Rechargeable batteries are not only a great way to save money – but can be a valuable resource in a disaster.
Most of my battery-powered components use a standard AA battery. I am trying to keep it this way as the AA alkaline battery is relatively inexpensive and many can stored taking up little space.
Before I go any further – lets look at the different types of rechargeable batteries:
- NiCad – These are not available anymore. Low capacity – NiMH are better and have taken over the market.
- Nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) – The most common type of rechargeable battery and commonly found today. Varying energy capacities. Can be recharged many, many times.
- Lithium Ion – Powerful and long lasting. Also typically very expensive.
I have disposed of all my old NiCad’s and now have only NiMH and Lithium Ions.
One of the things I look at when I buy electrical devices is if they come with batteries, can they also run on regular store-bought alkalines, and do they have alternative powering methods such as a car charger. These are good selling points for me.
Above shows a few rechargeables from my supplies. Upper left-hand corner is a battery for my digital camera with a car charger cable attached. The charger itself will plug into a standard wall-outlet. To the right of that is a set of Midland walkie-talkies sitting in its charging station. Inside each radio are a set of rechargeable batteries that came with the set.
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The radios are also capable of being powered by any standard AA-battery. Below the Midland’s is a complete charging station by Energizer along with several Energizer Ni-MH AA batteries each holding 2500 mAh of power. This unit can be charged in a wall outlet or in a car.
Just to the right of that is a simple car charger adapter for a Sony PSP for my kids. Power goes out – they can play with the PSP to save MY sanity.
Finally – in the bottom left-hand corner is another charging station fo Ni-MH AA or AAA batteries. This is a cheap model I ordered off Amazon. Works. The batteries included each hold 2300 mAh of energy – a little less than the Energizer model. It can be charged via wall outlet or in a car.
My small solar system can do a lot to help charge any batteries I have. So – in a long term power outage I can keep many electrical devices running – from radio’s to flashlights. Being able to charge batteries while driving around or running a vehicle is a bonus.
I am looking at getting some other smaller solar system specifically for charging batteries as back ups. Here is an example – HERE.
Due to the number of cables, cords, and charger – I have labeled all of them so that there is no confusion as to what goes to what. Definitely helps.
Also – there are a lot of electronics nowadays that are plugged via a USB port. I bought one of these to use in a vehicle. Works great and was super cheap.