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Rechargeable Batteries & Chargers - Overview

For small standalone everyday batteries such as AAs, experts recommend Low Self-Discharge (LSD) NiMH Rechargeable Batteries more than lithium-ion batteries when possible. NiMH (LSD) batteries are still more cost effective, plus the current number of recharges for Eneloop batteries (2100 recharges) is out of this world amazing! Note that you can only find AA, AAA, C, D, & 9V NiMH (LSD) batteries. Just think of the almost unlimited possibilities a solar savy prepper will have with an adequate quantity of AAA, C, D, & 9V NiMH (LSD) rechargeable batteries and solar panel(s) & portable power generators during Doomsday! 

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering Four Battery Chargers (9V, AA/AAA/C/D/9V, & AA/AAA) Simultaneously

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering 4 Battery Chargers Simultaneously

If you have a rifle scope, night vision binoculars, security cameras, or any other device that uses CR123A or other "weird" sized batteries your best bets are to either stockpile an adequate amount of non-rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or look for a lithium-ion battery charger & rechargeable lithium ion batteries. For CR123A batteries, you will be able to find lithium-ion battery chargers & rechargeable batteries. The last thing that you want is to lose night vision or other critical capabilities related to your firearm optics when a zombie hoard is approaching! Those zombies are going down (remember - only a head shot works)!

RAVPower Rechargeable CR123A Lithium Ion Batteries & Charger

RAVPower CR123A Rechargeable Lithium-ion  Batteries and Charger


Top 10 Rechargeable Batteries & Chargers

1. Best

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Pros:
Cons:
 

Check Current Prices & Availability:

1. Amazon carries the


YouTube


6. Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser

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Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser

The Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser WP560 Is Waterproof, Ultra Quiet, Perfect For Small Spaces, Travel, In The Shower, Power Outages, Emergency Survival Preparedness And Doomsday Prepping

The Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser WP560 Includes A Magnetic 4-Hour Rapid Charging System And An Assortment Of Tips And Accessories
The Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser WP560 Has An Easy To Fill Water Reservoir

Pros:
Cons:
 
Check Current Prices & Availability:

1. Amazon carries the Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser.

The Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser Reviews

A Breakthrough in Oral Health - Brushing Alone is Not Enough!


How to Use the Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser


3. Ability to have reliable early warning systems (for home / bunker security + believe it or not, doomsday hunting - keep reading to learn how)

We discovered an amazing use of foldable solar panels coupled with portable power stations and AA battery chargers.  After purchasing many different Solar Motion Detector systems and returning them, we found the BLUEBits Pairable 2000FT Solar Wireless Weatherproof Indoor Outdoor Long Range Wireless Motion Sensor Detector Security Alert SystemThis system is perfect for creating a really awesome Early Warning System to protect your house or bunker in Doomsday.  There were capabilities lacking in other systems we tested that made them less desirable.

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering - Charging BlueBits Motion Detector Components Simultaneously

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering - Charging BlueBits Motion Detector Components Simultaneously


NOTE:  There is a lot going on in the picture above with the Beaudens 150W power station charging two brown solar sensors and directly powering one black receiver with no batteries installed. The two brown colored solar motion sensors with blue lights are being charged (one via a 5V USB port and the other via the AC adapter & USB cable).  The two white receivers are being powered via four AA rechargeable Eneloop batteries (with 4 extra batteries in front of those receivers).  The one black receiver has no batteries installed and instead being powered directly from a USB port.  The red lights on each receiver indicate they are powered on.  The white solar motion sensor (programmed as sensor #2) in the back right has retained solar power and is the only sensor turned on.  I moved just before taking the picture and that set off the solar motion sensor (indicated by its red flash), and all three receivers flashed the Blue Light #2 while playing an audible tone.

BLUEBits makes a solar motion sensor and a non solar motion sensor in white and in brown.  If you want this same setup that I am about to describe, get the solar versions of the motion sensors as they will even charge in the shade.  They sell a single receiver & single solar motion detector (sensor) in a combo for approx. $50, and they sell just the receiver (approx. $30) or an add on solar motion sensor (approx. $30) so you can build out exactly how many motion sensors and receivers you want in your system.  We ordered 2 receivers & 6 solar motion sensors in white plus 1 receiver and 3 solar motion sensors in brown.  This gives us a lot of flexibility and spares.

