A reader asked me a question about my recent article describing computerized phone systems for home use at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=19020 (user name and password required). I mentioned that a cell phone has always worked well for me and for my neighbors during power outages. Indeed, a cell phone is the only phone service that has proven to be reliable during power outages in our area.
My correspondent asked, "How did you keep your cell phone charged during the hurricane and snowstorm outages?" I thought I would share my answer here with everyone.
Charging a cell phone is easy. Plug it into the cigarette lighter socket in the automobile. An auto battery will power and charge a cell phone for weeks.
In addition, I keep a “jumper battery” in my garage at all times for just such emergencies. It has a built-in “trickle charger” designed to be plugged into a wall outlet all the time, keeping the jumper battery fully charged and ready for any emergency at any time.
It charges electrical devices, jump-starts automobiles with dead batteries, and performs a bunch of other uses. It will run a cell phone for weeks and a number of other devices as well, such as a small radio. Some of these devices also have a built-in power inverter that supplies 110 volts A.C. Some also have air pumps to inflate tires, basketballs, and other blow-up items.
You can see one example of a jumper battery at http://goo.gl/sNZNU although similar batteries are also made by dozens of other companies. You can purchase similar units from many online retailers as well as at any auto parts store and from Wal-Mart, Sears, Harbor Freight, and similar retailers. I have owned one for years and would hate to be without it as it has so many uses.
I recently purchased a second one to keep in my motor home. I use it to inflate tires, and provide light. Mine has a power inverter. When the motor home is not connected to commercial power, I can even use the jumper battery to keep the laptop computer running for hours and hours without firing up the motor home's generator.