This isn’t a natural fit with the blog theme — other than my love of gadgets — but I’m stretching the mitzvah theme today to include storm and emergency preparedness. When I moved to a tornado prone area I was worried about how to keep my cell phone charged during a power outage. A car charger works for most people, but not having a car that was out for me. I’ve been pleased to see several companies selling inexpensive chargers that work with regular AA batteries. They’re available via many gadget and computer catalogs, at airport computer and Palm stores — and the Energizer version (below) is also easily picked up for about $20 at most chain drugstores, and at big box and office supply stores. All the versions I’ve tested work off a single charging unit with multiple tip options for different phones and PDAs.
I have a couple different brands of these in different bags for the times when my cell phone dies when I’m out and about, but mostly as back-up for weather emergencies. The chargers using a single battery are smaller and tend to be sold separately from the tips (a nice option if you want to charge multiple devices), but I don’t find I get a full charge from just one battery: about a 40% charge on a small LG flip phone and only abut a 20% charge on a Palm Treo. The two-battery versions offer about twice the charge before draining the batteries.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a quick rundown of environmentally friendly wind-up gadgets that are useful for storm prep as well.
Today’s mitzvah: It’s tornado, hurricane, and flood season in the U.S. — and as I learned from our favorite reader in the Philippines, also typhoon season in some parts of the world. This makes it a good time to check your stock of water, batteries, and flashlights — as well as considering a weather radio if you don’t already have one.