But what of when that killer hurricane is due to hit in a couple of hours and you weren’t able to evacuate? You need to power up your jigsaw or circular saw, and all of a sudden, the power just died…this as you’re boarding up the house! On that note let’s cover a few things.
Make a Lights Out Kit
Put together a good kit for yourself to begin with. Here are some items you will need:
- a multimeter  (and preferably one of the old-style with the hands and scale. Why? Because you’ll be able to see the face and read it better
- candle or a flashlight  if the power goes out
- several rolls of electrical tape  (UL rated)
- wire cutters 
- crimping tools 
- a small assortment of hand tools, such as screwdrivers and measuring tape 
How to Utilize a Car Battery as a Power Source
Let’s go with some instructions for utilizing a car battery as a power source. You will also need a power inverter . This inverter “converts” the electricity into a usable form, and enables you to tap into a power source that would normally fry you. The friendly wall outlets have died, and you really need to get that circular saw up and running. The wall outlet is AC, or Alternating Current. You need a new AC power source.
Your car battery is just that source, however, it is DC, or direct current. With the power inverter, you can change that DC into the AC that will power your circular saw. Guess what? After you’re done with the circular saw, you can use the battery for your TV, or a lamp, or something else you may need. Here’s how to hook up your inverter to the battery:
- First, connect the positive terminal on the power inverter (red terminal) to the positive (+) post on the car battery.
- Next connect the negative terminal on the power inverter (the black terminal) to the negative (-) post on the car battery.
- Now it’s time to turn the power inverter on, and you should then allow the inverter to warm up. Give it at least thirty seconds to be on the safe side.
- Now you plug in your circular saw into the power outlet provided on the inverter. Voila! Done!
That’s a pretty simple fix that should not provide you with too much headache. The main task is to positively and clearly identify the correct terminals on your battery and on the inverter. Electricity is a pretty “mystifying” thing for most people who haven’t fooled with it very much. I highly recommend obtaining some of those old Time-Life books from the mid 1970’s. They are replete with excellent drawings and photographs that can take you step-by-step through simple and basic repairs.
The reason you should arm yourself with this knowledge is that when the SHTF, guess what? You are now the electrician! Yes, this frightening thought was not meant to discourage you, but to enable you to make preparations for the time when you need a little knowledge and skills in that area to see you through.
Safety First, Folks!
Just remember a few safety basics before you do anything. Always disconnect your power at the breaker box/circuit box prior to any electrical endeavors you will undertake. Make sure that you’re not sitting, standing, or kneeling in any water. Remember that water conducts electricity and can give you an electric birdbath that will make you chirp sparks for a month! Always better to err on the side of caution. And study and practice this stuff before you make the actual attempt to fix something. If you have to make a repair on the home, stick with the electrician and learn something. You’re paying him, after all, and he can use an extra pair of hands. He’ll probably be more than happy to explain what he’s doing when you hold a flashlight for him or run tools to him from his truck.
Electricity can be a great servant of man or a great danger. Prepare and plan for the emergencies that you may be able to forecast for your own home in the midst of a disaster and lay in your tools and supplies. When the power goes out it won’t be so much of a shock to you…pun intended! Be safe and keep up the good work! JJ out!