Skechers | advertisement | Brand Folio
Latest issue
Online newsletter
Product Knowledge
Load shedding | Products to use during | Lighting, cooking, recharging devicesPhoto: Messe Friedrichshafen
May 2015

Products to recommend

for power outages

With electricity supply problems in South Africa becoming part of everyday life, customers will be seeking guidance and recommendations on products to use during load shedding. RHIANAH RHODE finds out what suppliers offer that will help keep customers connected, fed and provide enough light to perform everyday tasks

Lights-out and light meals could be quite nice in summer, but winter is fast approaching and everyday items such as light, heat, warm food and entertainment will help customers brave colder days.

As the days grow shorter and colder, the demands on the power grid will be increasing and we can expect load shedding to become a more regular part of our lives.

Sport and outdoor suppliers offer a wide range of lighting, cooking, recharging, etc. options that will give customers these comforts during power outages, although they were originally designed for outdoor activities.

In today’s always-connected age, a device that will keep your customer connected to the world via his cell phone, tablet, etc. is sure to be at the top of his in-case-of-load shedding shopping list.

Staying connected

The versatile Ultra Tec Lil’ Bud is a powerhouse when it comes to handy features during power outages: it has a USB slot for charging mobile and electronic devices offer an all-in-one lighting and entertainment package.

It is a FM radio and MP3 player that can keep the user entertained while he waits for the power to come back on, and also offer various lighting solutions. It acts as an emergency lantern with 170 lumens during power outages, and can also be used as a flashlight or 100 lumens spotlight … all in a neat compact unit, available from Lite-Optec.

The more expensive version can be recharged with a solar panel.

The Black Diamond Ember Power Light flashlight not only provides the user with light to see by — it also doubles as a charging device. Similar to a power bank, it has an integrated USB port that can recharge handheld electronic devices, and its flashlight has a maximum burn time of 50 hours, says Lehan Bornman from local distributor Ram Mountaineering.

RED-E power banks are pocket sized power back-ups to charge all your electronic devices, explains Martin Gleeson from local distributor Omnico. There are a variety of different sized power banks with varying capacities in the range.

Recommend that your customer keep the power bank charged so that it is loaded for when the power goes out. Power banks are charged via an input port. All your customer needs is a standard USB port or a USB charger with micro USB plug, he explains. Once fully charged, the device will hold its charge and enable the user to recharge electronic devices such as cell- or smartphones and tablets.

Power banks are ideal for home or office use and “they are perfect for camping and weekends away from all the technology,” says Gleeson. “The larger units can charge smart phones up to four times.”

These power banks are easy to use or carry around and are robust, reliable and offer customers uncompromised quality and a lifetime guarantee.

Generally these products don’t need much care, but retailers should remind customers that severe drops can damage the cells and that they should also never be exposed to an open fire or be pierced with sharp objects that may damage or cause them to explode, Gleeson says.

Lighting any situation

There are nowadays many innovative lighting solutions that will light up a room almost as well as an electric table lamp. Lanterns are very handy to light up a room and come in many interesting formats.

UltraTec has been on the market for over a decade and offers a range of emergency lights, as well as products for recharging and entertaining. Their emergency lights offer the perfect balance between the amount of light emitted and run time, says Kim Romanis of the local distributor, Lite Optec. All their lights have longer burning time than regular load shedding intervals of 2-2 ½ hours, allowing a number of uses before having to recharge or replace batteries.

They can operate on AC and DC batteries, carry a 12 month warranty and are serviceable even thereafter. These lights are South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) approved.

Of all the UltraTec lights, the MS5123 Emergency/Camping LED lantern boasts with the longest run time (100 hours) and has a USB port for charging devices such as a phone, while the MS5122 Max Emergency/Camping lantern has a 300 lumen output that it can sustain for up to 50 hours in flashlight mode.

The Nightingale Rechargeable LED Camping/Auto Emergency lantern has a classic oil lamp look and produces up to 150 lumens for 30 hours.

“It is important to note that these products should not be stored without first charging the battery,” she points out. Retailers should also remind customers to be careful when handling batteries as they are corrosive.

The MS5141 two-piece UltraTec Camping LED Kit incorporates a solar panel to create the ultimate in camping lighting solutions, says Romanis.

Black Diamond’s Titan lantern, with its collapsible double-hook hang loop that can be attached overhead, is ideal for providing light in those situations when the user needs the use of both his hands, for example, when cooking. The lantern features a 250 lumen QuadPower LED, dual reflector system and a frosted globe. Aside from adjusting light, its dimming switch also helps to conserve power when the light is turned lower.

