SpareOne: emergency cellphone powered by AA batteries


#1

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#2

For a purely 911 emergency phone - you shouldn’t need to even activate it within the US - all cell phones are required by the FCC to be allowed 911 service - even if not activated or connected to a plan.

So I could totally see stashing this in a glovebox or ‘go-bag’ for that kind of situation.


#3

The idea of an emergency cellphone is interesting, but I’m not sure how useful it is for that purpose. In more urban settings, chances are somebody nearby will have a phone with charge. In wilderness settings, there is a good chance you’ll be out of cell reception. You can’t even send a text if you find a spot with poor reception - though I suppose it would send its SOS text.


#4

[quote=“mallyboon, post:3, topic:78204, full:true”]
The idea of an emergency cellphone is interesting, but I’m not sure how useful it is for that purpose. In more urban settings, chances are somebody nearby will have a phone with charge.[/quote]True, but the phone can be useful even in “emergencies” that don’t quite rise to the level of knocking on strangers’ doors or flagging down cars.

And in more serious situations it saves time.

[quote]In wilderness settings, there is a good chance you’ll be out of cell reception.[/quote]True, but for example if you have a cabin in the woods, then you know in advance if that phone makes sense for you.


#5

Hmm, what would make more sense:

(a) this stunted abortion of a device, which still requires some sort of pre-paid or post-paid service; or,

(b) a cheap, battery-powered charging pack (that you can also throw in a drawer and yet bears no additional ongoing fees) for the mobile phone you are already paying for and accustomed to using?

Ray-O-Vac USB Backup Charger


#6

Depends. There is something to be said for a self-contained solution. A low battery is not the only reason why you might not be able to use your phone. Of course it is a bit of a niche device, but I think there is a place for it.


#7

The AA battery thing reminds me of what was so awesome about Psion’s 5 and 5mx. There is something to be said for being able to just buy a cheap ubiquitous battery that provides a measure of peace of mind when traveling. Suddenly, losing a cable or charger isn’t quite as inconvenient.


#8

Interesting, I didn’t know this is still possible in the US. Because of too many fake calls it is not possible anymore to call 110 and 112* in Germany without a SIM since 2009.

* the two emergency numbers


#9

That is a problem - however it’s still required at this time. Many shelters use donated (read: no longer worth anything) cell phones to give to people ‘in hiding’ for emergency use - they can get away with this and give some measure of protection to people because of this clause.

And I’m sure there are times when having a phone that can get by with a double a would be useful - disaster planning typically stresses that access to a phone is a priority.


#10

I am an emergency management professional and this device appears to be worthless! The number one rule of communicating during an emergency is TEXT, DON’T CALL.

It is very very important that people only communicate via text during large-scale emergencies. This keeps the system open for the use of emergency response. Texts can wait in a queue until a channel is available for them to be sent. Texts require far less battery power. Texts can convey important information more clearly and use less words.


#11

For one rather specific use case.


#12

The fact that AT&T is taking 2G out behind the woodshed like Ol’ Yeller might explain why they aren’t selling a phone whose premise is relatively long-term emergency availability. They’d certainly be evil enough; but the margins might not be worth the customer support hassle.

Given that AT&T is the American GSM market for many purposes, that’s probably a good reason not to bank on one stateside. Europe at least has more GSM carriers; but I don’t know how aggressive they are or aren’t about killing the older protocols to make room for data plans.

(edit: AT&T’s own rather anodyne FAQ about the shutdown. AT&T apparently doesn’t even bother to pity the fool who built their IoT solution on AT&T 2G technologies.)


#13

Same. This may seem hipstery or whatever word people may use to put it down. However as a panic button that’ll probably still work even though you barely ever bother making sure it’s still there? Handy.


#14

Speaking of phones powered by AA batteries, that reminds me of one of the first ones i ever owned, this one i think: http://www.gsmarena.com/alcatel_ot_easy-34.php
Which ran on standard rechargeable AAA batteries that you could swap for any standard AAA’s if you ran out of charge :slight_smile:


#15

I just keep an old cell phone in the car with a charging cord and a prepaid sim chip that has not been activated, with the registration card all filled out so I can call and register with a credit card if I need to use the backup phone.


#16

Isn’t the problem with that that normal phone batteries deteriorate pretty badly if left uncharged? I don’t mean just losing charge, but eventually suffering permanent damage. Of course you can delay that significantly if you charge it once in a while, but that’s another chore to forget.


#17

Anyone heard of a solar powered cell phone? No worries about running out of a charge. I would keep one of those stashed for an emergency.


#18

Isn’t the problem with that that normal phone batteries deteriorate pretty badly if left uncharged?

It’s not nearly as bad an issue as people make it out to be. It’s only marginally worse to leave uncharged.


#19

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