Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Drawful of chargers can be draining

November 30, 2006

Our house, like most, had that one drawer in the kitchen set aside for purposes other than preparing or consuming food. It was the drawer with a couple of screwdrivers, a small hammer, pliers, a small tape measure and maybe a crescent wrench.

They were essential tools. They weren't something a homeowner would pull out for a big project. Those were in a toolbox in the garage or utility room. No, the tools in the drawer were for small repairs or some-assembly-required jobs, which will need doing in the Christmas season and probably, added an Allen wrench or two to the kitchen drawer.

It dawned on me this last weekend that our tool drawer had been co-opted. It is now overflowing with battery chargers. There are battery chargers for small drills, screwdrivers, laptops, flashlights, regular batteries and -- first and foremost -- cell phones.

We have at least six cell phone battery chargers in the drawer. To my knowledge, the first still works and would charge our newer cell phones. Our provider always sends new chargers with its periodic phone updates, so my thinking is they must have a reason. That makes me reluctant to use the older chargers with the newer phones.

All chargers have the small cord with the little round plug-in. As far as I know, they're interchangeable. But they all come with serious warnings, so I tend to think not.

Helping fill the drawer is the fact I haven't thrown any of the old chargers away. Come to think of it, I don't know that I've ever thrown any battery charger away. They're important and to toss them out is in effect tossing out whatever device they are coupled with. Once you get a battery charger, you're obligated to give it a certain amount of drawer space forever.

Of course there's another reason not to get rid of the chargers. It's difficult to remember just what charger goes with what device. Yes it would make more sense to store chargers with whatever they charge, but that's not how it's done in our house. Which means when you want to charge something, you have to shift through the growing collection until your memory matches charger with device. Thankfully, the ever-increasing number of cell phone chargers are easily identified by an obvious brand-name marking.

Also thankfully, there is someone in our house who never throws away an owner's manual, which are stored in yet another kitchen drawer and provide indispensable help with the match game (although I'm thinking A Field Guide to Common Household Battery Chargers would sell in the millions).

This all occurred to me this weekend as I searched for a battery charger after a device I wanted to use sputtered at an energy level that matched my own an hour after Thanksgiving dinner. I was having no luck and couldn't make a definitive ID from the vague drawing in the owner's manual.

A better charger archeologist had to take over, and after some sleuthing found the right device, which she learned unneeded. What she found was not a charger but an AC adapter perfectly disguised as a charger. The device didn't need charged; it just needed its regular old AA batteries replaced.

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