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Author Topic: Power failure lights  (Read 3913 times)

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Offline CarolinaJoe

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Power failure lights
« on: May 23, 2012, 10:09:34 AM »
My two cents on powerfailure lights...  I will only buy those with replaceable batteries.

Since my power seems to fail if a bird burps in the next county, I have made use of several power failure lights over the years.  Sadly, all but one have been tossed in the trash because their internal rechargeable batteries were worthless and failed when I needed them.  One year seemed to be the max life for those devices - was often shorter.

The one exception has been the GE 52508 Power Failure Nightlight/Flashlight .  The nightlight is too dim to be useful and the flashlight itself isn't terribly bright but the dang thing produces enough light for me to find my way around the house and actually works when needed.

It takes a couple AA batteries and I test it when I test my smoke alarms.  'Still works after years of use and many, many power outages. So far, so good.

I'm currently looking for additional power failure lights and hoping to find something newer and better - will post here if I do - but until then I will rely on the little GE 52508.

*Note - It has some negative reviews for the very reason I like it - replaceable batteries.  Guess I'm an odd duck in that I specifically want that as a feature.


« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 11:03:21 AM by Bill Quick »

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 11:06:44 AM »
My two cents on powerfailure lights...  I will only buy those with replaceable batteries.

Since my power seems to fail if a bird burps in the next county, I have made use of several power failure lights over the years.  Sadly, all but one have been tossed in the trash because their internal rechargeable batteries were worthless and failed when I needed them.  One year seemed to be the max life for those devices - was often shorter.

The one exception has been the GE 52508 Power Failure Nightlight/Flashlight.  The nightlight is too dim to be useful and the flashlight itself isn't terribly bright but the dang thing produces enough light for me to find my way around the house and actually works when needed.

It takes a couple AA batteries and I test it when I test my smoke alarms.  'Still works after years of use and many, many power outages. So far, so good.

I'm currently looking for additional power failure lights and hoping to find something newer and better - will post here if I do - but until then I will rely on the little GE 52508.

*Note - It has some negative reviews for the very reason I like it - replaceable batteries.  Guess I'm an odd duck in that I specifically want that as a feature.





I don't bother with anything but LED lights, too.....the light lasts so much longer.
Yes, I'm a physician.  No, I'm not YOUR physician.  Nothing I say here is medical advice.

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Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 11:04:51 AM »
I have a lamp with an LED bulb wired to my solar power battery bank setup.  Power goes down, I turn that on.  Worked okay so far, but it's not automagic.   Maybe if I put a light sensor switch on it...?
"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone

Offline pslblog

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 03:39:21 PM »
I have a lamp with an LED bulb wired to my solar power battery bank setup.  Power goes down, I turn that on.  Worked okay so far, but it's not automagic.   Maybe if I put a light sensor switch on it...?
Costco up in Oregon has been carrying a variety of useful LED tools, a number of them motion activated. The most recent I got has a bank of (bluish) LEDs that stay out unless there is motion and low light. You can then set the light to "ON" from "AUTO".

After several years of experience working with LED lighting, I've come to several conclusions:
1. Anybody who doesn't advertise their light spectrum has ugly colors coming from their light.
2. Next week somebody will have a brighter LED that costs less and runs on less power. If you need the light today, get the light today and don't regret the purchase. (Then send me an email describing the process of how you averted LED purchase regret.)
3. Cheap, big sealed lead-acid batteries are the way to go whenever you can stay still. I've seriously considered building heavy lead-acid batteries into a Dutro handtruck and powering an LED array with it.
4. Find the color you enjoy, then add lights until it's bright enough. I have an incandescent 5W reading lamp from IKEA that makes the LED floods I use a lot more comfortable for reading in bed. The narrow spectrum of inexpensive LEDs are too unpleasant to live with in non-emergency conditions.
5. There's a lot of cool cheap LED stuff coming out in stores that can be adapted to prepper us.

Offline Langenator

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 12:46:33 PM »
Something I thought of for power outage lights are those landscape light spike things with the small self contained solar panel on the top.  Less than $10 each at Wally World.

Not sure how long the light would last, or how well they'd do at lighting up a room.  But I'm sure they'd be enough to find your way around inside your house between sundown and going to bed.

