Test your preps!
I know you’ve all heard this before, but I thought I would share a few recent events that brought ‘testing your preps’ to the front of my thoughts.
I have a 4AA battery headlamp that I use often. I had some issues with past ones and was really impressed with the company’s customer service, so I bought a couple more which i’ve never used. I decided to break them open and try them out. The modes are high, low, and strobe. While I was using one of them, suddenly the strobe mode came on without me touching the switch. I tried to change the mode but the switch didn’t work. I touched the front of the light and it was hot. I touched the battery pack and it was really hot. I hurriedly took out the batteries (which were also hot) and noticed that they were starting to melt. These were lithium batteries, so you can imagine what could have happened.
I decided to test out the other one as well. After 10 minutes, both the front light and battery pack were hot and again the 4 batteries were starting to melt. I double-checked the polarity and they were correct. The headlamp that I use often has 4AA lithium batteries. The newer ones are slightly different as they have a different color battery cover, so I suspect there was a design change. I’m down 8 lithium batteries but at least I wasn’t injured and it didn’t happen during a crisis. The company has been out of business for several years, so no possibility of a return.
In another situation, I generally drain the batteries of my rechargeable radios and then fully recharge them twice a year. I’m having a problem charging one of my radios. The rechargeable battery was just replaced last year and I did some ‘conditioning’ to ensure a longer life. What is really strange is it seems to hold a charge using the crank but not using either of my two AC chargers. I’m still trying to figure it out but the radio can be operated with AAA batteries and I have a spare rechargeable battery pack.
I’d like to hear from others about issues they have encountered because of not checking preps.