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mrBEAMS ReadyBright Home Power Outage System Review

on August 2, 2012 11:00 am

Living in New Hampshire has its benefits,  however, one annoyance is the frequent and sometimes prolonged power outages caused by trees falling on the power lines.  Some residents invest in automatic generators, but my approach was a manual backup generator, saving about 2/3 thirds the cost.  Using the  ReadyBright Power Outage Lighting System by mrBeams, I can light my way to the electrical panel to switch my home power from the street to the generator, but is it cost-effective?

Features:

  • Power Outage detector plugs into any wall outlet and senses power
  • Upon power outage the sensor sends a signal and activates all remote units
  • The Power Outage Detector then becomes a flashlight and remote control for all the remote units
  • Provides more than 40 hours of light on a set of batteries
  • One Power Outage Detector can control up to 10 remotes within 70 feet
  • Automatically shuts off after 30 minutes
  • Low battery indicator on all units.

Here’s what I received to review.  It’s the starter house kit and consists of the sensor/remote control, a stair light and a ceiling light.  Additional lights can be purchased and added to the system.

You will need a sensor/remote at minimum.  Here it is with the light on.  This is controlled by the round button in the middle.  The O and l buttons are used to turn all the remotes on and off.

The backside of the sensor/remote with the AC prongs retracted.

The stair light.

The back of the stair light with the cover off.  You’ll notice it takes 4 AA batteries. Caution:  The screws for the covers on both lights are not captive.  I almost lost them when installing the batteries.

The ceiling light.

This unit takes 4 C cells.  The same caution applies here.  The screws for the back cover are not captive and will fall out.

Here the stair and ceiling units are powered on.  The illumination put out by these lights is not enough to read by, but it is enough to light your pathway.  The units have only one L.E.D. and the brightness is comparable to those solar-powered yard lights you can find in any discount store.

The objective in my home was to light the pathway to the breaker panel in the basement during a power failure.  The procedure I have to follow to get emergency power is: haul the 7.5KW electric start generator out of the shed; hook the generator to the house wiring via a junction box outside with a 20 ft cable; start the generator and then head to the basement to toggle the interlock in the breaker panel to route power from the generator to the household circuits.

I put the remote/flashlight just outside the master bedroom.

When utility power is lost, the unit turns on and within 5 seconds enables the remote units.  I can grab the remote/flashlight and find my way downstairs to hookup and start the generator.

I mounted the stairway unit to light up the basement stairs.  The mounting allows one to use either screws or double-sided tape.  Forget the tape.  The unit fell off the wall after 24 hours, and I screwed it into the wall.  The good news is that the light didn’t break.

After I arrive at the breaker box where the ceiling light is mounted, I can see enough to flip the switches necessary to route emergency power through the house.

Now that I have power, I can turn the remote lights off using the sensor/remote.

The mrBEAMS Home Power Outage System (aka ReadyBright Power Outage Lighting) operates as advertised and was a cinch to install, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the money.  For the $70 price of the Starter Kit, I can buy a bunch of flashlights and a decent supply of batteries.  As a matter of fact, that’s what I’d been using before I received the test unit.   Also, whenever I find a new gadget to try, I solicit friends’ and neighbors’ opinions to validate or refute my own.  In this case those opinions were universally negative about the cost effectiveness of this solution.  Perhaps it’s because we’re all from New Hampshire and are very familiar with power outages and have made plans to deal with it.  Most of us have flashlights placed strategically around the house and have stockpiles of candles and kerosene lamps.

A system like the mrBEAMS might be better suited to people living in an urban environment where generators are not practical and you might not want to have open flames in the apartment.  Then again, I don’t see why several flashlights wouldn’t be more cost-effective, even in a city apartment.

 

Product Information

Price:$69.99 Starter House Kit
Manufacturer:Mr. BEAMS
Retailer:Mr. Beams
Pros:
  • Automatic operation
  • Expandable
Cons:
  • Non-captive screws on battery covers
  • Tape mounting of stairway light does not work
  • Somewhat expensive

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