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dthomasdigital

Is it overkill, I'd like to think not!

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All the battery things.

50 flashlights various sizes and outputs and all over the place  from the bug out bags to the night stands, and the cars, including 6 hand cranked ones. 2 hand cranked weather radios, 6 mobile HAM radios (each bug out bag has one with a communications plan), 2 base station HAM radios. 6 smoke detectors, 3 carbon monoxide detectors, and 5 fire extinguishers (okay not batteries but I check them at the same time). Medical equipment; 2 blood pressure machines, 2 otoscopes,  2 pulse oximeters. And over 200 spare batteries all checked every quarter. Every time I check them I find something that needs replaced, is it overkill maybe but if and when I need these devices I want them ready to go. Oh and I check all my battery backup systems including those handy little USB batteries for the phones 5 of those.

What devices do you have that need batteries anything missing from my list?

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Based on recent posts, perhaps a couple blood glucose metering devices and test strips?

I keep cheap solar power USB charger on the dashboard of my truck. Seems to keep charged.

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10 hours ago, dthomasdigital said:

All the battery things.

50 flashlights various sizes and outputs and all over the place  from the bug out bags to the night stands, and the cars, including 6 hand cranked ones. 2 hand cranked weather radios, 6 mobile HAM radios (each bug out bag has one with a communications plan), 2 base station HAM radios. 6 smoke detectors, 3 carbon monoxide detectors, and 5 fire extinguishers (okay not batteries but I check them at the same time). Medical equipment; 2 blood pressure machines, 2 otoscopes,  2 pulse oximeters. And over 200 spare batteries all checked every quarter. Every time I check them I find something that needs replaced, is it overkill maybe but if and when I need these devices I want them ready to go. Oh and I check all my battery backup systems including those handy little USB batteries for the phones 5 of those.

What devices do you have that need batteries anything missing from my list?

     More and more of my stuff is either USB rechargeable or 12 volt rechargeable ( Glaucometer , phone, notepad, handheld radios ) with a few 19 volt laptops and a real power hog 300 watt HF ( about 30 amps at 12 volts ). I've been busily divesting most of my 1.5 volt battery devices ( giving away flashlights to friends etc. ) or switching them to NiMH where I can't change to Li-Ion. Which brings me to a bit of soldering iron work. There are dirt cheap DC-DC  boost converters that will take 3 volts up to 5 to 12 volts for low to moderate loads.  There are also DC-DC bucking converters that will take a wide range of input voltages and reduce them to a regulated 4.1 volts. Both running in the 95% efficiency range. There are also combination charger-booster units that are designed to take anything from 5 to 8 volts in , charge 3.6 volt Li-Ion packs and produce a regulated 5 volts out at 3 Amps. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Solar panels need more then just connecting to batteries, a nominal 12 volt panel needs at least a boost to 13.8 volts if you want to charge 12 volt lead acid batteries ( vehicle etc. ) even worse if hooked straight on they will discharge batteries when in shadow. Fed into a booster when they are producing any current all of it will go toward actually charging a device, even if it's not at full voltage ( so a panel making 10 volts at 500 ma is still going to trickle charge a car or laptop computer ) But the more interesting stuff is making your own "power wall" for lower voltage devices. A 3.6 volt battery with 50 x 18650 cells can easily provide 300 watt hours of electricity. Used as needed that amounts to charged phones, emergency lighting, and note pads for about one month. It's not a stretch to connect a good battery charger to use the bulk pack as a source and recharge removable cells too ( flash lights, NiMH cells for GPS units, GMR radios ).

     Given enough storage there are also power source alternatives that normally are either too variable or too intermittent to use effectively. Gas gen sets are great at supplying lots of power for short periods, but there is that gas source issue and unless they are closely matched to the load they waste most of it, they also produce carbon monoxide. They can be run on a few other sources, producer gas ( basically wood smoke, don't expect the engine to last ) or distilled alcohol. Can also convert these to run on propane or natural gas. While the power output is lower, the gas will store for centuries without breaking down so you can have a 500 gallon tank on standby. Also in an extended situation there are sewage digester options ( this makes steam look safe, 80 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide gas will drop you on the spot ).

     Wind is variable, solar too but given a good location and several days worth of storage, they do well.

     Steam is an option I hardly see discussed, less convenient then gas,  even more dangerous, and not an off the shelf item ( you'd need steam papers to buy and the supplier would need boiler approval ) so needs be a DIY project for most places ( you can build any damn fool thing you want as long as it's for your own use :-)  )  A boiler fed into an old automotive "pollution pump" could be good for 100 watts running about 100 PSI of steam. If you do decide to play with that, set it well away from anything flammable or living. Steam at 100 PSI is 170 degrees Celsius, that will broil any meat in seconds ( like you if you are near it when something breaks ) so it deserves respect, and distance. Given pressure relief valves and a spirit of bold adventure ( to quote Dr. Strangelove ) an old 100 lb propane tank would make a boiler and send any insurance adjuster into a catatonic fit.  A flash boiler would be safer ( coil of 5000 PSI rated stainless tubing for instance ) but is a bit more technically challenging.

Batteries can never store as much energy per unit weight or volume as combustible material, but Li-Ion are at least within an order of magnitude. 

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