Author Topic: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.  (Read 5795 times)

GroundPounder

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Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« on: October 20, 2008, 12:48:26 PM »
Here is some advice I have learned from many years of preparedness and disaster response.  Always buy gear that takes AA batteries and never buy gear that uses rechargeable batteries if you can avoid it.  AA batteries are plentiful, can be stockpiled relatively inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and carry well.

Some of the items I carry that use AA batteries are:

- Flashlights
- Digital Camera (a great preparedness tool)
- GPS
- Two way radio
- Scanner

To charge my cellphone, Satellite phone, XM radio, and iPod I use a homemade 12V charger out of a radio shack battery carrier and 12V power port.  (see attached picture).  Downside is I have to carry the charging cables but last I looked I have not seen a cell phone that takes AA batteries!  The radio and iPod are convenience items that can be dropped if I run short of space or power.

In a pinch you can find AA all over the place.  Kids toys, TV remotes, radios, smoke detectors (last resort - dont recommend that on unless the SHTF really bad). 

There are also adapters you can buy to use AA in equipment that takes C and D size batteries. 


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Offline Roknrandy

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 02:29:34 PM »
Your correct, if most people will watch what they buy it takes a lot of guess work out if everything runs off the same type battery. I own a 2D cell mag light but don't use it much because the LED lights I have run longer and put out more light but use 1 battery so the weight and size savings are tremendous.

Offline Stein

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2008, 02:40:27 PM »
AA batteries are a workhorse for sure.  I always try to choose devices that use these and stockpile the big Duracel packs from Costco.

I also use D batteries due to the storage capacity.  D flashlights converted to LEDs run incredibly long on a couple of D batts.

GroundPounder

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2008, 02:59:10 PM »
AA batteries are a workhorse for sure.  I always try to choose devices that use these and stockpile the big Duracel packs from Costco.

Are you buying the actual Duracel batteries or the Costco branded batteries.  I have heard the Costco batteries are actually Duracels but cheaper.  I have had great luck with them.  I remember a while back Consumer Reports or a similar consumer magazine rated the Costco batteries the best.

Offline archer

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 03:08:06 PM »
AA batteries are a workhorse for sure.  I always try to choose devices that use these and stockpile the big Duracel packs from Costco.

I also use D batteries due to the storage capacity.  D flashlights converted to LEDs run incredibly long on a couple of D batts.

And incredibly bright! I have a 3 D-cell Maglite and with the new bulbs it can signal the Moon.


Offline wingrider

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008, 07:49:53 PM »
I use this to recharge my portable electronics. http://www.tekkeon.com/products-tekcharge1550.html

It is a great way to extend the charge on my cell phone, MP3 player and GPS. And it uses AA batteries. (More Joy)

Offline ElyasWolff

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008, 08:12:36 PM »
AA batteries are a workhorse for sure.  I always try to choose devices that use these and stockpile the big Duracel packs from Costco.

Are you buying the actual Duracel batteries or the Costco branded batteries.  I have heard the Costco batteries are actually Duracels but cheaper.  I have had great luck with them.  I remember a while back Consumer Reports or a similar consumer magazine rated the Costco batteries the best.

I use the Costco batts, even if they are not rebranded Duracells they perform like them.

You can get LED conversions for mini maglights.

You can buy Lithium AAs that have a 10 year shelf life.

GroundPounder

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 08:24:26 PM »

You can buy Lithium AAs that have a 10 year shelf life.

The Lithium batteries are great, just be aware some devices have issues with them.  They put out a little more voltage than alkaline batteries.  Test them out in your device before buying in quantity.  Also be aware that you can no longer check lithium batteries on airlines.

Another big advantage of lithium is the weight.  Lithium AA weigh ~ .5oz each while alkaline weigh in at around ~ .8oz each.  Big difference when you have a large quantity.

djturnz

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2008, 09:48:59 AM »
They used to sell a wind up phone charger.  I saw it on TV, don;t know if it worked well.

GroundPounder

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2008, 10:11:06 AM »
They used to sell a wind up phone charger.  I saw it on TV, don;t know if it worked well.

Dont waste your money.  They are cheap, break easily, and provide very little power output.

Offline robt871

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2008, 07:26:26 PM »
As far as cell phone chargers, you can get a grundig at radio shack or a offbrand at walmart radio in the camping section, some of them have cell phone, ipod chargers on them they are crank generated.

i have found for aa battery chargers, solar paneled yard lights work well, depending on the one you get they have between 1 and 2 batteries in them.  i have been collecting these from freecycle.org or .com it is a yahoo group. freebies are best on a budget.  i listed wanted: solar panel landscape lights.  someone had a box in the garage that they forgot about, until they saw my post.

djturnz

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2008, 10:34:17 AM »
Here is some advice I have learned from many years of preparedness and disaster response.  Always buy gear that takes AA batteries and never buy gear that uses rechargeable batteries if you can avoid it.  AA batteries are plentiful, can be stockpiled relatively inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and carry well.

Some of the items I carry that use AA batteries are:

- Flashlights
- Digital Camera (a great preparedness tool)
- GPS
- Two way radio
- Scanner

To charge my cellphone, Satellite phone, XM radio, and iPod I use a homemade 12V charger out of a radio shack battery carrier and 12V power port.  (see attached picture).  Downside is I have to carry the charging cables but last I looked I have not seen a cell phone that takes AA batteries!  The radio and iPod are convenience items that can be dropped if I run short of space or power.

In a pinch you can find AA all over the place.  Kids toys, TV remotes, radios, smoke detectors (last resort - dont recommend that on unless the SHTF really bad). 

There are also adapters you can buy to use AA in equipment that takes C and D size batteries. 


Is there actual charging curcuitry in that charger, or is it just a bank of batteries hooked to a "cigarette" lighter socket to use the charger that comes with the item?

Offline Nate

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2008, 12:06:11 PM »
i have found for aa battery chargers, solar paneled yard lights work well, depending on the one you get they have between 1 and 2 batteries in them. 

Can you explain how this works?  Sounds interesting!  Will these charge any rechargeable AA?

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Preparing to power you gear / The joy of AA batteries.
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2008, 12:46:35 PM »
I think that having regular batteries on hand is a good idea. However, I have a solar recharger that charges AA, AAA, C, and D batteries. Takes a good amount of time in the sun (depending on charging capacity of the battery). I like it though. Most products I buy have the ability to use one of these types of batteries. My head lamp uses 3 AA batteries. My two-way radios can use a recharger or take 3 AA batteries. I want to some day rig a solar panel system that will charge a battery and then have an outlet for regular appliances so I can use them to charge regular recharging equipment like cellphones, laptops, ect. But that is for another topic.

I keep both regular and rechargeable batteries in my car and in the house in case of need. I am especially happy with the types of equipment that can use AA batteries making a way to supply energy to equipment I might need when I am not near a store.