Once I started to virtually have my life stored on my iPAQ, I had a concern about what I would do if I lost the ability to charge my iPAQ. I was especially troubled if I lost that ability for several days which has occurred several times in my life. During the winter, power outages occur due to snow or ice storms. Depending on where you live, the possibility of hurricanes, flooding and other adverse natural weather conditions can bring about the loss of power without notice. Because power outages can occur at any time, without warning, and for a variety of reasons, it is important to have a “backup” plan that is safe, secure and reliable.
How do I charge my cell phone? What about listening to the radio or watching an emergency TV broadcast? Real questions, legitimate concerns — so the search began for an alternative power solution.
Finding sources of alternative power solutions was an easy task but were these solutions practical and were they going to satisfy all the needs I might have? For the most part, if we lose power, rarely is it longer than a day but there are those times when a couple of days without power do occur. So should I buy a generator? How about a very large solar panel?
Cost is an issue and spending up to several thousand dollars for a potential power loss wasn’t really practical. I wanted the ability to charge my devices in an emergency but I also wanted the ability to have a portable power source that would satisfy my need for electricity in those special situations that occur.
In January, I posted a news item on a power supply that began by saying: “If you’ve ever wished you could take an electrical wall outlet with you, now you can”. I remembered that Xantrex Technology Inc. introduced their PowerPack 400R , a portable AC and DC power source that could be used for a variety of electrical needs. It was a seven-in-one power unit that certainly was ideal as a personal security device in a blackout, or a source of power for that “away from an outlet” tailgate party or for the do-it-yourselfer who needs portable or backup power for small power tools.
I decided to try this solution because, even though I have a small solar charger, every time I have lost power it has either been at night or so overcast that a solar charger was useless. I wanted the comfort of a backup power supply that was not outrageously expensive and yet would provide me with the power I needed for those essential devices that I use daily.