Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Solar/Hand Cranked Radio/Flashlight

I have always wanted one of these but they were too expensive. You see when the power goes out here, you just immediately know that it is going to be out for a while. I am not sure why it takes so long for us to get power back on here because when I lived in New England the power being out for a long time meant it was out for maybe an hour. Here we never have gotten power back on after an outage until 2 1/2 hours have gone by and that is from a little thunderstorm. We almost always lose power in a thunderstorm. I often blame it on the red clay here as the trees cannot put down decent roots in it and they fall on the lines when it rains and the clay softens. I am sure they grow roots when it is wet here but most of the summer we have drought conditions and the rains we get in spring and summer really don't make up for it so the clay is too hard for the roots to penetrate most of the time.
Anyway, on to the solar hand cranked radio flashlight. I got one today!
A guy at the flea market had a trailer full of boxes of stuff. I picked through and found this. He asked me for a DOLLAR for it. Geez, they cost at least $30 new. I gave him his dollar, hoping it worked.
It did. I had to buy new rechargeable batteries for it but that was all. Now that I have played with it some, I am quite impressed with what it offers so I thought I would do this review.
As you can see, there is the clock which has an alarm on the front which is so important when the power is out and you have to go to work the next day (I used to keep an old wind up alarm clock at one time for power outages). Then there is the radio. I have had a hand crank radio before but it just didn't work well enough. It didn't have a battery back up or solar power like this one does. It was easier to go out to the car to hear updates on the radio if the power was out more than a day or  two. This radio also picks up lots of stations even out here where we live and they come in clearly. Then the front has the flashlight and the light also can be set to "blink" though I am not sure what I would need that for since I don't plan to keep it in my car...but you just never know when you will need a blinking light...right? Anyway, the flashlight works well though not as well as the new LED ones.
The solar panel is on the top and you can lift up one side to angle it towards the sun. I am really not sure how well it works since my rechargeable batteries came already charged but I have set the whole thing on the windowsill so I shouldn't have to use the crank for a while even in an outage because the solar panel should keep  the batteries charged.
Another feature I really like is that the rechargeable batteries are not the only batteries in it. It also has a space for regular alkaline batteries.
Even better is the fact that only 3 of these batteries are used that one on the left side is just a "spare" battery. Underneath these is another compartment where the 2 rechargeable batteries are kept.
The only flaw I saw is that the piece that holds the crank is a fairly soft plastic and it is already cracked on each side where the pin holds the crank on. It is not broken yet but I am going to put some Super Glue on it on both sides and just be careful when I turn the crank, in the hopes that it will last a bit longer. Just like most stuff these days, it wasn't built to last. ..
The little button on the front is where you adjust it to which power you want to use. I am guessing but I take it the AA battery means the alkaline batteries the hand one means the crank and then you can plug it in as well with the DC INPUT.
Anyway, not bad for a dollar. Between this and the coffee pot that I have that can plug into the car cigarette lighter, I should be all set in a power outage.... : )

13 comments:

  1. Becky,

    I love these radios. Having the ability to run the radio off of solar power, hand crank, batteries and it has so many options. It's a great radio to have for bugging out, home during storms, camping, and in the barn.

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    1. Yup, I think it will get some use here :)

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  2. At our last house we used to lose power, but here I don't remember losing it for more than a few minutes. Even in the two microbursts we had, the power stayed up. We couldn't get the car up the road due to the trees down, but we had power. I think we are very close to the main line and we have few large trees on our street. Having a back up radio is always good though, especially one with a solar charger.

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    1. Wow, that is great. We lose power all almost every storm :(

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  3. Hi Becky! You got a great bargain! So surprised anyone would want to get rid of it! Especially for a dollar! Reminds me to focus more on emergency items! Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

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    1. Looked like he had cleaned out someone's house, all sorts of stuff. I expected him to ask more for it.

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  4. Smart move Becky, especially with the hand crank and light.
    Having a battery operated radio is critically important during disasters like the recent tornadoes. Your power goes out and you have no idea of where the storms are and if they are coming your way unless you can listen to the local news stations or NOAA broadcasts.

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    1. Even if the storms were coming our way, we have nowhere to go to find shelter, unfortunately. Frankly I think every town should have several storm shelters of some kind.

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  5. What a bargain. Now that you have your hand-cranked flashlight I bet you don't get a power outage for ages! (And I expect you really want to try it out...) Maybe you should get a solar-powered cooker next!

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    1. Definitely! As soon as i find one for a dollar... :)

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  6. I got an emergency weather radio hand cranked for power outages in storms. Course - it wasn't a dollar. Great Find for you!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. You have a wonderful blog! Keep it up!

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  8. You might be eligible for a new government sponsored solar program.
    Determine if you qualify now!

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