How to Charge Your Phone During a Power Outage

How To Charge Your Phone During A Power OutageMy wife’s cellphone needs to be recharged constantly, so the thought of a power outage where she wouldn’t be able to do this is a little overwhelming to her. With this in mind, I had decided to write this article — even before hurricane Sandy — about the enormous problems that could result from not being able to communicate via our cellphones. Once Sandy struck, however, and we were able to see the tremendous amount of damage, including the loss of life, destruction of homes and businesses, and the damage to cellphone towers, the importance of this article was obvious. In fact, one thing that stood out about the importance of our cellphones was our dependence on them in any emergency situation. With this being said, how can we hope to keep them fully charged during such a catastrophic event so that we can use them if we need to call for help?

One solution is to purchase a juice pack. This is one of the more popular devices available and it’s an excellent way to keep your phone powered up. These powerful little battery packs are offered for the popular Apple iPhone models by companies such as Morphie. If you don’t have an Apple device (though it will also work with Apple devices), you can opt for another battery backup system called Zagg Sparq. This handy little system can charge, via USB cable, multiple devices at once. However, if you don’t have access to electricity, don’t forget that a simple car adapter can be used to charge your phone.

Another option during a power failure is for you to charge your cellphone by using a power inverter that converts your vehicle’s 12-volt DC power to 120-volt AC power. One power inverter, called the Bestek 300w, provides an electrical plug and two USB plugs for charging devices and can, within limits, operate a laptop or desktop computer. If this is what you need to charge, however, be sure to check the manufacturer’s specification sheet before buying to confirm that this device can provide enough juice to operate your desktop.

In the early stages of an outage, most laptop computer owners will find that they already have a free backup for their cellphone battery. This is because most laptops now offer the ability to charge a portable device, including a cellphone, to keep the juice flowing. To take advantage of this feature, however, your laptop needs to be fully charged prior to the time you need it. This is often hard to do as no one knows for certain when their power is going to fail.

Other tips include turning off unnecessary applications on your cellphone so that you can conserve your cellphone battery. While this in itself is a valuable tip, be aware that there are also plenty of applications out there that will help conserve power and extend the life of your cellphone battery.

The final, and probably the most logical solution since you never know when an emergency will crop up, is to keep a supply of extra batteries on hand. However, you will need to occasionally check the batteries to ensure that they don’t fail when you finally need to use them.

Though none of these solutions are 100% perfect and may not work for everyone, they will hopefully give you options to try in the event that a power outage does occur. I do know that even during everyday events, like driving down the road, you never know when you are going to need a workable cellphone; taking precautions to keep your cellphone powered up could also save your life or the life of a loved one.

Comments are welcome.

Source: CNN

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by daryl_mitchell

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • David Perriman

    An inverter really canes a car battery. Huge current drain and quite expensive too for occasional use. Surely a standard 12-volt adaptor for your phone is the answer if you only want to make phone calls? A car battery would hardly notice it and would run it for a VERY long time!

  • Kevin Nicholson

    The phone in the Picture is from a Walt Disney World Resort called “Pop Century”. YAY I ACTUALLY KNOW A FACT! :)

  • Paul Butler

    Wouldn’t it be cool if someone could invent a USB solar powered charger for both your phone and your laptop? I guess I will have to wait until a couple of more years. I am going to look into purchasing an alternative till’ the technology comes out.

    • jay davis

      I can’t remember where I saw them but solar chargers are around, some have adapter and a couple were bulky but had outlets like in your house. The problem with solar charging is you shouldn’t use the device while charging because there isn’t a lot of power produced to charge several things and use them as well but in the aftermath of a disaster I don’t think it would matter much having to wait a little while for a laptop to charge phones on the other hand use little energy so they can be used and charged at once.

  • lonfjjr

    Just charge your cell phone with a car adapter

  • torindkflt

    I agree with David that an inverter is a more wasteful option than a standard 12v car charger if the only goal is to keep your cell phone charged.

    If worse comes to worse, some emergency crank radios have USB ports on them that can also be used to power a phone long enough to make a short call. This can be tedious since it would require tons of cranking to charge the phone battery even a few percent, but it’s good in a pinch.

  • MP

    In the past, I’ve used a PowerStick portable charger to provide an emergency trickle charge for my Blackberry or for a friend’s cellphone — I don’t know how well it would charge a cellphone before its battery (charged via a USB port) would be exhausted. In the aftermath of Sandy, I recharged the family cellphone each night from one or more of the three UPSes I purchased for the cordless-phone bases in our house (and had kept it fully charged, to the extent possible, in the hours before we lost power) during our home’s extended power outage last week.

  • seticat

    I have a radio that is solar/battery/crank with a cell phone adapter and use that. I’ve also got a could of solar lights that have a charging port. They both work fine. The big thing is to try them out *before* you need them. Not when it’s cold and dark.