When hurricane Sandy hit New York City, Voltaic employees were all very happy that they had extra USB batteries, USB lights and solar chargers with them.

For our CEO, the V39 battery and Flexlight were the most useful. The V39 has a pretty good sized capacity (10,600 mAh) and has enough juice to charge his iPhone about 6 times. For Shayne, keeping a laptop and tablet charged were lower priority and not as good a use as power. However, even more important than the cell-phone was having lights at night. It got dark around 5:30 here in New York and the USB Flexlight and USB Flashlight provided a lot more light than candles and was safer as well. The V39 could keep a flashlight going for over 40 hours.

When possible, we brought batteries and lights to people who needed it and were often in tougher positions than us including parents with young children in high rises.

Out in Staten Island, Tommy lent his Fuse 10Ws and Flexlights to his parents whose power stayed out for a much longer period after the storm. One Fuse 10W was used to light the primary living space at night and the other was used to keep two cell phones charged for emergency reasons.

One question was where does solar fit in with all of this. It is sunny now, but for during and immediately after the storm, conditions were simply not very good for solar charging. One approach is something like the LifeEdited apartment where panels are mounted permanently outside to the batteries so that every bit of sunlight is gathered. The second is to have a big enough panel(s) so that you can produce power even when there isn’t much sun. At a minimum, you probably want a 3.4 Watt solar panel, but having more means faster charging. We think the Spark iPad Charger provides a pretty good balance between power and size.

Finally, we recommend regularly using your USB batteries and keeping them fully charged. When I saw the storm coming, I topped mine off from 80 to 100% full from wall chargers. It doesn’t do you much good to go into a potential power failure with an empty battery.

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