Thursday, July 17, 2008
Don Gibbon, formerly of the Pittsburgh 7th Ward, contributed the following:
"Tuesday evening at 11 P.M. all the lights for about ten blocks around went out. We got out our hand-cranked radio and flashlights and candles and began running through the options: what to do now? Go to bed, but first check out the neighborhood. When we went outside the only lights we could see were small, bright solar-charged LEDs on a new alarm company's signs in front of our house and several neighbors' who'd bought into the new program too. I took the lights inside to put by the stairs and in the bathroom, just the ticket!
"The power came back on and in the morning I checked to see how and where those little lights were made. They contain a rechargeable AA battery, a solar cell and a solar sensor to make them come on at night and go off during the day—perfect for an emergency light with a manual on-off switch instead. They're made by Litewatch. This small one for alarm signs appears to be their only product, though I've written them to see if they have anything slightly larger.
"In the meantime, I'd done some nosing around and discovered a solar battery charger with a few other accessories, for only $40 this month on sale. I ordered one. I've got a couple of 110 V chargers, but they obviously would be worthless in a power outage. The solar one seems almost fool proof, if such a thing is possible. Now I need to covert as much as I can to LED lighting and I'll have it whipped into pretty good shape."