Living in the land of sunshine can have its downsides. One is the summers here. It is still super hot here, though I think we are done with the 90+ degree days for the year. The other issue is hurricanes. I had a loose setup of batteries on an ups to provide 12V power for charging phones and whatnot. It was kind of a mess and the batteries were pretty well shot. Our most recent hurricane scare pushed me into action.
I wanted something more compact and organized with greater capability than my first setup had. I am making two boxes to use as general sturdy hurricane supply storage. A third box will house a deep cycle battery and have some tricks up its sleeve. Everything is made out of either 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood. These all got assembled and painted at the same time I was building my bee cabinet.
Storage Boxes Assembled
Once the painting was complete I started assembling the battery box. First I used cleats to kind of clamp in the battery a bit. It can still move vertically, but I don’t ever plan on flipping the box over. The charger goes in the back, with its cord coming out the side of the box. A divider keeps most things away from the battery and allows for some storage space. Next came a terminal block screwed to the roof, and a switchable panel voltage meter. This will let me monitor the voltage during charging and operation. Next came some 12V car power sockets so I can plug in all my accessories when I need them. Finally I stuck some black plastic HDPE over the terminal block to keep anything from accidentally shorting.
Battery and charger
Power breakout with volt meter
Once I had that all wired up and tested out I put in a front divider to make the lower right area a storage bin of sorts. It holds a 12V fan, inverter, USB phone charger, and a special LED light box.
Speaking of light box, here it is. I found some bright LED car lights that run directly from 12V. They got installed in a custom box with switches and a 12V car plug. Now I can plug these in and use either 2 or 4 lights to help light up a room during a power outage.
With all the innards assembled I put hinged doors on all the boxes and some beefy folding handles. The battery box got a locking mechanism to keep the doors closed. The battery box is really heavy. To help with hauling around the house I screwed it to a small fold up hand truck. This means that just about anyone can move it around the house without causing a hernia.
The two storage boxes are about 14 per side on the inside. The size worked out pretty well. One holds a pile of expandable 5 gallon water containers. I figure instead of trying to buy water ahead of each storm or season, I can just bottle it myself right before a storm hits.
The other box carries a wide variety of odds and ends including solar cells and a charging circuit to charge the deep cycle up, candles, matches, other fire starters, soap and disposable bowls/utensils, playing cards, a weather radio, lantern, and other odds and ends worth keeping around.
Everything you could need and more
This thing holds six 5 gallon water containers
Now that I have gone to all this trouble and expense to be really prepared, we probably wont have the power go out for many years. Wouldn’t that be nice!