In the event of a disaster or the end of the world as we know it, it is difficult to know whether electricity will be as widely available as it is now. Since manual items are much less common than they once were, having a power source may be extremely important for survival. The most portable way to store power for future use is in a battery.
However, just like with everything else, quality varies, and which batteries will work best for each individual’s needs are likely to vary as well. All batteries will lose charge over time, but a battery that has a higher capacity to begin with will logically last longer. These higher capacity batteries are generally alkaline (and therefore not rechargeable). On the other hand, rechargeable batteries can be used over and over, meaning fewer are required over time, so if one ison the move, this is a definite factor.
The most important factor when choosing batteries for survival preparations is whether they will be reliable. While most batteries have some degree of reliability, some believe that lithium-based batteries are the most reliable. Others prefer to stick with batteries that can be easily replaced and are less expensive, like the alkaline.
Pros: higher energy density, longer shelf life, disposable, lower cost
Cons: shorter use life, may leak
The most common batteries, alkaline batteries are the standard disposable batteries that are most often used for toys and devices. While it is possible to get alkaline batteries in a rechargeable version, they have lower performance quality and tend to have the memory effect – if they are recharged before being depleted, the bottom level becomes the level at which charging begun.
Most alkaline batteries are prone to leak, especially if left inside a device for extended periods of time. While some manufacturers are working to ameliorate that risk, notably Energizer, who now offers an alkaline battery that is guaranteed not to leak.
The best place to store alkaline batteries to keep them from self-discharging too quickly is in a cool, dry place. Humidity can cause corrosion, and excess heat can cause the batteries charge to break down must faster. However, temperatures that are too cool can damage batteries. The best temperature for storing batteries is cool room temperature – between 68 and 72 Fahrenheit. A degree or two cooler or warmer will have little effect, but more than that can be a detriment to battery life.
24 AA and 24 AAA disposable batteries will power devices without leaking.
Pros: high power density, low self-discharge, excellent in cold weather, long shelf life, leak-proof, low maintenance, quick charging
Cons: requires protection, expensive, transportation risk
Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries are rechargeable and long-lasting. They can power anything that needs a battery, as they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They hold a lot of energy and the self-discharge of lithium-ion batteries is minimal. They do not have a memory effect; whenever a lithium battery is recharged, it retains full capacity. However, the age of the battery does affect the capacity, due to the chemicals within. As it gets older, it will hold less charge. However, if the battery is to be stored, it can be charged to around half, in a cool place, to make it last longer. Transporting a li-ion battery – especially via air – can be a risk, as they can expand and short circuit or explode. They must have ventilation and a way to reduce heat.
It can be difficult to be certain when consideringwhat temperature should lithium batteries be stored at, because it can depend on the level of charge. The average is 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celcius), but slightly cooler than room temperature is usually a good plan. Refrigerator temperature is a bit too cool.
No need for a separate charger – these batteries have a USB to pop into a computer or adapter to quickly recharge the batteries for more use.
High capacity, fast recharge batteries require a specific charger for recharging but have lasting power and stable voltage.
While both types are nickel, there is a big difference between Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. Ni-MH tend to have higher capacity than NiCd and is more environmentally friendly due to the cadmium’s toxicity. However, the Ni-MH will self-discharge more quickly than the NiCd.
Pros: relatively inexpensive, can be recharged many times – potentially over 1000, good performance, long shelf life, rugged
Cons:lower capacity, toxic metal, lower energy density, prone to memory effect, lower voltage
The first type of rechargeable batteries to hit the market, the nickel-cadmium batteries are still often used. NiCd batteries can be sealed or vented; the sealed are often used in battery packs. They generally have 1.2 V rather than the standard 1.5 V, which can be an issue for some devices.
High capacity nickel-cadmium batteries last longer to provide power for lights, remotes, wireless devices, and all kinds of electronics.
Pros: high capacity, no toxic materials, environmentally friendly, rechargeable hundreds of times
Cons: more expensive, sudden end of charge, quick self-discharge
These usually have no memory effect, and when they are put into a device, they give full power from the start. However, when they run out of charge, there is usually a sudden stop, rather than a running-down like many batteries would. Their faster self-discharge, however, means that they need to be recharged regularly even without use.
Four double-a batteries come with a charger to allow users to always have freshly charged batteries for devices.
In a survival situation, 12-volt batteries may be a good option, especially for powering large devices or for recharging smaller ones and smaller batteries. There are two main types of this size battery: gel and AGM.
Pros: no maintenance, no leaking, use anywhere, almost no risk, resistant to vibration, full discharge is less likely to prevent recharge
Cons: higher cost, slow to charge, requires supervision during charging, heat sensitive
The gel is created by adding silica to thicken the electrolyte. This means the battery can be installed without requiring a certain position. They are leak resistant because of the thickness of the gel. Unlike standard lead-acid batteries, damage to the casing will not result in a hazardous spill. Attention near the end of the charging process is required, as overcharging can cause damage that cannot be reversed. Overheating will also shorten this type of battery’s life cycle.
Maintenance free rechargeable battery is compatible with lawn mowers, golf carts, generators, and more.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
Pros:maintenance free, spillproof, high power output, fast charge, durable
Cons:should not be discharged more than halfway, reduced capacity over time, sensitive to overcharging
AGM batteries have a limited quantity of acid, which is contained in a glass mat. This is why it cannot spill. Their high-power output is good, but it must be limited.
To make an AGM battery last the longest, discharge only to 30% (that is, do not go below 70% charge); this will result in around 1200 cycles. Discharging to 50% will give you about 550 cycles and discharging 100% allows about 320 cycles. A bit of simple math finds that 30% gives the best result, but 100% actually has a betterresult than 50% in total energy. However, temperature is a factor that must be considered. Keeping the temperature around 77 degrees Fahrenheit will give the best results.
Rechargeable spillproof battery can be installed in any position and recharged many times to provide power at home or in the wild.