In a really bad situation, you could probably scrounge several from just about any suburban neighborhood.
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Offline pslblog

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 03:13:56 PM »
Something I thought of for power outage lights are those landscape light spike things with the small self contained solar panel on the top.  Less than $10 each at Wally World.
Not sure how long the light would last, or how well they'd do at lighting up a room.  But I'm sure they'd be enough to find your way around inside your house between sundown and going to bed.
In a really bad situation, you could probably scrounge several from just about any suburban neighborhood.
I'd look at spending some money testing which lights you like. If you can live with headache-inducing bluish or urine green LEDs, you can get a lot for not much cash.

Currently, my wife and I are using some simulated votive LED lamps we got in bulk at Costco at Christmas. One of those in the bathroom is enough light to manage midnight visits. At some point I'll have to spend a boring hour with a small screwdriver replacing the 2032 batteries they use, but one of those will run for more than a week continuously. They aren't terribly bright, the color is nothing to write home about, but for the price and functionality, they are great.

For ~$26 you can get 24 LED nightlights and 50 batteries for them. That's a pretty good, very redundant power failure solution.
Lamps: 24 Flamless LED Votive & Tea Lighted Candle Set
Batteries: CR2032 Lithium 3V Batteries, 5 on a card (10 Cards - 50 Batteries), By Lily's Home
I was surprised to find a pack of 8 solar garden lamps for ~$20: Garden Creations JB5629 Solar-Powered LED Accent Light, Set of 8
At least one reviewer did note that quality on the build is marginal, and they are flimsy besides. I'd be hesitant to rely on this kind of cheap gear for emergency prep.

All Amazon links above should bring happy returns to Bill.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 12:45:48 PM by Bill Quick »

Offline Drang

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 03:17:45 PM »
Not sure how long the light would last....
We have a set.  Through the winter, when sundown was about 5 PM and I was getting home from work at about midnight, most of them would be dark when I got home.
Now that sundown is about 9 PM, and I leave for work about 0300, most of them are still bright as I pull out of the driveway.

YMMV, depending on how much you spend on the lights and the relative length of your night.
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Offline PAGUY

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2012, 09:01:48 AM »
Although they are not automatic I read on a different thread that a guy uses a LED headlamp turned on and face up on a table for a decent amount of light during an outage. I tried this with a seen LED Energizer headlamp that I use all the time. It uses two AA batteries and on a full setting (all seven) the battery life is about 20+ hours.


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Offline tattoosteve99

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2012, 10:30:00 PM »
An idea I have seen is using the power from a phone line to power a led. It requires a little work an a few dollars, but seems to be a good way. Usually when the power goes out the phone lines are still active. There's about 12-35 volts dc running through it. Just enough to power up an led. And if your like me, I run high power LEDs that put out more light than 2 headlights :)

Offline BooMushroom

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2012, 11:07:41 PM »
An idea I have seen is using the power from a phone line to power a led. It requires a little work an a few dollars, but seems to be a good way. Usually when the power goes out the phone lines are still active. There's about 12-35 volts dc running through it. Just enough to power up an led. And if your like me, I run high power LEDs that put out more light than 2 headlights :)

Interesting idea! Lost of possibilities here...

Offline ND Martin

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 12:26:52 AM »
A great source for LED gear (lamps, batteries, chargers, etc.) is DealExtreme.   Lots of other useful gear.

Another good source for LEDs is SuperBrightLEDs.com

There are a number of LED projects at Instructables.  For example: a phoneline-powered flashlight, and emergency LED lighting powered from your car

Check the comments of the phoneline flashlight instructable for some caveats about powering devices from your phone line.

Offline eXe

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 11:07:43 AM »
Lots of good ideas here.  I buy the cheaper power failure lights and they last a decent amount of time but we dont lose power here as much as we used to. I will have to look itno some other types..

I have them set up in my house almost like a runway :) They lead me out to the kitchen and garage so I can turn on the inverters for the backup solar power.

Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2012, 12:47:51 PM »
I really like the notion of using hardwired phone lines to power LED lights.  Gonna look into that further and report back if I do anything with it.
"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone

Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2012, 12:49:20 PM »
Here's an "Instructable" on how to build your own:

Phone line-powered flashlight
"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone

Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2012, 12:55:47 PM »
"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone

Offline Drang

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Re: Power failure lights
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2012, 02:01:58 PM »
...
Check the comments of the phoneline flashlight instructable for some caveats about powering devices from your phone line.
Specifically, blog post here lists several legal, safety, and technical issues with using your phone line to power a lamp: RustyBolt.Info - 2011-12-16 Phone Line Powered LED Light
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