Pros: Small space requirement, reasonable price, good functionality
The Scene is Set
You are settled in to watch a little TV before bedtime. The program isnt great but its better than the silence that fell when the last little one finally went to sleep. You are thinking about maybe a bedtime snack when suddenly the TV goes dark and so does the rest of the house.
You rise out of your comfy chair trying to remember where that flashlight is. Stumbling over a toy you move sideways and your shin finds the coffee table leg. Rubbing your leg you move to the kitchen junk drawer and fumble for the flashlight. You slide the switch and nothing. The batteries are dead.
There is a candle somewhere in another room. You feel your way to the place you remember it being. Now if you only had something to light it. The stove! Luckily its gas with the old fashioned pilots. Feeling your way back to the kitchen you get that candle lit.
Still no power is streaming in from your friendly electrical company. You reach for the telephone to call and see how long you will be without power. Your telephone is plugged in and with no electricity it doesnt work. So use the cell phone. A hot drop of wax burns your wrist. The cell phone is dead. You had let it discharge and just plugged it in to recharge before the lights went out.
Of course all your radios are plugged in and dont work either. You settle in for a long evening of boredom and frustration.
Has this ever happened to you? It certainly has happened to us.
Black & Decker Storm Station All-in-1 Rechargeable Power Source/Radio/Light - SS925
If you are lucky enough to have received the B&D Storm Station as a gift or purchased it after the last power outage the scene will be different. It sits in an easily accessible place near one of those now dead power outlets. When the power goes out the 3 LEDs, the find me lights, blink on. You go to the Storm Station and press its room light switch. Suddenly a soft white light chases away the nearby shadows. The room light of the Storm Station is on.
The phone doesnt work but no worry now. You carry the portable Storm Station close to the telephone and switch on the Storm Station inverter. You plug the telephone in and dial. Now you know the outage could last several hours. You may want to make arrangements to leave for awhile. You lift the fully charged flashlight out of its cradle on the Storm Station and head for the garage and the mobile charger for your cell phone. Returning, you plug it into the receptacle on the Storm Station and begin charging your phone for a possible trip.
But the silence is deafening as you wait. You turn on the radio on the Storm Station and tune to your favorite music, either AM or FM. Are you wondering about the local weather if you decide to leave? Switch to the weather channels and get a report from the National Weather Service. Maybe you had gotten into the TV program. Just change to the TV channels and listen to the audio.
The Black & Decker Storm Station All-in-1 Rechargeable Power Source/Radio/Light - SS925 is really meant for one use, the loss of power to your home. If you have never had a power outage in the ten years you have lived there, maybe it isnt needed. If you live in hurricane country and have a reliable power generator this may be overkill. For the rest of us, however, the price of this convenience is pretty reasonable.
The Storm Station is a pretty good chunk of plastic and electronics. Most of the weight is from the internal, and replaceable, rechargeable 12 volt battery. It is more than a light source. Inside is an inverter that will provide up to 25 watts of 110 volt AC to a single outlet. The battery is also connected to a standard cigarette lighter receptacle to provide up to 2.5 Amps of DC power. Both of these outlets are protected from overload. A light tells you it has been tripped.
At the side is a flashlight that has its own rechargeable batteries, also replaceable. It is instantly available as a portable light source. It has a focusable lens to direct the light in a narrow beam or as a floodlight. There is also a room light to give a glow bright enough to read by. It is turned on by a simple push switch.
The radio is powered from the rechargeable internal battery or from a set of four AA batteries you can install. Its a pretty decent radio that gets most of the same station our dedicated radios get. It has the normal AM and FM tuning range but also adds the ability to hear audio from any VHF low or high band TV station in the area. It also has a weather band that tunes the National Weather Service stations. My one complaint is that the tuning knob tunes too coarsely. It takes a fine touch to lock onto a station. The sound is decent and the volume loud enough to wake your sleeping child.
It is connected to power outlet by the standard brick. While power is available it is busy charging both the internal 12 volt battery and the rechargeable flashlight batteries, The internal battery takes about 9 hours to charge from a run down state. The flashlight takes more like 16 hours. The two year home use warranty gives a sense of comfort.
This came as a Christmas gift. We played with it that day and then plugged it into a logical location and sort of forgot about it until the lights went out during the last snow event. When the lights went out the find me lights on the Storm Station came on, making it easy to find. One push and the darkness retreated. We plugged the telephone brick in and called the electric company hot line to report the outage. We werent the first. It was pretty wide spread.
We tuned to a radio station, leaving the phone plugged in and the room light on. The light dimmed after the first 30 minutes but the radio still played. The flashlight was used to traverse the rooms as needed and was still bright when the power came back an hour or more later.
In two months we have used it once. It is a gift appreciated now.