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What is your 'grid down' lighting solution?

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by earthman, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    If the mains feed to your house happens to be cut off for X amount of days, have you got a particular lighting set up in place? I'm guessing that most of us on here have more than enough hand held type torches close to hand but having to hand hold/carry one from one room to another etc is hardly ideal and what with their high battery consumption in general.

    Currently I have a couple of single cell 18650 torches which can tail stand and would light up an whole room no problem but the battery certainly wouldn't keep that up for too many hours/evenings,.....do you guys keep a load of spare 18650's batteries fully charged? Maybe you have a few torches that run off four 18650's, I guess that those types of torches could last a week on their lower outputs but still provide enough light to light a room to a fair degree.

    I'm thinking that the LED strips/12V car battery route is probably the best modern day answer but having to rig up this kind of thing in each room, on the spur of the moment is going to be heavy/awkward,..I know that the wife wouldn't be too happy if they were left permanently in place/on show. :D And of course there's the recharging aspect, without having a huge bank of solar panels, do you just make sure that you connect each car battery to a mains charger say once a month??

    We do have candles and a petrol camping type lantern in the house and would use them if need be, is the 'old way' still the best/most common approach? What do you guys think??
     
  2. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I have a couple of lanterns with a long battery life on low. If I have reason to expect the grid to be down - storm season, for example, I buy a couple packs of batteries.

    Since I live alone, I also buy tea candles to put in stainless steel bowls which act as reflectors for the candlelight.

    If you're talking TEOTWAWKI, I'd look at getting rechargeables with portable solar panels - you saw something similar going on with New Yorkers in the aftermath of Sandy; communal use of solar panels to charge cell phones.
     
  3. PragmaticMurphyist

    PragmaticMurphyist Loaded Pockets

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    3x D-cell LED lantern, (allegedly) 3 days light on a fresh set of cells, a couple of sets of cells in reserve
    Fenix HL-50, a load of CR123a's (I buy 10x a time from the 'net) and a load of AA's
    A few candles

    If those start running low I'll follow the Instructable for making an olive oil lantern!
     
  4. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Earlier this year we had an uninterruptable power supply natural gas generator installed at our home. The power company had a program where you can amortize the cost so it was relatively painless. Operation is simple: if the power goes out the generator kicks on. Since it's already hardwired into the house there are no transfer switches or doodads to mess with. However, if some unforeseen major disaster occurs, such as a rare earthquake (we've had just one very small one in over 50 years) and the gas supply is broken, then here's plan B:

    1. A portable gasoline generator that can power our refrigerator and several lights plus sufficient gasoline (stored in a safe location away from our home) to run it for several days. In years past when we needed to use this we'd put it on the back deck and chain it in place.

    2. Six solar/hand crank/battery lanterns that can be pre-charged in wall outlets. These are by Freeplay.

    3. Each room also has an Energizer brand flashlight/nightlight that plugs into a wall outlet and automatically turns on the nightlight function if we lose power. Surprisingly well made, but the lumens on the flashlight function are nothing crazy.

    4. We also have lots of "real" flashlights --Surefires, Fenixes, etc. -- scattered around the house as well as plenty of spare batteries.

    5. A couple of solar chargers in case we need to go that route.

    6. County Comm wee little clip-on LED lights ... cheap, handy, convenient.

    7. We also have three small portable radios that have battery, crank, and solar charging capability. They each have a phone charging plug and a small light built in.

    We 'accumulated' all of this before we got the big permanently-mounted generator put in and still find a lot of it useful, especially the flashlights and solar chargers, for backpacking trips.
     
