Spare batteries will be important if the grid goes down!

Get Spare Batteries For Your Devices Before The Grid Goes Down

If you’re into preparedness, one of the worst case scenarios that you might prepare for – is the electrical power grid going down. Especially, for the grid being down more than just a short period of time. I’m talking about a hypothetical long term grid down. That scenario would be a doomsday event for most people, if it were widespread and long lasting. Staggering estimates indicate that up to 90% of people wouldn’t make it. Although the following is certainly not priority-1 for such an event, one of the many things to consider is to pre-emptively acquire plenty of spare batteries for important or mission-critical battery-powered devices. Here’s what I mean…

While there are many high priority preparedness plans and actions for such an event, I’m simply and narrowly focusing on the topic of spare batteries for this post. Here’s how to go about it…

Your Battery-powered Devices

Take a look around your place. Identify all of your devices that run on battery power. Ask yourself which of them might be assets under the horrible circumstance of long-term grid down. Then, come up with an action plan to get plenty of extra batteries to keep those devices powered. There’s more…keep reading…

Consider Rechargeable Batteries

Several considerations come to mind. One of which is the following. It’s one thing to stock up with spare batteries of the type that fit into your various devices. However, in many cases, you can take it a step further and get rechargeable batteries instead. In this way, as long as you have a way to recharge the batteries, you’ll have a near endless supply of battery power for those devices. That is, up to the extent of recharge cycles for a typical rechargeable battery (which is quite a lot).

If you have a device whereby you cannot find a rechargeable battery replacement, at least get yourself enough spare regular batteries of that type – to include in your storage, just in case. Because if and when the lights go out, it will be too late to procure batteries!

I won’t bother too much getting into all of the specific batteries and devices. That’s up to you, and whatever battery-powered devices that you have. Rather, I’m simply pointing out that if the worst were to happen, you will be SOL if you have not prepared in this department.

Flashlights, headlamps, 2-way handheld radios, portable AM/FM radio, portable shortwave radios (with Ham bands and SSB!), Ham radio transceivers, drone, night vision devices, grip-mounted crimson trace lasers, picatinny mounted visible/IR/laser illuminator, tactical light, red-dot, remote controls, thermostats, medical-related monitors, key-fob, etc..

Spare Batteries – Type?

Many, or possibly most battery powered devices (e.g. flashlights, headlamps, portable radios, etc..) these days will take AA or AAA type batteries. Most of these can be replaced with rechargeable batteries.

Here’s an article about what I presently use:
Best AA Rechargeable Batteries – The Eneloop – Why I Like Them

Regarding regular alkaline batteries, I made the switch (long ago) to Energizer MAX. They’re great. Good shelf life and they don’t leak.

Here’s another article about that topic:
Batteries That Won’t Leak or Corrode

I also use that same brand for devices that require the very commonly used 2032 batteries (a small disk shaped ‘coin cell’ type). Energizer 2032 Lithium (amzn)

You might be wondering, do they make a rechargeable 2032 battery? Well, the answer is, yes they do. Here’s one example… Charger with (4) 2032 batteries (amzn)

There are other common battery types too. Point being, whatever battery you need, search and see if there are rechargeable replacements.

It may also be a good idea to have a spare 12-volt battery on hand. Be it a standard lead-cell car battery, or AGM (safe for indoors). This will power a ‘Ham radio’ transceiver (HF, or VHF/UHF). You could also hook up an AC inverter to a 12-volt battery to power a low demand 120-VAC device to the extent of the battery capacity. Tip… never discharge a typical 12-volt battery all the way down, because you’ll kill it.

Power Source For The Battery Chargers

If the grid is down, how are you going to power-up your battery chargers? Some are designed to plug into a home 120-volt AC wall outlet. Others, a 5-volt USB port.

A gasoline or propane fueled generator will obviously provide a power source (and power for other loads). But when the fuel runs out (e.g. long term grid down), you’re SOL.

The latest trend are battery powered ‘portable power stations’ or ‘solar generators’ (or whatever marketing term they come up with. Just bear in mind that presently they are not near as powerful as a typical gas generator, and won’t perform up to that standard. However, it’s an intriguing alternative for lesser-demanding loads. Here’s an article about one particular solution…

[ Read: Jackery versus Gas Powered Generator ]

You might even take all this a step further and build your own stand-alone mini power grid from solar panels with a battery bank of storage. That’s what I did. It does require “know-how”, otherwise you pay to have it done. Without getting into all the details how to build your own off-grid solar power source, I’m simply suggesting this as an option for long-term grid-down preparedness.

[ Read: The Four Essentials of an Off Grid Solar System ]

There are simpler options to provide a power source for a battery charger for typical consumer batteries. A fold-out solar panel array with a built-in USB power output.

[ Read: Charge AA Batteries – And More – With A Portable Solar Panel ]

Conclusion

Long term power grid down. It seems unthinkable. However it is within the realm of possibilities. The power grid is vulnerable (in a number of ways). Energy is required for modern life to exist. And that includes, literally, your survival. Today’s article simply and narrowly focuses on your various battery powered devices which may be important to you during such a time. Consider having either extra spare batteries for them, and/or the ability to recharge batteries to keep those devices operational throughout.

[ Read: Best DX Radio For AM DXing – Long Range Listening ]

[ Read: Top Choice Shortwave Radios For Preppers ]

24 Comments

  1. A very important item. I favor rechargeable batteries when ever possible and multiple ways to charge them. Stock up now, “make hay while the sun shines” as I was told.