BlueBits White Receiver & Solar Motion Sensor

BlueBits White Receiver & Solar Sensor

You can have up to 7 motion sensors programmed to a receiver, but each motion sensor can be programmed to as many receivers as you want.  For example we have six solar motion sensors protecting the perimeter of our house and we monitor all six sensors with 3 receivers.  So if a sensor detects motion, all three receivers receive the alarm.  The solar battery powered wireless motion sensor has a line of sight range of up to 2000' (over 1/3rd mile) to the base station receiver. The motion sensors send the alarms dependably through multiple walls and work in daylight or in complete darkness indoors or outdoors.  The motion sensors will detect motion up to approx. 30' away and are sensitive to pretty much anything giving off a heat signature (person, car, dog, squirrel, etc.) but we have no issues with trees or bushes getting moved by the wind.  Some feedback states that leaves are setting them off.  We have tons of trees & bushes and are not having that issue.  Our biggest issues with other systems were too many false alarms, not reliably detecting motion, and the sensors not sending alarms through multiple walls.  Not issues with this system in our experience.

BlueBits Receivers & Solar Motion Sensors Can Be Placed Up To 2000' Apart

BlueBits Motion Alarm Range Is 2000 Feet (0.378 Miles)


The receivers require practically zero watts of power when they are not receiving a sensor alarm.  When motion is detected, just for a few seconds, the receiver requires approx. only 4 watts of power per our wattmeter.  The solar motion sensors provide power themselves, but they can also be quickly charged if needed via a 5V USB and/or an AC charger which are both included with each receiver.  Although you can power the receivers via either the 5V USB port or the AC outlet on a portable power station, when Doomsday arrives it will be much better to power the receivers from 4 AA Rechargeable NIMH batteries.  With four Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries (which can be recharged up to 2000 times) we are getting about 6.25 days before the receivers audibly tell us "Low Battery".  The duration in days between installing batteries will be heavily dependent on how often the receiver receives motions sensor alarms.  Our receivers do go off fairly often during the day (as we now have lots of deliveries to our front porch since the virus pandemic started).  Also, we get a lot of squirrel action on one side yard motion sensor that we will likely change the sight aim higher off the ground to catch a person walking by but not a squirrel on the ground.  BlueBits states to mount the sensors low "for driveway sensors", but most of our sensors are mounted 10' to 12' off the ground out of reach of kids or vandals and they work just fine pointed downward at an angle.

BlueBits Solar Motion Sensors Will Charge Even On Cloudy Rainy Days

Solar Motion Sensor Charges Even On Cloudy Or Rainy Days


So here's what is so great about this system and why we love it so much.  In an indefinite long term power outage (like a SHTF Doomsday situation), it will be easy to keep this system powered indefinitely with a foldable solar panel, portable battery power station, and plenty of AA Eneloop rechargeable batteries and AA chargers.  With multiple receivers, each person in your clan can have one and or keep them in multiple areas so that everyone is warned of approaching intruders.  The motion alarm receivers are relatively small with rounded corners and with AA batteries installed, they can easily fit in your pocket.  The volume has approx. 4 levels adjustable on each receiver (loud, medium, low & off) and there is a corresponding visible numbered light (1 through 7) and separate tone.  For detecting intruders, if I am outside with my weapon(s) of choice, I can have a receiver with me with the volume turned off or on low, I can tell where intruders are moving outside.  My one gripe about this system and every other system we have seen are the short silly tunes they play, because its hard to remember each tune.  When you are not nearby a receiver to see which numbered sensor went off, its too late by the time you get to it.  However, not a big deal, as eventually you start remembering which tune goes with which sensor.

The Motion Alarm Receivers (AA Battery Powered) Can Easily Fit In Cargo Pants Top Or Side Pockets.
This is a Major Advantage For An Early Warning System (Zombie Detection and/or Hunting Alarm). 

