged me to try.

They’ve built some really nice resources that you can use in your next power supply design, and now they want to spread the word:

In the challenge, I could not use any device that was plugged in for a whole day.

So, to prepare for the day, I charged up my two most important devices: My mobile phone and my laptop.

At 6.30 my alarm clock wakes me up. (It’s an app on my phone, so it’s allowed ;) )

First challenge: Breakfast.

Usually, I eat a homemade smoothie. But I can’t use my blender. I decide to go for a handful of almonds and a spoon of cod-liver oil.


No breakfast or coffee-making devices for me…

I cannot use my water boiler either, so no coffee for me this morning :(

So I end up staring blankly into the room. Without my morning coffee, my decision-making process is slow.

After a few minutes in a coma, I get myself together and decide to go to an office where I sometimes work.

Office challenges without power plugs

Today I’m working on shrinking a PCB design for a client.

I need to use KiCad on this project. But because KiCad does not work properly on my MacBook Pro (it has problems with Retina-displays), I need to use my old laptop for this project.

Now, I just hope it has enough battery to get the job done.

At 11.30, the battery icon is red, and I’m told I have about 20 minutes of battery power left.

Time to wrap it up!

I finish up what I was supposed to do and send it over to my client. I’m really efficient knowing that I only have a couple of hours of battery life!

Hungry after my less-than-optimal breakfast of almonds, I decide to get myself a protein shake and plan the rest of my day.

No WiFi

The biggest problem so far, apart from not being able to make my breakfast smoothie, has been to not use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi routers are using power plugs of course, so that’s a no go.

I have a data plan on my phone, but it only has 500 MB per month. This means I really need to think about how I use the internet.

Another client sends me a message.

Yesterday, I discovered a problem with noise on our 3.3V supply in the electronics for a coffee roaster I’m working on. Who knew that some noise on the 3.3V would result in unevenly roasted coffee beans?

Coffee machine debugging

On the Texas Instruments power blog, I read about their TO220 compatible power modules. I make a note of looking more into this (when I’m back on the grid).

I use the internet all the time for my work. With a limited internet access, I need to find tasks that do not require internet.

Therefore, I decide to focus on the following tasks: Reading, thinking, and planning. It’s a refreshing way to spend a few hours! Even though I would have loved to get more of my pending tasks done.


After work, I meet my wife to do some errands before we head home.

We’re both tired and want to turn on the television and relax on the sofa.

But no. I can’t use the power plug.

Then I think to myself: “I’ll make myself a tea and read a bit.”

But no. I can’t make tea without power plugs.

I guess I just have to be happy with a glass of water…

Tomorrow I am going to really appreciate my power plugs and enjoy my morning coffee!

To learn more about TI’s power management products, visit:

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8 thoughts on “My day of unplugging”

  1. Haha, you need to get a firepit and a thermoelectric generator. You can also heat some water in a cast iron kettle over the embers, and have a leisurely read by the amber glow of the embers! Get a lamp powered by hand-crank if you need some extra light!
    Take nothing for granted, my man. Cheers

  2. You could use the time without power to spend some quality time with your wife. When was the last time you two talked about everyday and not everyday stuff? Or, you can play with her some board games like Cluedo or Yamb or something else. Stargazing …. when was the last time you enjoyed a starry sky? It is beautiful this time of year!
    Eating outside and buying coffee, was that allowed? That would solve all your problems :)

    Anyway, I am glad you survived the day, but a day without electricity is a good day to spend some quality time with others or just go for a walk and read and relax and think about what you want to do in the future. When there is no power, being lazy is what you should do. And the client can wait one day, it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t do something he wants the same day :)

    You can also brew coffee without electricity! You need a pot, water, coffee powder, wood and matches and to go outdoor (in your yard, if you have it).

    By the way, thanks for the newsletters! They are short and very informative! Some of the newsletters even helped me to understand some of the components in a circuit.
    Keep up the good work because newbies need a tutor like you to teach them about electronics and to show them that electronics is easy and fun … but it can also be complicated, but most home projects are not. I don’t know if you have a post or a newsletter that talks about soldering guns, but if you don’t have it, you should write about it, because many stops at the beginning when they get overwhelmed with the prices and options for soldering guns. I bought a cheap chinese soldering gun “in electronics store” not in chinese market, and it works great. I take a good care of it even if it’s cheap, and I feel sorry for people who thinks that cheap is bad but they don’t have $100 for better quality, thus they stop in front of the door and turn around and never actually find out how great electronics is. Or they buy Arduino, play with it a little and then leave because they stuck with the buying of soldering iron. And the real fun starts when microcontrollers are added to project ….. but to get there, soldering iron is a must.

    Sorry for the long post. Keep up the good work, and if you ever visit Serbia, find it on the map, and do visit! We have many nice things to see, things you can’t see anywhere in the world! And a day here without electricity won’t feel so bad as it is there – there is lot of stuff to do without electricity. :)

    • Hey Adrian,

      I’d actually love to play more board games, so thanks for the tip!

      You’re right about soldering irons. You don’t need anything fancy. I’ve bought soldering irons for less than $10 that I’ve never had any problems with. I do have an article about it here:

      Serbia is a country I know very little about. I would love to visit and learn more one day!

      Take care!


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