It has been said that amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics. I have attempted to put things aside for rainy days, and, with Mr. Biden at the helm, and Mr. Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation, well, my achy knees tell me that rainy days are a’coming.
This being November, it is Battery! Month! Semi annually, I inspect my batteries, and assess their charge. I inspect for signs of leakage, I test the strength (using a voltage meter: Radio Shack used to sell them for $10-$20, once upon a time), and contemplate whether I have enough of each size. Unlike ammunition, “MOAR!” is not always the correct answer, for, ammunition keeps nearly forever if kept cool, dry and in the dark. Batteries have a self discharge phenomenon, and both rechargeable as well as alkaline (and carbon-zinc), or “primary”, batteries, will lose their charge over time. (“Primary batteries” are single use, and their charge derives from the chemicals with which they are made. “secondary”, or rechargeable, batteries can be brought backup to charge, after discharge, although after a sufficient number of charge/discharge cycles, they gradually lose their ability to accept and hold a charge.) Therefore, in an ideal bunker, I would have just enough that I would have fully charged batteries in service, and enough fully charged replacements to cycle back and forth, so that no battery would die a lonely, unused, death, way back in the back of my battery shelf.
I am still striving for that level of efficiency.
When I checked this month, to my disappointment, I found that most of my rechargeable batteries had discharged. Once I see if they will accept and hold a charge, I will know if they are in need of replacement, or simply every 3 month assessment.
I have some primary cells, for items that are frequently used. I have an LED penlight fueled by AAA batteries, and another identical penlight, except that this LED emits in near UV. That is handy for illuminating rashes, sometimes revealing luminescence typical of certain strains of dermatophytes. You might recognize the rashes caused, such as “ringworm”, or dandruff, or athlete’s foot, among others. Not all the dermatophytes glow under UV, but when it does, it is an “AHA!” moment.
My SureFire and ITP flashlights ride in holsters on my belt. They are bright, “Light-up-the-yard” lights. There are two, because should one fail, it is likely that the other will function. There are two, because should one fail, it is likely that the other will function. I have spare batteries in my “Bag Of Tricks” (h/t to Felix The Cat)
Our vehicles each have a “torch”, to differentiate the hand held lights, from the headlamp, the light-up-the-interior-of-the-vehicle lanterns, or the LED warning flashers. One is powered by CR-123 batteries, two are powered by C primary cells (the torch, and one handheld flashlight)
The LED flashers are powered by AAA batteries, and are intended to allow oncoming traffic to see that there is something (Me!) in the roadway, in the event of a breakdown, collision, or other night time deviation from normal. It turns out, when you buy “budget” rechargeable batteries, they have fewer charge/discharge cycles in their make up, than quality cells. Guess which will replace the unsatisfactory batteries? Yep: buy once, cry once. Or cheap out, and cry. In the dark.
Each month has it’s own focus, such that I do not spend every single day off in any one month in my subterranean lair, checking off stores against a checklist. If all goes smoothly, I might get my inventory done in an afternoon. As a starting point for those who might be interested, I have included a representative sample of my battery-and-lights checklist.
EDC: UV Penlight AA x 2
Penlight AA x 2
Surefire CR-123 x 2
ITP CR 123 x 2
Keyring LR 41 x 4
Badge LR 41 x 4
Surefire G-2 CR 123 x 2
Ultrafire 18650 x 1
Camper: Lantern Box
Coleman Quad Lantern #1 D x8
Coleman Quad Lantern #2 D x 8
Siege Light #1 D x 3
Siege Light #2 D x 3
Siege Light AA AA x 3
Torch C x 2
Headlamp AA x 2
LED Beacons AAA x 3 each (6 beacons)
Torch C x 2
Headlamp AA x 2
LED Beacons AAA x 3 each (12 beacons)
Small Handheld light CR 123 x 2
Large Handheld Light C x 4
Medic Bag Surefire CR 123 x 2
Set #1 (2 phones x 2 D cells each) D x 4
Set #2 (2 phones x 2 D cells each) D x 4
AA x 4
Red Flashlight Toolbox
Mini Mag Lights x 2 (2 AA ea) AA x 4
Ray o Vac x 1 (2 AA) AA x 2
Mini Mag 3 cell AA x 3
Sure Fire Hurricane Light (weak CR 123, holds 12)
CUMULATIVE TOTALS, FOR EACH TYPE OF BATTERY
AA x 24 in service at any one time
AAA x 64
CR 123 x 8
18650 x 1
LR 41 x 8
C x 8
D x 30