The Black Diamond Moji is a pocket-sized lantern that is ideal for use at home for table-top illumination, says Bornman. Its single-piece design has a frosted globe that allows even distribution of 100 lumens on its maximum setting. The Apollo lantern in the range offers an 80 lumen output over 60 hours and runs on AA batteries.

Torchlights

“Any of the Led Lenser products would be very useful for anyone, under any circumstance needing light, although the brand is not specifically positioned to be an emergency light in a load shedding or low power usage situation,” says Bruce Woodroffe, MD of local distributor Awesome Tools.

The range features products that provide bright and efficient light — whether for home, business, or outdoor use and includes battery-operated and rechargeable lights, which can also run on batteries when there is no power, he explains.

The P5R.2 flashlight has a “Floating Charge System” that allows the flashlight to be charged directly through a wall-mounted unit or on the go via a USB cord, which can be plugged into a car, laptop, etc. This rechargeable torch offers a massive 270 lumens of power and has a beam distance of 240m (more than two rugby fields). This device can also be stored on charge for long periods without damaging the battery.

The rechargeable M17R heavy-duty flashlight and H14R.2 lightweight headlamp offer the user a massive 850 lumens, which can keep a large area more than well-lit. The M17R also features Advanced Smart Light Technology (SLT) that allows the user to change the beam strength with light clicks and the patented Advanced Focus System (AFS) that combines a reflector and a lens to provide a strong focused beam for long-distance, and a diffused light for close-up viewing.

The X21.2 torch provides ultra-bright light with 1 600 lumens and a long beam distance of up to 600m, which would be very useful to businesses that want to illuminate a large area, but can also prove handy at home, says Woodroffe. It can run for 100 hours and has a low battery message system, which indicates when it is nearing the end of its run time. Its Smart Light Technology enables the user to program light functions to specific tasks.

Spotlights

The Streamlight range of products, locally distributed by Rescomp, offers non- and rechargeable lighting solutions that are useful for a wide range of applications.

They offer energy efficient, high output lanterns, spotlights, hand-held and area lighting, as well as specialised applications and lighting products such as weapons mounted and infrared lights.

“Quality, durability and innovation,” local distributor Tazio Resca sums up the characteristics of Streamlight, “which prides itself on pioneering lighting technologies and supplying energy efficient high output lighting for all applications.” Their products operate on batteries that are either disposable, or built-in rechargeable packs, depending on the specific model.

The Waypoint spotlight gives off a bright, far-reaching, piercing light, which can be useful for seeing into the distance during load shedding. This non-rechargeable spotlight features shock-proof C4 LED technology to offer a burn time of up to 50 000 hours, has a pistol grip and can function on a low setting to offer a less intensive beam and conserve its battery power. It can also operate on a 12 DC power cord, should your customer not have any batteries when the lights go out.

The trigger style power switch enables easy on and off function and a secondary rotary switch is used to select various output modes. One of these modes being a strobe light that can be used for signalling if in need of help when load shedding occurs. A handy integrated stand allows hands-free lighting while a removable lanyard can be used to secure it when used as a hand-held.

It features IPX4, which enables water resistance for up to one meter and it can be used in conjunction with various coloured filters that are lightweight, fit securely over the spotlight’s head and help preserve night vision. Streamlight offers users a limited lifetime warranty on this product.

Headlamps

Your customers will, however, also need light when moving around in the dark during a power outage. A headlamp offers the ideal hands-free solution when cooking, carrying items around the house or performing other everyday tasks.

Black Diamond, locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering, offers a variety of rechargeable and battery-operated headlamps and flashlights to help customers of all ages move around in the dark.

For the little ones, the battery-operated Wiz is a compact headlamp that offers a 30 lumen output. It has a child-safe screw closure, breakaway elastic safety strap and automatic two hour shut down function that helps prevent accidental battery drainage. It is ideal for children who are uncomfortable without light during night time load shedding.

The Gizmo’s ultra-compact design means easy carrying in small areas such as a backpack’s side pocket or glove compartment, says Bornman. It features 60 lumens and has dimming and strobe functions.

The Wiz and Gizmo both feature two single power LED’s and are protected against splashed and sprayed water from any angle.

Storm, with a strong 160 lumens beam that lights up over 7m, and Ion (80 lumens over a wide 38m area) are headlamps that each have a maximum burn time of 200 hours and can therefore be used at least 80 times for the usual two to two and a half hour load shedding intervals.

Storm has a waterproof construction, an intuitive lock mode that prevents it from switching itself on and its PowerTap technology allows the user to adjust brightness with the tap of a finger.

