Frequent nights outdoors, dark areas, and remote locations are commonplace working for a publication about astronomical equipment. Whether it’s to power the red-light LED flashlights that illuminate star charts while protecting dark-adapted vision, or the heads-up displays used to align telescopes to celestial targets, a successful astro-imaging session depends upon getting a dependable inventory of fresh rechargeable or disposable batteries.
Heretofore, my strategy for packing batteries involved nothing much more sophisticated than clear-plastic zip-close freezer bags full of loose batteries, as well as those still in the original hard-to-open bubble packs. Spent batteries were also tossed into freezer bags and had been therefore often confused with fresh batteries. But now I have a much better answer to battery storage and management: battery cases.
One specific benefit to me is the fact that these caddies are available in a variety of colors . Astronomy is done in the darkest of locations. This means it will be hard to tell the difference between batteries based on feel and the dim light available, so it’s a great idea to acquire a caddy color system. I use more AA size batteries than any other size and store those in the glow-in-the-dark “moonshine” 12-battery caddies, while AAAs are stored in clear 6-battery caddies, Cs in yellow 4-battery caddies, Ds in black 4-battery caddies and 9-volts in orange 4-battery caddies. By a quick flash the colors are rapidly distinguished.
Because every caddy features a specific orientation, I place new and fully charged batteries in the correct way and old batteries in backwards .
Lastly, while it might appear a silly admission, I confess to an element of pride in having a well-organized battery system. My collection of high-value astronomical equipment is safely stored in durable, purpose-built custom cases when transported, and those assembled cases scream efficiency and professionalism when I setup at public astronomy events. Zip-close freezer bags of batteries? Not so much. Now, even my battery-management system declares: “This guy is really a pro!” Bottom line: Battery caddies work, and I’ll never again pack for field work without them. For more information about battery cases, visit here.