Range Can Reach Up To 1/4 Mile


This system can be used for Doomsday hunting.  You could be inside sleeping or doing some tasks etc, and have sensors pointed in an area where it will detect squirrels, deer, racoons, rabbits, etc.  We discovered this by accident, where one of the sensors kept going off in the middle of the night.  We had a solar floodlight next to the motion sensor, so each time the motion sensor would go ff, the floodlight would illuminate the area.  After this happening several times, we woke up to see what was going on.  It was a rabbit that was sneaking into our garden.  It would be super easy to just be outside on our deck within range and when the motion sensor and floodlight turned on, just shoot the rabbit with a pellet gun as each time it usually only ran about 10 feet and stopped.  But that rabbit can live until Doomsday or until a hawk kills it (but hopefully it will produce lots of little rabbits before then). 

In a daylight situation it would be just as easy to shoot squirrels out of a 2nd story window with a sensor detecting them at the base of a tree within perfect range.  I have a very powerful & accurate pellet rifle, but they get to live until some point after SHTF unless they get in our attic.  We also have a creek going through our backyard approx. 60' from our back deck or any of our back windows.  The creek runs into a National Park, and practically every single night (dusk, dawn, and in the middle of the night), our two hunting cams video tape deer and coyotes moving along that creek, plus the occasional raccoon or possum every other night or so.  We also have turkeys, geese and ducks infrequently in our backyard or creek.  It would be real easy for us to place a couple of motion sensors monitoring the creek and hunt either day or night.  At night we could use moonlight, motion lights, or night vision as we have both night vision binoculars and rifle scopes.  This motion detector system is something as a prepper, I can no longer do without for Doomsday security and hunting.  I'll have plenty of other tasks to do plus sleep, and for hunting I want to know when I need to shoot versus wasting a lot of time waiting on some animal to arrive.

Security Camera Systems:
With POE Wired Security Camera Systems (such as the Reolink 
RLK8-410B4), Drones, GPS navigation systems, and specialized cameras.

Can you view the Reolink POE camera system without internet and commercial power?  Answer:  Yes, the cameras are powered over ethernet by the the DVR.  Simply cable the cameras to the DVR with Ethernet cable.  The DVR has an HDMI port for an external LED/LCD monitor or TV.  You would only have to provide battery power to power the DVR and monitor. This system is self contained, so having a Router or WIFI is only necessary to be able to view the cameras on your pc or phone over the internet.  A portable battery power station (recharged by a solar panel) could be sized to power the system.  A small 24" HDTV uses about 75 Watts AC, and the DVR requires about 78 Watts AC max for a 6 camera system (see calculation below).  A 160Wh portable power station would only power a 6 camera system and TV/monitor for approx. 1 hour.  During Doomsday, you could power the Reolink RLK8-410B4 outdoor camera system with 6 cameras & monitor with either one of the larger portable power stations OR keep the TV/monitor turned off almost all of the time, and only power it on when remote motion detectors sound an alarm (such as from an early warning system like the BlueBits system described above in this article).  You could also reduce the number of cameras installed during Doomsday, and even keep both the TV/monitor and the NVR/camera system turned off until receiving a motion detector alarm.

Calculation of AC Watts required:  The power block supplied with system is 48 volts DC at 1.87 amps (90 watts DC) which supports 8 cameras at night.  This specific system requires 48V DC, 0.75A, 36 Watts With 4 cameras and the included 2TB HDD included with NVR system.  With 6 cameras it would take approx 40 watts during the day and 70 watts during the night.  At 100% efficiency DC Watts out = AC Watts in.  However, most conversions are approx. 90% efficient, so a 6 camera system would require approx. 45 Watts AC during the day and 78 Watts AC at night with night vision on.

Security Lighting:

See Top 10 High Tech Motion Detection, Camera & Lighting - Early Warning Systems For Preppers in 2020!