Ion can operate on AAA as well as rechargeable batteries and also has a touch-control housing that allows the user to switch between light functions such as full power, dim, strobe, etc. with the swipe of a finger.

Cosmo is another of Black Diamond’s headlamps that can last for hours. In fact, with a 90 lumen output over 50m, the Cosmo can last 250 hours. It can be set to full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision, and lock mode.

The 130 lumen rechargeable Revolt headlamp offers proximity lighting that is ideal for lighting large areas at a time, while its dimming function lets the user choose the amount of light he requires.

Both the Cosmo and Revolt feature a three-level power meter that displays battery life and reminds the user to replace dead batteries.

The Led Lenser SEO 3 headlamp offers 90 lumens and is great for use around the home, campsite or finding necessities when the lights go out, says Woodroffe. It features three white and one red LED, and a carabiner clip for easy carrying when on the go. “This light offers great value,” he adds, and suggests that you recommend to your customers to keep a few of these headlamps around the house in handy-to-reach areas for when the lights go out. It uses a new top shelf LED chip and redesigned reflector lens, which helps optimise illumination for clearer light.

Prohunter, locally distributed by W.E.T. Sports Importers, offers battery-operated headlamps with adjustable headbands and a lightweight lamp construction, which makes them comfortable to wear.

For those situations where you want a steady light, Prohunter has developed a 5 LED headlamp that can be removed from its headband and attached to another surface via its built-in magnet. This enables the wearer to direct light to where it is needed. The headlamp also features a strobe mode for emergencies. The Prohunter 12 has two modes — one is a focused light that can light a specific area well. This light is also ideal for fishing and camping, says Andrew Wentzel, from local distributor.

Cooking in the dark

Basic needs like hunger and thirst need to be fulfilled, with or without electricity. Jetboil, locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering, offers customers an alternative solution to preparing food, as well as a way to make warm drinks that will help keep them toasty during load shedding on colder days or nights.

The MiniMo is a new personal cooking system with a valve design that allows simmer control. It features a cooking cup that is the perfect combination of size, sturdy metal handles and optimised height, says Bornman. Its height and low spoon angling provides the user with an easy-to-eat experience.

Their Joule uses proprietary regulator technology that allows consistent heat output down to -12°C. It has an inverted fuel can and liquid feed regulator that performs like a liquid/multi-fuel stove with the added benefit of the ease of use and versatility of a canister system.

“Joule’s 10 000 BTU burner provides the raw power for rapid boil times, yet still offers excellent simmer control for cooking,” says Bornman.

The Flash can boil two cups of water in less than three minutes and its design ensures stability and no spilling. Its cooking cup clips onto the burner to prevent accidental spills and its fuel canister tripod ensures overall stability. It has a push-button ignite and heat indicator. It also has an insulating cozy with a colour-changing heat indicator that signals when contents are hot.

Keeping cool

During warmer weather, it should be a relief for your customers to hear about UltraTec’s Tornado 2-Speed oscillating fan. The fan, which not only cools down the user, also features a built-in LED emergency light.


Safety checks for gas- and battery-powered devices

Headlamps, torches, lanterns, etc. are safer alternatives to lighting candles to provide light everywhere one moves around during load shedding periods, but gas- and battery powered devices can be dangerous if not taken care of or used in the correct manner.

You should therefore remind your customers that when they are working with gas products, they should work in well-ventilated areas as gas uses oxygen to burn and in a non-ventilated area it could deplete breathable air.

  • When lighting gas, open the canister and light the gas before placing a pot or kettle on top of it.
  • Check equipment for any leaks before use. If there is a leak in a pierce-able cartridge, empty it in a well-ventilated area and do not disconnect or connect it during this time.
  • When storing gas products keep them away from heat sources or elements that could ignite them. Unless otherwise stated, keep products in an upright position.
  • Do not store gas products near damp, dust, dirt or any other elements that could cause damage to the container or valves.

Batteries

When your customer uses batteries, he should always check that they are inserted correctly because if not, they can overheat and cause leaks that can lead to explosions.

  • Only purchase batteries that are approved for use with the intended device and avoid counterfeit products, which could set alight.
  • Only charge batteries that are rechargeable as non-rechargeable batteries can overheat and cause damage should they be placed in a charger.
  • When recharging batteries, only use compatible chargers.
  • Repeatedly recharging a battery when it has not discharged can cause it to lose its maximum energy capacity. The battery will remember the shorter charge and only reach this smaller capacity when it is recharged being recharged.
  • Do not crush, puncture or place pressure on batteries as it can cause internal short circuiting that can cause overheating.
  • Do not dispose of batteries in fire as they may explode.

*Read our copyright notice before making use of this article




© SA Sports Trader