Friday, November 20, 2020

Alkaline or Rechargeable?

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Earlier this week I received a message from a friend who asked: 
Hi there. Have you lately talked or blogged about whether to get a rechargeable flashlight? Anker has some cool ones and I like the idea of being able to recharge it. But, it also seems being able to use AA or AAA batteries is a huge convenience and doesn’t depend on having to find a plug or use a portable battery pack.

This is a very common dilemma among preppers. While there is no denying the efficiency and savings of rechargeable, there's also a huge convenience in the ability to quickly swap out exhausted batteries for fresh ones. What's a prepper to do?

My answer is to take the best of both worlds by purchasing rechargeable AA and AAA batteries to put inside your electronics, along with a recharger unit and a solar panel. This allows you to take advantage of the ready availability of alkaline batteries while also having a semi-renewable* source of power.

 Here are the preps I currently have. 

https://amzn.to/2ITjIOk

At nearly $30 the Eastshine Universal Smart Battery Charger isn't cheap, but it beats the pants off of any other charger I've ever owned by a large margin with these features:

  1. It recharges more battery sizes than AA and AAA. 
  2. It recharges Li-Ion batteries as well as the more common Ni-MH and Ni-Cd.
  3. It doesn't require a pair of batteries to recharge like most others do, meaning you can mix them up as needed.
  4. It actually tells you how long it takes until charging is completed. 
  5. It comes with a 12V-24V power port adapter so that you can recharge it with your car if necessary. 

That power adapter is a critical portion of my preps. 

This is an older model (circa 2010) Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel. Newer versions have since done away with it, but this version has a 12V output and an adapter to accept car port chargers. This gives me the ability to recharge my batteries through the Eastshine via sunlight. 

You can still get older versions of the Nomad 7 with 12V output, but they are increasingly difficult to find as newer models are now "unisex", meaning USB output only. I don't know why this is so, but it is. 

Of course, in order to recharge batteries you need batteries to recharge, and I recommend AmazonBasics AA High-Capacity Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries. The AA hold 2400 mAh of power, and the AAA hold 850 mAh. A four-pack of the AA costs $14.50, with an 8 pack costing $19; a four-pack of AAA costs $10.50 and an 8 pack is $17, so clearly buying in bulk whenever possible is the better deal.

This article is getting a bit long, so I'm going to stop here and make my Bug Out Bag charging solutions the topic of my next post. 


* Power cells eventually degrade to the point of uselessness. 

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