    Last edited by Cobra 6 Actual, Jan 30, 2016
  5. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    group portrait of my area lights... the smaller Coleman LEDs and tin plated Feuerhand kero lamp were purchased after the 2004/2005 hurricane season... the red Dietz Air Pilot and yellow Dietz USA Little Wizard served well for the 9 day outage... both of the Coleman LEDs are AA Eneloop powered... I can charge off my 7w Goal Zero panel or via 12v auto plug... the Feuerhand puts out outstanding clean light... sorry about the dust:)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    We've had three 5-day power outages, the last being Sandy, and I'm a camper, so I can use a flashlight a lot. I have a small RV with generator and 12V deep cycle battery, portable/backpack solar panels, and 12V/USB battery chargers for Li-ions and NiMhs/Eneelops, and a decent stock of primaries - so I have no worries near home/RV. It's while I'm away from home/car relying on only EDC, that has put me close to the edge a couple of times, and have defined my lighting priorities. For me, they are:

    - low lumen mode spacing and using my night vision. I enjoy letting my eyes dark adapt and use 0.3/3 lumens probably 45/45% of the time - a single AA Eneloop probably lasts me 100 hours. 0.3/3/30 lumens is all I need for a power outage. Dark adaptation allows me to see well outside of the light's beam, which for me makes the outdoors more enjoyable and less scary - the battery conservation is huge bonus.

    - wide voltage tolerance 0.9-4.2v lights, with the right head design. I EDC a little tinfoil and paperclip in my wallet and can rig my EDC lights to run on any Alkaline or NiMh battery (9v, AAA, AA, C, D). My "AA" lights can also run CR123s, and any Li-ion, and I actually use a 16650 for trips, so I can battery bank it to my cellphone. The few times I almost ran of lighting power were more due to having the wrong type of battery, as opposed to no battery - that won't happen again.

    - other gadget standardization. I also EDC a radio, and sometimes GPS, based on Eneloops; a USB AC/12v DC wallwart; and a tiny battery charger that'll charge Li-ions and NiMhs, and powerbank both back to my phone. So there's a pretty deep bench from which to mix and match batteries based on priorities.

    At home, however, I like Alkaline D cells as my primary area light. They contain more energy than an 18650, but cost ~$1 piece from Costco (Duracells), store for ~10 yrs, and I can run most of my AA and AAA lights off them in a lantern mode. HERE's my keychain light.
     
  7. twin63

    twin63 Loaded Pockets

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    My grid down lighting plan/set up is similar to my friend reppans (in fact, I've borrowed quite a bit from him over the last few years in regards to emergency lighting, battery substitution, etc.). I'll be using AA lights with moonlight/low modes (primarily Quark AA/AA2's). I have diffusers to use with tailstanding lights for area lighting, and headbands that allow me to use the same lights hands-free. In a true grid down event with little to no ambient lighting (total darkness), I would expect to need less lumens for adequate lighting. So, with efficient low-mode lights, a good supply of batteries, and judicious use of power levels (just the amount of light needed at any given time), I should be covered for quite a while.

    I also have a couple of Streamlight Siege lanterns (AA cell and D cell models) that performed well in a short-term power outage a few months back. They could be pressed into service if needed (I should add that I live in a small, one bedroom flat - I don't have much area to light, so the AA lights by themselves are sufficient).
     
  8. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    Last big power outage in the area lasted 6 days after a big snow storm. Fortunately those are not the norm. I have often thought about a generator, but haven't bought one because I just don't think it would see much use (maybe not a good reason). My house has a couple of fireplaces, and we keep a supply of wood. Also have kerosene heater powerful enough to heat the main living area of the house, and a ton of kerosene lamps and a few kerosene lanterns around for lighting. In regard to flashlights I've settled on AA lights for portable lighting, and like some of the responses above, I think that the low light modes with lengthy runtimes on these flashlights (and a nice supply of AA batteries) would be more than sufficient for most outages. Most recently purchased a couple of Thrunight 4AA lights that are stated to have an 80 day runtime on a .5 lumen setting, and almost a 4 day runtime on a 15 lumen low setting. Also a couple of single cell AA pocket edc flashlights that have advertised runtimes of 40-50hrs. These would probably be more than enough for most power outages on a single AA battery.
     
    Last edited by dmattaponi, Jan 29, 2016
  9. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    It's hard to pass up a nice AA flashlight that has a low mode. By day two of the power outage, your eyes have adjusted well enough for casual nighttime use that most "low" settings provide more than enough light.
     
  10. wrath0r
    • In Omnia Paratus

    wrath0r EDC Junkie!!!