5. Ability to directly power devices (lighting, cooling, soldering irons, electric blankets, medical equipment (such as CPAP machines) & more)

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering Five USB Devices, One DC-AC Inverter & One AC Soldering Iron Simultaneously

Beaudens 150W Power Station Powering Multiple USB Devices, DC-AC Inverter & AC Soldering Iron Simultaneously

****IMPORTANT NOTE: One thing to keep in mind when comparing battery powered tools & devices for solar powered prepping is the amount of power the devices use. Be a "Watt Mizer" and buy like items that have the smallest wattage requirements. For battery operated devices (like power tools) look for the lowest amount of required "watt hours" required to recharge the batteries. We have already done a pretty significant amount of testing to pick some devices with relatively lower power requirements. This is critical to maximize the use of your portable solar panels and battery power stations. Closer to the bottom of this article, we explain the power terms you need to understand plus we provide our recommendations on the best solar panels, portable powers stations, and many of the best devices & tools that have low power requirements for charging.****

Choose Devices That Use Less Power!


  • Directly power low wattage 12V DC, 5V DC, 18V DC and 110V AC devices
    • USB Electric Blankets
    • 110V AC Dremel Tools
    • 12V DC Tools (Electric Car Lift Jack, Impact Wrench, Tire Inflator Pump) - Impact Wrench is 12V DC 14 Amps (make sure your power station DC outlet will handle 14 A).
    • 12V DC Portable Stoves & Mini Coolers

See Top 10 Direct 110V AC, DC & USB Powered Devices For Preppers In 2020!


6. Ability to directly power and/or provide battery power to communicate locally, regionally, and worldwide

<Insert picture of the following devices being powered (shortwave radio, portable HAM radio, Walkie-Talkies, FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios, stationary HAM Radio)> 

If you are a Doomsday prepper, it is good to diversify your SHTF communications capabilities and have as many of the following communications devices.  Ham is king, has the longest transmission distance, but requires that obtain a license by passing a test.  The unlicensed radio services CB & FRS still have a place in your communications plan. 

Read the following articles to become familiar with the different types of communications devices:
Everything But The Ham - gives a great overview of non-ham radio communications


Shortwave Radio:

Portable & Stationary Ham Radios:

Stationary 40W GMRS Radios:  Midland - MXT400, 40 Watt GMRS MicroMobile Two-Way Radio - Up to 65 Mile Range  In 2020, this requires $70 GMRS license from the FCC that is good for 10 years.  The GMRS license is issued to one person for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members. Each licensee manages a system consisting of one or more transmitting units (GMRS radios).  In 2017, the FCC updated the GMRS by allotting additional interstitial channels in the 467 MHz band, increased the license term from 5 to 10 years, allowed transmission of limited data applications such as text messaging and GPS location information and made other updates to the GMRS rules to reflect modern application of the service.

Portable CB Radios:  Range with CB is easily the farthest after Ham and higher power GMRS.  There is no license requirement with CB.  Power output is limited to 4 watts AM and 12 watts SSB. AM frequency range is approx 3-5 miles under most conditions (much better than unlicensed FRS radios).  CB SSB frequency range is approximately ten or twelve miles with base stations.  There are no antenna restrictions. CB radio often has some noise and interference and frequent criminal / weirdo usage and there are approx. 30 million CB radios in the USA. 

FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios - Walkie Talkies:  Motorola Talkabout T465 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Bundle (Green) - Stated Ranges - Mountain to Valley: Up to 35 miles, Open Water: Up to 6 miles, 
Neighborhood: Up to 2 miles. Good luck with those ranges as in reality especially with the unlicensed FRS channels you are looking at a range from maybe 1/4th to a 1/2 mile in a lot of "normal" conditions.  Includes NOAA Weather radio & built-in flashlight.  IP54 Weather Resistance (good dust resistance + can be splashed with water from all sides).  Comes with 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 2 earbuds with Push-To-Talk microphone, 1 carrying case to carry both radios.  The above link is to the radio units without the NiMH rechargeable battery packs & micro USB charging cables.  There are other options in the link to order the NiMH batteries (if you want them) but the run time is much better on 3 AA Alkaline batteries (each radio) or even better use 3 AA Eneloop rechargeable batteries in each radio.  The run time is Immersion, up to 1 meterusing 3 AA alkaline batteries or 10 hours using the NiMH battery pack.  Why not use the Eneloop AAs which can be recharged up to 2100 times and get 2.6 times longer performance than the NiMH battery packs.  The one advantage of the "crummy" optional Motorola NiMH batteries are that they can be charged directly from a foldable solar panel, battery bank, or portable battery power station.  These models came out in 2015, but are still listed on Motorola's web site as current Two-Way radios in their higher "Sports & Outdoor" category as of May 2020.  You can spend about $20 more and get the completely IP67 waterproof (
Immersion, up to 1 meter for 30 minutes) Motorolla Talkabout T605 model (2 radios).  The Midland GXT1050VP4 GMRS Two-Way Radio (2 radios) is also a good option.  This Midland and the Motorola Talkabouts will all work on a USB NiMH battery charger or you can use 3 AAs (Eneloop Rechargeable or Alkaline) to get about 2.5 x longer battery time.

