Archive for the ‘frugal living’ Category

Forever Flashlight III by Excaliber

November 12, 2006

I have picked up two of these flashlights for my house. Living on the Gulf Coast as I am hurricanes are a nagging concern and I got these as part of my hurricane preparation kit though they would equally well in routine blackout.

The flashlights operate on the Faraday principle with the conducter- coiled copper wire moving though a magnetic field by shaking the flashlight. The resultant electricity powers the LED and provides light. When I first started looking at these I was concerned about the light intesity. In the stores it can be difficult to tell if the flashlight is even on.

I happy to report thought that in the dark the resultant illumination is more than sufficient to provide light for walking around. Just don’t expect spotlight intensity. The advertising indicates 5 minutes of illumination for 15 to 30 seconds of mechanical work but in my experience the intensity of the light fades after a couple of minutes so I wind up shaking it sooner. Still there is no need to worry about dead batteries making it ideal for emergency situations.

I had also considered “dynamo” flashlights but these do contain a battery, a rechargable one (a fact that is not always clearly shown on the packaging materials), and presumably over time this rechargable battery will lose its ability to store a charge.

The flashlights run from 20 to 30 dollars on average and can be found online but also in places like Bed,Bath and Beyond, The Sharper Image and Brookstones.

Kill-a-watt Energy Meter

October 29, 2006

I recently saw a posting for the Kill-a-watt energy meter at My Money Blog, a blog I often read.

I’ve had the Kill-a-watt meter for about two years.  The idea is quite intersting – it’s a nifty gadget.

You plug it between an electrical device and the wall outlet.  It will track your consumption for whatever period of time you choose.  It has a small built in LCD that tracks your electricity consumption through different methods.  However, you must have the discipline to actually check and take measurements.  You also need to contact your electrical provider to learn your cost per killowatt hour.

For me the device does not work too well, as it sits blindly attached to a television for several months.  For others, it may be a great way to identify high energy consuming appliances, etc….