Friday, January 15, 2016

Tracking Your Battery Inventory

Most of us rely on batteries every day to power our mobile devices, our remote controls, and other convenience items in our homes.  I purchased a home last year that contained battery powered window shades in two rooms and worked via remote control.  This required eight AA batteries on the shade itself, and then AAA batteries for the remote controls.  Likewise, one of the ceiling fans in our house is remotely operated and requires a small "camera-style" battery for power.

First world problems, right?

The good news is that I have already standardized most of my battery-powered products (flashlights, radios, etc.) to AA or AAA.   The only D cell items I use are a pair of Magpul LED flashlights I keep in our two primary vehicles and a Coleman battery-powered lantern.   By standardizing around a couple of common sizes I am able to optimize my budget without having to keep track of a bunch of different types of batteries.  It's all about simplicity.  If I need an Excel spreadsheet to  keep track of my battery inventory, I am doing something wrong.

I have been purchasing batteries in bulk from places like Sam's Club.  I prefer Duracell, as they have longer lifespans than Energizers in my experience.  Lately, however, I am now buying them online, and buying Duracell Procells.  While some people contend that the regular Duracells and the Procells are essentially the same performance-wise, I have found the Procells tend last 10-15 percent longer than the regular Duracells.  I like the packaging as well - cardboard boxes instead of hard plastic. 

Take a look at how you use batteries, and whether you can optimize them around one or two sizes.  If you can't you need to work toward that goal.   Select flashlights and other devices that can use those sizes.  There are even cell phone chargers that can be powered by AA batteries.  I have a couple that work well.   It also frees you from using a laptop or wall outlet to recharge the backup charger.

You can build your battery stockpile up slowly, staggering the expiration dates and rotating your stock as you use batteries in your home for various devices.  The biggest battery hog in any home with a video game system like the XBox series is the game controller.  These are powered by AA batteries and tend to go through them quickly.   If you have a teen in your house with such a gaming system, make sure you keep a watch on how quickly he or she is burning through your battery supply.   Rechargeable battery packs for XBox game controllers are available and would be a good investment to preserve your stockpile.

With a good reserve of batteries, you will be ready to light up the night.

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