Motorola Talkabout T465 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Bundle (Green)

Motorola Talkabout T465 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Bundle (Green)



Gotenna Mesh Review, The Future Of The Internet? Text & OffGrid Text & Locator Communicator.

GoTenna Mesh Review Great review and links to more details like creating a super node mesh repeater.

Uniden PRO520XL Pro Series 40-Channel CB Radio

SuperAntenna Amazon Store - Portable HAM Radio Antennas

Spot GEN3® Satellite GPS Messenger

CHECK-IN - Let family and friends know you're ok when you're out of cell phone range. Send a pre-programmed text message with GPS coordinates or an email with a link to Google Maps™ to your contacts with your location. With a push of a button, a message is sent via email or SMS to up to 10 pre-determined contacts and your waypoint is stored in your SPOT account for later reference.



See Top 10 Communication Devices For Doomsday Preppers In 2020!

7. Ability to have remote surveillance & reconnaissance

<Insert picture of the following battery powered devices (Drones, Smartphone Borescope, Garmin Etrex 30xXGPS )>

Drones:
Reconnaissance definition:  Military observation of a region to locate an enemy or ascertain strategic features.

Contixo F22 Plus 1080P GPS Drone with HD FPV Camera Live Video for Adults, Portable Selfie Quadcopter for Beginners with Auto Return Home, Custom Flight Path, Follow Me, Long Control Range,2 Batteries

Ruko F11 Pro Drone 4K Quadcopter UHD Live Video GPS Drones, FPV Drone with Camera for Adults Beginner 30 Mins Flight Time Long 2500mAh Battery Brushless Motor-Black(1 Extra Battery + Carrying Case)

DJI Mavic Mini Combo - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time, less than 0.55lbs, Gray

See Top 10 Drones & Tactical Uses For Surveillance, Reconnaissance & More For Preppers In 2020!


8. Ability to have GPS navigation


GPS Navigation:


The GPS satellites are in a very high geosynchronous orbit. Because of the extreme altitude, an EMP that effects electronics that we use will not effect any of the satellites. If your receivers were shielded, and the military does not "turn off" or encode the signals, then it will work.

Top Of The Line Garmin GPSMAP 66st GPS Navigation System

Garmin GPSMAP 66st GPS Navigation System
See Top 5 GPS Navigation Systems For Doomsday Preppers In 2020!

9. Ability to see the unseen - in broad daylight or pitch dark

<Insert picture of the following battery powered devices (NightVision - Smartphone & Binoculars & Riflescopes)>

NightVision / InfraRed - Smartphone & Binoculars:  
  • USB Thermal Imaging Camera
  • Binoculars

NightVision /  Infrared Riflescopes:

Boresope Camera:  USB Borescope "Snake" Inspection Camera

See Top 10 NightVision / InfraRed Imaging Optics:  Cameras, Binoculars, Riflescopes & Trail Cams For Preppers In 2020!

10. Ability to provide entertainment (music, picture & video library, bluetooth speakers, TVs)

See Top 10 Solar Powered Entertainment Solutions For Doomsday Preppers In 2020!



As a prepper, you are probably familiar with the military term "One is None!" and you really need at least two power stations, one as a backup and so that at least one is always available while the other(s) are being charged.  So that adds to the cost. 

