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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cell Phones in an Emergency

Actually, there is only one aspect of cell phones in an emergency that I want to address. How do you charge your cell phone in an emergency?

In April 2011, a tornado shut down our town as it ripped through. I had no power for five days. Other people had to wait ten days for power to be restored. Fortunately, this happened in late April when the need for air conditioning or heat was not at all necessary.

My cell phone was practically useless because of the destruction of all the towers. Yes, all of them! However, once portable towers were brought in the next day, I was back in business. Then, the lines were jammed with callers. Back in business, but, cell phones need recharging. I could plug mine in the car cigarette lighter. Other people said their car had to be running to charge their cells. They did not have enough gas to turn it on for cell charging. Gas stations were not open ! Luckily, I had 2/3 tank of gas.

Do you know if your cell will recharge plugged into the lighter or usb port if you car is newer and has ports?

Of course, there was no wifi anywhere in town. Soon, the city set up massive equipment to charge cells, run computers, and furnish wifi. Some people had no car chargers, so they had to recharge their chargers in electric outlets at the recharging station the city set up in a park.

Most of the people had dead cell phones. They plugged them into an outlet and then immediately started talking! This was very discouraging to me. I wanted to plug in my laptop and use the wifi. I ventured to suggest that maybe they could get a full charge if they turned off their phone and quit talking. Three very large women, three generations, with free cells, no teeth, and carpooling yelled at me. Am I wrong about the length of time to charge a cell in use versus charging a cell that has been turned off?

Sure, I could use my battery power in the laptop to use the internet. But, I wanted to conserve that power. I didn't and still don't have an inverter for my car. Finally, I found that BAM had wifi and paid $20 for the privilege of having a card to use their wifi. Well, I got sidetracked with laptop and wifi. Back to the cell phone.

I have a cell phone charger in the house that allows me to use an electric outlet or the usb port in my laptop. In the car I have two chargers. One is strictly "cigarette lighter to cell." The other can be used in a usb port, cigarette lighter, or in an electric outlet, plus it has multiple tips for any cell phone. These are all cheap chargers. None of them has ruined my cell phone. The only reason I have two chargers in the car is because I lost one and bought the second one for $7 at WM.

The reason I am so concerned about having the cell charged and the ability to charge it under any circumstance is not because of an over-reliance on the device. Since I am limited in my capabilities, I just want the reassurance that my cell phone always works and I have the ability to charge it under any circumstances. I worry about car problems and having to walk plus no electricity for cell recharging Of course, considering my town is a magnet for tornadoes, having a way to charge a cell phone without having electricity readily available.

Really, I want a small solar charger for my cell phone, but have not managed to afford one. Plus, I have not done any research to determine what is best, cheapest, and what I need.

Your turn
Do you have a car charger for you cell phone in your car? Do you know if the charger works when the car is not running? Must you have the ignition on to charge your cell phone? Are you like my daughter who says she always charges it at home and does not own or need a car charger? In an emergency situation without electrical power have you used the emergency cell charging services provided by your town or state? Do you have a solar charger for the cell phone? What kind?

17 comments:

  1. I bought a very simple hand crank charger. It takes a little time and effort to get a decent charge, but it is my extreme emergency charger.
    I also have a charger that plugs into a USB port. I keep it charged as backup, but it will only provide a couple of hours of limited use charge. I only charge my phone in the car when the car is running.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne,
      The hand charger sound handy. Can you take the cell out to the car and charge your cell phone? That is what I had to do when there was no electricity?

      Delete
  2. We have a car charger and it's a godsend! Sometimes, you're surprised by how little of a charge remains on the phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherdo,
      Yes, I m shocked how two bars disappears from the house to the car. "Godsend" is correct. Thanks.

      Delete
  3. I have a car charger, but I need to replace it. It doesn't work anymore. My emergency radio can charge my phone. If the batteries run out, the radio is solar powered, or it has its own little hand-cranked generator.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janie,
      It sounds like you have it covered. Thanks. Now, I wonder if my windup flashlight will charge my cell.

      Delete
  4. I have a windup charger as well. I have never used it, so I don't know how much cranking is involved, but I figure if it is an extreme emergency, I can crank. Also, not all chargers are created equal. Some are more powerful and charge more quickly. I've noticed that they are finally identifying the voltage (or whatever it is) on the packaging, so look for the highest levels for the quickest charging. If you have a Big Lots near you, I find their prices and selection on chargers is very good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sueue,
      I do have a Big Lots near me. When I went there, they were busy and could not help me, but they did say they were low on chargers because they redoing the display. I need to go back.

      I do know the faster a charger charges, the sooner the charge will be discharged. At least that is what my expert I consult tells me. Thanks for reminding me of Big Lots.

      Delete
  5. We have an emergency radio with a crank that will charge phones as well. We also have a goal zero portable solar panel. I haven't used it much, but it does what it is supposed to do.
    My husband, my mom and I have phones that use the same style charging port, so we have a car charger in the all the cars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to check out that solar panel. Thanks. It makes it handy to all use the same port. Instead of having proprietary chargers, there are now only three ports for all cell phones.

      Delete
  6. I need to get a car charger, but the old Mazda is almost 20 years old, not even sure it's able to do that function..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackisue,
      If you have a working cigarette lighter, get a car charger to use in the cigarette lighter. It will work for you.

      Delete
  7. Den can charge his phone in his car with it off, I can't in my van. I too, want one of the solar chargers but they are too rich for my blood. Maybe they will come down in price, fingers crossed for both of us. I long/hope for the day when we can get cheap window chargers and run a few things off of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonya Ann,
      At least you have one car that will charge with the car off. I too want some sort of solar charger. Too rich for my blood too. My friend has a cell phone that has a solar charger built in.

      Delete
  8. I have a spare battery and a device similar to this: http://www.amazon.com/Astro-Lipstick-Sized-Portable-External-Technology/dp/B005X1Y7I2/ref=zg_bs_7073960011_1 Will need to test my new car's charger.

    http://www.makingcentsofitall.net

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Do you know if the charger works when the car is not running?"

    If your lighter is working, your charger should work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snowbrush,
      Some car chargers only charge when the car is running. I suppose those lighters don't work unless the key is at least turned.

      Delete

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