Sunday, November 07, 2010

Harbor Freight Run

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.

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