  2. i really like the rechargeable eneloop batteries. I’ve used them for years and have had good luck with em. i need to get some more. the ones i have are getting some miles on em. i can recharge them from a wall plug, a 12V. battery or solar.
    i’m not a big fan of anything disposable, a one time use and toss em.

  3. We have both types. At the start of hurricane season Florida does away with the state tax on certain items, such as batteries, so we stock up then.

    Our security system has AA battery backup, so should the system ever does go offline for a long time, we have batteries to keep us safe.

  4. Many of my ham friends have teased me about “running off of a battery.” “Just buy a 120VAC power supply, they’re cheap.” They’re correct on the power supply for ham radio. It is reasonably cheap. I have always run my ham radios on a large marine battery. Preparedness is the ONLY reason I got into ham in the first place. I think I’m well stocked with AA and AAA batteries. Both rechargable and one-time use.

    If you’re a ham, you’ve likely figured out your “power supply” won’t work in grid-down. Might be worth a look to remind yourself of how dc from a battery would hook up. Same thing with all the baofeng guys. Take a look. It’s not difficult, but it may be different if you’ve always just plugged in to a wall outlet or a usb port.

    1. Plainsmedic,
      Just be thankful we don’t need those high voltage (200v) grid batteries like they had to have back in the 30s. LOL. Radio was born and raised on batteries. AC power supplies came later. You won’t get a laugh out of me for running batteries, I think it’s smart.

      1. Minerjim,
        I have a ham friend who is into OLD HF radios. He works on ’em and repairs ’em. Uses them daily. His latest favorite is from the Korean war. A huge and heavy monstrosity. He built a ‘stand’ with castors so he can roll it around. Old tubes, and new tubes. He has a new transceiver too, but rarely uses it. He would be one I’d contact for info. Watching him use the old stuff is amazing. He’s always tweeking and adjusting knobs and switches. He has skills I’ll never possess.

        1. Plainsmedic,
          All those adjustments are now made automatically by radio circuits. Hams developed them over the years, always trying to find a way to make radio better. The state of ham radio is amazing when compared to ” spark coil” communications of yesteryear. Playing with those old sets gives a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of radio. I have tried, but my brain is full.😉 so I’ll just stick with rigs that work for me, and build my own antennas (which my feeble mind seems to understand).

          1. Minerjim,
            Yes, he explained all that to me. His smile shows that he’d rather “do it himself.” I must admit, I enjoy the older 1970’s – 80’s transceivers. We have several old 2m all-modes from that era. My newer Yaesu 857d does nearly everything. All it does is work.

            Starting to work on another 2m fm yagi. Slightly larger diameter of elements from what I’ve used in the past. As I understand things, same position on the boom, but maybe slightly shorter elements. Planning to build it exactly like the others and then cut them shorter if needed. SWR. I acquired another old tv antenna. It has larger diameter elements so …….

  5. The 3 way lanterns(Solar-Dynamo-AA Batteries)give a lot of light for your buck.The Dynamo flash lights are ok but not
    extremely bright however you can charge it while walking.

    Our local power outages have been short so far usually caused by wind.Sometimes a heavy wet snow will take the lines down.
    The first day each month is a check up day for all light sources.

  6. Spot on again KJ

    Batteries of all types, buy extra extra even, good barter item, personally most i have now are eneloop, the rest are energizer lithiums,

  7. Also store the batteries in the fridge, 20 years of great results doing this for any type…..”buy them cheap and stack them deep in the fridge” sorry the devil made me say that…blessings to all here

  8. For my part I prefer Kentli 1.5V rechargeables. They have a output of 1.5V up to the last moment. Lots of gear “complains” about the “almost empty” 1.2 batteries.

  9. I have two Battery Daddies that I store batteries in. I like how they are organized, so I know where each type of battery is. I like how there are no loose batteries to accidentally touch. If one corrodes, it’s in a separate section. And my 5-year-old grandson can fetch them for me.

  10. I purchased a harbor freight solar panel system, it was cheap and a good introduction to how solar works. A single system will charge batteries or power an am/fm radio ect. Playing with them and using a watt meater I learned a lot about electricity.

    1. I have a few packs of batteries, like AA and D and was told to buy a charger for them, to recharge them but I cannot find a soul who is happy with ANY charger they have purchased, be it solar or not.

      Any thoughts?

      Thanks!

        1. Thanks! My batteries are just regular DURACELL, I bought from COSTCO…. will that Maha work for them or not?

          Thanks again!

          1. Mrs. T – You need to have batteries designed to accept a recharge, such as Eneloop and others mentioned here. Duracell’s are one and done unless they leak, then they won’t make it that far. In an emergency they will accept a small recharge, but it is not practical.

    2. Left Coast,
      I did the same thing, years back. For the price, not a horrible deal. You can do a LOT better, but ya gotta start somewhere. In fact, I still have one of those in an outbuilding, still in the box. If it all goes bad, I’ll be digging that thing out too. Not much power, 45watts I think, but some is better than none. For those out there with nothing, not a bad choice to get started.

    1. Ms T – Oh gosh I just noticed that I messed up the Ms/Mrs part, it was unintentional. Incidentally, Maha sells their own private label rechargeable batteries, they are of excellent quality too. Maybe you can score a kit deal.

  11. Hi, I’ve been off grid 22 years.
    Invest in a couple of Battery tester’s for your rechargeables.
    Check them when removing from radio etc.
    After they have settled (cooled off) after charging, check them again…
    They sometimes fail to accept full charge.
    This check will prevent the dud from dragging others down when in use.
    If I find one that is dodgy, I put a stripe around it with permanent pen.
    This has saved me from tossing out good batteries along with bad.
    Don’t use rechargeables and alkaline together.
    Not good for either if them.
    Cheers.

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