How To Determine The Usable Electrical Capacity Of Portable Power Generator Stations

The units of capacity for the Portable Power Station that need to be understood are Running Watts (W), Surge Watts (W), AC outlet efficiency, DC Port efficiency and Watt Hours (Wh), A Watt Hour (Wh) is a measurement of the portable power generator's capacity in how many watts cumulatively can be provided over time.  Each power station battery also has a maximum running wattage (W) and a short time surge watt rating (also in W).  For example, a power station's battery might have the following capacities: 250 Running Watts, 300 Surge Watts, and 250 Watt Hours.  

Running and Surge Watts are pretty straightforward.  The device is rated at 250 Watts continuously running, but has a surge watt upon startup just for a few seconds of 275 Watts.

In determining AC outlet efficiency & DC Port efficiency, note that the portable power station's included DC to AC inverter (that powers one or more 110V AC outlets) has an efficiency loss that is greater than the DC to DC loss in the portable power station's DC Ports (including 12V DC, normal 5V - 2.4A USB ports and/or Quick Charge 3.0 - 18W USB ports, and/or Power Delivery "PD" Type C 45W DC or 60W DC ports).  So you should see an AC and DC efficiency rating for the AC outlets and DC ports.  As an example, you might see an AC efficiency rating of 85% and a DC efficiency rating of 95%. Using these efficiencies as an example, with a 240 Wh portable power generator, the AC output working time=240wh * 0.85/the power of your AC device.  Assuming the power of the AC device is 50W, the working time will be 240wh * 0.85/50w=4.08 hrs (rough calculation).  Likewise, the DC and USB output working time=240wh * 0.95/the power of your device.  Assuming I power a device like a USB solar light that uses 5W of power, the working time will roughly be 240wh * 0.95/5w=45.6 hrs before my power station would be fully drained.

Since direct DC powering is more efficient, always choose to use devices that require DC ports over their AC counterparts.  If you could purchase a 5W DC fan or a 5W 110V AC fan, choose the 5W DC fan since it will run longer than a 5W AC fan. 


On one extreme, there are a lot of relatively inexpensive solar products such as solar fans, solar flashlights, solar headlamps, etc. that are standalone.  On the other extreme are super expensive whole home solar arrays and battery banks.  Some of the standalone solutions should definitely be part of a preppers supplies, but they are not enough alone.  The large solar arrays are beyond a lot of preppers budgets and they are also not portable.

Any solar panel or wall charger with a DC voltage between 13 to 22 volts with the correct polarity will work to charge the unit. MPPT charge controller built into unit handles the charging. My unit charges at 43-watts maximum from any source. Most 12-volt solar panels (greater than 40-watts would be ideal) sold anywhere with an open /disconnected voltage of 22-volts or less will work. I would use a power source of at least 15 volts, an old 19 volt laptop computer charger works well. MPPT charge controllers will convert any input voltage that is higher than
battery voltage into more current to charge the battery faster.


Before learning anything more about solar prepping, it is instructive to categorize 4 different levels of solar & powering capabilities as these categories define which devices are required to support each level of capabilities.  The following are four different solar & powering capabilities categories.  As a prepper, Level 2 is the most important and exciting level of preparation and as such, Level 2 will be the primary focus of this article.  Most preppers interested in using solar power will only obtain some capabilities in Levels 1 & 2 and will view Levels 3 & 4 as either too expensive or that they have more desirable & affordable workarounds for Level 3 & 4 capabilities.

This article will discuss each category/level and will make recommendations on specific solar panels, portable power stations, and the associated useful devices and equipment available for each level.  Below is just a summary of the capabilities of each level.  More details & recommendations follow the summaries.  There could be arguments that some devices are listed in the wrong level, but do not get hung up on that, and instead just learn what devices are available and if any suit your needs as a prepper.  Also, in the detailed recommendations, it will be discussed what devices are more essential for survival situations and which are more nice to have as each level below is a mix of must haves and nice to haves.  

Capabilities & Recommended Solar Panels And Related Gear

You'll be glad you have