As Hurricane Sandy heads up the East Coast, people face a threat worse than flooding and broken windows — the inability to use their gadgets due to power outages. But the Frankenstorm doesn't have to completely shut you down. Here's how to prepare your tech equipment to make it through this storm and any others.
Charge Early, Charge Often
Start by fully charging your phone, laptop, tablet and other gadgets that feature rechargeable batteries. Beyond rechargeables, stock up on alkaline batteries that you can use in some equipment if the outage drags on. Consider an external battery pack for your smartphone or tablet, like the $80 Morphie Juice Pack Powerstation, which provides up to 6 hours of talk time on a 3G network.
Universal Power Supplies
When the power goes out, it takes your router with it, killing the Internet connection to all your Wi-Fi devices. But as long as the your cable or DSL signal remains strong, you can maintain wired Internet access — if you have a battery backup. Universal power supplies, such as the APC 650VA Battery Back-Up System ($90-$100 at local stores), offer battery power for a limited time (up to an hour, depending on how many devices you have connected).
Stock Up on Entertainment
You can’t count on Internet access during the storm, so download ebooks, movies and music now. Also, take the time sync files from your computer to devices that run on battery power before the lights go out.
If you’re well prepared, you may already have a waterproof case for your smartphone, like LifeProof’s $80 iPhone 4/4S case. But in a pinch, use a Ziploc-style plastic bag. If you get the seal tight, it should keep the phone dry, and you’ll still be able to use the touchscreen.
Do It By Hand
For those times when all else fails, keep a hand-crank radio and generator nearby, such as L.L.Bean’s $40 Mini Solar Emergency Radio or Eton’s $60 Solarlink FR360.In addition to connecting you to news over the radio, it includes a hand crank and two solar cells. The solar may not be so handy in this case, but you can use the crank to charge your phone through a USB cable or to power a lamp to light your way through the dark of the storm.