I got a flyer from Harbor Freight (the home of cheap Chinese tools) earlier this week, so this morning after clipping some coupons, I took my younger daughter on a trip to the local store.
Aside from deals on leather work gloves, a cheap set of mechanic’s gloves,a set of hole saws, and a kite for the kids, I picked up a couple things which may be of interest to preppers.
First was a 9 LED flashlight powered by 3 AAA batteries. With a coupon from the flyer it was free. Based on past experience with similar Chicom made lights, these cheap LED flashlights work fine for light use. It’s no replacement for a good flashlight like a SureFires or a Streamlight, but for leaving in the door pocket of my truck as a secondary flashlight , it’s perfect.
More interesting was the 36 LED Solar Security Light (item #98085) with a motion sensor which I got for under $20. I mounted it to the side of my shed facing my driveway. It’s powered by a 6V NiCad battery pack which is supposed to charge in 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
Before mounting it I wrapped some electrical tape around the seam where the front and back meet, in order to improve the weather resistance. I’m going to look into making a better seal for where the plug from the solar panel attaches to the light itself.
I ran into one problem when mounting it. The mounting holes on the back are marked as being 2-11/16th” apart. In reality they are about 2–1/2” apart, which meant I had an extra hole in my shed to fill with some silicone sealant. That was annoying.
Tonight I reread the instructions which came with it and it said to leave it off for 2 or 3 days before first use, in order to fully charge the unit. When I went out to turn it off it detected me and lit up the area nicely. The amount of light it provides is pretty good for my application – lighting up the top of my driveway when we come home at night, and lighting up any nighttime interlopers. If it works out well I may get a couple more. Even if the battery pack lasts only a year or two, it’s made up of several AA NiCads, which I can replace easily.
Being NiCads, it’ll be interesting to see how well it works in colder temperatures. I suspect to see some degradation when it gets below freezing.