Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Batteries Power Your Preparation

Batteries are something we use almost every day. In an emergency situation, power will be extremely important for light, warmth, vehicles, and pumping water. A generator can help but they run on fuel. A solar generator is good but has limitations. Battery power for radios and lights are indispensable. There are many batteries out there with different pros and cons. I hope this will help you in your decision of which batteries will help you the most.
A rechargeable battery is a good alternative for a disposable battery. Using rechargeable batteries can save you money. You don’t have to use and dispose of batteries as often when you use rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are available for AA, AAA, and D. However, these kinds of batteries have a limited number of recharges. If you have reached the maximum number of recharges you have to change the battery.
Solar powered charging device
When there is no electricity for you to charge your batteries, you can use solar powered charging devices. There are devices that can provide hundreds of power cycles and it can be refueled by the sun. Goal zero makes some good products for charging batteries with the sun. Their devices can charge AA batteries, AAA batteries, or any USB port at the same time.
These are the different batteries and some info on them so that you can compare.

Cell type shelf life Capacity sizes available cycles cold weather use

Heavy duty 8+yrs Low AAA AA C D 9V 1 Poor
Alkaline 8+yrs Medium AAA AA C D 9V 1 Poor
Lithium (primary)15+yrs High AAA AA C D 1 Excellent
NiCd 3 mos Low AAA AA C D 9V 1-2K Good
NiMH 2 mos Medium AAA AA C D 9V 500-800 Poor
Lithium-ion 6 mos High R123A other sizes 300-500 Excellent
Heavy Duty
These are the cheapest batteries on the market. Their performance is also reflected by their low cost. They are the poorest quality battery. Avoid them.
These single use batteries are a good value. They are cost effective and perform just fine. One word of caution however: when purchasing Alkaline batteries, stick to brand names such as Duracell and Energizer, usually Ray-o-vac is cheapest. Generic brands such should be avoided as they are known to leak.
Lithium (primary)
These are the most expensive form of single use batteries but well exceed the others in terms of performance and capacity.
NiCD (Nickel Cadmium)
These rechargeables are a die hard for good reason. They are the most durable form of rechargeable battery you can buy. They will last a good 5 years of consistent use if properly cared for. Proper care includes sucking them dry every month or so and storing them in a cool place. They are also very reasonably priced. Please be careful when disposing of these. You should never burn, brake open, or dispose with other garbage. Locate a NiCd recycling bin to dispose of your batteries if possible.
NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)
Great value. Expect up to 3 years of effective use with solid power density.
Require special care and larger power source to charge off of like a car or off-grid electrical system. Great cold weather performance with top of the line power density. They do deteriorate quickly though. There will be a noticeable reduction in performance within a year of use.
Storing batteries:
Alkaline batteries stored at "room temperature" self-discharge at a rate of less than two percent per year. So normally refrigerating or freezing them will only help maintain their charge by a tiny amount. Hardly worth the effort of chilling them. However, if alkaline batteries are stored at higher temperatures they will start to lose capacity much quicker. At 85 degrees F they only lose about 5% per year, but at 100 degrees they lose 25% per year. So if you live in a very hot climate or are storing your batteries in a very hot location, it may be worthwhile for you to store your alkaline batteries in a refrigerator instead.
NiMH and NiCd batteries self-discharge at a MUCH faster rate than alkaline batteries. In fact, at "room temperature" (about 70 degrees F) NiMH and NiCD batteries will self-discharge a few percent PER DAY. Storing them at lower temperatures will slow their self-discharge rate dramatically. NiMH batteries stored at freezing will retain over 90% of their charge for full month. So it might make sense to store them in a freezer. If you do, it's best to bring them back to room temperature before using them. Even if you don't freeze your NiMH batteries after charging them, you should store them in a cool place to minimize their self-discharge.
Evaluate your battery needs. What devices will need batteries? Will you need to use them in cold weather? Will you be able to recharge them? No matter what you’re preparing for, making a place in your storage for batteries will be space well spent.
Semper Paratus
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