Most preppers have a list of must-haves when it comes to their preparations for if/when the SHTF or civilization ends. I’ve stocked the typical survival items, but have included some electronics in my preps. I have several different types of radios, but I want to focus on the consumer electronics most people wouldn’t consider saving for a SHTF situation.
These are the electronics in my preps and how they could be assets… if properly protected.
The Kindle Fire holds practical and sentimental value to me. It’s the last gift my grandmother gave me before dying of cancer, and despite a slightly degraded battery life, it’s still the most useful item I own. My Kindle holds about 300 eBooks and duplicate copies of my favorite audiobooks.
That’s a small library, all compressed into a 1-pound device.
I store the Kindle in a faraday bag and regularly take it out to read newly purchased books. Every time I remove it from the faraday bag, I check the charge and overall health of the device. I also check my downloaded content to ensure Amazon didn’t program any corporate trickery or timebombs that will force my eBooks to delete themselves. So far, all my purchased content remains downloaded and nothing has “expired.”
I upgraded my phone a couple years ago and kept the old one. Nothing was wrong with the phone, so I used it to download my entire audiobook library (via Wi-Fi). I now have a backup library just in case something happens to the devices I’m currently using.
I’m cutting waste and adding redundancy to my preps.
An Older “Smart” Phone
I held onto my brick phone for a really long time before finally upgrading to a smartphone. I didn’t want an iPhone because I recognized Apple’s business strategy for the scam it is. Nor did I want to pay nearly $500 for an equivalent Galaxy phone. A good compromise at the time was the Windows Phone 8.
It had the apps I needed, access to information, long battery life, and it even had a FM radio function. I swear I only had to charge the phone once, maybe twice a week! I’ve long-sense upgraded from that phone, but the long-lasting battery and the FM radio came in handy during Hurricane Harvey.
And, it still works like new.
I store a Nintendo DS, a Switch, and their cartridges. These mobile gaming systems have rechargeable batteries and do not require internet to function. Simply plug in the cartridge and play. These are great for entertainment after a long day of work, or to keep children occupied and quiet while you’re trying to relax.
I don’t use the Nintendo DS much anymore, so it’s kept in the faraday bag at all times. The last time I played it a year ago, I noticed the battery didn’t last as long as it once did (about 4-5 hours). The battery lasts about 3 hours, which is impressive given that it’s over 15 years old.
I use my Nintendo Switch while travelling, so it’s not in the faraday bag as often. It’ll be rotten luck if it gets slagged for being out if an EMP happens.
I found an old portable Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TV at a resale shop for $2. I connected it to a power cable and was surprised it still “works.” I quoted “works” because there aren’t analog signals any more, so it can’t pick up broadcast TV.
If a civilization-ending disaster were to occur, there’s a slight possibility that stations could revert to analog in addition to digital. When the USA switched to all-digital broadcasts, the system was designed to be compatible with at-home antennas and that could mean a quick retransition to analog is possible (but I’m not an expert on broadcast technology).
The broadcast industry has known the supposed quality of digital broadcasts cannot match the dependability analog has historically provided. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched TV and a bird, cloud, or something blocked the digital signal enough to cause my TV to go blank for 5 minutes. If that happened on analog broadcasts, the image would get a little fuzzy and I’d hear some minor static.
BUT, I’d still be able to see and hear most of the show.
We don’t know how the world as we know it will end, or if it will happen in our lifetime. For all we know, we could have access to enough renewable electricity to charge portable DVD players. If so, having DVDs of your favorite movies is a good idea. They’re sold as cheaply as $0.50 to $1 at resale shops, garage sales, and estate sales.
These are the electronics I stock with my preps and the reasons how they can be useful after the SHTF. My electronics are stored in various “faraday” cages and bags to protect them against an EMP or solar flare. I fully recognize that we don’t know how effective such containers are at protecting electronics. There isn’t effective testing available or regulation on the EM protection products available on the market. We must have faith these products will provide the advertised protection.
I don’t have much faith… in faith. Which is why some of my tech is nested within another faraday bag or cage, or both. Storing electronics that way may provide additional protection or act as a failsafe if one “faraday” product doesn’t work as advertised.
 Radios: It’s a good idea to keep and maintain all of the following types of radio: emergency AM/FM/SW, short-range 2-way (walkie-talkies), Ham, and CB.
 Apple’s Scam Strategy: Every year Apple comes out with a new phone, they try to force customers to buy a new phone by artificially degrading the phone’s battery life and throttling its processing power and speed.