Saturday, February 20, 2021

Product Review: Boundary Ebulb

 As most of you know, we lived off-grid for the better part of 20 years.  One of the benefits of that lifestyle is that once we had a solid, working alternative energy system in place, we never had power outages!  Unfortunately, we can no longer say that is the case!  Since we've been back on grid power, we have encountered power outages with alarming regularity.  For the most part, they don't affect us much....we still have an outhouse and a generator for pumping water (not to mention abundant water via year around creeks and a bubbling spring), along with a root cellar (should be need it), however, it is still inconvenient not to have good, reliable household lighting.  We're never completely without light - we still have numerous oil lamps (3 hanging in permanent locations, and many table lamps), along with battery operated LED lighting sources.  But really, we all know that electric lights are the best, most convenient lights available.

A couple of years ago, I saw an ad for a lightbulb called an ebulb (emergency bulb), that had an onboard battery that charged when in use and came on automatically when the power went out.   Too good to be true??  I read and read and read reviews, mostly good, some bad, and decided I'd really like to give them a try.  What I was kind of stuck on was how they turned on after the power went out.  It didn't make any sense that I could put a lightbulb in my kitchen light, have the power go out and still flip the light switch and have the lights come seemed a little hinkey.  

I wrote the date that I charged the bulb on the box

Finally, after one power outage too many, I ordered some bulbs.  They have a charge on them when they arrive, however, it is advised to charge them for eight hours before storing them away.  I began charging some bulbs, but a few others went directly into lamps for every day use.  The idea behind the bulbs is that you screw them in to existing lamps or light fixtures (either with a switch on the wall or on the lamp itself), they charge while in use and then, in the event of a power outage, the bulbs use their reserved battery power to provide lighting for the duration of the power outage.  

When I first put the bulbs into my fixtures, I noticed that the light was very bright and very white.  While I prefer a softer white lightbulb, I think these will be perfect during a power outage when you need light, not ambiance.  The bulbs are also slightly larger than a standard bulb, making it difficult or impossible to fit in some standard light fixtures.  I had no problem with a majority of my lamps, but one was just too small.  Of course, the minute I had the lights in the lamps, I had to turn off the light switch and see if the bulb came didn't.  Not to be deterred, I ran to the fuse panel and turned the breaker off.....nothing.  I was more than a little disappointed.  I knew the lightbulbs worked with the little hanger with a switch that they had come with, but really, I wanted a lightbulb that would work in my existing fixtures with the flip of a switch.  

Okay...weird, but you can turn these lights on with your hand!!!!

The hanger with the switch that the bulb screws into

Now it can be hung (or used as a trouble light)

I began reading online reviews again, and realized that the reviews truly were a mixture of "these work like a dream" and "they only work with the hanging switch, not in the light fixture".  It then occurred to me that since I tried them out right away, they may not have had enough of a charge to make them work correctly.  We left them turned on in the lamps, used them like a regular light bulb and forgot about them.  A week went by and I thought I'd give them another test run.  This time, I asked Sir Knight to flip the breaker for the snug (where I had two light bulbs in lamps).  He did.  The lights went out, and then almost immediately, switched back on.  I had light were there was no power!!!  I turned the switches off and the lights went out....and then I turned the switches again....and LIGHT!!!  I was amazing!!

We now have a Boundary ebulb in every room.  We've only lost power once since we've had the bulbs, but immediately when the power went out, the lights came on.  In fact, it happened so quickly that I didn't realize the power was out!  

In reality, we haven't put these ebulbs to the acid test yet.  We have charged them all for at least 8 hours (I bought 12 light bulbs, so we have a few in fixtures and the rest are charged and on a shelf).  At this point I have no idea how long the batteries will last in an extended power outage (one of reason we bought so many bulbs).  I have read that they last anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours, so only experience will give us a true picture of long-term viability.  

Sir Knight is in the process of creating a light bulb "charging station" so that we can charge a number of bulbs at once.  That way, if the power is out for an extended time, we can charge a lot of bulbs when the generator is running.  Also, he'd like to made sure we could use solar panels to power the charging station, making the ebulbs a long-term solution to off-grid lighting.

At first flush, the ebulbs seems to be solid solution for occasional power outages.  Only time will tell if they are a viable off-grid lighting solution.  I'll keep you posted!!

Note:  You can purchase these ebulbs from Boundary, or Amazon, Home Depot or Walmart among other retailers.

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