When is a switch not a switch?
When it’s not mechanical but electronic aka Soft Start or Standby.
As such is constantly draining your power reserves.
We’ve all done it. Used the remote control on your TV to “turn the TV off”.
Except you haven’t, have you?
It’s just gone to ‘sleep’ just waiting for you to press the appropriate control.
Only what is happening in the background?
The power supply is still running in a reduced mode and is still pulling power from your electricity supply.
Yet so much equipment used by preppers and survivalists does EXACTLY the same thing.
I always liken it to if you have to push a ‘soft’ non clicking button to turn anything on, your SOFT START option is acting as a battery power thief. Ever so gently draining your batteries down until you go to use whatever and the little battery symbol shows empty OR EVEN WORSE, the lights out and no one’s at home.
What, you didn’t know that one? OK what about batteries self discharging.
Rechargeable, simple carbon, alkaline, or NIMH types.
There isn’t a commonly available battery that doesn’t self discharge.
That’s also why I chuckle when I see a person fitting a moulded battery pack to something. All it takes is one cell to go down and you have to shell out for a new pack.
As for the trend to fit lithium battery packs?
They aren’t exactly happy if you try to flash charge them across a car battery and demand a careful electronically controlled charge sequence.
What price performance?
Loss of flexibility and an off grid nightmare regarding charging them.
Although they are damn good for starting fires with your hank of wire wool as fuel.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Modern cars are notorious power thieves now and the amount of long stay vehicles we used to jump-start (another £20 for the coffee fund) down on the port was a really good earner. Left stood for months on end, the various systems gutting the battery.
Boats were the same. That nice little modern “wake on call” Ship to shore, RADAR on snooze, and environment controls monitoring the humidity for instance, even the bilge pump accounted for a good few jump starts and (unfortunately for the fisherman who had gone on his first holiday for years) an insurance claim as once the battery had failed, that leak just kept on filling the boat.
As for mobile phones, PDA’s and whatever?!!!!
But that would never happen to a prepper or experienced hunter would it?
Too right it does.
GPS. Batteries last for weeks on standby right?
Until you want to use the unit for an 8 hour stretch.
No self-respecting ham would go out without checking the batteries would he?
That quick “radio check call” and a glance at the battery state indicator is usually enough.
Like hell it is, and with today’s craze of fitting equipment with moulded lithium power packs (which also self discharge) it’s getting hard to guarantee performance let alone finding a mains power point in the middle of the woods.
Which explains why I’ve only got radio and other equipment that all run off commonly available AA cells.
There again I’ve also got a nice little red dot QR sight.
Powered by a CR 2032 it should last for years as it’s a definite “clunk” mechanical switch to turn the thing on.
Except one of the seals had failed, I didn’t notice, damp got in, formed rust, bridged the battery, and that night I was using iron sights and a lamp.
(Funny thing was, my bag for the night was better than using the QR sight.)
I was about to finish and I remembered something a pal told me.
Nothing to do with batteries or power (well sort of). I’m talking nuclear (ish).
He had one of the first tritium tipped sights.
Sold with a life time guarantee it lived for most of the year in his gun bag.
4 seasons later the light started to dim.
5th season, only usable on the blackest of nights which rather defeated it’s purpose as he couldn’t see what he was shooting at anyway.
Life time guarantee eh?
In the smallest of print stating that it was only the mechanics cover by the now worthless bit of paper. Cost of replacing the element? Surprisingly (not) more than the cost of the scope.
Still he had some fun sighting in his new ex-Russian PSO-1 lookalike scope with its single AA battery.
The target? Take a guess!