In the recent past, the battery was not a subject that was talked about all that much.
Our vehicles had batteries, of course. And we used batteries for a few things such as flashlights. But we didn’t give them a whole lot of thought.
With the emergence of so many more electronic devices and games in recent years, batteries are now mentioned much more often.
Adding to the rise of the importance of batteries have been more frequent and more extreme weather events. We have to keep essential items running when the power goes out, and batteries are the primary way to do it.
Testing… 1, 2, 3
So, with batteries being more essential than ever, it’s time to take a look at some battery hacks we can use if we ever need to.
First off, in addition to stockpiling a supply of batteries for your electronic devices, you should own a battery tester.
Why? You need to find out now if your batteries are in working order. Don’t wait for a crisis. Some of these testers don’t need batteries to operate.
Look for one that tests both standard and re-chargeable batteries. These would include 9-volt, A, AA, AAA, C and D batteries. And a 1.5-volt button cell battery.
Toss – but don’t toss out – a battery
You can tell when a battery is getting low on juice, even if you don’t have a tester. The device using it becomes sluggish or intermittent.
But the battery might have a little life left. Try throwing it down on a carpet. Or perhaps on a towel covering dirt if you’re outside. Sometimes that can wake it up a little bit.
Another option is to warm a battery to body temperature, especially if the battery is cold. Wrap it up for 15 minutes in your clothes.
Or you can roll batteries quickly between your hands. The warmth provided by the friction could enliven the energy within the battery.
Another battery hack is using a 9-volt battery to start a fire. Stockpile lint from your dryer, as well as some steel wool.
Fluff up the steel wool and then touch it all over with the positive and negative terminals of your battery to spark a fire.
Add the lint as tinder and blow on it softly. Your fire will be very small, so have some twigs and small dead tree branches handy. Pine trees seem to work best.
Hold the steel wool against those branches until they catch fire.
Lemons and potatoes
Did you know you can make a battery out of a lemon or a potato? Sounds weird, but it can work.
Stick a galvanized nail (coated in zinc) into your lemon or potato, as well as a copper nail or wire.
Connect a voltage meter to both the copper and zinc. The meter should show a small amount of electric current. The lemon or potato provides the electrolytes, which are needed for the process because they possess an ionic solution.
You can do this with just about any fruit or vegetable, including carrots and oranges. Find online videos that explain this process more thoroughly than we have room for here.
To coin a phrase
Doesn’t it seem like every time you’re looking for an AAA battery, all you can find are AA’s? Or vice versa?
Well, if you can’t find the battery you want in a kitchen drawer, you might be able to improvise. Assuming you have some spare change and cardboard lying around.
I won’t go into the details on this because you’re better off watching an online video to explain it. But you can turn a handful of pennies into batteries in order to power small electronic devices.
You can also use quarters to turn C batteries into D batteries. And cardboard to turn AA batteries into C batteries.
What about car batteries?
There are a number of different hacks for getting one last charge out of a nearly dead car battery.
One is taking two aspirin. No, not for the headache you just got from seeing your battery dying. But rather dropping those aspirin into the battery.
The acetylsalicylic acid that aspirin contains can sometimes help your battery charge up enough to start.
Some folks have tried increasing their car battery charge with a baking soda and distilled water solution, followed by an Epson salt and distilled water solution. It can work, but it’s a very time-consuming process.
Heat worse than cold
As you know, one of the worst culprits for disabling cars is the dead battery. A new battery will typically last between three and five years.
If you think yours can last longer because you live in a warmer climate, you might be fooling yourself. Battery life is actually lower in hotter climates than in colder ones.
The recommendation here is to have a vehicle’s battery tested annually, beginning when it reaches three years of age.
But the AAA motor club says two-thirds of Americans have never had their car batteries tested prior to their vehicle failing to start.
A handy solution
A simple solution for a dead battery is with our popular Patriot Power Hub.
This breakthrough 1 lb. device can jump-start as many as 20 cars without needing to stop and repower…AND without any second vehicle or unwieldy jumper cables.
Plus you can power your smart phone or tablet, use the 2-function powerful LED light for safety or to alert first responders, or even break your car’s window in case you’re trapped.