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My wife phoned me at work. "Pete, I pulled up this website, www.klorg.com. It has something you might be interested in: the Geek Light Project." Since my old lighting system was whacked, I was all ears (being a total geek myself.) I knew a new lighting system, however Fantasmic, was somewhere out near Disneyland for me, until I scraped together a couple-two-three hundred American dineros.
So when we were out at Home Depot getting a Christmas tree, I asked an orange lady, "Where is the outdoor lighting?" I ventured over to the place she pointed. It wasn't long before I nailed the 20-watt, 12-volt yard light the Geek Doctor recommended. Still short of a power source (they didn't have anything at Home Depot versatile enough,) I ferried the family home. Total expenditure on Geeky Light Project so far: $12.
On the way home, I stopped at Batteries Plus for advice, not that I expected any Real Geeks to be there to help me find something tailor-made to fit my Geek Light Project specifications; but I was waaay wrong! The Head Geek Battery Expert knew more about what I was wanting than I knew how to ask. He calculated the amp-hours needed to build a custom NiCd battery pack for my needs (ball-park) on the spot for my 12v, 20w Malibu yard light. Turns out I'm not the only cyclist who's dropped by Batteries Plus for help (thanks, dude!)
But the H.G.B.E. had bad news: I needed ten NiCd batteries for my 12v setup to get the run-time I needed for my 20w bulb. This would cost me about one hundred and fifty American pesos. Eeek, geek! This is not geeky at all! But the H.G.B.E. was not worried. "Then again, a lead-acid setup will run you about $25."
Now I knew what I had to do.
Well, another Project, the Make the Old Car Pass Emission Inspection Project, took precedence. I found myself changing the oil and shopping at Pep Boys. Lo, and behold, what did I find? a Vector Pocket Power 12V portable power source, complete with plug receptacle for charging/power, water-resistant padded case, 12-volt DC charging adapter to recharge from a car's cigarette lighter (if necessary,) 110-volt AC charging adapter for home use, and even a built-in 10-amp fuse for safety. (I forgot to mention it had a shoulder-strap, too.) Total geek-cost: $20 (which, by the way, I had saved by changing my own oil and not going to Jiffy Lube. This was still half of the price Batteries Plus would have cost me for a battery and charger, not including the totally non-geeky water-resistant padded case, and 12-volt DC charging adapter for recharging from a car's cigarette lighter (which is beyond geeky, it's in the realm of handy-man geekiness.)
Total geek cost so far: $32 Americana. Muy bien! :D
Lemme tell ya, folks, when I attached that Malibu light to the Pocket Power source, I got serious beamage. Like, the whole road lit up! And, if I want, for $7 more, I can upgrade to 35 watts (but that will affect run-time, and I'm not sure I really need it, after seeing what a 12-volt, 20-watt beam does.)
Next: find a good on/off switch...
...I am going to thank Doctor Geek from www.klorg.com for the ideas. I didn't follow everything he said, and I will be e-mailing him about some no-no's I discovered (don't charge your battery directly from your car battery without the engine running,) but Dr. G. will be getting my thanks.
(Don't worry, folks--if this is a failure, I will let y'all know. But what's $32, after all?)