Sunday, February 24, 2013

Batteries and Battery Testers

     Today, it's all about batteries, and a little about my mother issues!  I have already shared mother's pantry shelf shame.  The best buy date makes no impression on MY mom!  I have tossed out nine year old mint jelly with the lid rusted to the jar!  I did it while she fussed at me because the color was still good!  To me, that meant it was never fit to eat if the food dye was so strong that it didn't have a molecular half life in our lifetime!
     Last week, I had occasion to take mom to an appointment and she asked if I could help her get her hurricane box ready for this year.  We haven't had a strong one in a while and it has been a very light winter, mom expects to need her hurricane supplies this year.  I was both flattered and a little nervous.  I have not personally seen her Rubbermaid container of 'hurricane supplies' in three years.  Not to stress, folks! I have prepared one for her in case she needed it and have been ready to drop it off with a small generator if a storm headed our way.  but, this year, mom wants to update her supplies and get her own little readiness together.  

     I know for a fact that industry standards have changed since the last time Mom bought a battery.  Now the batteries have dates on them.  I am sure some of the batteries Mom has not only have no dates, but some will be oozing acid.  I just know it!  Fun times for me ahead!.  Now, that I think on it, I believe even plastic box technology has evolved!
     I will take a pair of gloves to protect myself from leaking batteries and I am tempted to just give her a box full of stuff and put hers in the Toxic Waste Trash our city offers form paints and aerosols and the like.  It's a YOU drop off deal.
     Normally, when my mom is not involved, I recommend having several types of battery testers on hand.  In spite of the freshness dates printed on batteries, it's good to know what actually strength your battery contains. 
     I have posted here some choices from Harbor Freight.  As a woman on the go, I am sure there are better testers for cars, but this one plugs in to a working cigarette lighter and tells me what I need to know before I run off to a mechanic.  These are all under $8.  Don't be a My Mom.  Test the batteries in your kit and store them well.

For a GREAT chart and information on storage go to
"The recommended storage temperature for most batteries is 15°C (59°F); the extreme allowable temperature is –40°C to 50°C (–40°C to 122°F) for most chemistries. While lead acid must always be kept at full charge during storage, nickel- and lithium-based chemistries should be stored at around a 40 percent state-of-charge (SoC). This level minimizes age-related capacity loss while keeping the battery in operating condition and allowing self-discharge"

     I will not be telling my mother that putting her flashlight batteries in the flashlight and storing them in an uninsulated plastic box, in Florida, in a laundry room where the dryer runs......might not be best situation for long term storage.  I will just fix the problem and blame her frugality on being raised in the Great Depression when nothing was thrown out.  I will just replace it and remember my grandmother, her mother, and her supply closet in the garage with 24  bottles of A-1 Steak sauce and think, she was such a great lady!  And what a fantastic tailor!  She always had glitter!  My mom always has peppermint hard candy!

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