The Storm Station has a built-in, detachable flashlight, a room light, a radio that includes a NOAA weather radio, AM-FM radio, and a TV audio band. There is also an on-board inverter with a 25 watt 120 volt outlet, and a 12 volt outlet. I’ve had mine for a few years and in times past it has performed as designed. It’s the first thing I reach for when the lights go out. When the power failed a while back, I set it on the kitchen counter, hit the light button and…nothing. The flashlight was likewise dead. The radio worked, but then I remembered the radio operates off a separate pack of AA batteries.
After the power was restored, I did what any computer-literate handyman would do. I Googled the problem and learned it was likely the main battery was dead. Then I dialed up the next great online resource, Youtube. I watched some guy take his Storm Station apart, install a new battery and put it back together again. It looked like a project I could handle. (Quite unlike a similar project when I disastrously tried to replace the broken screen on my grandson’s ipod touch.)
When the new battery arrived, I removed the 10 screws on the back and carefully separated the front half from the back. Installing the new battery was a snap and I put it back together with no screws left over. (Usually a good sign.)
Plugging it in, I let it charge overnight. The next morning the green light indicated a fully charged condition. Everything seemed to work as designed. Problem solved.
I recommend periodically checking your gear to make sure it is still operational. If it has batteries, replace them every so often inspecting for corrosion. If there is corrosion, clean it off with abrasive cloth or an emery board. (Hint: Don’t use your wife’s. Some wives object, go buy your own. The voice of experience.)
If your equipment is gasoline powered, make sure it starts. If the gas has been in it for a few months, draining the gas might be a good idea. The alcohol in ethanol tends to attract water which will affect how well your engine runs, if at all. If your well-being is at least partially dependent on how well your equipment works, then taking care of it is a good investment.
As always send your equipment repair stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.