Thursday, November 01, 2012

Emergency Power

Well, Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and left a trail of destruction in its wake. I noticed a CNET article about preserving your smartphones battery life when there is a power outage - I haven't read it yet, but thought I'd give my take, since I've been without power for close on 36 hours. I am typing this on my iPhone (if one if my Android devices had data service I would be typing on it, especially one with a physical QWERTY keyboard). Naturally the one of the main tech problems is keeping a smartphone charged. My current "solution" consists of a number of rechargeable battery packs of varying vintage and capacity. I initially bought them for convenience - being able to use my smartphone while charging it is a major plus. Also when traveling they come in very handy. The first is an older APC "Mobile Power Pack" with a powered USB port which I used to use with my iPhone 3G several years back. It can top up an iPhone but I don't think it has enough juice to charge from a low battery. Then I have two 5200 mAh "Mobile Juice Pack Ultra" rechargeable batteries with single powered USB ports (both have enough power to charge an iPad, but I haven't tried that yet) and a small LED flashlight which I have found so handy I usually keep one on my bedside table. I was so impressed with the first one I bought the second one, which has a different brand name. Both of them come with various connectors and adapters, but a USB charge cable can be plugged directly into the USB port. The "PowerGen" branded one came with its own USB charger,and both have a micro-USB in port for charging. The PowerGen one also has a neat feature that it turns off once the device being charged is fully charged - this works with my iPhone 5, so I assume it would do the same with other smartphones. These two batteries are about half the width of an iPhone, an inch shorter, and at least twice as thick and fairly hefty. They have 4 blue lights which give an indicator of charge when the button is pressed. This same button also needs to be pressed to initiate a recharge when connected to a smartphone/tablet. This same button turns on the LED flashlight when pressed twice. They charge from USB, and if the power hasn't come on by this afternoon, I'll try my luck at topping one of them up from a DC to USB adapter I have for my car.

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