The Second-Hand Man

In my post-windstorm SHTF Equip AAR, I showed you the device I call “The JumpBox” and considered it the Star of the Show.

As an FYI, I have given “The JumpBox” a name: Darrell

Also, I have recently come into possession of a brother of his, whose name is also Darrell.


The co-worker who had given me Darryl after he took a spill off the back of dude’s truck bought himself a new one with more cranking amps (though I don’t know why, the guy is only jumping his snowmobiles) and I asked him about Darrell’s replacement. He said he’d sell it to me for $25. I tried to hesitate before I whipped out my wallet, but I don’t know how well I succeeded.

Another pair of items that have recently come into my posession are these backpacks


They are partnership models of these from the American Red Cross

A friend of mine gave them to me after I mentioned to him about the re-posting of the By Ourselves series during a pre-Christmas get-together at a mutual friend’s house.

His employer is a “Partner” with the ARC and they get these backpacks at a heavy discount to keep in the workplace. The building he works in had a major plumbing failure during the windstorm and it burst nearly directly over their emergency supplies, including these packs. His employer told him and his fellow employees to take the stuff home and the company would order new ones. But here is the part I didn’t understand: The packs are waterproof and everything inside of them is wrapped in sealed plastic. My friend said that his boss didn’t care; if someone wanted them for their home, they could take them. He took one for himself, his wife and each of his two kids. Then he realized they were two-person packs and was going to take two of them back until he talked to me. I, of course, accepted.

The food is good for three more years, as are the water packets. After thoroughly drying the packs themselves, about the only thing I see wrong with them is that they are missing the AA and D cell batteries and the glowsticks. These were most likely pilfered by my friend’s fellow employees and are easily replaceable.

One of these goes in the wife’s car and the other goes into my truck. And I am enjoying my second-hand Christmas presents.

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11 Responses to The Second-Hand Man

  1. Michael says:

    I have seen something very similar at Wally World. But made by Black & Decker. It would work great since I live in an apartment setting. There for I can’t have a gas powered generator or fuel laying about. But something like that just might fit the bill nicely.

  2. Rivrdog says:

    After thrashing my search engines for 15 minutes, I can’t find these Husky jump starters either. They must be superseded.

    The B&D seems to be a weaker model, with a smaller 110VAC inverter in it. OK as far as it goes, but not as beefy as the Darrells.

    I propose a better deal:

    Go buy yourself a Trojan Group 27 storage battery, about $80 if you find it discounted, maybe as much as $120 in a small-town store. It will be about 115 amp-hours. Then get a Tempo Battery-box with 12VDC electrical hook-up and power check, about $40-50. Go to your friendly electronics discounter such as Fry’s Electronics and buy yourself a 12VDC-110VAC inverter of at least 400 watts capability, 600 is better, cost under $100. Mount same on top of the battery box (pop rivets and steel bands around the inverter case) and fit the 12VDC cord of the inverter with 3/8″ positive and a 5/16″ negative crimp-on terminals, and attach directly to the screw-terminals on the battery.

    Now you have a decent power source that will be capable of much more power delivery than the Darrells, while taking up no more room (it will be at least twice as heavy though, probably about 75#). A set of jumper cables for jump-starting from the battery or recharging from a car, plus a decent AC battery charger of at least 6 amps capacity (a 10-amp bass-boat charger is better) will complete the set.

    For about $230 to maybe $300 if you aren’t a smart shopper, you have what you need to keep yourself and small to medium appliances going during an electrical emergency.

    The math says that you can provide 60 watts continuous output from this set up, never going below the minimum 50%-to-recharge threshold for at least 8 hours. If you vary your capacity to output 110VAC by having a range of inverters, starting with a little 40-watt model (about $20), for the small items like recharging phones, etc, you can stretch that battery out for a long time.

    The beauty of this sort of system is that it can be reduced or expanded. You can get a smaller battery, a Group 24, or even get down into little 7-amp-hour sealed lead-acid batteries for really small work, or you can add more group 27 batteries, paralleled to the original, and go way up in capacity. On my previous cabin cruiser, I had a main battery bank of 4 Group 31 batteries of 130 amp-hours each, all lashed together into a 520 amp-hour bank, with a 1500-watt inverter that had a built-in 75 amp charger to hammer those batteries back full quickly, and I ran a fridge/freezer, lights, electric blanket at night and a microwave oven at mealtimes for 4 days before getting down to the recharge point of the batteries. In other words, the equivalent of powering a small house or apartment for everything except heat, with no noise or worry about fumes or flammable fuels, except as below.

    A 1000-watt ultra quiet Yamaha pack-generator would recharge those batteries to over 90% in four hours running on less than a half-gallon of fuel.

    If you are going to “do for yourself”, I strongly recommend a battery-inverter setup. That’s what the Darrells really are, but their small 15-20 amp-hour batteries make them of limited use, IMHO. The beauty of battery-inverter is that you can get into a kit for far less than a good genset, and keep expanding it as you have money to put into it. I have used a good (Interstate) RV battery for 12 years with loving care as to water levels, etc. You would wear out a generator in that time frame. The inverter should last a lifetime at least. Maintenance is light, consisting only of keeping the batteries full of DISTILLED water and the terminals wire-brushed clean twice a year.

    No noise, no fire hazard. Think of it, your Significan Other will probably drop out of the emergency mode enough to demonstrate proper warming of the mate’s body after you turn out your lights and go to bed.

  3. Darrell says:

    Um, Darrell? :S

  4. gudis says:

    Hmm, reminds me of a song;

    …Don’t keep paddlin’ to the shallow end on the gene pool
    Half-wit to half-wit, half-finished high school
    Give you a piece of my mind, but i know you want it splattered
    Heard you like your women like your shrimp, you like ’em battered
    Wife-beater, perfectly fitting apparel
    Where’s your brother Darryl? Where’s your other brother Darryl?…

    Nice gear btw.

  5. Phil says:

    Thankee for that, Gudis. To explain, Darrell, On the later Bob Newhart show, there were three brothers: Larry, Darrell and the other brother Darrell. None of them were too smart, but the Darrells were the true dim bulbs, which is why I named these two as such. They have lights on the front of them, but they only work some of the time.

    RD’s set up would work pretty well for you, Michael, if your apartment isn’t up too many flights of stairs.

    Btw, RD, if you could drop a couple links in for folks, that would be great.

  6. Rivrdog says:

    I’ll prolly do a post over at Paratus
    on Battery-Inverter set-ups, from the lightest duty to whole-house, with links and prices.

    Weight isn’t such a concern as you might think, though, because everything is modular, and no module is going to weigh more than one of the batteries.

  7. Darrell says:

    LOL Believe me, Phil, when your name is Darrell, you’ve heard the Bob Newhart show’s line about a gazillion times…

  8. gudis says:

    I never knew what that was refering to, but I’m 21 and went to public school so…
    Rivrdog’s writeup was excellent, as always.

  9. Firehand says:

    Dammit, they beat me to it!

    “I’m Darrel, and this’s my other brother Darrel”

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