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    I have an LED lantern that lasts a long time in low mode. Solar power charging. I also have a candle lantern in the house and another in the truck, with several extra candles. It's not much, but it's enough.
     
  11. GQP

    GQP Loaded Pockets

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    I have solar backup that will run the basment with communications, TV and lights for about 3 days if the batteries don't get to recharge. However, it does not provide electricity to any other part of the house. I do have portable solar panels and battery units if it comes down to it.

    Other

    A silly amount of flashlights and headlamps
    100 tea light candles from the dollar store
    A couple of dozen chem lights
    Uvpaqlite XL and Mini
    Eno Camp Lights (these things are awesome and I use them every time there is a power outage)
    Battery, Oil and crank lanterns
    IR and Thermal vision devices

    I spent 2 weeks without power in Memphis, and that was a dangerous situation when the sun went down. We suffered looting, home invasions and other acts of crime. The number one thing I wish I had at the time was the ability to see. You could hear crowds of people tearing their way down the street, but you could not see them. This was a situation I wanted to make sure I was never in again.

    So I may have done a little overboard over the years since...but Im fine with that.
     
  12. wrath0r
    • In Omnia Paratus

    wrath0r EDC Junkie!!!

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    What does a portable solar panel look like? Is this just a small solar battery charger, or something you can actually take outside and power part of your house?
     
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  13. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    When our grid goes down ill be on the phone with the energy company in a second to complain that we don't live in a 3rd world country or the USA so they better fix it bloody fast.
     
  14. Here Comes The BOOM

    Here Comes The BOOM EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Besides a limited supply of Cr123A batteries I got some rechargebles as well that I can pair up with my solar charger, but that's just a back up plan really.

    Otherwise I have a couple of oil lanterns and a 5 gallon drum of kerosene to go with them. Gives off a bit of heat as well depending on how high you set them (I keep another drum of cleaner kerosine and a small heater as well for when it gets really cold though).

    But the funny thing is, the power hasn't been out for more then a few seconds in the last 20 years over here :p
     
  15. Here Comes The BOOM

    Here Comes The BOOM EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    As far as I know they are only powerful enough to charge small electronic devices in this day and age. They come in different shapes and sizes and some batteries have a build in solar panel, but here is what I use: the Powermonkey Extreme:

    [​IMG]

    Folded closed the panels are about the size of a 6" smartphone, the battery is 9000mAh and it takes about two days of bright summer skies to fill the battery completely. That's about enough to charge a tablet twice or a smartphone 3 to four times to give you some idea.
     
  16. GQP

    GQP Loaded Pockets

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    I have 2 GoalZero Guide Kits for small items as well as a BioLite camp stove (though that is thermal electric)

    Then I have a larger setup using Harbor Freight panels and charger which hookup to a battery box with a deep-cycle marine battery and mounted power inverter. I keep the battery toped off so it is good to go.

    I am saving for an actual generator, but still haven't decided on diesel or natural gas.
     
  17. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    :D
     
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  18. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    GQP and others with night vision or IR... I've been thinking of getting something in the night vision arena... how about a little primer on the subject... other than an older AN PVS 4 for a match and some first generation Russian piezo squeeze units I don't know much about what is available, especially the lower price range... my 4x32 ACOGS with 8mm exit pupil gather quite a bit of ambient light
     
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  19. Trespasser

    Trespasser Loaded Pockets

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    I have a couple of smaller solar panels for cell phone and small device charging. I have contemplated the Yeti 1250 by goal zero. It can power a fridge for 12-24 hours off of a single charge. It takes approximately 40 hours to charge it via the supplied solar panels.
     
  20. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

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    We have a hodge podge of flashlights, solar yard lights, camping lanterns, candles, oil lamps, etc. Lighting isn't something we've specifically addressed but I'm not worried about it since I know what we have on hand.

    Something to think about. If the grid is down due to an EMP, there's a good chance that all your solid state devices will also be affected. That means solar panels, LED lights, pretty much all modern electronics. For this reason, I keep some older Xenon bulb MagLights around. Sure I replaced/upgraded them a long time ago but they don't eat much and are easy to keep around. Of course candles and hurricane lamps will always work too.