I love getting stuff for free, don’t you? As long as there are no catches or fine print, getting something for nothing is thrilling. And though solar panels are expensive, small ones can be of help even during emergencies.
This picture is of my solar panel in my kitchen window. I’ve recently used this one to charge my Pebble-mini electronic print magnifier, also shown in this photo. Inspired by that success, I’ve used the panel to recharge my cell phone. These might sound like inconsequential experiments but they could have helpful benefits during an extended power outage.
Suppose lightning or a winter storm knocked out power for an extended period of time. If my cell phone needed recharging, I could use the solar panel. Even on a cloudy day, it provides enough current to top up the battery in both devices.
Back when Canada still had analogue television, I discovered that I could watch TV on a portable plugged into the panel. It only worked in strong sunlight but at least I could find out what was going on.
Similarly, this panel provided enough power to run my amateur radio hand-held transceiver. If the need arises, I can talk to local hams regarding restoration of mains power.
This panel also powered an air ionizer. Made for automobiles, this gadget plugged into the cigarette lighter. Until it stopped working recently, I used it to freshen the air in my kitchen.
I also own four portable radios with built-in solar panels. All I need to do is leave them in a sunlit window for a few hours and I can listen to news reports or music for hours. One radio has the weather band so I can hear directly from Environment Canada regarding upcoming severe weather. I also like just being able to listen without paying a cent for batteries. That was my major complaint when I had a radio as a child.
I wrote about my love of electronic gadgets in my three memoirs. The first two are featured at my Bruce Atchison’s books page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.